July 21st, 2019
Authors Note: There seems to be a pattern developing here…please believe that it is not intentional neglect. It is simply too darn hot to write in the tent in the evening. Once I finally lay down, 20 minutes of thermo-regulation is necessary, demanded even. I shall adopt the “Write Anywhere BUT the Tent” method; we’ll see how long this lasts.
Today we arose at 3:30 AM. Horseflies went to bed, but the mosquitos were waiting for us. Not awful, but enough to do a quick stretch on the river before our floating breakfast which was a delicious batch of oatmeal and coffee. The haze from the fires north and south of us sets an ominous tone, especially this morning as a red sun rose behind a curtain of clouds and smoke. As it steadily ascended above the tree line, it began to burst with blinding orange illumination – a gentle reminder of its power.
Needless to say, it was another hot day. Horseflies showed up a bit later, around 9:00 AM, and never revealed the multitude of the day before. The Slave River can be summarized by: dark water, sparse campsites, heat, and horseflies – the worst horseflies I have ever seen or imagined.
For lunch we had our last bit of salami with parm cheese and tortillas. I’m always sad to see the lunchmeat go – PB&J from here on out. We pressed on into the afternoon heat with Great Slave Lake on our minds. Although it is nice to flow downstream, the group needed a change, and clean water. We rounded the last bend of the river around 3:45 PM everyone perked up and paddled harder with the lake in sight.
Massive lakes like Great Slave and Winnipeg are both beautiful and intimidating. They hold the ability to awe a person coupled with the power to frighten.
At the mouth of the river we surpassed 2,000 miles. It was a special moment and truly signified the blessing of Great Slave Lake.
Thai noodles for dinner were excellent. There was a minor dispute during set-up regarding tent sites and their proximity to the shade, not only where the shade is at that moment in time, but also where the shade is going to be as the earth rotates around the sun. It was a hot night, per usual…nevertheless, a great day.