July 26, 2019
Great Slave Lake
Unsure of the mileage we clocked today, as we all fled to our tents after dinner before I could consult Paul, who has a handy watch which tracks just that kind of thing. I would guess we paddled around 20 miles, leaving ourselves just 15K south of Yellowknife. The rain has begun pattering above my tent as I write this. I’m glad we finished dinner as early as we did.
We awoke at 6:40 AM, sleeping in because of our late night and sleeping in further because it was raining when Paul’s breakfast alarm alerted him. The sky and light were gray, the weather cool and the rocks slippery. We paddled in light rain until lunch, island-hopping our way up the northern shore. The rain besieged us before we could even begin digesting our lunch. Paul and I were able to inspire the other lads that with courage, strength and calories, we could indeed paddle in the rain, and they reluctantly crawled from beneath the boughs of a small tree and we slipped and slid our way down the treacherous, wet rock and back into our boats.
The afternoon rain started bad and only got worse. We paddled for 2.5 hours after lunch but at around 3:00 PM a northern wind blew in and we decided to call it a day. Everyone was soaking wet and a few were shivering in their soggy clothes while erecting tents.
Bram cooked up some scrumptious, hot ramen in his vestibule using the stove (clever guy) and we hit the tents before 5:00 PM. It should be an early wake-up tomorrow as we try to beat the winds and reach Yellowknife.
This lake, while cold and uncomfortable today, is as epic a body of water as any I have ever paddled. I can only hope the tundra can stir my soul as this lake has. With the red, rock islands and the boundless horizon – the lake seems to fall into the sky. The North is special. This journey is special. These guys are remarkable. They impress me everyday, all in their own way. I cant’ wait to see what this final chapter holds for us.