August 8th, 2019
The cold morning and the hint of winds, made getting out of the tent a chore beyond the usual lingering soreness and the wet clothes. The days are getting shorter and the extensive cloud cover made the scene quite dark, even though I elected to sleep in until 4:00 AM. We paddled up through the narrows into Greenstocking, knocking out a couple of short portages through the open tundra and puling up small sections of the river. The going was slow, as the headwaters of the Yellowknife have narrowed considerably into a shallow, bouldery stream. A couple of times, I was once again, up to my waist in the river although the fall-like weather made the decision more consequential. We paddled into Greenstocking-an increasing northerly side-wind and wet clothing provided a “welcome” into the tundra. The scenery, however, was spectacular. Looking out over the barren hilltops was enchanting and the sense of adventure tempered the misery of the conditions.
The wind kept picking up all day, but we made it across Greenstocking before lunch. While finding the portage trail into Singing Lake, we were forced to paddle through a small, shallow, boulder field. I elected to follow Ax and Bram’s push to the head of the portage trail, encountering a section that looked impassable but that held their signature white paint on the tops of the submerged rocks. I carelessly decided to continue and was met with a devastating “pop” from the middle of the boat. Scared we had put a hole in it, Quinn and I attempted to offload gear but the conditions up the river bed made for hazardous walking and I was unable to move to land without rolling my ankle and dropping the packs in the water multiple times. After some loud profanities, which I later shamefully apologized for, it was discovered that there was not puncture through the boat. We camped a mile or so later at the beginning of Singing Lake, not wanting to dare the ever increasing northern headwind. Did some gear inventory, epoxied the boats, and hit the bags.