Paddling North: 4 Kilometres Short and Playing It Safe

We are hunkered down in our tent. The winds are sailing round and the shaking tent is making our prayer flags sway. We are across the way from Fort Chipewyan, a wee bit broken hearted, after a huge paddling day trying to get there. We are 4 kilometres shy and camped on the winter road. The sky above us has tumbled some and is a sickening shade of gray but so far, no big strikes. It will be fine with us, the swirling winds have already cemented our decision but it was still hard to stop so close. The risk benefit analysis had too much on the potential loss side if a doozy storm kicked up. So, we are dry, have our best campsite in days (no sand, no bugs, no mud, and cell coverage) :-).

We had a wicked cool lunch spot today. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The end of the log was floating and I got to climb out of the canoe, with lunch in hand, up the tree. It was the only spot we could find as we paddled out Maeawi Creek to Mawawi Lake. As we are in the Athabasca River Delta, things are ever changing and maps just can’t keep up. Fortunately, we had satellite imagery to assist us because the map showed the creek ending at the lake’s edge when in reality, the channel reached out 5 km into the lake. It turned out to be very handy that it did as the wind was kicking up a bit and the extended version of the creek cut the open crossing down considerably.

On the pic above, you can see the location of our lunch log. Pretty cool, we had lunch “in the middle” of the lake. It was a big day…we paddled about 41 km with 20 of them being against the wind and 9 of them being against wind and current. We expected the trip to Fort Chip (live the rhyme) to take 8 days so you can imagine how pleased we are to have almost reached it on day five. We were able to cut off some distance by using the Mawawi option rather than the Embarras or Fletcher Channels.

This was the camp where we perfected our big house which was excellent timing since yesterday’s camp had a fair share of mosquitoes and I was able to cook dinner and breakfast with only a few mosquito guests. The only thing we haven’t solved is how to do our business with company. That’s a challenge!

The birds are singing now-not sure if it is post storm or pre storm songs. The bird song today as we paddled was so amazing. The winds are still gusty so I don’t think we are quite done but I’ll close for now and go watch the weather.

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