No Map? Find A Tree 

On day 11 we left behind the map-less fishermen holding their GPS unit. We were having good laugh amongst ourselves over this form of uninformed navigation when Matt flew overhead in the blue Otter at about dusk. Brian thought he had landed down river. I thought he had gone somewhere else.

Anyway we got up at first light and headed off for wherever the pickup point was. Matt had told that it was "the regular place" for pickups. So we get down 

Photo: Sutton River

The old goose camp in the Sutton delta.

towards the end of the river and the place is loaded with channels formed by islands. Our 1:250,000 map does not show too much - as a matter of fact, it is useless!  We don’t know really where we are! We climb trees (tough to find them in the barren lands!) to see if we can spot a place where an Otter can land. And there were not many.

Caribou passing the goose camp while the crew waited for Matt, wondering where he was. Then this caribou continued 500 yards onto another island and wandered past Matt waiting in his plane, wondering where Tom and the boys were.

So finally Tom and Jesse spot this goose camp from a tree. We figured this might be the goose camp that the GPS fishermen had told us about and was programmed into THEIR unit. But of course, WE had no map location for it.

So we get down to the goose camp and there is no Matt. We still don't know where are - even in general terms. WE WERE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT WE WERE DOING!! Not very good end-of-the-trip planning. 

We think about situation. The fishermen had told us this was their pickup spot so this must be the one Matt meant. So we decide to wait for Matt to fly over again because obviously he is not in the area. Well we wait all day - and no Matt.

The camp is a couple of log cabins, not in the best of shape. So Jesse starts to repair the roof of one cabin because the weather can turn nasty up there with high winds and driving rain — and without trees you'd rather not sleep in a tent. While Jesse is up on the roof nailing down old shingles, he says he sees a blue tent across the barrens. "It must be a hunting camp.” I gathered in all kinds of wood: willow scraps, driftwood and chopped-up pieces of the fallen down cabins. We had a huge pile. I mean it filled the entire back wall of the cabin. Tom fixed the stove and we waited. We watched caribou heading down river and we waited.

Photo: Sutton River

Matt Air's Otter loaded with canoes in the delta of the Sutton River. The flight returned to Sioux Lookout with a stop to re-fuel at Pickle Lake.

So we spent the night there. That night and the next morning it poured rain — a real storm and nothing was moving. We kept the stove going and we waited. We cooked up food and we waited. We played cribbage and we waited.

The weather cleared. We heard an Otter takeoff nearby. We went outside and saw Matt's blue plane fly overhead, circle then land 500 yards away behind some islands. We loaded up and paddled in his direction.

The tail of the plane appeared first. Jesse said, "Oh, that was the BLUE TENT!" Matt had been there all day yesterday waiting for us at the regular pickup spot! 

    Jon Berger

Sketch: Jon Berger

Photos: Tom Terry

<< Previous    Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   Next >>

Index   Tech & Background   The Crew

   Home   Rupert Battle   Rupert River   Temagami   Che-Mun

    Forum   Crees   Camps   Canoes   Keewaydin Way   Search   About   Contact Us

Maps and information herein are not intended for navigational use, and are not represented to be correct in every respect. 
All pages intended for reference use only, and all pages are subject to change with new information and without notice. 
The author/publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for use of the information on these pages. 
Wilderness travel and canoeing possess inherent risk. 
 It is the sole responsibility of the paddler and outdoor traveler to determine whether he/she is qualified for these activities.
Copyright © 2000-2014 Brian Back.  All rights reserved.
We do not endorse and are not responsible for the content of any linked document on an external site.

Photo Credit policy