Excerpts From Reed Ryan's Log - cont'd
Since it was Brad’s B-day, his eighteenth, we had a large feast of tortillas, refried beans, rice, chicken, salsa, and bannock/cake with icing. There were so many pots that everyone did two and dish crew had to do two wallopers. It was well worth it though. Probably the best meal I’ve had while up at Keewaydin.
While we were paddling, it snowed again.
The portage over the mountain, which was supposed to be a 900 yarder, turned into a 1,500 for me because I got lost.
Photo: Stephen Penske
Portaging on the edge of the treeline near Riviere du Je' Lo on July 5.
I can’t believe a month from now, I will be home already! I knew this trip would go fast, but not this fast!
We are camped almost above the tree line – there are splotches of trees here and there. When there’s a hill, it is usually above the tree line.
We were on Lac Eau Claire before lunch. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. It is hard to put into words. At the mouth of the river there were very tall mountains. Then, when we rounded the bend onto the open, massive lake we could see, it seemed, forever. There was a horizon 180° around us.
Clearwater Lake is well named, because the water is, in fact, clear. It was like we were in the Caribbean, or at least some ocean. When we got onto the lake, the temperature dropped 10° in a second and it smelled like the sea. Islands started to appear out of nowhere. I felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me. Surrounding Lac Eau Claire on all sides are barren mountains. We are starting to get above the tree line and it was a bitch to find firewood tonight.
Brad and I were bored, so we decided to make tumpline bracelets, except we wanted to make it more complicated and cooler, so we sawed off parts of the prongs of a caribou antler, made is cylindrical, sanded it down, drilled a hole through it, and carved a “K” for Keewaydin on the side. Then, we sewed it on with a speedy stitcher.
I wore long johns, dickies, wool socks, wool sweater, my wool jacket, and warm hat and gloves, but somehow I managed to still be cold. It was FREEZING – just warm enough not to snow, however.
The landscape has changed dramatically – we have switched from the mountainous region of the Clearwater to swampy lowlands filled with alders and willow. It is quite strange, but I don’t mind flat walking on the portages.
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