Day 1. Sunday Aug. 16. Little Caribou to Caribou Lake. 8.2 miles.
We were scheduled to meet Clem Quenville, a local guide who would provide shuttle service for us, in Armstrong at noon. On the way, we stopped at an outfitter's to arrange our park permit, which turned out to be an unsettling experience. First, we were told that our trip was overly ambitious, which could have been avoided had we allowed them to plan it for us. Then, we were warned to be careful because it would be "just the two of you out there." (Fortunately, we never told them about the dog who was coming with us.) And, finally, we were chastised for choosing a shuttle service who "won't come looking for you like we would." Needless to say, we were a little shaken by the time we met Clem. Fortunately, he was a great guy with some impressive canoeing experience who settled our fears, so that we willingly followed him to our put-in on Little Caribou Lake. There we handed him our keys (he would store our car at his house and "spot" it on Bukemiga Lake at the end of our trip) and took off on our adventure: three weeks in Wabakimi Provincial Park and on the Kopka River.
After a quick lunch on a small island, we paddled north up Little Caribou, a surprisingly scenic lake with a number of campsites visible from the water. It was hot and humid, and a strong wind was blowing out of the west. The map we were using for this section showed a campsite on the portage into Caribou, but alas no campsite was in sight. So, we decided to take the portage and camp at a campsite we had marked on our map and which we had spoken to Clem about. Hopefully the campsite worked out, since there was a very strong west wind blowing, and crossing Caribou wasn't going to be an option.
Our food pack was way too heavy, but we managed the portage, and fought our way across to the island. The campsite wasn't exactly five-star, but it served our needs for the first night.
|Lovely morning in Wabakimi|
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