Day 1: ( July 6) Horton Lake put in

Having driven to Inuvik from Hamilton over the last 2 weeks, it’s with relief that we are finally getting in the plane and out there. Driving vs flying some how shrank the country to a fathomable size – I can understand the distance now and it’s not so big. But I’m craving some open space with paddle in hand. Ready for the river and to live foot loose and fancy free for a while!

Ron and Alfred fly first with one canoe and some gear, I’m to follow next plane load with other canoe and balance of stuff. My flight is somewhat long, extended by thundershowers which Nathan, the pilot decided to circumvent – my stomach is glad. Four hrs in a tiny bouncing Cessna 206 is the limit despite the beauty of a double rainbow. The land below is pockmarked with lakes and ponds, the crisscross of ugly seismic scars still evident after 50 years. No snow banks or surface ice although the still frozen blue ice cores on the bottom of ponds. Spruce trees carpet the valleys, wind exposed hilltops are bare.


Horton lake: Finally arrived at 2am. I’m pooped but elated to be reunited with my tripping partners. Ron and Alfred are hungry having a stove but not the food barrels (the heavy stuff left with my plane load). Quickly we make our first meal, an early breakfast of onions and eggs, inside the tundra tunnel. Wind calm, the sun is warm and the bugs are out. Oh yes, I forgot about the bugs! No plans for an early start - we will stay another night here and try to get our land legs.