Aug 19 (day 11)

There is some debate this morning as to which is the best route from here into the headwaters of the Ramah system. With no clear resolution, we start walking down into the Koroc valley and hope to find a pass between some low hills into the next drainage system. Wet loving plants start to appear on the terraces that alternate with short dry slopes: cotton grass mixed with Labrador teas, mouse eared chickweed, dried avens. A few mosquitoes make themselves know, pests avoided over the last few days due to the dry mud fields, rocks, lack of vegetation.

Down, down, down we go. A lone caribou spots us and runs away but to our benefit, reveals the location of a possible pass route. A plethora of beaten trails weave an every narrowing net before funneling into a single path between the steep sided hills. Wisely, we take notice and follow the trail. Vegetation has become positively lush with blue berries, avens, worm lichen proliferating between the now seldom and rounded rocks. A peregrine falcon dive bombs a raven before screeching out of sight. It’s evident that the caribou have been using this route for years given the number of shed antlers buried and partially over grown by grasses. A few tufts of white fur are conspicuous against the green. Caribou? Deep in the mud, a large (5” or 6” across) fresh wolf track materializes. It’s a deadly game of which we are silent observers. The trail continues single file, staying along the slope contour, winding around shoulders, as we move ever eastward.

Clouds have gathered overhead and a few drops of rain spill. Everyone is ready to call it a day and the campsite search is on. After one false site selection in what I name ‘the bug bowl’, we move to a promontory that is more wind exposed .The rain spits have ceased revealing a double rainbow. We eat dinner with bug jackets for the first time, black flies and mosquitoes punting the face mesh and bowls of hot food. I escape after dinner to the tent, updating the journal and resting my swollen knee. Relief! The setting sun colours cloud bottoms brilliant red-orange-pinks. Midnight moon gazing seems unlikely tonight as thundershowers seriously move in, winds rattling our tent and blowing the kitchen fly down.