Soper begins

Day 6, Saturday, August 10, 1996

The Soper River Trip begins today with us meeting Max and Dan at the airport. Today's installment of the travelogue is written by Max.

warehs Preparation at the First Air Warehouse in Iqaluit

Here we go again! Dan and I left Ottawa Saturday morning - real early. Arriving in Iqaluit at ten-thirty. Met Don Haines and Wade Hong, and Robert Jaffray, (the Gov. of the Northwest Territories Economic, Development and Tourism guy in Kimmirut, our final destinatiion after our descent of the Soper River) at the airport. Some last minute scrambling - the canoes needed some minor duct tape and silicon repair; we had to find some decent, useable paddles. We got some cheap wooden ones at the Snowmobile Store.

inflight Inflight by Twin Otter to Mt. Joy

The flight from Iqlauit to Mt. Joy, our starting point, on the Soper River, was great - zooming low over the barren hills...patches of snow in the depressions; rivers filled with rapids and waterfalls. Caribou, like tiny insects, running on the patches of snow. We flew in a bright yellow Twin Otter. Landed on a flat patch of gravel on an island in the Soper River. We came down between 1000 foot high hills, touched the ground rather abruptly, and taxied for only a short distance until the plane was stopped. These Twin Otters are amazing machines!

iqaluit2 Leaving Iqaluit for Mt. Joy

Camping now on the island at Mt. Joy. We hiked to the waterfall upstream. I got a soaker crossing the stream above the waterfall, hopping from rock to rock. Dan made it across dry. Dan and I slid on a snowfield across the stream. There was lots of snowmobile flotsam close to the waterfall. This is clearly a route over the divide. Stone cairns mark the old gasoline can, a broken rubber belt, an old, weathered wooden box that looked like it had been used as a sled. A snowshoe hare, grey and white, loped like a small antelope over the rocks. A few young caribou watched us curiously, but when I raised my arms in a bad imitation of caribou antlers, they took off. In a shallow pond fed by an icy cold meltwater rivulet, a few fish, about four or five incles long, streaked across the pond...young arctic char?

Dan found a yellow pencil near the waterfall when we were hiking today.It was bright and shiny, and still sharp. It looked like it had just been dropped.

Supper. Winds picked up. Temperature falling. A few persistent mozzies still harrassing us. First course is Tom Yum Soup. Yumm! MMM. Hot and spicy with rice noodles. Dessert is cheese cake with fresh picked blueberries. The berries are as big as the ones back home, but the plants themselves are tiny, no more than a few centimetres above the ground. Main course is Pad Thai - that Wade had whipped up for us - fried rice noodles and fresh veggies that Dan and I had brought up today.

camp Camp on island at Mt. Joy

For tomorrow we had decided to stay here another day to hike up Mt. Joy.

falls Falls at Mt. Joy

The mosquitos are driving us to cover. Taima (Inuktitut for that's it for now)!

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