big bend

Day 13, Saturday, August 17, 1996

After supper last nite, we had the opportunity to chat with Paul Landry of Northwinds Arctic Tours based out of Iqaluit. From Paul we learned that the number of people who visit Katannilik Territorial Park each year is actually quite small. Most of his clientele, as was with the rafting group he was leading, is European. This is such a beautiful and pristine wilderness, yet very few has had the opportunity to discover adventure here!

nrthwind A Northwind Soper rafting group

We had gotten up early this morning, bid adieu to Paul and his group, and packed our gear for the final time on the Soper River. This morning we were going to explore a few lakes off to the east of the Soper River and to see if there were any fish. The river is predominately crystal clear, and we did not see algae or anything to indicate an ecosystem that could support fish, yet in some areas, there did appear to be fish. Fresh water land-locked char exists in some of the lakes.

sign Around the CHRS plaque at Soper Falls

We paddled back down the Soper a little bit and portaged through to three lakes. After three casts from his reel, Max had caught a small arctic char. This char resembles very much a speckled trout in appearance. After that Max did get some nibbles but narry another bite.

falls Soper Falls

After a quick lunch and portage of the Soper Falls, we were on our way to Kimmirut, also known as Lake Harbour, a small and quiet community located at the base of Glasgow Inlet. We leisurely paddled down Soper Lake, until we spotted rain squalls swooping down from the north. A race pursued but we did not escape, as the gentle rain engulfed us.

reflect Max fishing in shimmering reflection

At the southeastern end of Soper Lake, we landed at the road to Kimmirut. We started to head into town leaving our gear with the canoes at the landing point. The walk on the sand packed road took us up and down over several hills. Part way into our trek, we were met by Robert Jaffray and his young daughter, Alashua. They were heading out to meet us at the landing point. Dan joined them on the all terrain vehicle to retrieve our gear while the rest of us continued to walk into town.

katannilik Katannilik Park Sign at Soper Falls

The winding road took us to the Kimmirut airport. We walked across the runway to make our to the centre of the town where the Northwest Territories Tourism office is located. Moments later Robert, Alashua, and Dan appeared with our gear.

A quick hot shower is always welcome after many days out in the wilderness. Robert was kind enough to offer us showers at his home, which we all accepted without hesitation. After scrubbing off a few days of grime, quaffing coffee and snack of toast, we headed to the Kimik Co-op before it closed. We picked up some junk food and some groceries. As well, we made arrangements to return tomorrow to view and photograph some of the Inuit soapstone carvings created by the local artisans. About one third of all of the soapstone carvings produced in the north is created in Kimmirut. This is the hotbed for soapstone carving.

children Dan demonstrating the videocam to the children of Kimmirut

As we prepared our meal for the evening in accommodations provided by Robert Jaffray, we became introduced to some of the local children of Kimmirut whose numbers swelled as the nite progressed. As Robert explains, it is common for the children to play long into the nite nearby. With us being somewhat novel, at one point we had about 20 curious kids hanging around us. As they were curious about us and some of the equipment we had, we too were curious about them. But they demonstrated to us that they are very much like children anywhere, very playful, with boundless energy and curiosity, and very well mannered and polite. They were all good kids.

Tomorrow, we will spend a full day in Kimmirut.

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