Day 6 Rabbit Kettle Lake
Well no bears in camp last night – phew. As Dave said ‘I love waking up in the mountains feeling alive, cause I’m alive’. Got up and had a faster start as we were meeting with the Park Ranger to do the hike to the Tufa mounds. Paddled over to the Ranger station and said a prayer to four directions: for myself, for my family, for my community and my surroundings and the people I am with. The Ranger said part in Dene, the aboriginal tongue. We had sage and tobacco in our left hand, closer to our heart, and said the prayer turning to face all four directions, north, east, south and finishing west. The Ranger then lead us through bear safety. Given that they had flown in the 3 rangers to find the bear, they had removed all the safety bear boards over windows of the ranger station, they had even cooked bacon to entice out the bear!
Perry and I opted to have a rest day. We stayed at ranger station chilling on the dock.
So the big group headed out. The three rangers headed out bear searching (guns slung over their shoulders) and Perry and I sat on the dock, cornered on the dock (foreshadowing) looking at the incredible scenery. About 30 minutes later out of the corner of his eye, Perry sees Smokey behind us. I kid you not. So there we were, just the two of us, one can of pepper spray, rangers gone, guns gone, team gone and one big black bear…….bring on the disco – we started singing and dancing and swaying to the music……and the bear meandered off….
We then spent a few hours trying to outrun the wasps – ultimately found the reason, a one foot wasp nest about 50 feet from camp. So we then spent most of the day on the water in the canoe – they had a harder time finding us there.
The rest of the team had an amazing time at the Tufa mounds – 5 hr hike and towards the end there was an old tow bridge over a river that was a lot of work in both directions.
We met back up around 2:30 and broke camp. To be honest I never would have thought it possible to put so much S! in 4 canoes but it was accomplished. We had a quick refresher on the lake for the strokes etc. We paddled to the end of the Rabbit Kettle Lake and took a ‘cheat’ to avoid a 1 km portage…..wow almost felt like I was in the Bayou. There were some impressive obstacles and a 5 foot portage but we ran the stream down to the Nahanni. OMG. ITS HUGE. It roils, and rolls and looks like fudge when its cooking. ITS HUGE.We paddled for about an hour and then pulled into a gravel bar – caused by an initial log, in the eddy behind it things build up and sediments and creates a bar – this is camp for the night.