West Journey


View from the cockpit of the Aviat Husky, westbound to set the resupply cache at Wilson Island. Tip of Wilson is in centre of frame, in the distance.
Kaltag (left) and Ernie (right) screamed their impatience as I paused to snap their portrait in The Gap.
Left to right: Annika, Kaltag, Ernie, Dave, and Liv. Final day, final trip, home sweet home.
The dogs at rest on ice in the wind.
Fresh pressure crack in ice on Great Slave Lake.
March sunrise from the north end of the Hearne Channel, Great Slave Lake.
Pressure ridge, Great Slave Lake ice.
The team at a brief rest on the Lutsel K’e / Yellowknife “expressway.” Ernie and Kaltag in lead. Spruce and Schooner in point.
Safire and his grandpa (on both sides!) Steve, lounging in March sunshine.
Near Outpost Island we crossed this massive pressure ridge before heading onto the widest expanse of open ice.
Westbound in the Husky along the Kahochella Peninsula, the south shore of McLeod Bay. Top of the escarpment is nearly 1000 feet above lake level.
Shelter Bay portage, first morning of the West trip.
Alfred Lockhart of Lutsel K’e, at our meeting on Christie Bay.
Ice over the depths of Christie Bay, Great Slave Lake. At 2,015 feet, 614 meters, this sounding establishes Great Slave Lake as the deepest lake in North America. (I have for years said “in the Western Hemisphere,” but it appears there is an interloper down in Chile and Argentina: Lake O’Higgins / San Martín, with a sounding to 2742 feet, or 836 meters.)
Bill and Mary Carpenter’s 2005 home at Moraine Point, on the far west shore of Great Slave Lake. Tragically this home and their entire establishment was lost to wildfire in August 2014, one month after our own home was destroyed.
Sunset on the open ice about 55 miles south of Yellowknife.
Dandy and Murphy at sundown on the ice.
Dogs asleep at a rest break. Schooner, a littermate of Ernie, Foxtail, and Flynn, is the blonde dog in the foreground.
Ernie on the picket line at Wilson Island cache, completely tuckered out after a day of leading into headwinds. At this writing (March 2015) Ernie is coming up to his 16th birthday. He still has a spring in his step and seems to enjoy retirement – and woodstove heat.
My Wilson Island camp, the two-way resupply cache for the West trip. I used our Arctic Oven tent for my stopover at the cache that year. Luxury.
View northeast up the Hearne Channel, east arm of Great Slave Lake, from the crest of Wilson Island.
The team at cruising speed eastbound on the main Yellowknife – Lutsel K’e trail.
Close-up of sastrugi, wind-carved snow.
Close-up of sastrugi, wind-carved snow.
The derelict wooden scow at the Taltheilei Narrows lodge.
The team on the last full day of the final trip, approaching Gibraltar Point on McLeod Bay.