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Daily Trip Log

By Peter Brewster

On a cold mountain

Thursday, July 26, 2001

PETER
BREWSTER

 STILL OVERLOOKING THE PALMER RIVER: The time is 8.30 p.m.

 It has just stopped raining, but the wind is, as it has been for 24 hours, still a steady 25 km/h.

 The downpour started just after 2 a.m., and the wind chill has been below 0C all day. At times, I'd give it - 8C.

 The mountains surrounding our lofty, lonely perch were covered in fresh snow when we awoke.

 Are there are questions about why we have not moved today?

 Good, then I'll continue.

 It's been a bitterly cold, wet day in camp, with all six members of the HACC huddled in the tents, or in sleeping bags in the tents, staying warm, trying to stay dry, remaining upbeat.

 We all heard the rain begin, and knew that given the conditions when we went to bed this was the last thing we needed.

 The plan for today had been get down off this hilltop, back onto the river, and make some yards on the five miles still to go over the height of land to the Korok River.

 Five miles of portaging along half-decent terrain is not a big obstacle for this gang, even with all the techno-clutter we are hauling. But the land here is full of deep ravines, knee-grabbing willows and steep climbs. In short, few if any straight routes.

 On the other hand, once down to the little lake just ahead it looks as though we can get back into the boats for a few hundred yards. Then do some more tracking/hauling.

 And the maps show somewhat easier going for the final push -- more open, rolling country, and much of the climb in one spot.

 Time lost has become the big enemy, as it has been since we left Toronto. At the moment it looks like two days to the Korok, three days descending 80 miles of river, which given its rate of drop should be a swift one, and two days to go 30 miles round the Ungava coast into George River village (tides and weather co-operating).

 The sky has brightened slightly as the rain quit. The rolling mists no longer come down to our level.

 We can see the snow on the peaks much more clearly.

 Stay tuned.




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