Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Squanga Lake

August 31 2008
When we arrive at the lake it is still covered in mist. How romantic. Here in the Yukon we are so spoiled, to have places like this almost all to ourselves. Today the only people sharing today are the ones that built a house (recently) 50 metres from the boat loading. That feels kind of awkward. But they have no objection to us putting our canoe in and parking our vehicles right in front of their house. We won't camp out here tonight though as we initially planned.too bad!

As the mist is clearing, we put our canoe in the water, and 'sail' off in the mirror like water. Loons are only company on the water. And later we see two swans. The lake is 9 km long, and we use a little outboard motor to get to the other end.
That's where the adventure really begins. Don and I have done this trip 2 years ago, and were successful in getting a Moose. The water soon is rippling, but it stays very calm and it turns very sunny.
This year the water is little higher, and slide over the beaver dam at the end of the lake with ease. We are now paddling in, I guess, a beaver pond, lots of ducks, marsh grass, beautiful. At the end of this pond, there is a canoe on the shore and somebody happily whistling, I hope we didn't disappoint him in disturbing his idyllic spot. We keep paddling while talking with him. Last time we got out here not knowing if we could continue, there is an old cabin and a trail to the next lake. Back then we found that the connecting creek is used by boats. This time we paddle right on trough, disappearing into the forest. We do have to get out of the boat and pull it, picking black currants on the way. The creek is maybe half a km. long, at the end a beaver dam, 1 metre high! we lift the canoe over and end up in a beautiful little lake. It is all part of a whole chain of lakes, and this one really part of the next one. We slide over another beaver dam and another? I lost count. We end up in a fairly big lake, 4 km long and 2 km wide, but with lots of islands and inlets. We canoe to investigate the south west corner. And an investigation it is.

Don likes to get out at the end where there seem to be prime Moose habitat, willows I guess. We see a good landing place, it almost looks like a man made trail. Right there at the shore is a caribou kill! After letting our presence known, we don't see animals, but their is sure lots of sign, and the smell of it all putrid. Only the antlers are left attached to a skull and part of the spine. It is sure kind of an awesome sight. We won't hang around. The only thing we see ,are two swans who leave an inland pond, as we are there.

We go to the north side of this arm of the lake, and climb on the high bank. Don has so much more feeling for the landscape, and recognizes we are just on the other side of the bank where we got the Moose in the next lake. And sure enough. When we get to the top, it is just a strip of land and we get glimpses through the forest of that lake.
The day is just gorgeous, we lay in the grass in the sun. Actually close to fresh bear scat, bright red with berries. Down below in the water some beavers are swimming. These guys have it made, their house is at the end of a spit of land,and they have no dams to maintain.

We paddle around and try our luck fishing, no fish for us, later we do see a little guy in a shallow part of this all. On the North arm we know their is an opening to the next lake, again due to the high water it is easy to get to. This is the lake we got the Moose. Which I look back on with ambivalence, but great excitement ( I am no hunter, but prefer to eat of the wild). So last time this is how far we got. Today we have time to explore this lake. As we get out on the south western arm, we climb up the high bank. The glaciers must have dropped here all those ridges, which now make islands, peninsulas and 'dikes' between lakes. From the top of this ridge we have a beautiful view into the next even more erratic lake. As I go exploring on the ridge, I find a lovely old little cabin and the trail that is been used to get from one lake to the other. It does go over a fairly high ridge, and it would mean ferrying our canoe overland. we leave that for another year.
We paddle to the North end and get out again. Their has been a forest fire here many years ago, and it makes for a beautiful open landscape. Don and I are so happy to have such a fantastic day, but from here we will turn back. We motor most of the way, still having a marvelous time. Close to the exposed beaver dam we paddle and I would have to like to shoot over it, but Don is the wiser one and we go over it carefully. Back to this lovely little creek.

On big Squanga, there is another party in a boat enjoying this gorgeous day. Lucky them.

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