An Ancient Route – August 24, 2012.
Big Trout Lake is truly enormous. It is 661 square km of of water that is clean enough to drink straight from the lake. Paddling even a small part of it makes for a long day and sore arms. We were rewarded with a stunning sunset over the silhouette of stoic black spruce trees as we approached our first camp site.
We fell asleep to the sound of ceremonial drumming in the neighbouring community of Wapekeka near the mouth of the Fawn River.
A set of human bones found in a glacial gravel deposit at Wapekeka was carbon dated to over 7,000 years. Similar remains found within the KI village were dated to 5,000 years (warning this file is big so expect it to take a long time to load) – evidence that Indigenous people occupied these exact village sites over 350 generations ago.
The arm bones of the ancient ancestor's found at KI have deep groves that archeaologists say are a sign of extremely strong arms put to use extensively. Arms made strong by paddling the same routes we are traveling.
Loon Rapids – August 25th
The water has begun flowing faster and we ran our first sets of rapids today. We set camp at the spectacular Loon Rapids – a place name that appears on no English map, but one of many dozens of ancient Oji-Cree place names along our route.
KI elders know names in their tongue for every bend and every rapid in the river. This is no figure of speech, they can point on a map and rhyme off place names until the river runs off the edge.
We will sleep well tonight with the sound of Loon rapids in our ears and a a belly full of delicious walleye, fried only minutes after it was caught. We haven't brought any main courses with us for dinner. We will eat off land.