Here's Paul standing on one of dozens of these bizarre
things. They were typically about
15 feet across.
Once we got out of the Canyon we started to make big
miles. We often shortened our
and went on hikes far from the river. The environment on the plains was
quite different than in the
The Horton was really good fishing from Horton Lake to
the dreaded cut-bank. Once we
hit the cut-bank, there were no more fish in the river. We were able to get some fish
the cut-bank by walking up some of the tributaries and fishing them before they too turned
We had a ways to go to
the cut-bank from here.
The fishing on the upper river was very good. We caught
grayling and lake trout whenever
we wanted to eat fish. This is one of our rare fish fries. Usually we just chopped
and threw them in
whatever we were making in the pot. Boiled fish was our usual meal.
fry was a treat.
I found it hard not to keep taking these long view
pictures of the valley. The valley was
compelling. Here is another long view of the big valley. Keep in mind that
the valley, we went bank to bank. We were on a big meandering river now.
Here is another gravel bar that goes forever. In the
early spring, this valley was roaring
winter's runoff, filling the river bed bank to bank.
Our camp on the far side of the gravel bar gives you a
little bit of an idea of the scale of
And yet another view of another endless gravel bar.
We found tracks and scat almost every place we got off
the river. Some stretches of the
river were lined with willows that grew nearly into the water and up the bank for
forty yards. It was
very uncomfortable stumbling through the willows knowing that the
in there too.
Once we got downstream of the Canyon, we started to see
caribou. There were no herds,
were many groups of three to ten animals. They paid very little attention to
us and would often walk
right through our camps.
As we got nearer the Bay, the river wound through a
large badlands. This is the beginning
of it. As
we got deeper into it, the bare gravel hills ran right into the water and
permafrost on top
melted, peppered the river with rocks, gravel and melted debris.
We went through miles of a beautiful badland. Not a thing grew and
nothing stirred but
the gravel as it melted out of the permafrost and tumbled hissing into the
river. On a day
we could hear the gravel coming down in the middle of the river.
We had been smelling smoke for a couple of days and finally paddled into the Smoking
of anthracite at the surface were spontaneously igniting and burning, producing billowing smoke
could be seen from
miles away. The plume of smoke above the ridge
line was the first smoke we
Another endless gravel bar disappearing into the smoke from the burning
coal. When the
English came to this area looking for Sir John Franklin, they mistook the smoke from
burning coal for signal fires from the lost seamen, and thus our river ends in Franklin
This is what the burning anthracite looked like. This deposit is nearly
burned out but still smoldering.The river banks were lines with these deposits and there were a number of
days that we paddled hrough
a fog of sulfurous smoke which obscured the hills and shoreline.
We never saw the big herd, we saw many small groups of three to ten animals.
often walked right through camp, acting as if we didn't exist. They are very
curious and would sometimes give us a really good looking over before moving
Another beautiful place to camp. These gravel bars spoiled us forever; dry,
clean and bug
free. In all of our other trips we never found so many pleasant places to stop.
Another caribou that has got over his shyness. They almost ignored us
there were many times that they just walked through camp.
This is a look back at the badlands and the portion of the river we has come
Another physical geology lab. Erosion patterns and delta building don't get
Just another caribou completely ignoring us.
And finally the dreaded cutbank. the river went from crystal clear to coffee
color right there.
In a matter of fifty feet, the river went brown and the fish were gone.
Another shot of the cutbank. Look at what the water looks like here, clear
to mud in nothing flat.
And one last look at what made us eat dirt for the rest of the trip. We got
used to it pretty
quicklyand it didn't taste bad either. It was probably good for us, lots of
minerals, and grass
and sticks and whatever else was imbedded in the old river bottom.
This is me, the main cook. I look a little glum but I wasn't. I had all my
kitchen gear laid
out and the stove
going. That would be dinner next to my right leg. That's the pot on the
stove that will feed us.
The caribou herd crossed the river en masse sometime in the last several
weeks. The white material
in the gravel is caribou hair and it came from a large number of animals
the river. As we neared
the coast we saw more and more caribou.
This was one of our last camps on the river. We are still in the smoke and
tried to find
weren't too dense and smoked up.
We came upon a cache of broken and smashed canoes about ten miles from the
We did way
better than they did. Our canoe still worked.
If you look over the edge of the plateau, you can see where we got our first
view of salt
water.That blue line is Franklin Bay. We were pretty excited about that. We had
couple of milesfrom the river to get to the Bay.
There it is! Franklin Bay, Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean. Yahoo! Look at the
old pack ice.
From the top of the headland looking north, we could see the giant delta
that the Horton had built
in the Bay.
I climbed down the steep, loose slope to the shore and tasted salt water!
This was the shoreline looking north.
This was the shoreline looking south. There was a large deposit burning
I walked down to it to get a better look. It was very
Another night on the gravel bar. We often used the canoe to guy our tent and
help make it "bombproof"
against the wind. You can't have to many solid guylines when it gets windy
on the river. We didn't
have any protection to speak of and when the wind came up, it roared.
This is our first view of the river breaking through the headland, a pretty
sight after our
Our airplane driver is to meet us somewhere down there.
Shortly after the previous picture was taken, we were hit with a giant
last for hours it scoured the plateau and dumped tons of debris into the river, turning the
nice coffee colored river that we had gotten used to into this sickening, dirty looking, stick
grass infested cesspool. We got used
to drinking this too. It took about ten minutes.
This was our last camp on the Horton. We weren't sure what the tide did or
if we would be swamped
out here on the gravel bar, so we tied everything together and tethered the
canoe to us in the tent so that
it wouldn't float away in the night. We did have a little tide but we didn't
This was as dark as it got at our last camp.
Late the next afternoon, our ride showed up and landed. We were happy
to see him. He told us
he was not surprised to see us either. Confidence was running high.
Here's Paul and I waiting to fire her up and leave the Horton.
We are back in Inuvik and looking for a nice musk ox burger.
That's Paul posing on the main street in Inuvik. It was really a nice little
town next to the
Our last look at the town as we headed for the airport and home.
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