Arctic Circle Trail Day 3 – The Lake

Pack weights (kg): Gavin: 17.07 (no water) – Steve: 17.35 – Anna: 14.97 (no shirt)

The alarm went off at 07:45, just as everyone was sitting up to start the day.

They're catching us!
They’re catching us!

The first pair from Katiffik, the Italians, set off just after 08:00 as we were emerging from the hut. No canoes had mysteriously arrived in the night so the walking route was chosen for us. As the route follows the lake all day, I decided to carry no water at all, and just drink from the lake as I went. Though wearing my softshell and hat, this left my pack at a sprightly 17.07kg!

Our pace was good, and we passed the Swiss couple at ~10:30, as well as another pair going in the opposite direction. We had a bar break at 11:00 by the shore after a small rise. The sky was a little grey with the wind coming and going, but the visibility was good and there was no rain.

Across the lake
Across the lake

We had lunch near the halfway mark of the day at 13:00 sat on a large boulder. I tried a bouldering problem on the back which had an easy start leading to a hard top-out that I had no chance of getting.  The ground is still very dry – patches which are surely normally bog are fine to stroll across. We visited the “object d’interest” marked on the map after lunch, but couldn’t find anything there.

Mega-cairn
Mega-cairn

We passed the big cairn that is pictured in the book, and it is still standing! It looks somewhat precarious, but seems sturdy enough. Anna and Steve didn’t seem to have much enthusiasm for my timed photo attempts, as I tried to get a correctly-exposed snap. Anna’s feet were hurting badly by this point, though Steve’s knee – now encased in a support – is holding up well.

Antler sculpture
Antler sculpture

At 16:00, we pass the final marked camp spot which is occupied by a pair in a red tent whom we’ve not seen before. Climbing to the hillock above we have a break and our first view of the canoe centre. We arrive by 17:00 and set about our tasks: Anna soaking her feet while I made hot chocolate and did the first round of clothes washing in a bucket. Will the sweaty smells be gone? Time will tell… We then took advantage of the bucket a second time to have a full stripwash before tea.

Along the lake
Along the lake

The hut is huge and well kept. We’ve set ourselves up in one of the two dorm rooms and had a round of food roulette. I got Potato and Salmon in Dill Sauce for tea, which has a whopping 72.7g fat!

We again passed the Italians just before our arrival at the hut. Their plan was to camp one or two km further on, and their chosen spot can be seen from the centre.

Cairn
Cairn

The guestbook is full of good stuff. One page mentions some people bouldering on a rock by the path: perhaps the same boulder I was playing on? Another highlight was an “Ode to the canoe centre” lamenting the lack of canoes. There are no canoes parked outside for us to finish the last few km of the lake with tomorrow. We did see a couple paddling the opposite way up the lake after lunch, so they definitely do exist! There’s also another in the adjoining workshop which is more hole than canoe.

Fungus
Fungus

There’s a box outside the hut marked “non-combustible waste”, so it looks someone must do a rubbish collection every now and again. This hut has a plastic bag-based toilet system, and I guess they have to come anyway to collect those. The sign on the box says they’d rather not have to carry out people’s rubbish and we’re packing all ours out rather than leaving it behind.

With three days gone, we decided to consume the first of our “emergency rations”. The wine gum packet said ten servings: it did not have ten walker-sized servings…  Dessert was managed by Steve and I, but an early night beckons after a tiring day.

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