Arctic Circle Trail Day 4 – Canoe Centre to the Beach

Pack weights (kg): Gavin: 17.4 – Steve: 16.85 – Anna: 13.75

We beat the alarm this morning! “We” being Steve and I, obviously. The washed clothes were not dry (apart from t-shirts), so it was fresh pants and socks today!

We set off just after 09:00, and within 10 paces I realised we hadn’t found the geocache tokens. While Anna and Steve started the day, I ran back to hunt for the washers. I found one – a letter – but not a second :-(.  As we didn’t find any in the Katiffik hut either, we may not be able to do the cache.

The early path was indistinct in places, but the air was pungent with the aroma of labrador tea, a local herb that looks a lot like rosemary and can be brewed into a hot drink. We spotted a canoe by the bank and went to have a look, but there were some very big holes in it. Anna wondered how many would be on the frame at the end of the lake. She guessed 3, I guessed 2 and Steve went for 0. In fact, there were 2 on the frame, one of which looked vaguely watertight. There was, however, a third left on the bank so Steve and I carried it up and placed it on the frame.

It was 10:30 and we’d done 3km, so we had a bar and discussed the day’s target. The most popular option seemed to be to head for a beach described in the book as “Mediterranean” and camp there.

We continued on, through another “boggy” section that was dry, and the terrain opened up into a broad sloping glacial valley. Passing the Italians, we got a view down to the lake that was our target. Before the final descent to the first marked tent site, we had lunch at 12:00. Rain which had been threatening for a while got slightly more menacing, but still there was debate over the need for waterproofs. Tops went on but not trousers, which proved half-right as again the rain remained as intermittent drops.

We arrived at the beach at around 13:15/13:30. Anna went straight into the lake for a foot soaking, watching a couple of tiny fish swim around them. After the tent was up and a mugshot eaten, various endeavours were undertaken:

  • A washing line was strung up using walking poles to allow final drying of washing and airing of socks
  • A dry stone wall tall enough to shelter a small rodent was erected by me
  • Steve set about crafting a fishing hook/weight/float/line using some line found in a hut

At ~17:00, the rain got a little more rain-like and we moved inside. Macaroni Cheese was my draw in tonight’s lottery, while Steve pulled Potato and Salmon in Dill Sauce. Anna continues not to play.

The Italians went past shortly after we stopped, aiming to get “as far as we can” today. For us, tomorrow’s target is either the suggested end point for today’s walk or the one after. It’s 9km to the first or 20km to the second.

At 17:45 Anna heard voices, and we discovered new arrivals at the beach. The pair in the red tent who were camped on the peninsula before the canoe centre had arrived and set up a short distance away. At one point we spotted a boat on the lake, presumably fishing. It didn’t come close to us, so no more could be discerned.

By around 19:00 the rain was easing and we were hungry so Steve went out to make tea. Wind still made cooking interesting, but the dry-stone shelter helped. After two victories for me at RFTG, we went for a late-night (21:30) stroll along the beach. There were (very small) patches of blue sky, excellent stones for skimming (shale?) and laughing birds (loons?).

The first 1/2 litre of our whisky supply is no more :-C – we should have brought two bottles after all!


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