July 9 – Smith Inlet!

They were up at 6 a.m. again to count fish, and I was up at 8:30. It was clear all night and sunny in the morning. I spent a few hours organizing my stuff. They started throwing rock bags into the holes in the fish fence which is not a trivial matter. They had to get the boat down the river, then tie it to a line across the river upstream. They would then inch it down to within a few feet of the fence and then pass the bags to John, who was on the walkway right above the fence and tethered off. He would then try to direct the bag in to the right spot, on the end of a rope, and when it was in they’d pull the rope through and repeat.

I decided not to do the portage from Triangle Lake to Smith Inlet. My knee was still pretty sore from the last portage and John didn’t recommend the bushwhack up to the road. I don’t think he realized how well I can bushwhack, but I have to say, I wasn’t really looking forward to it either. Plus I didn’t have a map of the area, although I could easily get it on Google Earth no problem. And I didn’t have any first hand accounts of the road so it could have been all brush covered at some points. Anyways, I just didn’t feel like it.

I made a few trips to carry my stuff to the dock. I was getting pretty warm hiking in the sun. Four round trips at 1 km each is 8 km. Pretty good morning workout! I had a bath in the lagoon.

Etienne saw a dying sockeye right beside the dock in about four feet of water. We ran for the net and scooped it out. Then they made it for dinner but I left without having any.

I filtered some drinking water from the lagoon since it tasted fresh. Apparently the surface 4 feet are fresh and it is salty underneath. It has a tidal range of only 20 to 40 cm at maximum. I discovered a little later when I drank the water that it wasn’t totally fresh, but still drinkable.

I departed the dock in beautiful weather, heading for the narrows for the 8 p.m. high tide, and I would hopefully be able to pass through earlier than that.

Looking back towards Long Lake

Wider view towards Long Lake

Heading towards Wyclese Narrows

Wyclese Narrows is in there somewhere. That little mountain is on the other side of Smith Inlet.

A heli cutblock above Wyclese Narrows. I wondered if that’s where the worker got attacked.

Looking east up the valleys as I approached the narrows. Second growth on the lower slope from old logging, and old growth higher up.

There it is — the narrows. It was going pretty good and I could hear the raging water so I decided to wait it out.

Thankfully, someone had already thought about that and tied up a log boom dock for me, but first I had to scare an eagle off. I waited about 15 minutes for the white water to die down, at around 6 p.m.

The unique salinity variations of the narrows stimulates some interesting algae growth.

Beautiful pond scum

Different pond scum!

I then went for a ride through the narrows. The actual narrows aren’t very long, maybe 100 meters. I used my GPS and it said I was going 8 km/hr, without paddling.

When I got through the narrow part of the narrows the ecology changed noticeably since we were now in mostly brackish water. There was mussels and barnacles and Fucus seaweed. There was also lots of seals and jumping salmon, and eagles too, which I hadn’t seen anywhere on the lake or lagoon. All the sockeye have to funnel through here.

As I had passed through the main narrows I went by this sedge beach. Looks like bear habitat.

What’s that I see through the trees?

Why, it’s Smith Inlet! I finally made it!

Looking up Smith Inlet. There was no one around except of course the poachers busy at work.

I turned west because there is a little island about a kilometer out that might present some camping opportunities. But it turned out to not be very good so I instead decided to just head east up the inlet until I found a suitable campsite.

I soon came upon some rocks which provided a sheltered pullout from the wind-generated waves coming up the inlet.

I set up camp and made some dinner, mulligan stew, whatever that is, with all the spices.

The tide came pretty close to my tent that night.

The birds like using this rock for shellfish-bashing.

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