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THE YAKOUN LAKE JOURNAL
-The Eighth Yakoun Lake Weekend Walk 1996


Howa to all who helped with the preparations and participated in the best ever Yakoun Lake Walk.

For memories!

Saturday, light cloud, some sun, perfect weather found a dozen people with gear and five canoes-kayaks on the beach at Ethelene Bay where Ethelene Creek runs into the lake and the Yakoun River begins. Also here six trails converge in a 50-metre radius.
One couple enjoyed the Ethelene Beach area so they stayed. Three boats set out with 5 aboard for the Straight Point-Wasco Point narrows. Others followed the ribboned and renewed meandering Haida lower trail to Wasco Point with a first view of the expansive open lake and wilderness basin. Walkers in groups spread out along the low water shoreline to Baddeck delta and beach. The canoes rounded the point, had a rest and then with a light breeze paddled on. The reeds and grasses of Baddeck flats and Eagle Island outlined the triangular rock cliff now to be seen on Cabin Beach peninsula.

Alright! Fine sand at our feet, we first five on the beach found quiet and peace in the midst of the pristine. Soon we heard a near distant shout, and the canoes began a weekend long series of shuttles across the 200 metre entrance to the 1/2 km long lagoon behind Cabin Beach. Perhaps no one actually walked all the way around the lagoon this weekend, though at times it seemed people were appearing out of the woodlands. Four women walked from Charlotte all the way to Baddeck except for a 4 km ride. A folding boat with 2 came from the southwest end of the lake, and 2 more canoes of people came from Ethelene Bay.

Old friends and new lounged on the beach and shared thoughts in the wilds. A few went in for a swim, then out to dry off in the sun on the spruce pollen and yellow sands. Eighteen stayed for pasta with spices and dahl with rices round about a stone fire hearth. Tea and brown sugar energized those bound for home.
A dozen campers stayed Saturday night with a drift branch campfire keeping the tea hot. Folks set up tents in case of evening mist as a starry sky peeked through the overhead canopy of cedar and pine while laughter and happy voices merged in the breeze.

For memorabilia
Sunday, August 11th. The English couple were up by 8:30 brewing tea and quick oats for first risers, then slow oats for later risers.
One person set off with a convoy of canoes for Ethelene Bay. A morning couple were up and exploring the Ethelene Creek gravel bar. The upper river area beckoned to them.

On the Ethelene Trail, a mother and daughters were taking their time, happy to be in among their favourite lake and forests. Out at the road a pickup truck and then another loaded with hitch-hikers pulled in. A half dozen came up on the bus from Queen Charlotte. With many walkers coming in to the lake, a full flotilla of canoes and kayaks plyed the open waters. The trail found hikers spread out so each group had their own piece of wilderness. Guides, canoeists, and the backpackers telegraph kept tabs on one and all.

Sunday afternoon found sunshine on the beach, swimmers out past the underwater sandstone plateau, some folks studied geology, some the rich ecology, and some the trout. All day, full canoes arrived and all day hikers hailed from the little point at Baddeck. People came with packsacks of spare clothes, pot luck foods, guitars, flutes, harmonicas, tents and drums. The sounds of music drifted through the trees as the fire crackled and warmed the tea.

Mid-Sunday afternoon a dozen naturalists explored the forest peninsula back to the lagoon head and along the shore to near the historical Camp Robinson trail.
They found a wide variety of species in this small region: bayberry, bearberry, salal, red huckleberry, highbush blueberry among deer mosses and beard lichens in the peninsula forest of sitka spruce, red cedar, yellow cypress, pacific yew, alder, lodgepole pine, and three distinct varieties of hemlock. Down on the flats, lilies and shore flowers such as white star, pink fawn lily, singlet, and violets mix with club and fern mosses, deer fern, and creeping blueberry. Kids and adults alike were fascinated by two varieties of insect eating plants. Green flowering indian helibore stood up from marshy sphagnum moss and wetland reeds, among the lodgepole pine, mountain hemlocks and muskeg cedars.

Certainly the highlight of this little exploration was the discovery of a rich blue 4 cm upright tulip bell of a flower on an upright green smooth stem with smooth green leaves.

Back at the fire site the organic rice was near to cooked, the smoked Skidegate coho was spread on sticks leaned over the open fire, trout was fried, salads appeared with crackers and juices and sweet rice with fresh huckleberries for a delicious dinner for 60-plus.

Returning
By 7:00 pm the last people came in, overlapping groups that were hiking and canoeing out. Two canoes headed back to the north end beach. The last trip in saw a kayaker towing 4 boats against a light wind so that most of the dozen who camped overnight could paddle out the next day.

Again music lilted through the air as fire crackled and chatter lulled. One by one, and by two's, folks drifted to tents and bunks.
Monday found very slow risers, but people were greeted by a fire, hot tea and warm food.

It was definitely Monday! Planes were flying overhead, Haida fisheries workers were checking salmon counts on the lake and kingfishers were diving for brunch.
While it seemed that we took our time, we kind of hurried as morning became afternoon and tents folded into packs. A check around for garbage and silver flutes (found one!) saw eight people ready to go. One person had gone early for the quiet of a solo kayak paddle back; two had camped the night at the far south-west end, and two decided that this was too great­p; they would stay behind for a couple more nights or until their food ran out.

The canoes and kayaks paddled back while two dogs decided not to ride across the lagoon but swam. So two canoes rafted for rests, while we watched the dogs cross the lagoon and move along the shore, then a final dog paddle to Ethelene Beach. We loaded up our gear and walked out the well-travelled Ethelene trail to the road home.
Final count: 100 plus to Cabin Beach, 130-150 total to Yakoun Lake over the two days.

Don Plumb

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