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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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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