Previous Post: Canoeing The Bloodvein Day 15 – Namay Falls to “Lagoon Run”
DAY 16 BASICS:
- distance: about 17 kilometers
- weather: sunny and clear
- rapids/portages: W87 port 65 m; W88 ran
- campsite: point less than 1 km below W88
Our last full day on the river was only a half-day of paddling, given that we were setting up camp shortly after noon on a point below Kasoos… Rapids (W88), about five kilometers outside the Atikaki Park boundary.
We had one portage to deal with – the 65-meter carry at Meekisiwi Rapids, illustrated by my GPS track to the left. The next day we would fly by the rapids on our way back to Red Lake; the shot below shows what the rapids look like from 600 meters up.
The last two reported pictograph sites on the river were coming up, and we scanned rock faces in anticipation. No pictographs – but very lovely reflections!
The first pictograph site came up just downriver from the new Bridge spanning the Bloodvein for the all-weather road, which will soon be open and connect Bloodvein First Nations with Highway 304 about ten kilometers east of Manigotagan.
Unfortunately, easier access to the river via the road has already resulted in some graffiti spoiling what is a primarily pristine wilderness river and shoreline. Paddling downriver from the Bridge, in the next 1.5 kilometers you will see this on river right –
Along with the recent defacing of the rock face, we did find a small panel with three pictographs. A human figure with outstretched arms and one holding what may be a medicine bag, what looks like a tripod but with five legs and a rectangle. A line underneath them all seems to serve as a foundation.
And then it was back to more recent scratchings of lichen-covered rock face. What were Marty and Marcy thinking? I am surprised that nothing has been done to eliminate the worst of the graffiti. It does not make a positive advertisement for those trying to create a U.N. World Heritage site in the area.
We were ready to see the last rock painting sites as we approached Kasoos Rapids (W88). Above the rapids on river right is apparently a half-life-size pictograph of a moose, the subject of a report by Steinbring and Elias published in 1968. It would be hard to miss!
I don’t know how we managed it, but we didn’t even see a rock face, let alone the painting! As for the rapids, the term “swifts” would fit better the water we found.
Below the rapids, the river widens into a mini-lake. It seems to be a popular spot for fishermen as we spotted a few boats over the next few hours motoring up to the foot of the rapids. We headed to a point on river left and found a great tent site.
While we could have paddled to Bloodvein First Nations and waited there for the next day’s pick-up by Viking Outposts Air, this quiet and hassle-free spot seemed a better option. The last seven kilometers to the village could wait for the next morning.