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NGo11-3390untitled-ps-psRabbit Kettle Lake is one of several lakes designated for camping within the Nahanni Reserve. Having not accommodated to the long hours of light I am awake around 6:30 ready to enjoy its amazing beauty.

The plan is to walk the trail with the warden to the Tufa Mounds.

NGo10-3394untitledUsing the overturned canoe as a table we eat standing to avoid sitting in glacial flour…aka a very very fine dust that is carried by the wind and sticks to everything!

Walking stick in hand, I head towards the panabode log cabin that serves as the warden’s office. To ward off the hungry mosquitoes I am decked out in my bug shirt . It looks a little too clean!

NGo4-3455untitledThe rules in the park include training the people. Black bears and grizzlies are the predominant animals in this part of the park and if there are signs on the trail that the bears are in the immediate area then the people are required to turn back. Fresh scat, limbs freshly broken, decaying logs that display new wood, hair on the rubbing poles are all signs that bears are near by. NGo8-3395untitledAs we walk the trail, the warden chats on about the soap berry count and the other research projects, both private and public that are currently underway in the park.

New growth of jack pine, black spruce, aspen and bush willow fill in the landscape where fire has razed the forest.NGo7-3422untitled

The presence of the bears means that we cannot take the four hour hike to the mounds. Instead as we walk to the river we are regaled with stories of lost paddlers, upturned canoes and the tale of a jet boat load of wardens that ended up in the drink.NGo5-3449untitled

Back at our cliff-side campsite there is time for a swim before lunch with the bugs. I sing as I walk to the loo. I want to believe that that will deter any bears in the vicinity.

A twin otter circles the lake and lands supplies for a Black Feather trip. As the ceiling is high Mike says we are off to the Cirque of the Unclimables at Glacier Lake at 5:30.

We broke camp with record speed.

NGo3-3476untitledPaddlers and more gear tumble out of the twin otter on its return trip. Once loaded with our kit, it is a short eleven minute flight to Glacier Lake . NGo1-3583untitledWe come in low with an unbelievable and powerful image at the end of the lake as the mountains of the Cirque rise ten thousand feet above the water. It is amazing and very humbling to be here.

We are getting faster at setting up camp. We share the tenting area with a family group from Switzerland who have come to climb the Cirque.

NGo2-3485untitledAs we enjoy another great meal on the rocks at the water’s edge we see a group of five guys heading towards us. They are a group of friends from San Francisco who have travelled the South Nahanni on small rafts and have come into Glacier Lake to climb the Cirque. They have travelled together before and travel very light. Bonnie on the other hand has brought enough food for a small army and generously shares it! I have never seen such great smiles. Stories are being shared as Mike paddles into camp with a Canadian flag attached to an extra paddle. A chorus of national anthems ensues.

What a day!