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Journey Across the Barrenlands June 21-August 15, 1985
Saskatchewan-NWT Border to Chantrey Inlet  1000 miles
Dubawnt River, Thelon River, Morse River, Back River
Michael, Sean and Geoffrey Peake, Peter Scott, Peter Brewster and Bill King
Twin Otter dropoff

The trip begins on Selwyn Lake on the Sask-NWT border.


Navigating low water at the start of the trip.

Standing Grizzly

The Barrenground grizzley stood up to get a sniff of us.

Dubawnt dusk

Camp near midnight on the hot Dubawnt River.

Sid slush

Slogging on Side Lake which took us four days to clear to 10 miles because of ice.

JATB.Sid shoreline
Sid rack

Peter Scott finds a nice caribou rack on the icy shores of Sid Lake.

Canoe rainbow

Incoming showers make a lovely low rainbow on Sid Lake.

Locked in

Sean and Geoff Peake survey the icy campsite on Sid Lake.

Sid line

Working our way down the shore of Sid Lake.

Sandy portage

Portaging through to the Thelon River.

Upper Thelon Canyon

The start of Thelon Canyon.

Thelon Canyon

Getting a look before we start down the left side.

Thelon Canyon line

Beautiful sandstone ledges helped at the start.

Caribou hair

Hair from shedding caribou lined the banks of the Thelon River as it dropped.

Caribou crossing

Caribou crossing in the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary.

Hornby Cabin

The cabin on the Thelon where the bodies of John Hornby and his two young campanions were found in 1927.

Thelon fishing

Peter Brewster hauls a big lake trout in while drifting down the Thelon River.

Open portage

The hard work of crossing over the the Morse River on wet, boggy tundra.

Muskox group

A nice reward on a tough day when this group of muskoxen came into view.


Sometimes you just have to haul the boats up on the days before the Morse River.

Morse cairn

July 31, 1985, the day we built a cairn and dedicated the naming of the river to Eric Morse.

Cairn flags

The Morse cairn with our trip flag, the HACC burgee and the NWT flag.

Garry exit

Garry Lake, 60 miles long, empties into the Back River.

Esker paddle

Heading towards a giant esker cut in half by the Back River.

Esker view

Sean Peake and Peter Scott atop the Back River esker at Buliard Lake.

Rock watch

Rock Rapids on the lower Back River.

Big blue

A calm, sunny day along the lower Back River past the Baillie River.

Last rapid on Back

The final big drop of the Back River at a historic fishing hole.


A rare thunderstorm on the lower Back on the last day of travel, August 14 1985.

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