Author Topic: My trip to the NWT  (Read 1531 times)

Offline Akhardwater

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My trip to the NWT
« on: Apr 07, 2022, 05:50 PM »


I left my house at 3am Monday February 28th and began driving for the next 3 days.  I met up with Ted (Yukoner) in Glennallen and followed him to Tok where we had breakfast together then proceeded to drive for the border.  The border crossing was thankfully uneventful and we proceeded towards Whitehorse.  We stopped at a subway and got some food and I said farewell to Ted and continued down the road.  I pulled over around 10pm in Teslin and got a short nap in before I started driving again at 2am.  As daylight came I started running into wood Bison along the highway.
. Iím very glad I didnít go through this area at night.  The border crossing in BC and the NWT was closed at this time so I had to take the long route down and around through Alberta which added about 600 miles of extra driving to my trip.  Once I got past Fort Nelson the snow started picking up and the semi traffic was pretty terrifying to say the least.  I was almost hit head on by a truck trying to pass a semi in the whiteout caused by the semi.  I started heading for the ditch when at the last second the truck veered back into his lane and I was able to stay on the road.  After this incident my adrenaline made it so I was on edge the rest of the day and evening and I finally pulled over for a nap around 1am.  I started driving the next day at around 5am and I was within 12 hours of Yellowknife so I pushed hard all day.  I finally made it to Daves house (Drifter) around 5pm and needless to say I was a little tired.  The drive took me around 60 hours and I logged right around 2400 miles in 3 days.  The next day I got all my fuel I would need for the trip to the he east arm and got a little rest.  The next day me and Dave made the 200 mile round trip via snow machine to the east arm to drop off all my fuel and ice shack.  Needless to say we were both pretty sore the next day and should have spent a couple days resting but I was a stubborn man on a mission and on Sunday I made the trip solo to the east arm.






With all my gear it took me about 5.5 hours to make the 100 mile trip to my selected camping spot and some of the pressure ridges we crossed two days earlier had gotten bigger so I had to search around a little for a place to cross.  I finally made it to my spot and got camp set up and was fast asleep by 7pm.  At about midnight the wind picked up and started blowing real hard.  If I had to guess the wind was probably steady 25-30mph with gusts approaching 50mph.  Donít ask what the windchill was because the evening temps were always -20 and colder and the daytime highs never got above 0.  Lucky for me I landed on a good spot and started catching fish.  Over the course of the week I donít think I caught a laker smaller than 30Ē with the biggest being right around 24 pounds.














As the week progressed the wind never really let up, it didnít blow as hard as it did the first night but I would say I had a sustained wind of about 10 mph the whole week.  I had two nights were it got down to -30 with daytime highs in the negative teens.   Needless to say I was confined to the shack pretty much all week and because of the wind my shack was not evaporating the condensation from my heaters causing serious ice build up in the shacks insulation.  Dave sent me the weather forecast for the next week and I was looking at a big wind on Sunday and subzero temps all the way through fri with constant wind the whole time.  I had planned to stay for 12 days before I came back for a resupply but because I was having to constantly run my heaters I was going to have to resupply on day 8.  This would require me to resupply twice for a 4 week trip.  I was starting to build a lot of weight in the shacks walls and the ceiling and walls were starting to sag.  With the forecast not improving and the risk of structural failure of the shack I decided not to take any chances and get out of there on Saturday morning.  I packed up my camp and made the long 100 mile ride back to town.  The next day the wind blew very hard and I was grateful I made the right decision.  I waited three days for my body to recover and made the long 200 mile round trip to retrieve my fuel.  The wind from Sunday drifted up the lake something fierce and I pounded through 3 to 4 foot drifts for almost 12 hours to retrieve my supplies.  I decided I wouldnít return to the east arm and I would search around closer to town for a new place to camp.  On Fri I went out 20 miles and drilled my first hole with a 12Ē extension and when I didnít hit water I got a little concerned.  I changed over to an 18Ē extension and punched through right as the handles on the auger hit the ice.  Unfortunately I tweaked my back in this process and decided that drilling through 60Ē of ice was not worth the risk of severely throwing out my back and then having to try and drive the 2,000 miles to get home.  So me and Dave talked that night and we decided to go and spend 4 days at his cabin and try and find a place for me to camp on his lake.  Dave has done a wonderful job building his cabin and the pics on his cabin build thread just donít do it justice. 






We fished around for a few days and I selected a rocky point off an island to set up camp.  We went back to town on Tuesday and by then my ice shack had dried out at daveís buddies shop so I loaded up and went back out on Wednesday and set up my camp.  Fishing wasnít to bad I caught Dave a pile of burbot and I caught a few lakers and pike.







I spent a week on Daves lake with temps that ranged from -40 to 10 above zero with very little if any wind so I was very comfortable the whole time.  This is when I discovered that the insulated hub will evaporate the condensation from your heaters when the sun warms the fabric regardless of the temp.  The reason this didnít work in the east arm was because the windchill kept the fabric cold and didnít allow it to get warm enough to evaporate the condensation.  I ended up going back to town the following Wednesday and got ready for the drive home.  I did some touristy stuff like checking out the house boats and the ice castle.













On April 1st the BC and NWT border was going to open back up so that was going to shave 600 miles off my return trip so I decided to leave for home fri morning.  I said by and thank you to Dave for his hospitality and left his place at 5:30am.  The road to the border was desolate and covered in fresh snow so I ended up driving down the middle of the road for over 400 miles, in that time I maybe saw 15 other vehicles the whole time.  I started feeling a slight vibration when I passed the junction to fort Leard and didnít think much of it.  By the time I crossed the border the vibration was a little more prevalent and I figured I had a bearing going out so I slowed down a little but kept going.  The vibration started getting worse and worse so I sent Dave an  Inreach message to see if he could find me a mechanic in fort Nelson that could fix my truck on a Fri night.  He put me in contact with a mechanic just as I started getting cell service and I explained to him what I thought the problem was.  I started going down a hill towards the fort Nelson river and lost service so I made it into a pullout to check my tire.  Thatís when I noticed my rear tire was actually the problem.
Thats right all 6 of my lug nuts had come loose and were about to shear off the studs causing my tire to go flying off causing unknown devastation.  I realized I needed to get ahold of the mechanic so he could start getting parts so I limped up the opposite hill and made it to another pullout where I had cell service.  I explained to him my situation and he actually followed the tow truck so he could recover my trailer.

I was extremely grateful for his help and he was able to get me back on the road in just a few hours.  This is how close I came with those lugs.

I made it well into the mountains that night and ended up sleeping for about 6 hours.  When I woke up I had 6 inches of snow on the truck so I new the morning drive was going to be fun seeing how I was the first one to drive the road.  What was weird was within 5 miles the snow turned to just a dusting on the road so the stress level went way down.  I had a lynx cross the road in front of me just before Muncho lake so that was cool and once I got past the lake the Bison started showing up all over the road and I actually had to push my way through a herd of about 30.  Once I got through all the Bison the sun came out and the road started drying out and made for a very pleasant drive to Whitehorse.  I was able to meet up with Ted at his buddies place for and Elk chili dinner which was delicious.  I was able to give Ted a bunch of my left over bait so hopefully he has good success with his burbot fishing.  I waved bye to Ted and started heading for the Canadian border.  I saw 3 coyotes and a group of Dall sheep around Kluane lake which is a lake I plan to fish next year for my spring trip.  I made it to Beaver creek right around 10pm and pulled over for some sleep.  The next morning I crossed the border and made the 8 hour drive to get home and pulled into my driveway at around 2pm grateful to be home safely.  All in all I had an amazing time and was extremely grateful to Dave and his hospitality, if it wasnít for him I would have had to come home early.  We are already planning my return trip for 2024 and this time Iím going to go at the end of March so I can hopefully avoid the wind and stay on the ice for the whole 4 weeks like I initially planned.



I was born an Alaskan I just didn't live here at the time.

Offline ran7ger

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #1 on: Apr 07, 2022, 06:17 PM »
 been waiting for this post, thanks man!  very jealous, despite the misfortune.  beautiful country up there!

Offline Whopper Stopper

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #2 on: Apr 07, 2022, 07:07 PM »
Wow! What a trip what an adventure.

Thanks for sharing it was awesome to say the least :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

                WS

Offline Fisherman 1

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #3 on: Apr 07, 2022, 07:32 PM »
Nice story, I suffered the same, left rear all the nuts came loose, 2 sheared off.  I carry a torque wrench in the truck ALL the time and check regularly.

Offline grababrewski

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #4 on: Apr 07, 2022, 07:50 PM »
Wow, what an adventure!!! You know your living, when one mistake could kill you!
Thanks for sharing! :bow: :clap: :blink:

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #5 on: Apr 07, 2022, 07:54 PM »
Even with the issues it was still a great adventure and there were some fish caught, stories told and much gorp stuffed in our pie holes!!!   :roflmao:
Looking forward to 2024 hopefully I get my butt in gear and get things put together in time to have a kick donkey adventure.  ;D

Offline mr.clean

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #6 on: Apr 08, 2022, 08:07 AM »
 Akhardwater(Jason) ,thank you for the post rip report and all the photos you had quite an adventure. Happy to see you found a spot where the lake trout were actively feeding on the East arm of Great Slave Lake. Glad you had enough auger extensions to get through all of that ice and you did not injured your back to badly when drilling the holes. Also good to read you did not loose the tire and have a serious accident. Good that you were able to spend some time with your friend Ted(Yukoner) and Dave(Drifter_016 ).

Steve

Offline MumbleSEED

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #7 on: Apr 08, 2022, 08:12 AM »
I want to be like you guys when I grow up!  Great pictures and adventure congrats on making it back safe!  Really enjoy hearing guys working together for common goals and helping each other in need!  Kudos to all on this trip!  Really enjoyed this post!
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Offline Rebelss

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #8 on: Apr 08, 2022, 08:20 AM »
Wow, terrific posts and pics. I have a ton of respect for you and your adventures....really quite incredible.  :bow:
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Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #9 on: Apr 08, 2022, 11:36 AM »
That is about as extreme of an ice fishing adventure as I has ever heard. Congrats and being a true die hard!
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Offline Old Goat

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #10 on: Apr 08, 2022, 12:10 PM »


    incredible trip excellent pic and help from all who helped and monster fish. I did get worried when Yukoner asked if anyone had heard from you. What a trip indeed. Thanks

Offline Akhardwater

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #11 on: Apr 08, 2022, 02:00 PM »
Thanks you guys it was defiantly an adventure Iím looking foreword to repeating.  Anytime Iím out doing solo stuff I take zero chances for one little mistake can very easily be life threatening up here in this country.  The shack freezing up was defiantly a disappointment but I did learn from it and I feel I made the right call before something really bad happened.  I will adjust my setup and try it out next year in the Yukon for a couple weeks and then back to Great Slave in 2024 for redemption and hopefully a laker over 50lbs.  Hereís a couple more pics.

And heres Daves freezers packed full of burbot.



Hey Dave Iíll be sure to leave the dill pickle pretzels out of the mix next time and add another bag of strawberries and defiantly bring more smoked halibut.
I was born an Alaskan I just didn't live here at the time.

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #12 on: Apr 08, 2022, 07:45 PM »
Good plan Jason.  ;D
I'll see you in the fall.   ;)

Offline bullpine

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #13 on: Apr 09, 2022, 11:09 AM »
Like Nigel Farlan said in "Going Fishing", the best book ever written about fishing: "This is just the story of some rods, and the places they take you to."    You did all of that and more! Good job following your passion. 

Offline Yukoner

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #14 on: Apr 09, 2022, 09:14 PM »
It was Great visiting with you both ways, Jason!   Thanks for the pictures, the story, and the bait!  😄

See you this summer,
Ted

Offline masoneddie

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #15 on: Apr 10, 2022, 05:42 AM »
 Jason, hard to add much more than has already been said, what an incredible adventure!  :bow: :clap: :thumbsup:  Thank you so much for sharing that here with us allÖamazing story!!!

Offline hunts2long

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #16 on: Apr 10, 2022, 05:56 AM »
What a trip. I only "thought" I braved the wilds when I backpacked into the Adirondacks deer hunting, the temps got down to mid 20's some nights....lol. Thank you for sharing....h2l
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Offline SLAYERFISH

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #17 on: Apr 10, 2022, 10:40 AM »
That's freekin nuts! ;D
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Offline OldSailor

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #18 on: Apr 10, 2022, 11:14 AM »
An absolutely bonkers fishing adventure!! Well done and over the top!!! How cold, or warm did the shelter get???  Did you crank it up higher when you slept??? Damn, I'm still shivering!!!! ;)
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Offline ICE WANDERER

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #19 on: Apr 10, 2022, 11:26 AM »


                Jason........Dave shared some of your adventurous trip but you brought us with you on your post. That had to be an awesome trip.
           Kudos to you for doing it. I'm jealous.

           IW

Offline Akhardwater

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #20 on: Apr 10, 2022, 01:22 PM »
Old Sailor-  I donít like to be cold either so I keep my shack between 55-65 degrees when the sun isnít shining.  When the sun is shining and the wind isnít blowing I usually turn the heaters off or just leave one on low and itís all I can do to keep it below 70 degrees.  Even when it got down to -40 I never turned my heaters on high and still kept the shack at 58 degrees while I slept.  I was running a buddy heater and a big buddy heater and the reason I did this in tandem is because I didnít want to have to run the big buddy on high because it would drain a 20lb tank in 28 hours.  Running two heaters I was able to keep the shack equally heated throughout and it actually helped me save on propane consumption.  I brought 4-40lb tanks and 2-20lb tanks and by my calculations should have lasted me 12 days if I could turn my heaters off for at least 4 hours a day.  Once I moved to Daves lake and got out of the wind I found I actually had to much propane and had to run my heaters a lot more so I could lighten my load for the drive home.  It got pretty warm in there and I had windows and doors open to try and tolerate the heat.  Over the years Iíve found that the key to staying in a popup for multiple days is the plywood floor.  The floor keeps it warmer and I use less propane and it just makes life way more comfortable.  Nothing beats waking up in the middle of the night to catch a fish and being able to put your bare feet down on the floor not into a puddle or ice.
Ted- It was a pleasure meeting you and I look foreword to your next visit to Ak.  We will defiantly have to get together next year when I come over to fish.
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Offline Raquettedacker

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #21 on: Apr 10, 2022, 04:06 PM »
Thatís awesome guys.  Iím very enviousÖ👍👍
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Offline jedhead

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #22 on: Apr 12, 2022, 06:28 PM »
Holy crap, sounds like an adventure of a lifetime. Glad you made it home ok! Not many can say they did that!

Offline iceman260

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #23 on: Apr 13, 2022, 07:29 AM »
Wow that was quite the adventure.
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Offline IFF

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #24 on: Apr 25, 2022, 06:39 AM »
X10 on the comments Jason, Trip of a lifetime for sure.  Enjoyed all  your posts.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Offline Akhardwater

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #25 on: Apr 25, 2022, 10:00 AM »
Thank you.  Hopefully this will be one of many trips to come.  Iím heading to the Yukon next year and if everything goes good Iím planning on going back to Great Slave in 2024.  The next trip will be a lot easier seeing how I now know what to expect and I wonít need to buy and build all the gear so it will be cheaper.
I was born an Alaskan I just didn't live here at the time.

Offline gorf37

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #26 on: Apr 28, 2022, 09:35 AM »
Way to go AKhw!  Very intrepid. 

Sounds like you need a stove-jack for your hut! I've been wanting one a while, my buddy even implemented my idea before I got to it and he's been loving life on the ice with it.  I'll snap a pic or two if we get out together between now and the end of the season.

Keep us guys in YT posted about your plans for next year. 

Offline Akhardwater

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #27 on: Apr 29, 2022, 09:29 AM »
Hey Gorf.  Iím actually looking at those propane nuway stoves as a direct vent option for the popup.  I want to stay away from wood if I can help it.  Wood is inconsistent with heat and I donít feel like waking up every couple hours to stoke a fire for weeks on end.  Iím going to call the folks at nuway and get a little feed back from them on how efficient there stoves are and how they work in a popup.  I know my direct vent in my hardside takes awhile to warm things up so that could be an issue in a popup.  Iíll be coming over to the Yukon the last week of March through the first week of April next year to fish that lake we talked about earlier in the year.  I got eyes on it when I was driving through and I really like the looks of it.  Iíll keep you posted, I know Ted wanted to come over and fish to so we will have to coordinate.
I was born an Alaskan I just didn't live here at the time.

Offline kwackkillncrew

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Re: My trip to the NWT
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2022, 03:30 PM »
i used one in a arctic oven for one night. They seems to rip through some propane compared to big buddies
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