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Sunday, August 26, 2012


I recently took a group of 4 into a small lake called Pinkham. At the lake there is a beautiful little cabin at the end of a long narrow and very quiet bay. Sheltered from all the winds it seems almost perfect. The pictures show the Otter tied to the shoreline with a clearance of 16" between the Wingtip and the rock. The lower portion of the picture was taken from shore out of the quiet bay facing North onto Pinkham Lake.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ennadai Lake, Nunavut

 On August 22 I flew into Nunavut to a lake called Ennadai. I had been there earlier in the season, but not to this particular site. I flew to the Southwest end of the lake where the Ennadai Lake Lodge is located. The two photos show the Turbo Otter tied to the dock at the Lodge site. The water is very clear, able to see the bottom at most times within the dock bay.
The purpose of this trip was to bring into Ennadai a few Government Representatives to oversee the preparation and reclamation of the old weather station located at the Northend of the Lake.
The weather station site was constructed in the late 40's with manned operation until the early 60's when it was automated and the houses were abandoned.
Ennadai is also remembered in history as being the oldest Inuit settlement in Canada. The residents (Ahiarmiut) of this area where first removed in 1950 and re-located to Nuelton Lake some 65-70 miles to the Southeast. The move occured in early spring and before the next winter most had returned to Ennadai by walking home.
It is documented and believed that starvation within the community was so extensive that another move or location was completed between 1956-1959 to Arviate also known as Eskimo Point, over 250 miles East to the Hudson Bay Coast, which at that time was within the Northwest Territiories, later becoming Nunavut. The link below details the move from many perspectives, which must have been hard for the people of the settlement. It is a fantastic read!!!!!!
Pictures of the Lodge rear and front view. With 12 suites, six on either side of the Main Lodge the all in one self contained design makes it very managable for the staff looking after the guests.  
Although much of Ennadai Lake is above the tree line, this portions still has some smaller growth pines. The Lodge is located on a sand point with a airstrip running through the middle, the floating dock on one side and the lodge located on the other. I was told that the Caribou Migration was underway, but I was not lucky enough to see any on this trip. I do expect a few more trips there this fall, so possible at that time we will see more wildlife.
Ennadai is known for the Barren Land Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Moose, Caribou and Musk-Ox.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Photo by: Chris Stymiest
The most recent and possibly the last fire to see action this season occurred approximately 10 days ago. During a routine fire patrol out of Stony Rapids smoke was spotted on an Island on Tazin Lake. The initial attack crew of 3 fire fighters together with the necessary equipment were dispatched to the fire scene. Winds being from the North and finding Tazin Lake Lodge located on the South end of the island the crew was off loaded on the North side on a beach and the fight was on. On this day there were a few things that saved the lodge.
1) The 3 man crew worked feverishly into the late night to protect the Lodge site.
2) A water bomber seen above was great support in knocking down the big flames early on.
3) As night skys arrived so did the calming of the winds and thankfully the wind the next day was light and out of the South drawing the threat to the lodge away.
Photo by: Chris Stymiest
This photo shows one of the initial attack crew just behind the lodge with flames very near by. I brought into the site a 5 man crew to relieve the attack crew who now had work a better part of 24 hours.
I doubt the Lodge owner realized how fortunate he really was when an experienced crew came to the rescue. In a situation such as this minutes make the difference.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Prior to me getting into flying full time I operated a hunting and fishing operation in Manitoba. Located on the East Side of Lake Winnipeg the area is known for Fantastic Fishing and Moose Hunting.
A great story about this hunt and many more is located on another Blog with the link above below the photo. .......ENJOY.


2012 so far has been a very active fire season out of Stony Rapids. Transwest does have one aircraft dedicated to the Fire Management Program but there are times when additional aircraft are needed. On this day I have on board 3 team members and we are on a normal fire patrol heading West of Stony Rapids.
Just Northwest of Fond du Lac the projection of the rock starts rapidly with little lakes locked between the ridges.
Looking out my side window you can see the North shores of Lake Athabasca. I have added a link for information regarding the lake.

This photo shows the airstrip at Uranium City which at one time was extremely busy with scheduled air service daily from Regina and Saskatoon. The airstrip design was for small aircraft originally but was expanded to take smaller jets in later years. Although flights still occur daily the minesite was closed in the 80's and decommissioning was started a few years back.
This is an aerial photo of Uranium City. Pretty much a ghost town now, there is a small population of residents living there year round.,_Saskatchewan

Recently I had an opportunity to have on board my aircraft 4 officers from the Department of Natural Resources. Although the mission on that day was not the sand dunes tour the flight took us overhead and one of the officers had never seen them before, and neither had I. So, I dropped down a few thousand feet to take a closer look. The first photo we are approaching at 3500ft and I start my descent to 1500 ft.
The sand dunes constantly change shape from the wind and you can actually see where on this photo a small river flowage is overtaken and blocked.
Below the top photo I added a link to some of the history about the sand dunes and should you ever have an opportunity to see them, don't miss it, there is some real natural beauty which never remains the same for long.


Whenever you hear about the prairie provinces within Canada so often one is reminded how flat the land is, and although the beauty of the farm fields cannot be avoided, seldom is the scenery of the North mentioned. The two photos above were taken 100 miles southwest of Stony Rapids on a return trip from Buffalo Narrows. I was flying at 9,500 ft with smoke in the air and as I looked down I saw high outcrops with flowing rivers throughout.
As you travel further northwest the terrain is even higher and to get into some of the small lakes a descent of 1500 ft is required over the hilltops to land on the lakes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


If you followed my blog I dropped 4 gentlemen from Norway at Ivanhoe Lake in early July. Yesterday being August 13th was the date for a scheduled pickup at Rennie Lake which is North of the 61st parallel in the Northwest Territories. I ended up being a few miles from the pick up point and not yet found the canoes so I figured I would set down on a beach rather than burn more fuel and possibly they could start a fire and I would see the smoke. The photo on top shows the scenery which was very low trees and lots of blueberries.
Much to my surprise after being the beach for a while I turned around to find a herd of 27 Muskox feeding and slowing moving to the South. With the wind from the South I was able to approach really close and take a few pictures. Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
After finding the canoers I returned back to the same location and was unable to find the Muskox. They were probably bedded down and they would blend in with the grass and brush.


The Northern parts of Saskatchewan have seen major destruction due to forest fires this year. Currently crews are just fininshing a clean up at Points North while to the West 4 fires are very active. This photo was taken just North of Buffalo Narrows and possibly with the rains we have had in the last few day it may have damped the severe situation.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Now having flown in Northern Saskatchewan for nearly two months I was looking back to my first day in Stony Rapids and I remember thinking about the flowage of the river through Stony Rapids being westerly, not what I expected.
Originating from Manitoba, everything there flows North through Hudsons Bay, Hudson Strait and into the Atlantic Ocean via the Labrador Sea. That flowage is between the Artic Divide and the Laurentian Divide.
Stony Rapids is just on the East edge of the Artic Divide and the waters flow North to the Artic Ocean through the Beaufort Sea. The Great Divide runs the full length of the North American Continent. 
The little red dot shows the approximate location of Stony Rapids. The Fondu Lac River flows through Stony Rapids from Black Lake and West into Lake Athabasca. 
It is intersting the see the Artic Divide go through the west portion of Wollaston Lake. So, here the lake has water outlet to the Artic and Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


If you ever wonder how the many things in the North get there, many times they are straped onto the side of the aircraft and flown in. Lumber, boats, canoes, tanks and many other things are hauled every day. These days alot less external loads are done, but years ago it was common for the moving of timber and boats into remote camps for the initial start of Lodge and Outpost camps. The top half of this first picture was the re-location of a canoe for a fall moose hunt. It was a short haul, only 30 miles.
The second half of the picture was a lumber haul for the construction of a dock at one of the Outposts. The left side had 16' and 10' material while the right side only had 10ft material. Inside I had drums and the dock was finished with a few hours after arriving at the camp. 
 In the photo I was moving freezers to the Outpost Camps. These were 12volt units and probably the nicest units I ever had. This was done using a Cessna 180. The registration was C-FSAE which was purchase new in 1961 by Stabdard Areo Engineering.
The above photo shows the tie on of a 16' boat on the top half while the lower portion had 2 canoes. On this particular day we moved 16 canoes and 32 canoers to the Berens River on the East Side of Lake Winnipeg. The most we ever moved in one day was 96 people, with canoes.