Dismal Lakes

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Dismal Lakes
Location Northwest Territories
Coordinates 65°25′0″N 117°0′0″W / 65.41667°N 117.00000°W / 65.41667; -117.00000Coordinates: 65°25′0″N 117°0′0″W / 65.41667°N 117.00000°W / 65.41667; -117.00000
Primary inflows Teshierpi River
Primary outflows Kendall River
Basin countries Canada

Dismal Lakes are a series of three interconnected lakes in the Canadian Northwest Territories located roughly midway between the Coronation Gulf and Great Bear Lake, east of the Dease River. The Teshierpi River discharges into the narrows between the second and third Dismal Lakes, and the third lake discharges into the Kendall River. The lakes were named by explorer Thomas Simpson.

Two miles west of the western lake is Sandy Creek, which flows south into the Dease River. The west end of western lake is surrounded by bare hills covered in sharp broken rock, and it is from this barren area that the lakes get their name. Three small brooks enter the lake at this end, one from the south, and two from the west. Approximately six miles from the western end of the lake it narrows to half a mile, and on the other side of these narrows the lake is surrounded by rounded slopes covered with grass and heaths. There is a shallow sandbar extending across the eastern end of the lake.

The narrows between the first and second lakes are a favored crossing-place for the caribou. The narrow river is confined between steep gravel hills and has a fairly strong current.

The center lake is hemmed in by mountains. On the north side the Coppermine Mountains rise in terraces to nearly one thousand feet. There are some small spruce in a cove on the north shore. On the south side of the lake is Teshierpi Mountain, the southern-most spur of the Coppermine Mountains, rising approximately 800 feet. At the east end of the lake is a shallow sandbar which extends across the width of the lake, followed by a series of small willow covered islands.

The narrows between the second and third lakes is a short river with a sandy channel. The Teshierpi River joins this channel from the south.

The eastern lake is the smallest of the three, approximately three miles long and a mile wide. It is surrounded by gently rising grassy shores and, at a distance, mountains. There is a shallow sandbar extending across the eastern end of the lake. The third lake discharges into the Kendall River, which flows southwest into the Coppermine River. The extreme end of the third lake is sparsely wooded with small spruce, which extend down the Kendall.

The Dismal Lakes are one of the historical homes of Nagyuktogmiut, a Copper Inuit subgroup.

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