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 Post subject: Bloodvein again
PostPosted: June 26th, 2005, 9:12 pm 
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Joined: April 6th, 2003, 9:04 am
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Location: winnipeg
Well my planned trip this year was pretty well impossible to do, unless I had an extra month to do it in. I had planned to paddle/portage from the Wanipigow river near Bissett to Family lake/Little Grand Rapids, and down the Berens river to lake Winnipeg. High water, fast currents and portages that were more like rapids than trails made me do some serious re thinking of my plans, and 3 days into my trip, I phoned home from Aikins Lake Lodge, and told them I was going to do a leisurely trip down the Bloodvein instead, for the second year in a row.

If you've ever wanted to do the Bloodvein, this is the year to do it. The water is two to two and a half feet higher than it was last year, which was in itself a very high year. The rapids are incredible, and if i was going back this year I would be seriously tempted to bring an inner tube along just to play in the rapids.

The Broadleaf river which is usually a trickle of water is a raging torrent. Some of the portages are pretty tricky to find, and you may find yourself making your own portages, as the old ones are under water. The same is true on the Bloodvein. Some of the takeouts are very close to the top of the rapids, and some put ins seem like they are in the middle of the run. Just take your time, and be careful. Its a lot of fun.

I got a very quick reminder re.the center of gravity, when I was doing a double rapids, and dared to sit up on the seat . A boil knocked me into the wave half way down, and I was in the water holding onto the canoe, my paddle, my hat, and hoping like heck my glasses were going to stay on my face. I had loosely tied my packs in, and prudently put my camera in my food barrel, so nothing was lost, and nothing got wet but me.

What a ride! Right down the middle of both sets. The river would suck me under, and then spit me up in front of another wave. It was like the most incredible waterslide you could imagine.

I saw a momma moose and her baby swimming across a wide part of the river, and I got up to about 10 meters away but I backed off so as not to make them nervous (it's their home).

I went up a small creek to see what was there, and as I was comeing back to the river, I heard a shuffling on the bank about 5 meters away, and a bear came wandering out, snuffling around in the reeds. It barely looked at me. I whooped at it, and it gave me an uninterested glance, and carried on sniffling. I gave 3 loud raps on the gunnel with my paddle, and it gave a woof, and hightailed it for a willow bush about another 10 meters away, and stood up behind it to get a look at me. I managed to get past, and carried on my way.

I had a bug shirt this year, so the bugs weren't much of an issue, except that found out my tent didn't have a noseeum proof screen, which gave me lots to do while I was trying to go to sleep(there were hundreds of them in there with me).

At Kautunigan lake, the wind which had pushed me down the lake was howling in my face as I came around the corner past the Sassaginigak river fork. There was a small plane tied to the dock at the cabin there. I barely made it to the spit of land the cabin was on, and tied up to see who was there. It was the owner of the cabin with ihs 7 yr old granddaughter. They were on a weekend fishing trip. He invited me in for coffee, and we chatted for a long time, and I played some card games with his granddaughter. The rain started beating down around dusk, and I asked him if I could pitch my tent on the lawn, and he said "no, you're sleeping in the bottom bunk on the left hand side of the cabin." I was a very happy camper at that point.

When I got to the end of the trip, I decided I would like to try a night at the Bloodvein River Lodge, which is just before you get to the villiage. What a treat that was. A warm shower and a comfy bed was a perfect ending to an incredible solo trip.

I love that river, and could do it many more times before i got tired of it. There are so many things to see if you really look. The irises were in bloom, as were the wild tiger lillies, and there were pink lady slippers along all the portage trails.

One morning before light, a whipoorwill parked itself right outside my tent, and I nearly jumped out of my skin when it started up it's call. It carried on nonstop for about a half an hour then it was gone. I heard wolves howling one night on a lake on the Gammon river, and saw lots of eagles. It was a true Canadian wilderness.

Greg

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: June 27th, 2005, 8:22 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Kanata, Ontario Canada
thanks a million for the report...our crew should be on the river July 17th and we are looking forward to the trip...sounds lie it's well worth the two days drive from here...can't wait woo whooooooooo!


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PostPosted: June 27th, 2005, 9:00 am 
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Joined: April 20th, 2004, 10:09 am
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Location: Solway, MN
Nice report Greg!

We're off to the Serpent /Upper Berens in a week and half. Like Gail, I can't wait!

J

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PostPosted: June 27th, 2005, 10:30 am 
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Joined: July 9th, 2003, 11:48 am
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Location: Back to Winnipeg
Thanks for the great report Greg. So sorry to hear about the no-see-ums you had to bed with, that would've killed me!

I've got to find the time to explore more in that bit of the wilderness, as I visit Winnipeg often.

Your mention of plans to paddle up to Fishing/Family Lakes sparked some memories and some potential plans, as did Jerry's mention of the "Upper Berens." I've come through that area from the Pickle Lake Rd./North Caribou Lake many years ago (1885 and '89), once finishing on the Pigeon and once down the Throat, which enters the Berens above Pikangikum.

Has anyone else paddled the Throat River? I can't even remember how we accessed it. But perhaps going up from the Wanipigow you coculd link up with the Throat for a long road-access trip?

Cheers, Pat.


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PostPosted: June 27th, 2005, 11:17 pm 
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Joined: May 11th, 2003, 3:43 pm
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Location: Squamish, BC
Nice 8)

Thanks for sharing. Did the BV a few years ago and always have wanted to come back to solo it.


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PostPosted: June 29th, 2005, 9:35 am 
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Joined: May 7th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Thunder Bay
good write up! It sounds like it was an awesome trip. I'll have to add that to my to-do list. It seems these "Lists" just keep getting bigger and bigger all the time!
Good family motto you have too by the way. Mine goes along pretty much the same.

Cheers...Joe O'


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PostPosted: July 1st, 2005, 10:42 am 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2004, 4:45 pm
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Location: Canmore AB
Greg thanks for the write up. Sounds like the water is very high. Too bad about the change of route. The alternative was a good plan B.
We're off to the Thomsen R on Banks Island on Sun.
Hugh

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PostPosted: July 11th, 2005, 7:20 am 
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Joined: January 1st, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Plainfield, Indiana USA
Glad to hear all went well. We were concerned about you when we met a couple on our return trip home and was told there had been several drownings in Manitoba and the authorities are encouraging paddlers to stay off the rivers.

I should soon have a trip report posted for the Pipestone in Northern Ontario. It was cold and rained allot and water levels were constantly rising. The rapids were larger than usual and campsites were hard to find. We swam 500M. Portages were hard to find or non-existent due to all the down trees. It was close to being an adventure.

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 Post subject: Welcome Home!
PostPosted: July 11th, 2005, 6:52 pm 
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Joined: February 1st, 2004, 1:02 pm
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Location: Mid Coast Maine
Hi Greg,

Sorry you had to change your plans, but it sounds like you had a great "replay" on the Bloodvein.

Ken Cole & I just returned from the Turtle River near Atikokan, and the conditions were similar to what you report. Water levels were up 2 1/2 feet, so the rapids were moving with considerable volume & up a class in difficulty. We portaged most due to the water volume and the fact we were tripping in our kevlar solos.

I didn't swim, but my Bell Merlin II (we paddled long distances of flat water) now has more "character" from a sneak route that I didn't quite get away with.... :-?

Best Regards,

Dan


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 Post subject: Bloodvein
PostPosted: July 13th, 2005, 12:13 pm 
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Joined: July 13th, 2005, 12:09 pm
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Looking for information on the Bloodvein. I am beginning a trip on Friday 7/15/05 with some inexperienced paddlers. Would apprreciate a phone call. Please call 800-756-0977


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2005, 6:49 am 
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Joined: November 4th, 2003, 6:15 pm
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Is it possible to get to the Bloodvein from Red Lake, Ontario?


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2005, 7:12 am 
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Sure, 2-3 days portage and paddle through Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. The route is outlined in Haps book on Manitoba. Claire at the Park will send an infopacket for a small fee.

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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2005, 7:18 am 
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How long would be the shuttle then between put-in and take-out? Over 500 km?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2005, 7:38 am 
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Well it's a haul. Paddlin (Al from Goldseekers Outfitters in Red Lake) can arrange to have your vehicle transported to Matheson Island for a nominal fee.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2005, 5:41 pm 
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Joined: September 22nd, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Red Lake, Ontario Canada
Traveling the Bloodvein from Red Lake to Matheson Island at a steady pace requires 14 days including 1 to 1.5 days to get to Knox Lake and the Bloodvein River in WCPP.

The drive from Red Lake On to Matheson Island Mb is nearly 8 hours one way or a 16 hour round trip.


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