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PostPosted: March 15th, 2013, 10:27 am 
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Hey all

Myself and two friends are planning on a 3 day weekend canoe trip this spring, either at the end of May or the beginning of June. We want to go somewhere we've never gone before and so we were thinking about Kingsmere Lake. Myself and one of my friends have gone on a couple canoe trips before, and my other friend is a novice. We're going to have a training trip to Pike Lake to show him the ropes, so to speak, on a canoe before we head to PANP.

I was just hoping to get some advice about Kingsmere Lake. I've read pawistik's trip report about Kingsmere and I hear that the lake is generally windy from the west. Our basic plan was to set out from the south end of the lake in the early afternoon (We're leaving from Saskatoon in the morning, having lunch in Waskesiu and then head up to Kingsmere after), following the western shore to give us shelter from the prevailing western wind, and then make camp on the site on Bladebone Bay, which I hear is very nice. 2nd day we're going to hang out there for a while, perhaps go check out Grey Owl's cabin if conditions are nice, do a little fishing, 3rd day head home, following the western shore again so we're not so vulnerable to the wind.

Does this sound good? Is it feasible? Is there anything we ought to be aware of? I've been on a couple of canoe trips further north before, but never had to plan one before and I would just like a nice weekend trip for me and my buddies that gets us a little bit away from the crowds, hence the choice of the Bladebone camp site.


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PostPosted: March 15th, 2013, 11:00 am 
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Hi Eric & Welcome,
Your plan seems pretty reasonable. I did almost the same thing for one of my first canoe trips to Kingsmere. Nice beach and it should be pretty quite in that corner of the lake.

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... eetview=on

The earlier you can get to PANP, the better. Everything takes longer than anticipated, from the time it takes for you to get the passes, to how long it takes your buddy in the toilet after lunch, to how long it takes to pack the boats.

How are you paddling? Two canoes with someone soloing, a canoe and a kayak, or 3 in a canoe? If someone is soloing a canoe and they are not that experienced in wind, that will increase the wind as a factor. So will having 3 in a canoe, which unless it's a long canoe will likely be crowded and overloaded with less than ideal freeboard, a problem in wind and waves.

From Bladebone Bay it's a nice jaunt over to Northend & Ajawaan as you suggested. Or, you can check out the Bladebone Canoe Route without committing fully to it. Either way, bring a tarp and some gear with you so that you can wait out foul conditions if necessary.

If the forecast has worse weather/wind than is ideal you could use Pease Point as a back-up campsite, though you have to decide where you're going to before getting your permit.

Have a great trip.

Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: March 15th, 2013, 11:05 am 
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p.s. Do you think the snow will be melted by then? ;)

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PostPosted: March 15th, 2013, 3:05 pm 
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Hey Bryan

Well I certainly hope all the snow will be gone by June but you never know with Saskatchewan weather!

As for our travelling arrangements, we'll be paddling out in one canoe, a Quetico 18.5 from Souris River, a three-seat kevlar canoe that my family owns. I've had three people in it before on previous trips and its pretty stable and has plenty of room for both people and gear.

Also, in regards to our experience, just to clarify: I've been on a few canoe trips, but it's been a few years since my last one. My one friend has canoed on one trip, but that was several years ago for him and my other friend is a novice who has never canoed. This is why we're taking a day trip to Pike Lake to get some practice in before we go to Kingsmere.


Last edited by EricD on March 18th, 2013, 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 10:37 am 
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Hi Eric. Just to note - Bryan's question about snow may be particularly relevant this year. The park's snowpack is well above average this winter and, unlike most years, we've had no appreciable break in weather yet (Mar 17) nor is there anything in the forecast. This has been a cold winter with average high temps at least 5C below normal. Kingsmere Lake can still be ice-covered on the May long weekend some years. This winter seems worse than most so who knows. I think the latest ice-out in the last 20 years was June 1. Best to be flexible and call ahead.

On the plus side, Kingsmere River will be rockin'!

Cheers.


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 10:56 am 
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Thanks for that insight into the ice on Kinsgmere.

Assuming that the ice IS off the lake, the water will be very c...c...coooold! This matters, as it increases the consequences of a mishap. A simple dunking can become a life threatening event. So, keep that in mind when making decisions about when and where to paddle and be more conservative than you would be in warm water. On the other hand, the trout will be in shallow water.

Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 2:19 pm 
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Thanks for the advice regarding ice, I was definitely going to play it safe on this trip anyways. The route to the Bladebone site is kind of our ideal choice, if the weather is good and conditions are right. If it's looking nasty out, we might just do Pease Point or maybe even stay at Southend instead. Because my two friends are relatively inexperienced, and this is my first time leading a trip, I'm definitely not planning on taking any major risks with this crew.

Phoning ahead will definitely be a good idea! We weren't planning on going May long weekend anyways, we'll probably end up going sometime in the first half of June in all likelihood, though if conditions are nice we may go at the end of May. We haven't really put a set date down yet, we're going to wait and see and go when conditions are nice. As for the weather, well, we've currently got ugly March weather as usual but according to the Weather Network apparently we're going to see steadily increasing temperatures over the next two weeks, getting up to +5 by the end of the month. The Weather Network also forecasts that our spring will be near normal despite this abnormal winter. The fact of the matter is you never really know what the weather will bring though, especially in the Prairies. Here's hoping winter breaks soon and we have a nice warm spring to make up for this frigid winter.


Last edited by EricD on March 19th, 2013, 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 4:39 pm 
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EricD wrote:
...but according to the Weather Network apparently we're going to see steadily increasing temperatures over the next two weeks, getting up to +5 by the end of the month. ...

I'm convinced the optimism that the weather forecasters often display is all just part of a suicide prevention program. :-?

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 5:33 pm 
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Too true, but we can always hope for nice weather can't we? We might even get lucky every once in a while :P

EDIT: So apparently according to the Weather Network, Saskatchewan will see steadily increasing temperatures, getting up to 6 degrees or so by end of the month. Let's hope that actually happens!


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PostPosted: April 5th, 2013, 10:21 am 
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It's still snowing... It's April and we're still getting more snow.

At this rate, my friends and I may as well just cancel our June trip because the winter seems to be here forever.

April really is the cruelest month.


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PostPosted: May 12th, 2013, 9:18 pm 
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So we're getting closer to our June trip and a thought strikes me: Should we really be going to Bladebone Bay with just one canoe? I mean I've been canoeing but I've never really led a trip like this before, it's been years since my one friend has gone canoeing and my other friend has never canoed at all! Our group ranges from moderate to no experience and we're only going in a single canoe.

So is heading up to Bladebone Bay really safe or advisable if you only have a single canoe and a group like this? We can't find a fourth person so we can't do two canoes. Should we instead camp out at Pease Point or Southend? What do you guys think?


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2013, 10:49 am 
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The Pease Point option is a bit more conservative and the Southend option is a lot more conservative. You are not giving up very much opting for Pease Point so it's certainly a good choice in my opinion. Southend is certainly the safest - you can walk in and out if need be. At Southend, you can still day trip through the Bagwa route from there. Though I have paddled to Grey Owls's cabin and back from Southend in one day, it's not ideal because weather could hamper your return (there is a lot of time for the weather to change and that side of the lake is worst for it). So, if you day trip to Grey Owl's cabin from Southend, you should bring lots of extra gear, be prepared to spend a night out if the weather makes it unsafe to continue. Actually, that's something that should always be in practice.

If you are nervous about overreaching heading to Bladebone Bay, there's no shame in dialing it back a few kilometers.

By the way, you can keep an eye on when the ice goes out here: http://earthdata.nasa.gov/data/near-rea ... is-subsets
Click in the North America subset then hover over the images to select Waskesiu. The Waskesiu images cover central Saskatchewan from Lake Diefenbaker to north of the Churchill. Today's image won't be up until this afternoon, yesterday was too cloudy to see much, but Saturday's image was very clear. On Saturday the lakes like Lake Lenore and the Quill Lakes are melting at the edges. Lake Diefenbaker is largely ice-free. Kingsmere is still ice-covered with no sign of melting just yet.

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PostPosted: May 13th, 2013, 7:14 pm 
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I think we'll plan for Pease Point and maybe just stay at Southend if the weather is nasty when we're there, as a backup plan. It's still a month until we go, I'm hopeful that the ice will be off by then, but I'll phone ahead to be sure. We're going to do a couple training day trips at Pike Lake before we go, and we have lots of time to plan. Good find on the earthdata site. Firefox doesn't seem to be displaying it, but I'm sure I can get it to to work.


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PostPosted: May 23rd, 2013, 3:13 pm 
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By the way, it looks like the ice went out on Kingsmere sometime after about May 18th (bit hard to tell through the clouds). The lake was ice free for certain on May 20th: http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imag ... .terra.1km

Yesterday's satellite image shows that much of the ice is off of the large mid-northern lakes like Peter Pond Lake, Lac LaRonge, Amisk Lake, Dore Lake, etc. The rest should be gone in a day or two, I expect. Cree Lake and Lake Athabasca are still mostly ice-covered, though the latter is definitely breaking up. http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imag ... ay.2013142 Fun stuff to watch.

Bryan

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PostPosted: May 26th, 2013, 12:11 pm 
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Yeah, I saw that, and I phoned the Park to confirm that ice is indeed off the lake, so that's exciting! My friends and I have also set the dates for our trip, June 11th to 13th, since those are the days my buddies have off work. Here's hoping for nice weather!


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