View topic - Saskatoon to Nipawin via South sask. Looking for info

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2020, 12:44 pm 
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Hey everyone.

I'm looking to do a trip from Canmore, AB, to Missinipe, starting late April/early May. The dream would be to make it to Missinipe by the end of June in time for my work that starts around then. It'll be a mix of solo and tandem paddling likely, I still haven't worked out all the details. I'm just trying to figure out the days right now. Currently, I have information for most legs of the journey but am still seeking some info on the section from Saskatoon to Nipawin area. What should I expect for flow early June-ish? Hoping to average 40+km/day, and wondering if that's feasible for that section. I've heard the South Saskatchewan can get pretty low-volume at times. Any other information on that stretch of river would be much appreciated as well. I know there was a link to gov. of Sask info on this exact stretch somewhere on the website but it just takes me to the Parks, culture etc. section. Let me know if I'm missing something, or if I'm posting this in the wrong place.

Thanks a lot,

Zev


Last edited by zev on April 1st, 2020, 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2020, 1:45 pm 
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Haven't paddled it but try this:

https://www.churchillrivercanoe.com/ind ... icle&id=66

Churchill River Canoe Outfitters has all of the Saskatchewan historical canoe routes on their website.


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PostPosted: April 1st, 2020, 1:47 pm 
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That old route booklet can be found on the CRCO site under "Trips".

https://www.churchillrivercanoe.com/tri ... o-booklets

Scroll down to route 19.

How are you intending to get from the South Saskatchewan to Missinipe?

-jmc


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PostPosted: April 1st, 2020, 4:02 pm 
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Regarding the South Saskatchewan River portion from Outlook to The Forks (confluence with the North Saskatchewan, where the Saskatchewan River begins), is well-documented through a publication referred to as the EcoCanoe Guide. I might have a pdf saved somewhere, as it appears to have disappeared from the Meewasin web site. It's a great resource for those of us who paddle this stretch. Let me know if you want me to dig up a copy for you (certainly I have the hard-copy that I can scan if I can't find the pdf).

How long the Saskatchewan Rivers portion will take you depends on two highly variable factors: wind & waterflow. Peak flows usually hit Saskatoon by late June, but it really depends on the snow melt in the foothills of Alberta, and what they decide to release from the Gardiner Dam on Diefenbaker Lake. Lower flows = much more winding, trying to find a channel, and wading. That was the case all summer last year, the peak flows never came. By contrast, I think the North Saskatchewan, and therefore the Saskatchewan River as well, was moderately high?

Even with decent flows, the wind can be a major factor. Many inexperienced paddlers expect the river to be a leisurely float downriver. Sometimes, the wind has other things in mind.

Having said all of the above, 40km per day *should* be reasonable on the river portion, assuming you don't get several days of headwinds and the flows are at least moderate. You'll have to contend with Lake Diefenbaker and Codette Lake en route where there will be no current. Diefenbaker can keep paddlers wind-bound for a period since it's large and unprotected.

So, Zev, are you commuting to work this summer? :) If this is the Zev that I think it is (we met at the whitewater festival, and I know your dad a bit), you have more experience in a canoe than most of us here, especially on large wind-swept lakes. I doubt you'll have too many troubles. Feel free to reach out when you pass through Saskatoon if you need anything.

Cheers,
Bryan Sarauer

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2020, 4:43 pm 
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Hey guys. Thanks a lot for all that!

I hadn't seen the CRCO routes on their website - I work for Ric. Haha. That write-up will be super helpful.

jmc- After the forks I'll continue down through Tobin Lake, past Cumberland House and then to Sturgeon Landing. I'll head upstream on the Sturgeon Weir to Pelican Narrows, and then to Frog Portage. Frog portage to Stanley Mission, Stanley to Missinipe. That's the plan.

Bryan- Thanks so much for all the info. Sounds like a lot of variables with wind/water levels. I'm crossing my fingers it'll be calm for diefenbaker. If it's not too much of a hassle the Ecocanoe guide would be nice to have, but no worries if not. The idea was to commute to work, yeah. I just see this year as the only opportunity for a while because my school is online with the virus and Ric won't be too busy so is flexible with start times this year. Hopefully I'll see you at the whitewater fest again. Sounds like if It runs at all it'll be in September instead of June. Or maybe I'll see you in Saskatoon if something goes wrong. Thanks a lot for that offer.

-Zev


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PostPosted: April 1st, 2020, 8:50 pm 
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The ecocanoe guide is the way to go for sure, although the scale is a little small. Hopefully it isn’t lost forever on the Meewasin site. There are some Gotrekkers maps of some of the area as well.
You will enjoy your time on the South Sask. It’s beautiful and relatively easy paddling in low or medium water. High water can be fun...
You shouldn’t have any issues with 40km a day if the wind cooperates at any water level. I prefer it in low water as the beaches and camping are beautiful and the fishing runs are easier to find. There’s decent current even when low, and the channels are easy to read.

MC


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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2020, 9:40 pm 
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Thanks for the info on water levels Mollycollie. Good to know it's doable at a range of flows if wind isn't an issue.


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PostPosted: April 5th, 2020, 5:55 pm 
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Here's that guide from Gardiner Dam to the Saskatchewan River Forks. They sold me a water resistant copy of this in Saskatoon not long before they had to close their little museum down due to funding (a potash mining slump if I understood right).

http://meewasin.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... mplete.pdf

Most of what I have to say in this next paragraph is of little to no consequence. I've had to wade in some spots near Hague and Duck Lake on years that water levels weren't low. There's silt that shifts around and changes the deep spots a bit every year. The ferry cable that crosses the river isn't very deep near Warman.

Like others said above, the wind is the real issue and an average daytime paddle in the last few years, to my memory, have been 25 to 30 km an hour winds with no real predominant direction day to day. Rare has been the day where the wind was under 20kph. On the other hand, it feels like we had more snow this year than in the past few, so the runoff levels might be higher out here. a 40km/day goal is akin to a paddle I did in 2016 from Gardiner Dam to Saskatoon at roughly 7 hours/day on the water.

Canmore to Sturgeon Landing... Pelican Narrows back to Missinipe... Sounds like a real journey.

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PostPosted: April 5th, 2020, 8:43 pm 
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Wow, super thorough guide. Thanks a lot for the info and map, man! Will be super helpful.

One concern I have about this trip is public perception given the current circumstances. I think people could see it either as something inspiring (what I would hope for) or as an act of complete ignorance toward the situation right now. I wouldn't want to give people that idea. Although the trip as a whole is actually a pretty safe one, (mostly class I whitewater, not much bear activity until later on in the trip, and few big lake crossings) given the large scale of it I worry that people will wonder why I would be doing this kind of thing right now.

To me, being on the water is one of the best places to be right now from a virus-transmission standpoint. I'll be very isolated for the most part, and I'll be limiting my travel into towns only to pick up food boxes at the post office. I'm just curious what you guys think not just about this trip but about canoeing in the COVID age in general.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2020, 9:50 am 
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zev wrote:
Wow, super thorough guide. Thanks a lot for the info and map, man! Will be super helpful.

One concern I have about this trip is public perception given the current circumstances. I think people could see it either as something inspiring (what I would hope for) or as an act of complete ignorance toward the situation right now. I wouldn't want to give people that idea. Although the trip as a whole is actually a pretty safe one, (mostly class I whitewater, not much bear activity until later on in the trip, and few big lake crossings) given the large scale of it I worry that people will wonder why I would be doing this kind of thing right now.

To me, being on the water is one of the best places to be right now from a virus-transmission standpoint. I'll be very isolated for the most part, and I'll be limiting my travel into towns only to pick up food boxes at the post office. I'm just curious what you guys think not just about this trip but about canoeing in the COVID age in general.



Zev,
A great question.
I've been planning some trips for this summer (nothing as ambitious as your trip) and I've been wondering about tripping given the current circumstances. I'd like to hear a variety of opinions from other paddlers. Would you consider starting a new thread in the General Discussion forum with a title something like... "Tripping in the age of COVID19, yea or nay? - thoughts?" or something similar?
Thanks,
Ralph


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PostPosted: April 21st, 2020, 4:30 pm 
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Specifically regarding this trip, as you said, risk is very low - of virus transmission or otherwise. Rely on people like me for help where you can and if needed and that way non-paddlers aren't being asked to interact with some random stranger.

I think until you reach Cumberland House, the perception issue should be OK, some people will frown, but some of us will cheer you on. As you head into Cumberland House and beyond, you are heading to native communities and I'm not a good person to comment on what they'd think. Another contact along the river is Solomon Carriere just upriver from the Cumberland House delta. He'd be a great person to help with resupply, but could also give his opinion on travelling through his community. Aside from being an incredible paddler, Solomon and his family run Big Eddy Lodge: https://www.bigeddylodge.net/

Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: July 1st, 2020, 11:32 am 
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Great Job Zev!
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatch ... -1.5633271
I'm glad that Zev didn't listen to the naysayers and undertook a great adventure! Best commute ever. Maybe I'll see you in Missinipe this summer.
Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2020, 10:23 pm 
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Yea Zev!
I had no idea you were that young. This doubly impresses me.

Ditto what Bryan said. Glad you did it


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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2020, 1:41 pm 
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Zev,
Wow, not only an epic trip but at 15 years of age. Congratulations!


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PostPosted: July 5th, 2020, 12:25 am 
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I forgot about this until I heard it and the route on the radio yesterday. Nice work!

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