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PostPosted: January 4th, 2004, 10:21 am 
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Joined: January 4th, 2004, 9:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: colorado
Hello Everyone. This is my first post on this forum.

I am looking into a trip in northern Saskatchewan this summer with my 13 year old son. I just bought Laurel Archer's book and am beginning to dig into it. I have been paddling seriously for about 5 years. My son is getting old enough to be developing some pretty good skills. We are comfortable in class I with short class II sections. Some of the river's in Ms. Archer's book that sound most interesting to me are rated 3 stars. My question is this... Would these rivers require my son and I to run class II+ to III rapids, or would we be able to portage anything that looks beyond our abilities? My son and I could handle the occasional class II+, but not continuous rapids of that difficulty. Do you think we should limit our route options to the 2 star routes, or is it possilble to take a more advanced route, and just portage the bigger rapids? If this is what we should do, which of her 2 star routes would those with experience on these rivers suggest? We will have 2 weeks on the water and are willing to spend some $ flying in +/or out.

Thank you for your time and knowledge. larry


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 Post subject: Northern Sask.
PostPosted: January 4th, 2004, 12:04 pm 
Happy New Year Larry!

And welcome to Canadian Canoe Routes.

You should be able to get a lot of useful information you need from Rick Driediger of Horizon's Unlimited through contact at
www.churchillrivercanoe.com. Rick is the pre-eminent canoe organiser and outfitter for Northern Saskatchewan.

I also urge you to contact Robpw and Vern (through this forum) for their knowledge, experience, and input on any route you may be considering. They are great resources on the rivers of Sask.

Happy Paddlin.


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PostPosted: January 4th, 2004, 1:32 pm 
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Joined: March 17th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1772
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi Larry

When our kids were about the age of yours, we did a trip in Northern Saskatchewan that we all enjoyed greatly. You can see photos and read the trip report from this link

http://blazingpaddles.ca/trip_reports/athabasca/


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PostPosted: January 4th, 2004, 5:17 pm 
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Joined: January 19th, 2003, 7:00 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Sydney Australia
Hi Larry

Did the Foster River this year, some of the rapid ratings did change to the book both up and down. The first part of the trip is through swamp and campsites hard too find, further down the foster we found some great campsites. Most of the harder rapids had portages of some sort. Only one which had been burnt a few years ago and had wind blown trees on new growth which was impenetrable with sweepers and strainers in the water not portage sited. We took the option to wade and saw our way through. Although the book is good this goes to show that you can come across the unexpected.


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 Post subject: northern Sask. rivers
PostPosted: January 6th, 2004, 11:58 pm 
Larry:

Are you thinking of Foster River and finish on Churchill?


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 Post subject: portaging
PostPosted: January 7th, 2004, 3:46 pm 
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 7:00 pm
Posts: 144
Hi Larry

Well, i certainly can't speak for every river in Laurel's book, cause I simply haven't done them all. However, I know your concern. I've been recently using Laurel's book as an accompanyment to tripping, and its generally alright. Sometimes there are subtle mistakes, which (my guess is anyway) is an indication that she waited until the end of the day to write up some of her route descriptions. I will say this though, Laurel's white water diffculty ratings are pretty good. Its so hard to write a route guide based on perhaps only 2-3 years experiences with differing flow levels. This fall, while on the Haultain, I noticed that some of the descriptions weren't necessarily appropriate for our flow level. But the Haultain is a low volume river, where minor fluctuations in level can lead to tremendous differences in the way the rapids are. Also, a smaller river like the Haultain seems to have fewer good options for portage, which in this case has to do with being ravaged by forest fires in recent history.

On the other hand though, the churchill is the type of river where portage paths have been used for hundreds of years now. Of course, you may have been on sections of the churchill already. This summer, while doing sections of the Churchill, and reading Sid Robinson/Greg Marchildon's book (Canoeing the Churchill) I found that there difficulty ratings where highly conservative. I think this is likely the best thing for most wilderness writers to do, especially if they were previously experienced guides. My suggestion would be, if you're looking for areas to canoe with your son, with good resource backing, pick up Greg and Sid's book, and do sections of the Churchill. More often than not, rapids that Greg and Sid say are OK for beginners, will certainly be OK, and there's usually a good portage path if you aren't so sure.

If you're looking for a truly awesome trip with just the right amount of forgiveness, remoteness, challenge and beauty, I'd say go with Saskatchewan Canoe Route #16. Its a classic, my first go was at 14.

At any rate, hope this aimless babbling helps a bit.

robpw


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 Post subject: Thanks
PostPosted: January 7th, 2004, 8:37 pm 
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Joined: January 4th, 2004, 9:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: colorado
for all the words of wisdom everyone. I have learned quite a bit already. I enjoyed reading Rolf Kraiker's web pages. They got me really excited to head back up north. Yes, I was looking at paddling the Foster then into the Churchill. But was also interested in what I read aobut the Haltain, Fon Du Lac & Waterfound rivers. I would enjoy hearing about how these rivers compare; rapids, wildlife, camping sites, anything. When do you guys prefer to paddle if you can choose. Being a teacher, I am pretty much limited to mid June to mid August. What canoes do you paddle on wilderness tripping? (openned a can-o-worms there). I have a Swift Dumoine, for tandem, and like it on the water, but am not looking forward to carrying it over portages. thanks again, larry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 7th, 2004, 11:09 pm 
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Joined: April 2nd, 2003, 10:56 pm
Posts: 156
Location: Air Ronge SK
Dumoine would be a good boat for the aforementioned rivers. The Foster has ^plenty^ of portages, like 23 or something. WFnd-FduLac has only a couple, as long as you can run class II and some III's.

The WF-FduLac is my fav SK trip. (Although I have not done the Clearwater, and that is apparently pretty fantastic) Lots of great fishing, wildlife, wilderness (just the odd flown-in angler) nice rapids (the WFd's are nice easy class I and I+ runs) as well as spectacular , easy to find camping pretty well everywhere, except for some of the burned areas. Your time frame is excellent for doing it, and any other of the rivers you have mentioned.

(Of course it is in the Far North, so it also has plenty of bugs and volatile weather, to me a small price to pay)


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 Post subject: can of worms
PostPosted: January 8th, 2004, 1:05 pm 
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 7:00 pm
Posts: 144
yes, it is easy to open that 'can' on this site. about canoes, you can check out the fleet pages for a little extra if you like:

http://homepage.usask.ca/~rsp317/fleetindex.html

seems that there are lots of people with dumoines on this site. is your's a royalex?

rob


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 Post subject: yes mine is royalex
PostPosted: January 8th, 2004, 2:43 pm 
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Joined: January 4th, 2004, 9:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: colorado
Yes, mine is royalex. I bought it used last spring from a friend. It is interesting because the hull is different thicknesses in different areas. You would think it would really take a licking, but you pay for it in weight. So far I like it alot better that the MR Explorer I sold to buy it, after one season. I have a kneeling thwart in the center and it is pretty fun to paddle solo too (not as much fun as my Hemlock SRT, but still fun). It is one boat I can heel over the the gunwale without getting nervous about tipping. I have not paddled it across long stretches of flat water that much, mostly used it on rivers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 13th, 2004, 12:33 pm 
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Joined: January 13th, 2004, 12:28 pm
Posts: 26
Hello Larry and CCR SKers,

CCR has been so kind as to support my events and book projects, so I'm making myself available to answer some questions about n. SK rivers. I'll do a couple guest posts.

In answer to your question about difficulty ratings in the guidebook, Larry, if you read the difficulty ratings sections carefully in my guidebook you will see I explain in detail why each river gets the rating it does. The Cree gets a two star rating, for example, not because it's a difficult river in terms of ww, but because its isolated and there are no portages, but you can line the tougher rapids. The Haultain gets a three star rating because most of the portages have been burned out ,and there are lots of rapids and falls you won't be running or lining, making it a very physical trip.

Also, you can look in the trip notes for each river and each time you come upon the headings "rapids" or "falls" look to see if I mention a portage. If I don't, it's because there isn't one - or I couldn't find one, or I've given you a better option for dealing with the drop. You will quickly see which rivers have portages in good condition -- the three star ones like the Clearwater and the Fond du Lac, for the most part, have good trails, and you could do these rivers if you have the skill to line some harder rapids or bushwhack when necessary -- it will just be more work than for someone that could run the harder rapids, like Brassy and Brink on the Fond. Keep in mind to make your trip schedule longer as portaging/lining takes more time than running.

I have deliberately tried to not be a "guide" in the book, as in not to tell people what they can run or not, but to relay accurate information (including rating rapids as they are at average waters levels and not being conservative or going the other way) about what is actually facing the canoeist on the rivers. It is not a guidebook writers' job, in my opinion, to make decisions/assumptions about what other people should or can do. If I make a reccommendation, it's clear why, and I leave it with the reader to use good judgement. This is something you can count on.

In my opinion, having paddled all the rivers, and some many times as a professional guide for CRCO and as a "hired gun," if you consider yourself an intermediate paddler (see page 15), I think you could consider doing all the rivers EXCEPT: the Wathaman, Porcupine, William, MacFarlane (especially lower part from Davy Lake on), and if you really dislike hard portaging, you also may want to avoid the Geikie, Foster and Haultain. If you consider yourself more along the lines of a beginner (page 15) you may want to consider only the Churchill, the Sturgeon-weir, Cree, Waterfound, and Paull rivers. You can visit www.laurelarcher.com to see some photos from a number of the rivers in the guidebook.

The only rivers in the guidebook I would bother taking a spraycover for are the Clearwater, Porcupine and MacFarlane, and only if you have the skill to run the big rapids you would need it for :) However. I like the cover for comfort as other people have indicated in their posts, but it can be a pain if you are portaging alot though.

Finally, I urge all of you to share with me your thoughts on what will make the guidebook's second edition better. What do you like about it -- for example, it's comparative nature and landscape descriptions? What doesn't work? Rob, you refer to the book as being alright, but that "not everything is stellar" and that there are "subtle mistakes." Please share the specifics of the discrepancies you've found (on the Haultain and which other rivers?) in order to help people make their travels more enjoyable and safer, instead of making vague comments. And, let me know so I can make a better book for the same reasons.

For digital map software for northern SK, Etopo is the only company I know. Go to www.etopo.com. The software is slick, but you need a good laser printer to enjoy the fruits.

Finally, thanks for all the support on CCR, and I hope you all are enjoying planning for next year.

All the best,
Laurel


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 Post subject: Thanks Laurel!
PostPosted: January 14th, 2004, 1:51 pm 
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Joined: January 4th, 2004, 9:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: colorado
I appreciate you taking time to give us some more information. I must admit in my excitement after buying your book, I asked a question that I could have gotten a better understanding of had I read the whole book first. I cedrtainly will read the sections of the book that are of interest based on the rivers I am considering for this summer. Thanks for the tip on the map software. I will look forward to reading any other posts you make. larry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 16th, 2004, 2:46 pm 
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 7:00 pm
Posts: 144
Hi Laurel

I want to echo that comment, I think its great that you've dropped in, and are so open to input on your book. I think it takes a lot of guts to do so, its easy for all of us to criticise as most of us probably haven't written a book! I sincerely hope that any comments made so far have not been to scathing or offensive. At any rate, thanks for writing the book. I think the word is starting to get around about its usefulness. I recieved a copy for Christmas from my sister, although it turns out I already had one. My original copy is already covered with duct tape.

Having said that, I'd love to forward a few comments to you for your consideration. Glad to hear that you are looking at revising, and putting out a second edition. Perhaps a few of the spots where I felt there were errors simply need some clarification. I'll be the first to admit that my interpretation can be wrong. I also understand when you say that you don't want to be writing a 'GUIDE BOOK'. But lets face it, peolpe do look up to you, with all that experience, and are likely interpreting it as a guide book nonetheless (ie, we know who you are and what you've done).

I gather that this is an ongoing project. Do you plan to write a second book, or is revising the first one your next priority?

cheers
robpw


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 Post subject: thanks; new projects
PostPosted: January 17th, 2004, 7:02 pm 
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Joined: January 13th, 2004, 12:28 pm
Posts: 26
Hi Rob,

Thank you for taking the time to help me make the book better. I am very interested in clarifying passages that can be misinterpreted, and I'm sure, being human, I have will have made at least a couple factual errors along the way. For instance, (and I can't be sure about this yet until I get there again, because nothing in my notes or memory can confirm it), someone mentioned this summer that there is a portage trail-- with a nice campsite astride it --around the ledge rapid GR 664059 on the upper Fond du Lac. Does anyone else have this marked on their maps?

A more minor error they also mentioned, which I will also check out next time I'm in the area, is that in the notes at campsite GR 604220, I say this is the last nice camp for 12 km. But I was told there is one just over 10 km downstream on a point.

Some potential problems may also have occured during the editing process, as descriptions are made more "grammatically correct." My editor did a good job of dealing with the trip notes, given the nature of them and the fact she didn't speak canoe lingo, but I have found some differences in my original text and the final text in the book. I've also found a spelling error in the acknowledgements: Kevin Schultz, it's with a C! -- my dear friend. How embarrassing...That wasn't there to in my original text, I am sure :)

So the work on the next edition is in full swing.

Anyway, please post your observations here, if you don't mind. It would help everyone who may use the book in the future, before the next edition comes out. Or, if you prefer, email me via www.laurelarcher.com.

And, yes, I have considered doing a second volume of n. SK canoe trips in the future, having been on a number of great new rivers (to me) since 2001. But, I've got the women's paddling anthology on the go right now, and a novel looking for a publishing home, and a secret project of which I cannot speak on pain of death by kayaking (hah, hah - I admit it, I am a kayaker and I even have a new spud boat that is only six feet one inches long....). Anyway, I'm thinking there should always be "secret" rivers that everyone should be able to chart on their own, so maybe I never will.

Thanks for your support, and I am enjoying the forum.
Cheers, Laurel

PS If you have friends in Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Barrie and Hamilton that would like to see some shots of the amazing rivers in n. SK you are always talking about, I'll be in those cities with my slideshow in Feb. See the CCR events forum. More details to come on the Hamilton show - all I know right now is it's on Feb. 28th at McMasters U. , hosted by the Outdoor Club.


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 Post subject: Hi Laurel,
PostPosted: January 18th, 2004, 10:10 am 
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Joined: January 4th, 2004, 9:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: colorado
Which side of the river is the portage at 664059? The Waterfound/Fon Du Lac route is at the top of my list for a trip this summer, so I was particularly interested in adding this to my copy of your book.

Another question for anyone with an opinion. I was looking at "The Original Bug Shirt" on their web page. It looks like a decent product, but was wondering if there are other bug shirts I should look at, or if anyone has any experience with this product?

thanks, larry


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