View topic - Bloodvein, sasaginnigak, Berens Question

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2015, 1:58 pm 
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Hello!
In my daydreams about the summer I'm wondering about this potential route:

Start in Atikaki, catch the Gammon down to the Bloodvein, run a short section of the Bloodvein and then head up the Sasaginnigak river to Sasaginnigak lake and then North to Family Lake and down the Berens from there.

Would this be possible? Has anyone done something similar?

I'm mostly wondering about the section going upstream on the Sasaginnigak river to the lake.

Thanks for any thoughts/help/advice!

-k


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2015, 6:39 pm 
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http://www.panoramio.com/user/6124840

Map: http://www.panoramio.com/map/?user=6124 ... b=5&pl=all

I found the above pictures when looking for info on the Obukowin portages last year. They mapped their photos and it looks like the started at Wallace/Siderock, portaged to Obukowin via Three Mothers, paddled the Gammon to the Bloodvein Junction, Bloodvein to Sasaginnigak, Sasaginnigak to Atik and a series of portages to Family.

There isn't much for descriptions but they did mark their days in photo titles which could help in your planning.


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2015, 8:44 pm 
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The route described in Neil's post, except for going from Wallace Lake to Aikens via the Wanipigow / Broadleaf route, is the "Kautunigan Route" from Real Bedard's canoe route map series. I think they are still available from the Manitoba Government. I paddled it longer ago than I care to admit, but it was certainly feasible then. I can't speak to what time, wind, and fire have done to the portages of Atikaki, but if this group got through, it must still be possible. We paddled it in the fall of a low-water year, and took 18 days to cover the 270 miles to Berens River. With low water and minimal white water skills, we made 91 portages en route, a number I've never forgotten.

Almost all the sections of the route (except the last couple of portages into the Pigeon) are described in Hap Wilson's "Wilderness Rivers of Manitoba" if you can find a copy of that book. By Wilson's description, and my memory, travel up the Sasaginnigak to the lake is really not difficult - a few portages and some lining, nothing desperate.

jmc


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2015, 9:23 pm 
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JMC, how was your experience travelling the Broadleaf in low water? I have been told that Obukowin is the way to go in low water years due to tough low water travel on the Broadleaf.

Was your 18 days to Berens River FN? I figured it would take 8-10 days or so to get to family lake with long days vs the 16 it took that youth group to get there.


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2015, 12:12 am 
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Ok Neil, I have to admit this was 1970 - 45 years ago this summer! - so obviously no guarantees that this is relevant to current conditions. That was the lowest I ever saw the Broadleaf, no flow at the Wanipigow junction, no flow into Leaf Lake. Usually Wallace to Aikens was a reasonable 2 day excursion in either direction, with a camp in Leaf Lake. This time we barely got to Leaf before dark and took 2 more days to reach Aikens, mostly dragging until we reached the headwater lakes.

We had three in the canoe for this trip, and not much freeboard. Plus we didn't know much (anything) about whitewater then, so didn't run many rapids. But we were young, and could single trip all the portages, so we made pretty good time.

By a miracle, I have found my old map with our campsites marked on it.

0.Start at Wallace Lake
1. Leaf Lake
2. Somewhere on upper Broadleaf
3. Aikens Lake
4. Long narrow lake on Gammon (Wapescajak on newer maps?)
5. Just past Bloodvein junction
6. Just above Kautunigan Lake on Bloodvein
7. Sasaginnigak Lake
8. Brad Lake (top of creek from Atik Bay)
9. Last small lake before Hangar Lake
10. Family Lake
11. Family Lake, west of Little Grand Rapids post
12. Berens River at Manitou Rapids
13. Berens near Childs Falls
14. Berens near White Beaver Falls
15. Berens above Upper Conjuring Falls
16. Berens above Sturgeon Falls
17. Berens near Etomami junction
18. Into Berens River, flew out.

The last few days were short and easy, we were ahead of schedule for our flight.

Hopefully, you'll be able to find some more recent information.

-jmc


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2015, 4:42 am 
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The Spring of 2013 was our last venture up the Broadleaf and even in June that year we ran out of water just upstream from Leaf Lake. That was also the first time we had been up since both the Snowdown event and fire, so the portages were rough at the time. We cut out the ports from Wallace to the Broadleaf/Wanipigow junction but everything north at that time still needed to be cut out.

We do have a plan to get up to the Kosteck Lake area this year and do plan to finish cutting out the ports as we go. Other than Leaf Lake there are camps on the Broadleaf and Kosteck Lake before the 1.8km Aiken's Portage. There is a nice camp on Aiken's at the end of the portage as well, sand beach there.

Having never been past Aiken's I can only help with the Wallace to Aiken's section and we would likely do it this way rather than the Mothers again, and we did the Mothers in a very dry year.

I have an extra copy of Hap's Wilderness Rivers book as well.

Karin


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2015, 11:27 am 
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jmc, that information is great! My wife and I are planning to paddle the Hayes this summer but I like to have a backup route planned. I definitely want to paddle the Berens or Pigeon this way. Hopefully I can get to both before there's a road to Family Lake making life too easy!

Mihun09, sounds like you skipped paddling the Broadleaf during last year's high water year! It would have been a convenient year for us to try the Broadleaf to Aikens but we wanted to paddle the Bloodvein from Artery so we went via the Three Mothers.

How difficult is the portage from Kosteck to Aikens?


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2015, 12:01 pm 
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Wow!
Thanks for all this fabulous information.

I do own Hap Wilson's book, for some reason I just assumed Sasaginnigak wasn't in there as it is a smaller river and I have never needed that section before. Oops!

The info you've shared will be very helpful in our planning as well. Thank you!


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2015, 7:18 pm 
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http://canoestories.com/obukowin/obukowin_portages.pdfI posted this info years ago. Neil, does it still look to be accurate?

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PostPosted: March 18th, 2015, 10:30 pm 
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I think it's still quite accurate.

I actually printed that pdf out, put it in my map case, then forgot about until we were on the Bloodvein. I had used it at home (weeks before leaving) to mark up my topos, along with the Berard maps and posts by Karin & Christy:

http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 3&start=15>

I marked the start and end of each portage and estimated routes so it was easy to keep the trail with a compass. It also helped that there was some flagging.


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PostPosted: March 19th, 2015, 4:34 am 
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The Aiken's Lake Portage is here... http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 13&t=36236

Going the Wanipigow/Broadleaf is here, the first few posts being the maps...
http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 14&t=33514

The By-pass on the Broadleaf to cut the long corner off is here...
http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 14&t=36182


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2015, 10:39 am 
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Check our older posts here for an updated idea of what the Broadleaf and/or Obukowin routes are like. Normal years, take the Broadleaf, dry years take Obukowin. In a dry year if the Broadleaf is impassable, Obukowin will be much easier. But it is definitely more work and less fun.

The Aikens portage is a walk in the park. Longer but well marked and easy. Take the bypass or paddle all the way around the top, either is good.

We took last year mostly off because I had a heart attack and it prevented me from tripping. I will be back at it this year though, just with a bit less vigor.

Christy


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2015, 4:08 pm 
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Looks like we'll be paddling this route to the Berens, leaving July 18th. My wife and won't get our PAL in time to be able to paddle the Hayes. We'll try and do our best to document it. I'll definitely be using your campsite list jmc, I'll mark them on my map.

We may look into getting our car shuttled to Bloodvein and hiring a boat from Berens to Bloodvein.


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