View topic - Little Churchill / Churchill River

It is currently September 18th, 2020, 4:21 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 30 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
PostPosted: September 24th, 2008, 9:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: January 26th, 2008, 11:43 pm
Posts: 61
Hi Rappi,

Thanks for sharing your trip. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Mrs. Tamarack and I loved your picture of the boulder field upstream from Portage Chute.

Also, we were envious of you for your encounter with the wolverine. All of our lives we've wanted to see one in the wild but never have, including while on the Little Churchill. We're curious about where you saw the animal in relation to both you and the river, what it was doing, if it saw you, and how it responded, if it did.

You mentioned that the water level in the Little Churchill Rver was low but that the current was still fast. You also shared that you encountered more rapids than you were anticipating during the first one-and-a-half days.

It rained about half the days of our summer-long trip last year. By the time we reached the Little Churchill toward the end of it, the level of the water was into the trees in many places, and the current was very fast. This increased the difficulty of running or lining around many of the normally class II and III rapids, including the series far upstream from Recluse Lake that's several miles long. The high and fast water also made scouting the rapids difficult when 1) the shoreline was often thickly vegetated and steep , 2) there was often no land on which to stand between the water and the trees, and 3) the current was frequently very strong in the approaches to the "roaring" rapids that were just around the corners.

In such situations, many prudent people will want to portage. However, the informal portages around these rapids were very overgrown, sometimes so much that they were hard to even follow much less get a canoe over. Large sections of this river seemed to be some of those rare places in the world that are actually growing more instead of less wild these days.

When one questions the safety of running a rapid but isn't exactly crazy about bushwhacking around one, it can be tempting to canoe the rapid. Getting hurt or damaging one's canoe beyond repair is especially undesirable in a location as remote as the Little Churchill, though--and the possibilities for a rescue aircraft to land along this river are relatively few and far between.

After getting past all of the rapids upstream from Recluse, we came upon someone who in fact had a nasty accident in these rapids and had been stranded for days (and with some uncooperative wildlife). (We're planning to share more about this in the future, in another medium.)

We're glad that your trip, on the other hand, went well. Apparently it was within your group's skill level. However, Julie and I are concerned that after reading about how wild and little-visited your route along the Little Churchill and Churchill Rivers was--as well as about how relatively easy, smooth, and pleasant your travel along it went, some visitors to this thread may underestimate the route's potential challenges and dangers. As many of us know, the very factors that can make a trip very appealing and rewarding can also turn it into a nightmare...and sometimes fortune can change in a splash.

Tamarack


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: September 25th, 2008, 5:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
Hi Tamarack,
we saw the Wolverine some distance downstream of Recluse right at watersedge on river left after we rounded a bend, maybe 20m away. After he recognized us he walked up the bank rather calmly and vanished into the bush.
Regarding portaging on the upper Little Churchill your right, no distinct trails! For the only portage we did at this part other than a pull over rocks, I had to search both sides of the river and finally found it on river right up steep. After the hard to follow trail ended on a high rock we reloaded down there and did quite some lining afterwards. Obviolously you had much higher water there than we had and I guess you had it pretty tough there! Yeah, I think waterlevels will affect any river trip regarding difficulty. Sometimes a rapid in high water will be much easier than in low and othertimes just the opposite. On the rapids on the Churchill scouting was nearly not possible at all so we decided on one side and did our best!
For example in the higwater summer of 2005 we did the Neslon-Echimamish-Hayes-Oxford Lake-Carrot River- Cross Lake loop. We were lucky as we paddled over all Beaverdams on the Echimamsish but two and had enough water under the boat up the Carrot!
cheers,
Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 3rd, 2008, 2:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: January 26th, 2008, 11:43 pm
Posts: 61
Thanks for the wolverine report, Chris. It sounds like the animal wasn't exactly terrified of you.

I was introduced to wolverines and their courage by a movie about the Alaska wilderness that I saw in a public theater as a young kid. The most memorable scene for me in the entire breathtakingly spectacular film was a prolonged battle between the relatively small wolverine and an adult grizzly bear (yes, a GRIZZLY BEAR!). The conflict was over a dead animal, if I remember correctly, and it eventually ended in a draw. The winners of this fight were undoubtedly the spectators, both human and non~.

Speaking of dead animals, we'd be interested in hearing the story behind what appears to be either a little graveyard or a large memorial that you photographed near the confluence of the Little Churchill and Assaikwatamo Rivers, if either you, Paddlenorth, or anyone else knows it. We were intrigued after seeing the crosses and simple, white fence atop the high, steep bank but unfortunately were short on time for investigating it.

Eric


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 4th, 2008, 3:59 am 
Offline

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
The graveyard appeared belonging to a Cree family or band. Saw similar on the Grass and Sturgeon Weir River´s. Nice view over the river from top! A quiet and pretty last resting place indeed!
Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 4th, 2008, 12:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 7th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1018
Location: Duluth, MN USA
Rappi, we've also done the entire length of the Grass, and have been on the Sturgeon-Weir, and I don't remember any of these grave sites offhand. I remember one on the Thlewiaza (mostly little children), with white picket fences and we saw some grave pickets on the Seal River this summer. These sites are both Dene.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 4th, 2008, 3:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
paddlenorth,
on the Grass River I´ve remembered the gravesite at the entrance into Setting Lake and on the Sturgeon Weir just upriver of Beaver Lake. On both were numerous graves.
cheers,
Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 7th, 2008, 11:58 am 
Offline

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1948
Location: Manitoba
And both are on river left, if my memory serves me correctly.

_________________
Brian
http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 7th, 2008, 12:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1948
Location: Manitoba
Chris wrote, A quiet and pretty last resting place indeed!

from Douglas' Lands Forlorn

242
Farther along the sandy hill was an old Indian grave; its palisades
were much weathered and probably more than fifty years old. Around
it the moss grew thick and soft, behind was the forest, in front the bound-
243
less lake, and over all the infinite unobstructed sky. One could scarcely
wish for a more pleasant resting-place.

_________________
Brian
http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 7th, 2008, 12:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
Brian,
interesting reading!!
Regarding the gravesites your right on the Sturgeon Weir. On the Grass the cemetery is on river right, on the tip of the long Peninsula. It was also the site of an old Indian Village wich was moved to the present site of Wabowden when the Railway was build.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 8th, 2008, 12:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1948
Location: Manitoba
Thanks for setting the record straight. I recall the peninsula, but thought it was on the left.

Can I assume that you read Douglas' Lands Forlorn? I know your book collection is superior to mine.

_________________
Brian
http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 8th, 2008, 12:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
Brian,
unfortunately I don´t have this book.
Just about reading "The old way north - following the Oberholtzer/Magee expedition". Makes me wish to paddle up there soon!
Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 8th, 2008, 1:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
Posts: 612
Just a reminder that Douglas' "Lands Forlorn " has now been re-issued. Editor Robert Hildebrand has added some of Douglas' original journal entries and sketch maps as well. He did a good job.

Check amazon.ca for price and ordering information.

-jmc


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 9th, 2008, 11:49 am 
Offline

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
Thank´s for the tip, jmc.
Ordered it today!
Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 14th, 2008, 5:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1948
Location: Manitoba
I finished The Old Way North by Pelly last month and wish I was back visiting the Windy Lake area.
See
http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfomhspress.cfm?Product_ID=1701

You'll love Lands Forlorn! Thanks jmc for mentioning the new Zancudo Press edition by Robert Hildebrand.
See
http://www.landsforlorn.com/about.html

_________________
Brian
http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: April 16th, 2012, 12:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: April 13th, 2012, 1:40 pm
Posts: 1
rappi chris we hope to canoe little churchill river & portion of churchill river proper this summer. i'd like to be able to call you & discuss some things that you've expierenced. would you be open to that? leave your phone # if so & i'll call you. my # is 204-822-6485 rick bergmann.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 30 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group