View topic - Starting at Pike's Portage

Canadian Canoe Routes

Starting at Pike's Portage
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Jeremy H [ January 11th, 2007, 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Starting at Pike's Portage

I am planning a trip to the mouth of the Back this summer, but I don't have time to paddle Great Slave Lake from Yellowknife. I thought it would be easy to find someone to take us to the east end of GSL from Yellowknife and save at least some of what a plane would cost. I have not been successful so far, however, and was wondering if anyone has any leads. It's a party of six with three canoes. I will be at the WCA symposium in Feb. Thanks.

Author:  jmc [ January 12th, 2007, 6:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Jeremy -

Not sure what sources you have tried yet. Here are some general listings -

The first is the NWT Travel Explorer's Guide listings, the second is the tourist information centre in Yellowknife, the third a sporting goods store in Yellowknife. There is not much promising in the tourism listings themselves, but perhaps if you can speak to people in the offices they might have local knowledge of people who would do such a boat shuttle but are not listed on-line. I thought the sporting goods store might be able to point you to some local kayakers who may have used boat shuttles to reach the east arm.

Years ago, there was an operation in Yellowknife (Sail North, I think) that offered kayak shuttles, but it is no longer in operation. Similarly, I was camped at Pike's Portage in 1986 when an outfitter from Hay RIver brought in a couple of Japanese men bound for Aylmer Lake - they came by boat from Ft. Resolution. However, that outfitter is no longer in the NWT listings. And I suppose you are pretty well committed to Yellowknife if you are flying back there after your trip.

I don't know if these guys do anything but barge freight, but they might know who travels in the east arm:

East Arm Freighting
Address : PO Box 2547 Stn Main, Yellowknife, NT X1A 2P8
Telephone : 867-873-2018
Fax : 867-873-2560
Category : Transport Service, Barges
Directory : Northwest Territories

Not much help, I guess. Good luck in your search. Perhaps post your query on the "information" board at the WCA Symposium in Toronto, and see if anyone there has any information. I will be there as well - it's always a great weekend.



Author:  Paddle Power [ January 15th, 2007, 12:59 pm ]
Post subject: 

Check with Bill at overlander sports in Yellowknife.

Author:  Jeremy H [ January 15th, 2007, 4:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the tips. I've tried the tourist places, and while they were friendly, they couldn't really help me. I did get the lead about East Arm Freighting from, and a few other leads from, but nothing panned out. East Arm Freighting might be willing to take us but they usually don't go till July, and don't schedule a date, and don't necessarily go at all. One fishing guide said he would consider taking us about 60 miles, and even if he did take us the whole way, it would cost about the same as flying. Bill from Overlander Sports is out of town, but Gary, the guy I talked to there didn't sound very encouraging. We would be willing to go as far as the ice up there would allow and then do the rest of the lake in our canoes, but for now it looks like we'll be flying...And since we're flying, we might as well fly into Artillery Lake.

Author:  ghommes [ January 15th, 2007, 6:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

It's too bad you don't have the time to paddle in from Yellowknife; it would take you a bit under two weeks to get to Pike's Portage, if the weather cooperates, and save you folks several thousand bucks in air fare. The big lake is a spectacular paddle. It was our way to the Hanbury/Thelon back in the early 1990's when we were short on cash and long on time.

I'd encourage you to start at Pike's Portage instead of Artillery Lake, if you are flying in. The transition between boreal forest and arctic tundra occurs along the dozen or so lakes of the Pike's Portage route, and the scenery is about as good as it gets. The initial portage is fairly long at 2 3/4 miles, and climbs steadily, but is easy to follow, pretty dry, and very scenic. It's well worth doing this historical section.


Author:  jmc [ January 15th, 2007, 9:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

I would second ghommes' views - I know what Bill Mason said about people who claim to like portaging, but the Pike's Portage route is really a beautiful part of the north and the sense of history along the way is palpable.

Two easier ways to see the trail might be:
1. Fly to Artillery and cache most of your gear - then start on Great Slave with a "one carry" outfit and come up the portage light.
2. Fly in to Harry Lake - first lake in - and camp at the end of the initial 3 mile carry. Explore the trail as a day hike, then continue on to Artillery. None of the following trails are either very long or steep, and they are easily followed.

Sorry none of those suggestions panned out for you.

Best wishes,


Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group