View topic - Great Slave to McVicar Arm of Great Bear?

Canadian Canoe Routes

Great Slave to McVicar Arm of Great Bear?
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Author:  ffdjm [ July 13th, 2009, 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Great Slave to McVicar Arm of Great Bear?

Somewhere I read that one of the traditional native routes between the lakes ended at McVicar Arm. There was no more information there but all routes in that area interest me. After a lot of looking at maps I think I know where it went ...

Up the Marian River.
Up the Riviere La Martre and across Lac La Martre.
Up the Riviere Grandin and across Lac Grandin.
Continue up the Riviere Grandin through more lakes to Etna Lake.
From the west end of Etna Lake portage west along a series of lakes.
Google satellite pictures shows this area well. Looks like there are four portages and the longest is 1-1/2 km. The rest are short. The string of narrow lakes turns into a creek which flows west and hits the Johnny Hoe River. The map suggests an easy ride.
Down the Johnny Hoe a short distance (10 km) to Great Bear Lake.

The route looks doable but time consuming. I was going to make it the first leg of a loop trip from Fort Rae to Bear Lake and back via the Camsell-Marian but I don't have time this year.



Author:  jmc [ July 24th, 2009, 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Great Slave to McVicar Arm of Great Bear?

Hi Douglas –

When I thought about the possibility of a La Marte – Grandin – Johnny Hoe route, I always had the idea of making the connection by portaging west from Grandin Lake via some smaller lakes (including Tonggot) to reach Lac Tache and descending the Johnny Hoe from there.

This would decrease the size of the “hill” that would have to be climbed to make the connection. Lac la Marte is about 265 metres ASL, Grandin about 329 (and Tache 314), and Etna 360. So crossing at Grandin would mean a significantly reduced climb compared with continuing to Etna.

The part that always concerned me was the climb from La Marte to Grandin. I know there was an established canoe route from Rae to La Marte (with the one long, 5km portage at the big falls) but don’t know if the Grandin River had been used as a canoe route.

Maps show several rapids between La Marte and Grandin: they are also visible on the excellent Google map photos you mention. I estimate that La Marte to Grandin is about 60km – implying an average gradient of about 5.6 feet to the mile for that stretch. A steady current in that sedimentary rock formation could make that a long slow paddle uphill.

I will ask my friends in Yellowknife if their contacts in Rae or Wha Ti have any information regarding this route – i.e. whether it ever was a route. If they come up with anything, I’ll send you a note.



Author:  Duende [ April 17th, 2016, 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Great Slave to McVicar Arm of Great Bear?

My partner and I are planning to paddle this route in 2016. We will go up the route described by JMC. Up the Grandin will certainly be the slowest part of the trip. The height of land looks quite reasonable and the Johnny Hoe only has marked rapids in the upper sections, though it looks like two canyon-like sections with numerous rapids that might each require a long portage. The fish in Lac Ste Therese, near Great Bear, have the highest mercury levels of any fish tested in the NWT though, so I think we'll skip the fishing in the lower Johnny Hoe. For sure this route looks much easier then the Etna Lake route.

Author:  ffdjm [ April 19th, 2016, 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Great Slave to McVicar Arm of Great Bear?

Several years ago I explored a short distance (1 km) up the Riviere Grandin. It flowed smoothly over gravel. I could get up it without excessively vigorous paddling. After plotting a route west from Lac Grandin through Tonggot Lake to Lac Tache I concluded the 8+ portages were doable and this was the route of choice.

I made a map of my best route from Lac Grandin to Lac Tache. Far too big to show here but if you like I will email a copy to you.


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