View topic - Tributaries of the Taltson - Part 2

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2016, 12:27 am 
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From the maps, and my wishful thinking, it looked like the route south to Doran from Manchester would mostly involve strolling along eskers. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. The esker was more like a complex of steep, forested gravelly ridges, and portaging involved quite a bit more scouting and scrambling than I had hoped.

Not a smooth gravel highway:

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Still, the country was nice, and perfect campsites always showed up at the end of the day.

First lake south of Manchester:

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Another spacious campsite:

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On the second last lake before Doran, I found the only sign of human use on this stretch - a styrofoam bullet case. I had been told a couple of guys from northern Saskatchewan had a cabin in Doran, and assumed they had dropped this on a winter hunting excursion.

Bullet case:

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After 3 days of pond hopping and 9 portages, I launched in Doran Lake and headed west. Initially I made good time on a hot, humid, very smoky day. Later in the afternoon, however, I had to pull ashore to sit out a wild squall of wind and rain. When it ended, I paddled a couple more kilometers and pulled in to yet another spacious campsite.

Campsite:

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I was glad for the space - it gave me somewhere to walk, while I was windbound here for the next 2 days. I had originally thought that I could continue the route beyond Halliday Lake and finish at Hjalmar Lake, about 40 km further on. After losing 2 days here though, Halliday became my destination of choice.

The third tributary, draining Doran to the west, had looked a little problematic on the satellite photos. But it went pretty well. Some paddling, some wading, some dragging, but fortunately not much portaging.

Good going below Doran:

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Slow going, below Doran:

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Ledge requiring a portage:

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Boulder portage - watch your step:

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At the end of my first day's travel on this stream, my fortunes improved, and a stretch of easy paddling took me to a small lake, where I found another excellent campsite behind a sandy beach.

Easy paddling:

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Campsite:

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The next day's travel brought more rapids, and slow but steady progress down to a good sized lake expansion east of Halliday.

Rapid:

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Last rapid into expansion:

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At this point I was looking forward to easier progress, but a strong NW wind had other ideas. At least the wind blew away the haze of smoke which had turned the world a monochrome gray. It was nice to see some colour in the landscape.

Scenery, in technicolor:

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As I paddled the last section of river into Halliday, I was closely observed by a pair of bald eagles who had a nest in a dead tree on the riverside.

Eagle and nest:

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I had hoped, for no rational reason, that the last rapid into Halliday might be runnable. Alas, the rocks were too close together. It took one final bushwhack portage to reach Halliday's eastern bay.

Rapid:

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Bush:

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With the portage over, things improved. Halliday's eastern bay is an attractive mix of rock and sand.

Halliday Lake:

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I paddled a kilometer west to the trip's second best campsite, a spacious bench with old growth jack pine that had somehow escaped the fire that had swept through further inland.

Campsite:

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I spent the next two days exploring Halliday Lake, looking for the perfect float plane beach for my pickup. I had to settle for pretty good - a little shallow - but my ride arrived on time and we were soon on the way back to Ft. Smith.

Halliday Lake:

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Last camp:

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In Ft. Smith, I exchanged wings for wheels, ready to head south. Float planes are remarkable things: the winged vehicle on the right, with me, the pilot, 400 miles of fuel, all my gear, and the canoe tied on, weighed almost exactly what the compact car on the left weighs empty.

Transportation options:

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Trip summary: 20 days, about 290 km, 29 portages, lots of wading and lining.

Thanks for reading. I'd be glad to answer any questions about the area if anyone is interested.

-jmc


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PostPosted: January 9th, 2016, 12:45 am 
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Joined: December 20th, 2003, 9:27 am
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Once again, great pics and very interesting country. Thanks again!


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PostPosted: January 9th, 2016, 7:58 pm 
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Joined: February 10th, 2008, 4:41 pm
Posts: 327
Thanks for this. Always enjoy your understated and interesting narratives.
A fine antidote to the long winter.
Cheers.
S


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PostPosted: January 10th, 2016, 9:48 pm 
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Joined: August 19th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Once again, great TR JMC! I just love that open sandy rocky taiga with those spacious campsites. Good to see NWAL still flying the 185 with the external loads! Time for me to start planning.....

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PostPosted: January 11th, 2016, 12:23 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1954
Location: Manitoba
Great reading and images.
That Boulder portage as well as the thick bush portaging looks like slow slugging.

Amazing ending facts, vehicle vs floatplane.

The 10% trip distance for portaging is the same ratio from my last taiga trip, albeit your was # of portages not distance.

Time to dream, scheme, and ponder...

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http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


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