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 Post subject: Remote kayak/canoe trip
PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 8:59 am 
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I've just joined this forum and this is my first post, so hello to all of the members! This site seems exactly what I need for some advise regarding canoeing/kayaking in Canada.

I want to organise a trip for either this year or next for a 1 or 2 week kayaking/canoeing trip down a river in Canada. Canada is a very big place so first of all I need to find a river where I can do a one or two week trip. It would be great if it is remote as I don't want to go on a big organised tour. Have any of you done something like this before and can you recommend any scenic, remote rivers? Any tips would be very much appreciated!

Thanks

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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 9:09 am 
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Hi there,

Did you have a specific province in mind? There are literally thousands of possibilities nationwide that would fit your criteria, so narrowing it down somewhat as to the region of Canada you were looking at would help. Which province would you be driving or flying in to?

You can also take a look at the routes section on the site for a list of possibilities.


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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 9:54 am 
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So few details :tsk:

We need to know at least....

Point of arrival in Canada
Number of days available
Number of paddlers
Previous experience (flatwater / whitewater)
Do you need to rent boats
Do you need to rent gear
How rich or poor are you
Looking for primarily whitewater or flatwater
Degree of difficulty (looking for nice and easy or a tough adventure)

Probably other things as well but these will help to narrow down the choices a little.

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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 10:07 am 
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Craveman, Welcome

run through recep's questions and then we can narrow down what your needs and desires are.

I'll add another question....define Scenic for me
you looking for rock outcrops in a pine forrest or the vastness of tundra where you can feel your place in your bones, are you looking for the beauty of water dropping away and the constant music that permeates your sences and resets your own rythym.....

how fit are you and what level of effort do you want to do each day?

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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 11:17 am 
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Gail R wrote:
the beauty of water dropping away and the constant music that permeates your sences and resets your own rythym.....



:clap: :clap: :clap:

It's like you were possessed by the ghost of Walt Whitman!


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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 4:54 pm 
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Guess I need to give some more info then :D

Point of arrival in Canada: Somewhere along the East Coast of Canada and from there I'm travelling to the west coast on a bit of a road trip. I would like to opt for a trip based on recommendations. I don't mind flying to a remote spot and starting from there so hopefully you will have more of an idea of what I'm looking for after you've seen the rest of my post.

Number of days available: 2 weeks

Number of paddlers: 1. I would love to do the trip solo.

Previous experience (flatwater / whitewater): 2 week sea kayak fishing trip in Alaska and some weekend canoeing on river trips.

Do you need to rent boats: Yes, one kayak/canoe.

Do you need to rent gear: Some. I've got my own tent, sleeping bag, gas stove and cutlery.

How rich or poor are you: I'm would say average although I'm doing a year round the world trip so will be on a budget.

Looking for primarily whitewater or flatwater: Flatwater mostly but I don't mind some white.

Degree of difficulty (looking for nice and easy or a tough adventure): Mostly calm river(s)

Probably other things as well but these will help to narrow down the choices a little.

@ Gail R: I love the poetry :D

So, my definition of scenic would be a river running through a forest/wilderness with lots of wildlife and good fishing.

I'm a fairly fit 33yr old and I go to the gym quite often, so I wouldn't mind covering fairly vast distances in a day (as long as there is some time for some fishing along the way!)

To try and recap: I want to do a 2 week kayaking/canoeing trip down a scenic river through a forest with good fishing. I need to hire a kayak/canoe and some equipment. I want to camp on the riverbank during the nights.

Hopefully this will help to clear a few things up. Thanks for all the replies so far. Any tips and info would be appreciated! :)

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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 5:24 pm 
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Based on that then, I suppose you could just about throw a dart at a map and head there.

Others will suggest other areas for you, but I'll get the ball rolling with my own biased suggestion. You could consider coming to Saskatchewan and doing your trip here. Known for it's prairie wheat fields of the southern half, it's a well-kept secret that the majority of the province is forests, lakes, rivers & rocks. The northern portion has very few people, and many fish distributed over 100,000 lakes. Located in the heart of Saskatchewan's paddling country on the Churchill River is one of this country's premiere outfitters, Churchill River Canoe Outfitters. From them you can rent anything you need, and get some of the best local advice available. They will also help you out with shuttles and I expect they are very familiar with helping customers form around the world. Saskatchewan has a low population and most of those don't venture very far to the north. You can easily spend a couple of weeks here and not see another person if you pick your spot right, though in most places you would stand a chance of running into a couple of canoe groups.

The Churchill River itself is a great whitewater destination, but there are other areas that are flatwater. The Churchill is a pool & drop system and is really a chain of lakes connected by short rapids, most of which can be portaged around. So, even if you are not looking for whitewater, the Saskatchewan portion of the Churchill might be a good consideration. It is almost all crown land and one can camp almost anywhere along it's length where you can find a suitable spot. Voyageurs have been using some of these spots for hundreds of years, and natives much longer than that. It was once one of the major highways across this country and it is thick with history and features many pictograph sites along the way. There are no camping fees and other than a fishing licence, few or no regulations. On the other hand, you must be quite self sufficient and able to take care of yourself.

Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 11:01 pm 
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depending on what you mean by budget, you have a lot of options. At the lower end of the cost side and remember higher cost does not necessarily mean better trip quailty pawistik's suggestion about the Churchill and the use of a quality outfitteris a really good one.
If it means you can afford a modest cost for float plane charters, a lot of other trips are available. For instance I do a solo trip on the Clearwater river in Saskatchewan and Alberta out of Fort McMurray every year.
if you can afford 6 or 7k$ a lot of really interesting trips open up. The Thelon from the Hanbury to Beverly lake is basicly flat water and fantasic.
More importantly on any of these trips you will need really good wildeness skills and judgement. You will not be able to count on anyone being around if things go wrong.
Poke around the routes and the threads on this web site, it will provide a huge amount of information to help make some choices

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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 11:57 pm 
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Quote:
For instance I do a solo trip on the Clearwater river in Saskatchewan and Alberta out of Fort McMurray every year.


I've never done it but the Clearwater does fit your parameters almost perfectly, I would urge you to have a serious look at that one.

The one thing that is hard to quantify if "scenic", if you want in your face mindblowing stuff then perhaps one of the easier access river in the Yukon or NWT. The Clearwater and many of the suitable eastern rivers will be a bit more subtle but also easily described as scenic.

Here are a few links worth looking at

http://www.chrs.ca/Rivers/Clearwater/Clearwater_e.htm

http://www.greatcanadianrivers.com/rive ... -home.html

http://darinzandee.wildrec.net/Clearwater.htm

http://www.clearwatercanoeing.ca/about.html

http://www.borealiscanoe.ca/files/Trave ... rwater.pdf

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2010, 9:21 am 
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The Clearwater is likely to be too difficult for someone whos only experience is:

Quote:
2 week sea kayak fishing trip in Alaska and some weekend canoeing on river trips


On the Clearwater, the risks of mishaps would be quite high for such an inexperienced paddler, particularly if he is paddling on his own.

I agree with Pawistik that the Churchill River with its pool and drop character, generally well defined portages, and excellent fishing would make a suitable destination.

regards
dave

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2010, 3:03 pm 
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Thanks yet again for the replies so far. I will have a look into both Clearwater and Churchill rivers. If you all reckon that Clearwater would be too difficult/dangerous for me then I guess I might opt for Churchill.

Is Churchill fairly remote and can it offer 2 weeks of canoeing? Also, what is the cost per mile/per hour for a plane these days and what is the average cost for renting a canoe?

Because I'm doing the trip solo one of the biggest problems I will have is to get the canoe/kayak back to where I rented it from. Seems like the best option then would be to get a plane to drop me off somewhere and then I'll return it on the last day. Unless any of you know if there are any companies that have different branches so one don't have to return the canoe to the same one?

Thanks
Le Roux

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2010, 3:51 pm 
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Le Roux,
One can spend 5 weeks or more paddling the Churchill, it's just a matter of how far you want to go and where you start. Talk to Ric at CRCO for more ideas and to get more specific about what you need and want. Regarding shuttles, there are options for vehicle or plane shuttles out of Missinipe (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=55.61908,-104.69627&z=11&t=T), the location of the aforementioned outfitter. They can arrange for a charter plane for you through Osprey Wings, or they can drive a shuttle for you (using your vehicle or theirs). As a solo traveller, you can take a relatively small airplane. Perhaps there will be the opportunity to piggy-back on someone else's drop-off or pick-up.

How are you at managing a canoe solo in the wind? That might affect your trip quite a bit, even the best paddler will plan for a few days wind-bound. If your skills are lesser, plan to travel a little shorter and allow for more than average wind-bound days.

Be very realistic about your skills. As others have mentioned, there are very vast and remote areas on a trip like this and even if a search were launched promptly, it could take days to find you. Perhaps start your trip off with a wilderness tripping course through an outfitter if your skills are rusty - you would learn A LOT about the local area and tripping style while honing skills at the same time.

Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2010, 4:02 pm 
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Craveman wrote:
Also, what is the cost per mile/per hour for a plane these days and what is the average cost for renting a canoe?


Last year I was quoted a price of $5.50 per mile, plus fuel surcharge of $3.50 per mile, plus a canoe tie-on charge of $120.

Those prices were for a Beaver out of Points North Landing, quite a bit farther north and therefore at a higher cost than the same plane flying out of Missinipe. Costs for a plane out of Missinipe SHOULD be less.

CRCO lists their equipment rental rates at http://www.churchillrivercanoe.com/equipment_rentals.htm.

Bryan

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2010, 9:52 pm 
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Icebreaker said
Quote:
On the Clearwater, the risks of mishaps would be quite high for such an inexperienced paddler, particularly if he is paddling on his own.

Depending on where you start and judgement I agree, the risks could be quite high. I get dropped off at the bottom of Contact rapids and putter along home. From there the portages are obvious and if you are in no rush you can burn up two weeks easily. The hiking around Contact is good, you can spend a day hiking up to th height of land on the Methye portage, and spend a day or two snooping around for Eddie Engstrom's silver mine. The key points are look at the amazing number of paddling options this country offers and play safe.

A friend and I did all of the Clearwater this past summer from Koop lake to Fort Mcmurray. A great trip.

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PostPosted: March 4th, 2010, 1:19 am 
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I see the problem here, OP mentions river and I get fixated 'cause river trips is all I do.

Looking at single river trips there are not a lot that fit the bill because modest access cost, available outfitting, remoteness, wildlife & fishing are hard to find especially if you equate remoteness with very few people. The ones that are out there tend to be Clearwater level or mostly higher.

If you want a trip of two weeks that requires modest paddling skills it's probably better to look for something other than a single river trip. Especially if the the remoteness factor is a priority. It also opens up many more possibilities with all sorts of options.

Wabakimi in northwestern Ontario or La Verendrye in Quebec would be two areas to look into. Quetico perhaps or Temagami second choices perhaps due to "overcrowding". I'd really have to defer on any more as these areas are outside my scope.

For "easier" river trips of the right length, Missinaibi from Missinaibi Station to Mattice or Coulonge from Hwy 117 (Lac Au Barrage) to Fort Coulonge. Problem with these is that you won't get the "remote" aspect too much and the wildlife/fishing may be limited.

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