View topic - up the creek - what's your approximation on distance/day?

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PostPosted: January 19th, 2020, 10:08 am 
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Hi there,

all those who have gone upstream solo: can you share an approximation on the distance one could be looking at? solo! And to make it more specific. Lets choose the Mackenzie River and/or the Coppermine. How much time would I want to take into account for each 100 KMs - UP!


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PostPosted: January 19th, 2020, 2:34 pm 
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Too many variables for me to even hazard a guess. Sorry.


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PostPosted: January 19th, 2020, 4:11 pm 
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So let's say you can paddle 5 km/hour solo. Now add on a five km/hr. current coming your way and figure out where that puts you!

Check out the Canoe North website; it looks like a goldmine of info on Mackenzie River paddling. Here is one comment it makes about water current on the Mackenzie -

Quote:
There is a good current going through Ft. Providence and then there is little current until the river narrows after Mills Lake. You will then have good current until you hit the delta and then it will slow again.  The current varies with the water levels. So you would expect the flows to be quicker in June than in August.


http://www.canoenorth.ca/content/self-g ... er-deh-cho

The Yukon is not the Mackenzie and we went with the flow instead of against it. We did the 760-km. trip in 10 easy days; the average current speed was about 5 or 6 km/hr. I am glad we were going down to Dawson from Whitehorse!

Maybe you should just go with the flow on the Mackenzie too!

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PostPosted: January 19th, 2020, 11:20 pm 
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It would depend greatly on the character of the river - pool and drop or steady current. Regarding your example rivers, I note that Adam Shoalts, on his solo trip recounted in "Beyond the Trees", traveled up the Mackenzie from Tsigetchic to the Great Bear river, and then up the Coppermine from the Kendall to Rocknest Lake. You might review his writings to see what kind of pace he made.

jmc


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PostPosted: January 21st, 2020, 7:46 am 
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Read Adam Shoalts book "Beyond the Trees". I think it will answer most of your questions and give you a great idea on both rivers going upstream.


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2020, 12:18 pm 
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To compare, the South Saskatchewan River during canoe season usually flows at a rate between 150 and 600 cubic meters per second. I travel solo on this river a minimum of 10 times every year in varying locations. This means I have to park and push off heading upstream, then return to the vehicle heading downstream. My experience is as follows. If I paddle for 4-5 hours upstream (around 11km), I would end up paddling 1.5 hours downstream. This is pretty much true all the time for me. I hug the banks (and paddle continuously and at a faster rate where the flow is slower) going upstream. Later I shoot down the middle on the way downstream, although, of importance is that I'm not paddling hard to get back. It's more of a leisure trip and I'll practice paddle maneuvers to make the return more enjoyable. I have it in my head a rough 3:1 time ratio of upstream to downstream.

How does your experience compare going up vs downstream? My measure helps me figure out distance/day with fair accuracy on that river.

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PostPosted: January 27th, 2020, 10:46 am 
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Thanks for the input - from all (that's Daniel Odd Job too :wink: ).

Surely this will not yield into any scientific number. But an educated guess is just as good to me. And where would I find such if not on myccr?

I like true_north's simple equation. 5 minus 5 = zero = not getting anywhere. It was initially the Shoalts story on TV that got me here. My own solo experience (meager "up the creek") brings me to the number of 10 KM per day (dragging, wading and some frantic paddling – kayak-style) in an equally clumsy canoe as Shoalts' 15 ft. Nova Craft Prospector. And with that number the entire thing – 4000 KMs across two height's of land in 4 month, solo – did just not make sense. That’s why I am asking; to see how wrong and how slow I am.

I found a few numbers provided by Eric Morse: “daily mileages under these conditions”:
fast downstream, no portaging = 35,50 miles
downstream with portaging = 15-25 miles
upstream with rapids = 5-15 miles
big lakes over 10 miles long = 15 miles
But Morse was talking “groups”: 6 people, 2 people per canoe, not solo. And if I know one thing: solo makes a big difference. Up to the point where I would consider things are not feasible anymore (solo) whereas a good tandem is still moving.

Now if I were to take Riverrider’s 11 KMs in 4-5 hours (no cargo?, sleek canoe?, day-trip) I would come to 22 KM per day for 9hrs on the water - up. And let’s take the 10 miles from Eric Morse (for going solo this does not appear unreasonable), that’s 16 KMs per day. So 22 and 16 KMs per day would make 19 KMs as a median.

19KM/day (on average) for 1200 KMs (as I recall Shoalts) of upstream travel – that’s more than 2 month without any layover days for wind or rest or whatever. More than half of the total time indicated by Shoalts. With still 2800 KMs to go. And I personally think 19 KM is already a lot – solo, upstream, on average, incl. portage days where the KMs should dwindle to small single digits(?)

In short: I don t know what to think about this. Shoalts’ website is regrettably not really providing many details.

May be someone else can comment on those 19 KMs per day upstream and on the credibility of Shoalts in general.


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PostPosted: January 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm 
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Sorry loonie, wasn't trying to be gruff.
Something I haven't noticed mentioned but may be relevant. Seems to me that wider hulls such as Prospectors seem to float stationary on a reasonably quick current. Quite a bit of effort is required to get them moving forward from this position, but by some quirk of physics I don't yet understand, once a bit of forward inertia is in force it seems that glide overcomes current and the effect of the current on the hull decreases. In a four knot current I can make 3 knots forward, for a 'combined-speed' of 7 knots. A speed which I couldn't possibly make on flatwater.
If I'm off-base on this, or someone could explain why it happens, I'd sure appreciate it.


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PostPosted: January 29th, 2020, 5:07 pm 
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"And to make it more specific. Lets choose the Mackenzie River and/or the Coppermine."

if you are really thinking of paddling up the Coppermine, the short answer is the rest of your life - cuz you'r gonna die! or maybe "no way in hell" is another good estimate. way too many big rapids without portages - you'd dpend weeks lining up around them (if you even can)

Mackenzie, from the parts of it I've seen, runs about 3 mph, so if you can sustain 4mph, you'd be making about 1mph. lots depends on the wind - if its blowing downriver you would be going against both the current and the wind. heavier the boat is, the lower it sits in the water, the more force the current will have on it. Don't forget that going solo, you get no breaks, no momentum, you have to work for every yard. And fatigue is cumulative, so you won't be making the same speed on day 5 as you did on day 1.


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PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 2:25 am 
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Matt, thanks for confirming my doubts. I also think it is pretty much impossible – for sure(?) solo.

I went down the Little Bell, Bell and Porcupine Rivers, down from the Richardson Mountains and I cannot really figure how a single person would go UP in a reasonable amount of time. Same with the Mackenzie: I came down the Yukon once (from Johnsons Crossing to Dawson) and I think both rivers are pretty much of the same magnitude. But UP, SOLO, the Yukon or Mackenzie? And I have not even looked in any detail at going UP Great Bear River (to reach Great Bear Lake) or the Dease to reach the Dismal Lakes. I also went down the Coppermine (from Point Lake, in a low water year) and cannot really imagine anyone going up – single-handedly. Plus: there would be still the part UP the upper Coppermine to Lac de Gras, to Jolly Lake. Now each of the above would be, to me, already a major accomplishment. But all of them, combined, one after the other, in one season, in 4 month???

But – maybe we are both wrong!
What, if we are dealing with the “greatest living explorer”? https://adamshoalts.com/canadian-geogra ... xplorers/; Canada’s Indiana Jones? https://adamshoalts.com/about/bio/. Could he accomplish such herculean feats?

I know there are a few die-hard solo canoeists in this community. I know about a few impressive feats of endurance “up the creek” from their reports. More than often they barely mention it, they just go. I wish someone would speak up, may be Shoalts himself, to shed some light on how to make such solo-trips possible. Details about the daily schedule, or alike.

Or are we seeing yet another conman?


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PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 6:34 am 
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Well, going upstream on wilderness rivers was pretty much as common as going downstream back in the day. However, canoeists were very skilled in the use of poling. If you want to make good upstream time, the pole is pretty much a necessity.

As far as paddling upstream, day after day, well, you will become the modern day Sisyphus, unless you are a dedicated masochist, and enjoy that sort of torture.


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PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 11:18 am 
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Sure RHaslam – in the old days they went just zig-zag anywhere, when it was necessary. But also solo?? Apart from let’s say the one or other exception like Hornby – who else? To my knowledge in the old days a good team of “wheel-dogs”, aka first nations, kept the expedition going (please correct me).

So you think poling up the Mackenzie and Coppermine would work?? How many KMs a day can you make that way?


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PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 2:40 pm 
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Don't know, I'm not familiar with those rivers, if it would even be possible. However, poling was not the exception, it was the rule for experienced bush travellers, both Indigenous and old timey trappers, prospectors, etc. Solo poling was indeed very common. Someone from Maine might be able to show links or sumpin, but I remember reading about one Maine guide who poled a piano up a set of rapids.

I think it is a mistake to limit distances travelled by grunt work back in the day to our modern thoughts about hard work. For instance, I read a mining survey that met a group of Anishnawbe Sturgeon fisherman on the Ogoki River. Very early 1900's. They said it would take them 6 days to get back to Longlac. So I pieced the route together...about 150 kilometers was upstream, the entire trip was close to 300k. So that's an average of 50 k a day, with several long ports. I'm guessing the upstream travel didn't slow them down too much.

I would say an accomplished poler could probably travel upstream a pretty good distance in a day.


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2020, 3:37 pm 
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I think it would totally depend on the river. Some, I wouldn't even try, but some are almost as fast going upstream. I do a lot of drop and pool type travel on small and medium sized rivers. You are jumping around to eddies a lot, and often hugging the bank for dead water, bouncing from one bank to the other. The only real time losses are the rapids you can run one way and have to portage the other.

I've never been on the Mackenzie or the Coppermine, but I've gone upstream on the Churchill a few times, and hated it every time, so it may be a problem with bigger rivers (?). You can't just jump across a current to the far bank to find a dead run if it's too big, I suppose.


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2020, 10:40 am 
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Mattt wrote:
" lots depends on the wind - if its blowing downriver you would be going against both the current and the wind. heavier the boat is, the lower it sits in the water, the more force the current will have on it. Don't forget that going solo, you get no breaks, no momentum, you have to work for every yard. And fatigue is cumulative, so you won't be making the same speed on day 5 as you did on day 1.


Wind speed and direction absolutely add to the equation. Paddling or eddy hopping your way upstream with no wind, or a tail wind, is one condition. Doing so against a stiff headwind is another.

Or even in the other direction. I was blown upstream in a river narrows against significant current; stopped paddling to wait for a friend having problems of his own, blew upstream backwards when I stopped paddling. Found a better place to wait.


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