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Thread: Wilderness paddling in Canada

  1. #1

    Default Wilderness paddling in Canada

    Anyone got any experiences of this or advice on where to go and which companies to go with - or having arranged it all themselves ?

    Thanks,

    andy.

  2. #2
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    Default Wilderness Paddling Canada

    Hi Andy,

    First of all I think you need to think about a few questions.

    Why do you want to go, what do you want to achieve?
    What is your current experience, both paddling and wilderness skills, it could be a couple of days before you see your group if you cock-up in a canyon?
    Have you the experience/time to organise a trip?
    Do you really have the time before you want to go, i.e. do you want to go this year?
    Is it a solo trip or do you have friends?
    Wilderness lake or river?
    The rivers are big compared to most British rivers. It is quite daunting to see logs ripping past at 30/40kmh and thats on flat water.

    Do it you will love it!!

    Sorry for the questions, but the answers are to broad.

    PB

  3. #3

    Default

    I'd planned something similar but its on hold just now while I save more pennies. I was looking for a wilderness trip of 8-14 nights and had looked at Temagami & Algonquin parks and Spanish River in Ontario. I settled on Temagami after lots of advice from the good folk on myccr.com and this outfitter http://www.icanoe.ca/

    more info on Temagami at http://www.ottertooth.com/tem_index.htm

    there are plenty of folk who do guided trips but I was looking at self guided. also considered the Yukon but much more expensive to get to - decided if could would do the Big Salmon river to Dawson route with http://www.upnorth.yk.ca/Default.asp...isModule=False.

    see http://www.yukonwild.com/maps/index.php for more info

    hope thats enough to set you thinking, havent used any of these companies or gone to any of these areas but hopefully my research can be of some use to you, deoends on what sort of trip your after I suppose.

    black feather looked good for the guided trips but way too expensive for my wallet see http://www.blackfeather.com/canoe/canoe_mountriver.htm

  4. #4
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    Default

    Here is another one seems to have some good links

    >> http://wildernesscanoe.ca/index.htm

    MickT
    It'll be right, trust me, I'm a Yorkshireman.



    ::>>> I'd rather be lucky, than good.

  5. #5

    Default Thanks

    Thanks, guys - I think I need to answer Paul's questions for myself first, which needs me to twist a few people's arms and save up some more pennies, as aquanaut says...

  6. #6
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    Default

    I would recomend Woods Caribou Provincial Park with Gold Seekers in Red Lake, Ontario as an outfitter.

    Rogalinski, Albert (goldseekers) [Edit]
    paddlin@goldseekers.net

    Very pleasent people to deal with and good rates.

    PG

  7. #7

    Default Paddling In Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by andywalker
    Anyone got any experiences of this or advice on where to go and which companies to go with - or having arranged it all themselves ?

    Thanks,

    andy.
    Andy

    you may want to look at our pictures from our trips abroad www.canoepaddler.me.uk . We've been to Canada paddling twice, also to Minnesota and the Everglades. The pics should give you some idea of what it can be like. The biggest issue is realising that you are just a very insignificant part of a huge ecosystem. If you can cope with that you should have no problem putting together a self guided trip. email if you would like more details on outfitters. Also recommend you look at www.myccr.com for lots of info. We are going over to Woodland Caribou Park at the end of August again this year. Probaly need to look at £800 to £1000 per person

    Chris

    Chris
    "All right" said Eeyore "We're going. Only don't blame me"

    www.canoepaddler.me.uk

  8. #8
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    Default Paddle in Canada

    If anyone wants to go for a wilderness trip in Canada but doesn't want to spend a fortune through the travel agents, my spouse and I spend several weeks out on the water every summer and fall and love to take people along every year. We trip on the St.Croix waterway, a Canadian heritage river that consists of about forty miles of lakes and another forty or fifty miles of river.
    The waterway is great for learning tripping and expedition skills as you get a chance to use up most of your supplies on the lakes section and are then well practiced for the swift water that is mostly class I and II with a short class III rapid called “little falls” that is portaged by the less adventurous. Even the less experienced can enjoy this trip with frequent stops to scout the rapids. The average time to complete the trip is 7-10 days but you can double that if you want to take your time and you could be gone for months if you wanted to explore all the lakes fully. We also spend as many weekends up here as possible.
    If anyone ever wants to fly over, with enough prior notice we can arrange to pick you up and go on a trip. Lots of notice is necessary though for us to prepare, the thing that surprised my family from the UK is the massive size of Canada. It is a three hour drive from the airport to our home and another two and a half hours to the river. It takes several days to drive across the whole country, just imagine driving from London to Beirut Lebanon. Even the small river that we trip on is the equivalent to paddling from Windsor to the mouth of the Thames, and the St Croix is just a small watershed!
    We are always happy to show what we have learned about outdoor living, canoe tripping, and a bit of Bushcraft and love to meet new people.

    Spednic Lake


    Little Falls, St. Croix River

  9. #9
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    Default The Nahanni river.

    Hello,

    First a quick introduction as this is my first post to the board. I'm Canadian, and make my home in Alberta. I do travel to the UK on occasion due to work an tripped over the site looking for canoeing information in the UK.

    As to a suggestion for a great wilderness trip:

    First check out www.trailcafe.com/canoeing The canoeing section of my website. Therein you'll find a report on the Nahanni trip that two friends and I did this summer (un guided). This is a trip I'm willing to recommend to somewone that already has to incure the cost of flying to Canada anyways.

    To try and answer your question with a shotgun apporach:

    Get to Ft. Simpson in the North West Territories. We flew First Air from Edmonton Alberta.

    In Ft. Simpson, you can load up on supplies, including canoe rentals. I think we rented from Blackfeather... but my buddy set that part up. Actually we had a localcompany set it up, but end of the day, they got the rentals from Blackfeather.

    Fly from Ft. Simpson to your choice of put in. WE flew directly to the Viginia falls campsite. We booked with Simpson air over the internet/telephone and had no no problems. The airmport is 17km from the town, there is a direct line at the airport to simpson air... when we called they came and picked us up. Note Simpson Air uses a float plane, and flies off the Mackenzie river right from town, not from the airport.

    In Ft. Simpson you can purchase most if not all of your comsumables. Food (although bring some dried food I do not recall seeing that there), white gas for camps stoves, bear spray, bangers, etc. When you arange the canoes, I think you can have some items picked up for you. We had stove gas pre-bought, an flew in all other items with our luggage. (we did not take bear spray or bangers which are not permitted on the flights). In any event it is worth having a few hours lay over in Ft. Simpson to stock up... I'm not sure what time the store closes, but suspect it is quite early (like 5:50?)

    Speaking of bears... we did not see any, lots of fresh tracks though. One group we leapfrogged over saw 5 bears, including one that was walking throuh our camp whilst we were out on a hike.

    Mosquitoes are a real threat.

    The water is "Rocky Mountain Cold", which to to say Freak'in cold, even in the summer. Take or arange ot rent a wet/dry suit...

    I must stress the river was low when we went through, and we did not any real issues with rapids. We are all experinced mountain canoests though. Please ensure your skills are up to the task. We did have Class III wave trains in the rapids, the odd small whirlpool, and a few strong eddie lines. Rocks were not a real issue, but they are there in places. Talking to one of the guides in another group we shared a campsite with, she had run down earlier in very high water... the description sounded "extream" as in extreamly terrifying 10-12ft waves in the spot where I have a picture below. When we went it was very pleasant, although a bit on the wet side. I Live in a dry sunny part of alberta, anyone from the UK, may not share the 'its wet' perception.

    10 Days was a nice easy pace with a couple off river days.

    You are required to sign in for the trip at Ft. Simpson, and at the warden cabin at virgina Falls. The sign out when you are done at Ft. Simpson (A phone call will do). Don't forget, it's expensive to pay for a search and rescue, especially when your back home telling your friends what a great time you had( ,and about the mosquitoes).

    In fact we had to book a 'spot' on the river... do so early, as they limit the number of people that go on the river (It's a national wildlife park). I think we booked in January for Aug. We had no troubles, and actually ended up being the only ones booked to enter the park that day.

    Weather... well it is northern Canada, could be +30C in the day, but could be much cooler. In Aug, we had days in the 20's, and days in the low teens (with rain). Nights were cooler, but I don't think it got below freezing while we were there (but it would not be unusual any time of year)

    As stated earlier, we went unguided, and can not really recommend any guide companies. But search on Nahanni.. there are several.

    If you do go, plan to get on the water early, and set up camp prior to sunset... after that the mosquitoes come out. I'm told the mosquitoes are better after June.

    there is a book on this river, by Neil Harting... worth buying. Although the river flooded recently and changes a bit. Especially figure eight rapid. When we registered, parks Canada sent a respectiable, and concise river pamphlet.


    Which ever destination you choose, I hope you enjoy it. The link I provided has some linkes to other canoe trip reports in Alberta. None of which I'd really recommend for a Wilderness destination. However, my definition of wilderness may be a bit different than someone from the UK. When they built the Nahanni national park, which is over 100km long, I think they had to evict one person. So by wilderness, there is one road and that is the river. Only access is by air or boat, until you get to the small town of Nahanni Butte (day 9 for us)

    Once campsite had outhouses... the other had relativly easy digging for cat holes.

    A few pics from this August on the river.

    one of the pics going trough painted canyon (after the falls). Along with one of the rapids. :


    A picture of the rapids above the falls, note the people on the rock. Taken around midnight:

    And a picture of the Virgina Falls, The falls are about the height of Niagira(sp?). We are about 1/2 a mile away from them in the pic:



    Hope that is helpful,

    Myrl.

    P.S. great site here... I was wondering if there was some 'open canadian' style canoeing to be had in the UK, and how to arange it. I wish I'd seen this prior to this summer, when I spend better than 2months over in Wales and England during 3 seperate work trips.


    Last edited by Myrlin; 12th-January-2007 at 05:50 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Hi Myrlin,

    Great site you have, in fact on the basis of your Nahanni trip report, I'm in the throes of persuading my climbing buddy that we really ought to check out wildnerness canoe tripping in Canada! Just need a pass out from the wives for a couple of weeks, unless they also come and we do a much bigger trip en famille...

    Cheers, keep posting!

  11. #11
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    Default Climbing in the Nahanni

    If you want to climb in the Nahanni region, do a search on "Cirque of the Unclimbables", if I recall right it is a few days upstream from where we set in. I've not been. The've been climbed, contrary to what their name implies.

  12. #12
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    [quote=andywalker;2410]Anyone got any experiences of this or advice on where to go and which companies to go with - or having arranged it all themselves ?

    Thanks,

    The Yukon river Whitehorse to Dawson is a great trip

    Easy paddleing and Good supplies at Whithorse and about five days in at Carmac's.
    Thank you

    John O'Connell
    -------------------------------------
    O C Outdoor
    Web page www.occuk.co.uk/outdoor
    --------------------------------------

  13. #13
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    It's hard to guess what you're looking for, and all of the suggestions sound quite nice.

    One of the simplest and cheapest options would be Algonquin Provincial Park. It's over 7,000 sq. km. and is only about 3.5 hours drive north of the airport, which is in Toronto. There are several good outfitters located on the edge of the park that can rent anything you need.

    Algonquin can get "busy" during July and August, but if you travel over a couple of longer portages to the interior lakes you'll leave most everyone behind ("busy" is relative, to me it means seeing more than 5 or 6 people at once).

    Last October we took a five-day trip to the Barron River Canyon in Algonquin Park. In the summer this is one of the most popular destinations but by October it can get quite cold and when we arrived there was virtually no one there. The temperature went down to freezing the first night but we lucked out and it warmed up for the rest of the trip. I took this photo on St. Andrews Lake just after dawn:



    After that we packed up and portaged across to the Barron River, then paddled down the canyon:

  14. #14

    Default

    I live in Ontario and have paddled in a lot of places throughout Canada. Be happy to answer questions. The options here are almost endless and I certainly haven't completed my list of "must do" destinations. One of the chief criteria I use is would I go back for a second time. Might be a good question to ask when you're corresponding.

  15. #15
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    WhyAyeMan
    One day I would love to take you up on your most generous offer, it's the sort of trip I dream of. But it will have to wait a wee while.
    many thank's Lloyd
    Harry
    Guy Fawkes
    The only man to enter parliament with honest intentions

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry View Post
    WhyAyeMan
    One day I would love to take you up on your most generous offer, it's the sort of trip I dream of. But it will have to wait a wee while.
    many thank's Lloyd
    Harry
    Take a look at the no frills air fare to Halifax International from Gatwick
    http://www.canadianaffair.com/

    May is a good time of year to fly

    OUTBOUND FLIGHTS : London Gatwick to Halifax

    instant purchase GBP 34.50 standard fare GBP 79.50 Thu 10 May 2007 15:00 17:45 Non-Stop Boeing B757
    instant purchase GBP 84.50 standard fare GBP 94.50 Thu 17 May 2007 15:00 17:45 Non-Stop Boeing B757


    RETURN FLIGHTS : Halifax to London Gatwick

    instant purchase GBP 92.50 standard fare GBP 102.50 Thu 24 May 2007 19:45 05:45 Non-Stop Boeing B757
    instant purchase GBP 102.50 standard fare GBP 112.50Thu 31 May 2007 19:45 05:45 Non-Stop Boeing B757
    If you plan on camping and canoeing most of the time you won't be spending much actual cash but it is always nice to bring a bit extra for shopping. When my family travels over they usually fly in May.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  17. #17
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    Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
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    Default A Suggestion

    If you're looking for a unique wilderness canoeing experience, may I suggest you consider joining one of "The Wabakimi Project" 'teams'. Basic info is posted elsewhere on this forum. This opportunity may appeal to you especially if you're planning your first canoeing venture to Canada as it is not-for-profit (viz., very low cost) and fully-outfitted.

  18. #18
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    Default Wilderness Paddling in Canada

    You might like to go to www.nuagesbandb.ca and look at the link for camping/canoeing. We are a 25min flight up the coast from Vancouver and the start of the Powell River canoe route is a 20 min drive away. Everything can be provided for a 7 day adventure in our pristine wilderness.

  19. #19

    Default

    Andy...if u can get to Thunder Bay...we have lots of great canoeing...If u want solitude..we have it..

    Debbie

  20. #20
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    Default

    I'd like to put in another good word for Temagami. Easy to get to on the train from Toronto. Loads of choice of trips - although more flat water than rivers. Plenty of out fitters - we used Smoothwater.
    Enjoy every day.

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