Day 33

June 10th, 2019

Today we awoke for the last time on the Saskatchewan River!  Everything was soaking wet and it was pretty cold. As nice as the river looked it was still muddy as hell and we were all eager to put it behind us.  Oatmeal with banana and coffee for breakfast – the bananas are a welcome addition to our diet. Fresh fruit has not been a common occurrence.

We pushed off around 6:00 AM immediately entering the tearing river.  Small set of fast water at the start set the tone for the morning. We were in and out of the boats often pulling up rocky sets of fast water on this small muddy river until 11:00 AM when we saw a deer on the last set which was nice…anything but birds is a welcome sight.

Cumberland Lake is large and pretty but we did not see much of it.  Immediately heading east, we entered Cross Lake, having sailed for most of the stretch with a nice western wind.  Floating/sailing and a PB&J lunch.  

Out of Cross Lake, we flew through Whitey Narrows for a stretch then busted out the sails again at the start of Amew Lake.  We were flying on Amew – clocked in an 8 minute mile only for the winds to pick up even more and gave us a scare. Frantically we all took down the sails and urgently got to share a ripping tailwind.  Conditions went from fun to dangerous quickly. We pulled over and a short lightning storm passed us. After the minor delay we got back onto calm waters with the intention of pushing 10 miles to Sturgeon Point.  We turned north and after a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of paddling the winds picked up in an instant again. We pulled over and made camp while the stallions galloped off in the distance.

A Mexican burrito with cheddar cheese fiesta, followed by monkey munch for dinner, followed by lots of bathing and drying gear and repairs.  We set the clocks back an hour thus we must wake up earlier to utilize the abundance of daylight.  

Today was a very good day. Nice warm-up for Sturgeon-Weir tomorrow.  Time to pull up some rivers!


Day 27

June 4th, 2019

It rained through the night on Cedar Lake.  A thunderous boom woke up nearly everyone around midnight.  We intended to break camp around 2:00 a.m. but rain and wind prevented us.  Was not until 6:00 a.m. that the rain stopped and the wind subsided.  Having laid over the day before, we were all eager to get moving.  We had to get off Cedar Lake today.  Granola – no coffee for breakfast.  Many of us took caffeine pills.  We made good time across Cedar with minimal winds, eventually getting to the marsh near the Saskatchewan River (SR) around 10:00 a.m.

Navigating was difficult so we flew the drone up and could easily find our way.  The drone is an advantage I will surely miss in the trips to follow.  Paddling upstream on the SR made for slow progress but we pushed until around 7:00 p.m. when the sun had finally gotten the best of us.  This river is very muddy but we managed to find some rocks to unload on and an elevated straw/tall grass campsite.  With no trees there is no shade.  Our tents are baking in the sun.  I am sweating profusely writing this…it sucks a lot.

Today was a good day overall but I am sunburnt, exhausted and in for a brutally hot night of sleep.

Chili mac for dinner.  The Pas tomorrow, which all of us are very much looking forward to.  Unfortunately we will only be able to spend a few hours with Buch and John.

Too hot to write more.  One quarter of the trip nearly complete!  It’s wonderful and fine!

Great Spirit please give us cloud cover tonight.


Day 9

May 17th, 2019

Today we woke up at 4:30ish, skipped breakfast and got on the water early in order to beat the wind on Lake Du Bonnet.  The lake was glassy and beautiful.  Once we hit the north end we stopped for granola and peanut butter, which was delicious.  After that, the day can be summarized by headwinds and portages.  All of the dams are ugly (in my opinion) and the portages are not clearly marked.  On one portage, around Great Falls Dam, we ran into some very friendly Canadian fishermen. Trevor and David gave us some venison, applesauce, Lipton tea packets and kind words.  It’s awesome to encounter such generous and helpful people. 

The winds have been strong in recent days but we have persevered.  Winnipeg River is more difficult than I expected.  I am expecting the lake to be darn near impossible so hopefully I continue to be wrong in my assumptions.

Lunch was summer sausage and parmesan cheese in tortillas, and we completed the meal with some dark chocolate, which was lovely.  Happy to have all the dams behind us…no more portages for a while.  We’re all nervous and excited for what Lake Winnipeg holds. 

Dinner was venison and mac & cheese with sausage and pemmican.  Camping on private property owned by some Canadian tech company.  I had to find a hole through the barbed wire fence in order to get to a gas station to pick up t.p. and hand lotion.  Everyone is exhausted, but morale is high.  We are in a groove so to speak.  My wrist is feeling better but still not 100%.  I am beginning to fear long term damage given our pace and tripping style. 

Fingers crossed for a warm/calm day tomorrow.  We still have very far to go.