Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Prepping for the Bloodvein River Trip

77,78, 79, and 80! Counting all the bars for the Bloodvein trip.

Its been less than 2 weeks after our return from our adventurous Kirkpatrick trip. Since then, Lisa and I have been busy getting ready for our next one, this time all the way to northwest Ontario/Manitoba to paddle the Bloodvein River. Since our fortuitous meeting almost a year ago, Lisa and I dreamed of taking a big canoe trip together. Especially as we were so compatible as a tripping team and thoroughly enjoyed the numerous shorter trips together. Late last year after choosing to paddle the Bloodvein, we slowly saw the dream turn into reality as we gathered info, obtained maps, and bought supplies. Now that the departure date has almost arrived, we are more than ecstatic!

Dehydrating vegetables for some of our meals. Its amazing how
much they shrink, but thankful for the weight savings!

Our plan is to paddle the Bloodvein in its entirety from its headwaters near Red Lake, Ontario all the way to where it flows out into Lake Winnipeg. We will cover approximately 320 km over the course of 18-19 days, paddling on a Canadian Heritage River filled with many pictograph sites, numerous runnable rapids and a slice of pristine wilderness. How can any canoeist not get excited about this? Reading past trip reports and getting information regarding the route gets us excited like little kids filled with nervous energy as we can't wait to start the trip!

The smell in the kitchen emanating from the oven and both
dehydrators were amazing! It was one heck of a
production! That's chilli in the works!

Well we are almost ready to go, still packing up some things and getting last minute errands completed. The house looked like a bit of a disaster with tripping gear all over the place including piles of food everywhere. The kitchen once felt a bit like a sauna with 2 dehydrators and the oven going simultaneously preparing our meals. (No we didn't trip the breaker!) However its the mountain of trail mix that has me worried. Lisa loves trail mix and we have 5 huge bags that weigh over 8 kg! (that's over 16 lbs!!!) Did I mention the huge bar of chocolate that weighs almost a pound as well?!! We are planning to eat well, but correspondingly burn a lot of calories carrying the stuff!

No less effort in organizing all the gear and wondering how
everything was going to fit in! (Why is there a
blow dryer hiding under the pile?!!)

Before I head off, I like to once again thank my generous and kind sponsors for their support of this trip. Its a comfort to know Lisa and I will be heading into the wilderness with quality products. A big thanks to Eureka for supplying the roof over my head and various other camp side implements that will make life more enjoyable around camp. Another big thanks to Hooligan Gear for providing the packs and barrel harnesses that will shoulder the heavy loads - including the mountain of trail mix! Thanks to AquaBound for providing whitewater paddles which we plan to put to good use, Salus for the PFD's to keep our heads above water, The Original Bug Shirt to keep those pesky vampires out, The Complete Paddler for providing whitewater gear/accessories, and even Comfort Corner Corporation for providing Lisa and I orthotics to keep our feet in optimal condition! (more to come about this later). Lastly I'll be taking things like the Littlbug stove and the Badger Paddle sock to compliment the gear already selected to head out on the trip. Again, my deepest gratitude to all of you for your ongoing support and help to make this trip and many others a success!

Trail mix! - the present-day canoeist's pemmican! Lisa loves this stuff
and there is plenty! Store bought bags supplemented
with even more stuff! (Gulp!, its heavy!!
- the big hurt!)

Wow, it will be over 3 weeks (24 days) I'll be gone with travel time included. To date it will be the longest I've ever been away on a trip! Can't say I don't like this trend! Hopefully bigger and better things for the future! Well many thanks to all of you that follow along on my blog and read about my rants both in and out of the canoe. I hope everyone is or will be taking advantage of the great weather this summer to paddle. As I share my experiences on my various trip this year, I hope in the same way I will get to hear about some of yours! Take care everyone and safe paddling! Be in touch when we get back! Time to finish packing! ("Yeah Lisa, I'm POSITIVE no more trail mix can fit in!")

David & Lisa

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kirkpatrick Lake Loop Jul 1-10 2010

This beautiful and pristine area in north central Ontario
is just waiting to be discovered in a canoe!

Well we're back!! Sure we're all sporting some achy muscles, lots of bug bites, stinky clothes and world class tans, but we got to paddle, portage, drag and haul through some pristine crown land northwest of Elliot Lake on a long forgotten canoe route. Was it worth it? For sure! We didn't see one other human being the whole time during our 10 days there and did I mention that the place is gorgeous?! Aqua green clear lakes, stunning shorelines, huge towering pines, and dramatic cliffs; where can you go locally these days and make that claim?! But it wasn't all pain free.

Yup, this was day one! There was no break-in period. We
were immediately immersed in the ruggedness
of the trip! All or nothing!

I admit there was some anxious moments, like whether we would manage to get in on the access road (and out), being lost several times, questionable route choices and sinking in bogs. But overall, the experience was amazing and we had lots of good laughs. The weather was great too - maybe too good. It was blistering hot and humid which made some of the long carries brutal under the oppressive heat. But like all portages, you usually end up at a body of water good for a refreshing swim. We often went in clothes and all to wash off the dirt, bog, sweat and bugs!

Hot and sweaty, humid and muggy....all equates to
lots of time in the water!

Later in the year I hope to write a bit more about our experiences on the Kirkpatrick Lake Loop canoe trip. It truly is a hidden gem that should be paddled and explored. A special thanks to Jay Mothersill from Paddleshack (he guided there years ago) for taking the time to pull out his dusty maps and provide just enough information to us so that we could not only go there, but discover a wonderful new place to paddle! I encourage all those who are looking for a bit of adventure and wanderlust to visit this place. It will truly deliver!

We definitely were awed and inspired by the beauty of the land
and water. We came with some expectations and left
with great memories and experiences.

Hope you are all getting some time out
on the water this summer!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Is Here!

Meeting Lisa the evening before to pack up and get ready to head out
first thing in the morning. We are FINALLY getting out to paddle
together since our last trip at the end of April!

As the summer season is in full swing now, its time to think about getting out and enjoying the outdoors, specifically canoeing! The weather has been unpredictable lately despite such an amazing start in the spring, but its still no reason not to get out and soak up the sun and the occasional rain. I had a good start to the season with 3 trips and several day paddles but since my last trip to Lake Superior at the beginning of May its been a dud. Needless to say, I've been getting very restless and antsy.

Its not like myself to allow so much time to pass before heading out on a trip, but there is a good reason. My girlfriend is a teacher so she doesn't have any flexibility in taking time off while school is in session. Therefore if I want to maximize my time with her on canoe trips, I have to make plans during the summer, which I have. The first of which I dutifully did on the first day after school finished! I purposely planned to take her away from the non-stop chatter and chaos of the classroom which I guarantee she will really appreciate. Then later in the summer we have an even longer trip to the Bloodvein River in Manitoba.

So we are headed out on July 1st, Canada Day (maybe not such a good idea) with friends to north central Ontario. The good thing about it is that we are not going to any provincial park (suicidal on a holiday weekend!) but a lost canoe route through some prime crown land. There is some issues regarding access to this area, or should I say the lack of. (which is not always a bad thing) In any case, it should make for some interesting stories if we can get there to begin with. After that, who knows what else! Once we are in we have 11 days to find our way out, so stay tuned!

I'm also excited about 2 other trips that are taking place around the same time I will be gone. The reason being is that I was asked to help out with trip planning and providing advice as they will be heading out on their first ever canoe trip! As much as I love planning for my trips, its just as exciting and rewarding to provide first hand advice and information to new up and coming canoe trippers. I will anxiously being looking forward to hearing about their trip and experiences.

Well enough time has been spent on the computer typing away! Its time to finally get out and enjoy the pull of the paddle and the splendours of the great outdoors! Hope your long weekend or summer plans include a canoe trip as well!

Happy Paddling!