Tomorrow we are setting out from Kenora ON. Why Kenora? Our put-in location has evolved over the winter. Last January, when we were putting the maps together, our plan was to start back at Tobin Lake, SK to fill in the gap between there and Nipigon On. Unfortunately, the Saskatchewan River flowed above normal all winter, and Cedar Lake was full by May 1 (it should be empty then). Cedar Lake wasn’t logged before it was flooded initially, and as a result, the shores are a drift-log graveyard. Finding suitable campsites at high water, based on the experiences of Cross-Canada-Canoers before us, is heinous. That meant Cedar Lake was out, and so was Lake Winnipeg, until May 2012.
Our next plan was to put-in at Ft. Alexander, MB (where the Winnipeg R flows into Lake Winnipeg). Unfortunately, Lake of the Woods is at 85% percent of it’s peak level already (despite and average winter snowpack – it’s been a wet spring) and that means that Manitoba Hydro will have to keep the stop-logs open on it’s dams. The resulting current at places like the Dalles, is more than we care to challenge with a one-year-old on board. And so, here we are at Kenora.
This summer we’ll head down Lake of the Woods, skip across to Rainy Lake at Nestor Falls, and then follow the Boundary Waters route (fur-trade route that follows the US border) which ends at Grand Portage – the 14 km carry that will lead us to Lake Superior. From there we will follow the Lake Superior coast past Thunder Bay to Nipigon, where we’ll skip ahead to Old Woman Bay and continue eastward. Will we make to Ottawa this year? Jude holds the cards.
As you have probably noticed from the attached photograph, there are two canoes on the Toyota. We estimate that we will have about 50+ portages to tackle this summer – ouch. Since Taq and Jude can’t hoist any packs, that leaves us to carry the gear and canoe. We decided to paddle our 18 foot canoe until we reach Lake Superior. It is considerably lighter than the 20 footer (85 lbs vs 105 lbs).
You may also notice that Jude is playing in a puddle in the attached picture – I bet you don’t see any rubber boots. That’s because he’s not wearing any!!! We turned our back for one second to let Taq out for a break and Jude ran straight to the puddle and walked in. He’d been sitting in the car for hours and by the time we got to him he was already soaked up to the knees, so we let him blow off some steam. He stomped and splashed for quite a while before he spotted a tractor passing on the highway and decided to check it out.
As we announced in our last newsletter, our wonderful webmasters at Regenesis (Glenn and Mary Fidler) have retired. We miss them very much and have since taken on the task ourselves. We love hearing from you, and we’ll be checking e-mails where possible along the route, so please be patient with us if you don’t receive a response for a month or two.
Have a great summer!
Geoff, Pam, Jude, Taq