Sunday, December 27, 2009

21 Day Canoe Trip to the “Little North”

Dates: August 16, 2009 to September 9, 2009

Paddlers: Chuck Ryan

Dave Phillips


Pashkokogan Lake
East Pashkokogan Lake
Greenbush Lake
Little Metig Lake
Metig Lake
Rockcliff Lake
Misehkow River
Albany River
Albany River / Mininiska Lake
Albany River / Petawanga Lake
Petawa Creek
Auger Lake

Quartz Lake
Vertente Bay (Attwood Lake / Attwood River)
Hurst Lake
Felsie Lake
Witchwood River

Witchwood Lake
Whiteclay Lake
Raymond River

Pickett Lake

Raymond River
North Annette Lake
South Annette Lake
Butland Lake
Cliff Lake
Bad Medicine Lake

Ratte Lake
Pikitigushi River

Gort Lake

Wash Lake

Derraugh Lake

Pikitigushi River

Pikitigushi Lake

Pikitigushi River

Travel Method: Souris River 18.5’ Quetico Canoe

Total Distance: 257.4 miles / 414.25 km

Total Travel Time: 166:01

Average Travel Time: 1.55 miles/hour ; 2.5 km/hour

Last year was my first time to the area of Wabakimi Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. I went with three other guys that I met over the internet from one of the canoe forums. That trip was planned as a 14 day trip that ended up being one day longer because our flight out was delayed because of bad weather. These delays are to be expect if flying into or out of an area.

We had never paddled together before so it would be another experience.

A few times during this trip Dave Phillips and another member had mentioned they wanted to keep going further north, eventually paddling to Hudson Bay / James Bay. A couple of the rivers mentioned were the Albany River, which I have heard of before, and another one that I wasn’t familiar with, the Misehkow.

The area of Wabakimi is a boreal forest and a very unique area to paddle. The boreal forest is constantly changing.

Last year I got back into canoe racing which I enjoyed. Early in the season I planned what races I would do, and I was able to do the Wabakimi trip in 2008. This year I couldn’t get any commitments for any of the early races so I decided not to race. Instead, I decided to do a wilderness canoe trip to the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in June.

In the spring of 2009 I hadn’t seen any postings of any trips that last years group were planning on doing. It was getting to the point where I almost expressed my interest in a couple of other trips. One trip was the Seal River.

Well, on 04-09-09, Dave Phillips posted that he was looking for some paddlers for an August trip. Here is part of his posting, “August 8th, 21 days, up to the Albany and back down the east side. Option to fly in, train in, paddle in. Four max, fit and experienced only. Swifts, lining, rugged portages including crossing the height of land and ass deep bogs. Great canoe country and lightly travelled. This trip is open for 4 weeks.”

I saw his posting later that day and expressed my interest. If the trip could start one week later it would would work out better for me because of my work schedule. I put in my request for the time off at work while the planning went forward.

I know Dave had posted this trip information on at least one other canoe site.

Well, the four weeks came to a close and there weren’t any other takers to do this trip. It was only going to be Dave and I. Dave had the route he wanted to do. He had been looking at this route for a couple years. There really isn’t all that much information on this route except for the Albany River. And what ever information available is sketchy at best.

This trip would take us to the Caribou Forest, Wabakimi Provincial Park, Albany River Provincial Park and the Ogoki Forest. All of this area is within the “Little North”. The “Little North” is an area north of Lake Superior and south of the Hudson Bay. The eastern boundary is James Bay and the western boundary is Lake Winnipeg. In the early days the fur traders called it, “Le Petit Nord”.

Last year we took the train out of Armstrong and got dropped off at Flindt Landing to begin our trip. We flew out of Whitewater Lake 15 days later. Now the train schedule for this year ran in the reverse so we decided to fly from Armstrong to Pashkokogan Lake, then paddled out to Boucher’s, The Bear Camp, along the Pikitigushi River. We would have Dave’s truck shuttled over to the Bear Camp before we arrived so we could leave on our own time.

Dave sent me the route information early on, but I didn’t have all the topo maps to really look at the route that closely. All I had at the time was the overview map of Wabakimi. I mentioned to Dave that I wanted to do more paddling than walking after looking at the route off this overview map.

On August 1, 2009 I posted on my blog information about this trip.

Also, on

and a thread on

These threads have some comments made about this trip from other people who have done portions or knew of someone who had done different portions of our planned route.

By the time I had posted the route information on my blog I had received the itinerary from Dave. I had some concerns about the time allotted for the trip. I felt the trip would be more enjoyable with a few extra days, but it appeared doable. It definitely wasn’t gong to be a leisurely trip through the bush.

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