Tuesday, August 11, 2009

21 Day Canoe Trip in the "Little North"

Follow along with SPOT beginning August 16.

We’ll have it in tracking mode during our trip. Therefore, if anyone is interested you can Click Here and follow along.

To learn more about the SPOT satellite messenger, Click Here

See my other post about this trip. It's the second post down. I decided to post some information on the Cross Quetico Canoe Race (the next post) so I needed to bring this to the top.


Cross Quetico Centennial Canoe Race

I first posted information on this race on 08-11-09. Tonight, 08-13-09, I received six more photos from Chris Stromberg.

The Racers
Robin Reilly and his daughter, Morgan
Fred Rayman and Darcy Matichuk
Second place team of Dusty Olsen and James Burns (Quetico Portage crew) coming into French Lake
Volunteer John Pierce helping Steve Park repair his seat at the half way check point. The seat broke 3 hours into the race.
Tents and sleeping bags were flown to the south end half way point (Prairie Portage) via and compliments of Sapawe Air.

The following photos were posted on 08-11-09 when I originally posted this information.

I received some photos of the race that was held on August 8th & 9th from Chris Stromberg.
The above photo was taken on August 8th on French Lake after the 6am start.

Holly Armstrong and Branwyn Hughes with the past winner in 1963 Joe Meany. This was at the end of the two day race.

I met both Holly and Chris in 2007 on the Darkwater (Darky River) when they were clearing portages and checking permits. I wrote about my contact with them on my solo trip report, Quetico's Trees, Rocks and Water: A Solo Journey. You can find a link on the right side of this page.

Holly Armstrong "The Warden" has alittle bit about her written on page 37 in the Summer/ Fall 2009 issue of Canoeroots . You'll have to have the hard copy to read about her.
Tim Triebold (left, stern), Al Rudquist (left, bow) and Kate Ellis (right, stern). This was at the half way point to Prairie Portage.
Kjell Peterson's cover on his canoe. Kjell was racing with Joe Manns and they took first place. Joe is Al's brother-in-law.

I understand Al Rudquist fell and sustained a rib injury during the race. He still continued on even with the painful injury and finished the race.

I posted the 2009 Cross Quetico Canoe Race results over on the right side of this page under links. Here is the link again, 2009 Cross Quetico Canoe Race results .

Chris told me that he felt the race was a great success and likely the best centennial event that they hosted this year.

I'm sorry I miss this one! I would have liked to have been competing instead of on-call at work.


I posted this earlier in the year!

Cross Quetico Classic Marathon Canoe Race Returns for Centennial Year
Story by- James Burns

“The legend lives on from the old racers on down, of the big race they called Atikokan-to-Ely. The race it was said wasn’t worth too much bread, and the weather could often be gloomy.”
Gordon Lightfoot aside, the Atikokan-to-Ely marathon canoe race is back! This legendary race took place in the 60’s and attracted some of the best paddlers in the world for the three consecutive years that it was held. Though the race itself has not taken place for almost 50 years the stories and rivalries from this race live on, giving some indication of the energy and emotion generated by the event.

Before getting into the details of what will be happening in Quetico Park regarding a centennial marathon canoe race this summer, a brief history of the event is in order. The Atikokan-Ely race was put on by the Atikokan and Ely chambers of commerce from 1962-64 in order to boost the profile of their respective communities and to draw attention to the paddling mecca that is Quetico Park and the BWCA of Superior National Forest. The first year that it was held it was won by two of the best known marathon paddlers of all time, Gene Jensen, a world-renowned canoe designer and inventor of the bent-shaft paddle, and Irvin “Buzz” Peterson, both from Minneapolis, MN. In 1963, the race was won by a local Ely man, Don Beland, and Ralph Sawyer, of the world-renowned Sawyer canoes. The third and final year of the race it was won by two Atikokanites. Eugene “Bonhomme” Tetreault and Joe “Sauvage” Meany created quite a controversy in their victory by cutting the two portages that now bear their nicknames. Not only did the team cut the new portages, but they cut false trails off the portages that would mislead the teams who hadn’t been down the trails before.

Nevertheless, Meany and Tetreault won the last of the Atikokan to Ely races and their reputation in canoe racing in the area was secured. To this day, their names are synonymous with canoe racing in northern Ontario.

The year 2009 marks Quetico Park’s 100th birthday and, as such, the park is putting on events celebrating its heritage. The cross-Quetico marathon canoe race is one of these events. The event will begin at French Lake and the turnaround point will be Prairie Portage, on Basswood Lake. The paddlers are free to take any route that they wish to accomplish this journey of roughly 95 kilometres each way. There will be a mandatory overnight stop at Prairie Portage where the racers will be fed and accommodated in tents. They will start off again early in the morning to finish back at French Lake late that same day. The race, in the true tradition of marathon-style racing, will be a grueling endurance contest controlled as much by the elements of the Quetico wilderness as by the racers themselves.

The return of the race across Quetico should offer serious paddlers the opportunity to test their mettle against some extremely competitive and talented paddlers. In addition, this race should encompass the true meaning behind celebrating the 100th anniversary of Quetico Park. The chance to race the same route as former greats such as Jensen, Sawyer and Meany in such a unique environment will rekindle the spirit of adventure, competition and camaraderie that was present almost 50 years ago in the Quetico-Superior area. While the technology that today’s paddlers use has changed drastically over the last 50 years, the lakes and portages and wilderness environment have remained unchanged. The rock cliffs and boulder strewn shorelines of Quetico that were navigated first by the First Nations people, the Voyageurs, and then by Meany and company will be the same places that modern day racers will have the chance to navigate through. No doubt that many teams nearing the end of the journey will have become so tired that, if they listen closely enough, the sound of Buzz Petersen and Jean Jensen’s hut cadence will be barely audible on the evening breeze, rapidly slipping up into their wake, preparing to blow past them.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

21 Day Canoe Trip to Parts of the "Little North"

(Click on photo to enlarge and follow the thin orange line. The beginning of the route is toward the upper left and the end is toward the lower right.)

It won’t be long before Dave Phillips and I will begin our 21 day boreal forest canoe adventure to parts of the “Little North”. I will leave from home on August 14 and drive to Thunder Bay. There I will spend the night before driving the next day the remaining 150 miles or so to Armstrong (Armstrong Station).

I will meet Dave there who would be driving from Virginia. The state, not the city.

We will be staying at one of Mattice Lake Outfitters cabins on the evening of August 15th. The next morning, Sunday August 16th, we will strap the canoe to Don Elliott’s Beaver floatplane and fly NW to Pashkokogan Lake where we will begin our adventure.

We will be paddling in the Caribou Forest, Albany River Provincial Park, Wabakimi Provincial Park and the Ogoki Forest.

Here is the 2009 Wabakimi Itinerary

The following are some of the waterways that we’ll be traveling:

Pashkokogan Lake
East Pashkokogan Lake
Greenbush Lake
Little Metig Lake
Metig Lake
Davies Lake
Rockcliff Lake
Misehkow River
Albany River
Albany River / Mininiska Lake
Albany River / Petawanga Lake
Petawa Creek
Auger Lake
Verterite Bay (Attwood Lake / Attwood River)
Hurst Lake
Felsie Lake
Witchwoood River
Whiteclay Lake
Raymond River
North Annette River
South Annette Lake
Butland Lake
Cliff Lake
Bad Medicine Lake
Ratte Lake
Pititigushi River
End of the trip at the bear camp/road, then shuttle back to Mattice Lake Outfitter’s.

The first of many 1:50,000 topo maps that I'll be carrying. This is the first on showing the beginning of the paddling.)

Dave has a SPOT and we’ll be bringing it along. We’ll have it in tracking mode during our trip. Therefore, if anyone is interested you can Click Here and follow along.

To learn more about the SPOT satellite messenger, Click Here

Once again we will be renting a Iridium Sat Phone from Mobal

Yolanda at Mattice Lake said they haven’t had any summer yet. It’s been rainy and cool. Hopefully, the water levels will be up or normal.

I will be bringing my camera gear and hope to take plenty of photos. I’ll probably document our trip in writing a narrative and posting many photos on another blog.

As mentioned in some other postings and on my Woodland Caribou Solo trip report / blog that I had some problems with my right ankle. I’ve been to the doctor twice for follow-up and I’ve modified some foot inserts, got an ankle support, etc.

I ordered and have received some new boots to replace my NRS Storm boots for this trip. I bought some OTB Odhin boots. So far, after doing some modifications to the inserts that came with the boots plus adding my “modified” SmartFeet inserts I think the boots are ready to go.

I’ve been walking with my portage pack with about 55 pounds inside around the neighborhood and a local park hiking the trails with hills. I’ve been walking anywhere from one hour to one and a half hours with the pack and wearing my new boots. Most of the time my ankle feels pretty good, so the ankle should be fine for the trip.

Most of the longer, up to mile long portages, will be on the last third of the trip. The food pack should be much lighter by then.

Video about the OTB Odhin boot

(The reason for the different color socks. I have my ankle support on my right ankle so I have a thinner wool sock on and a thicker wool sock on my left foot.)

I forgot to rotate this one. Just pretend I'm lying down.
These three photos show the little ski hill at Elm Creek Park where I do some hill work. I walk the trails for about 50 minutes with the portage pack with about 55 lbs. then I come over to this area and walk the hills 5 to 6 times. Total walk time is 1 1/2 hours.

(Another view of the OTB Odhin boots and the different colored socks)

There’s also the unknowns on the Petawa Creek and Witchwood River, so travel south from Petawanga Lake / Albany River will be slower than the first 2/3 of the trip. We will be bringing two 21” Corona Pruning saws and one axe to clear any deadfalls. There also might be the added time needed to locate some areas that will be semi suitable for a campsite and the need to clear the area. We each will have our own MRS Hubba Hubba tents to sleep in.

Here is the link to our Wabakimi trip last year.

If anyone has any points of interest to pass along that’s along our route feel free to do so! We know some, but I’m sure we don’t know them all or if anyone has traveled any portion of this trip and wants to pass along any info.

I've posted my blog to some canoe forums and here are a couple links that have been posted about this trip:

The thread about this trip on bwca.com :

About this trip on bwca

This link is from the tread on mycrr.com : >About this trip on mycrr

Here are some comments on solotripping.com and Rick posted a photo of his canoe on Petawa Creek when he walked the creek in 2007 cutting his way: Click here

I posted my trip info on QuietJourney also.

This link was an earlier thread when Dave and I were looking for two other paddlers for this trip: Click Here


Other News!!!!!!!

Today (08-10-09), I posted the 2009 Cross Quetico Canoe Race results over on the right side of this page under links. Here is the link again, 2009 Cross Quetico Canoe Race results .Unfortunally I wasn't able to attend but I was watching the race via SPOT. I really wish I was there. Congratulations to all the racers. I would have posted this info as a separate posting but I wanted to leave my upcoming trip at the top. Thank you Elizabeth Fiore (MNR)for sending the results. You can also visit this site as well Quetico 100