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PostPosted: September 27th, 2013, 12:28 pm 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2008, 1:16 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Just curious if anyone has done a route from Yellowknife to the headwaters of the Hood and down it. I'm only mildly considering it, there are likely better options for a similar length of trip.

Any general thoughts would be appreciated. As well as thoughts on an affordable food pick up point (perhaps a fishing lodge on route).

I was considering paddling the ocean to Kug after, so that obviously adds more time -just trying to keep the whole thing affordable.

Cool, thanks,
j.


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2013, 1:36 pm 
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Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
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Jwhite –

Two options here from CCR –

See Allan Jacob’s posts here: this was a trip in 1996, I met this group on Artillery Lake.

http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 23&t=40957

Route below reached the Hood from a more westerly start in Grenville Lake. To reach Grenville, start up the Marian River, take a right on the Emile, then follow it up to Mesa Lake and cross to Grenville. Or, take some other approach to the Coppermine from the Yellowknife area – i.e Yellowknife River, or (from Russell Lake) Wecho River / Monfwi trail.

http://www.myccr.com/canoedb/routeDetai ... outeid=456

-jmc


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2013, 9:58 pm 
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Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
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Thanks, jmc, would have missed this one.

Here's an edited version of my post at
http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 25&t=32725

Whyte, David C. The Hummingbird From Resolute: Memoirs of a Journey to the Polar Sea. Toura Lake Press, Scarborough ON (1997). Ed note: Toura Lake is part of Pike’s Portage.

Route description (condensed): Yellowknife, Great Slave Lake, Reliance, Pike’s Portage, Artillery Lake, Lockhart River, Clinton-Colden Lake and resupply, Aylmer Lake, unnamed river, Savannah Lake, Glowworm Lake, Sterlet Lake, Hardy Lake, Pellatt Lake, Contwoyto Lake, Lupin Mine and resupply, Concession Lake, Rockinghorse Lake, river (Avaarik?), “Takijuk Lake” (likely Napaktulik Lake of the Coppermine basin; Toporama does not recognise Takijuk Lake), Tahikafaaluk Lake?, Hood River, Arctic Sound, float plane to Yellowknife.

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A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)



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PostPosted: September 30th, 2013, 1:03 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
jmc and Allan have pointed you already.
The Hood River is an outstanding river to canoe and it's headwater are close to or connect to other main watercourses. There should be info available online or easy enough to figure out by looking at a set of maps.
Your idea of doing the work to reach the Hood was reduce the cost. Getting out is another factor, as you mentioned there are options. Lots of time helps to keep the cost down.

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http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


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PostPosted: September 30th, 2013, 1:43 pm 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2008, 1:16 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Thanks for the info everyone. I appreciate it. Just been looking at the options for next year... having looked it over on the maps it just seems like taking the Burnside to the ocean would be a similar and more practical choice of route.

I doubt the Hood is in the cards for me, but thanks for the info and thoughts.
j.


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PostPosted: September 30th, 2013, 2:26 pm 
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You would fly to the Burnside, say Contwoyto Lake, from Yellowknife? There are several possibilities for charters to the Mara or Burnside.

It seems that Bathurst Inlet Lodge is no longer operating. That affects your exit. When we paddled the Mara-Burnside in 1999, we flew back to Yellowknife on the lodge plane.
I have heard of people returning by tundra-tire plane, being picked up on the portage trail around the falls.

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A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)



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PostPosted: October 1st, 2013, 12:25 pm 
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Location: Manitoba
The Burnside is another wonderful choice.

One of my all-time best tripping memories is from the kapolak falls portage at the end of the burnside river. That view is etched into my memory.

I'm sure a float plane would still land in the area, as well as maybe a wheeled plane on the sand near the portage as Allan mentioned. One could always ask about a wheeled plane landing at the community runway at Bathurst Inlet (I don't know if the lodge owned the runway or not).

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PostPosted: October 1st, 2013, 9:02 pm 
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Bathurst Inlet Lodge's website gives no indication that it's closed and unless it has ceased operation very recently I believe it's still open.

Our group of 5 paddled the Hood River this summer and I'll pass on some info on charter flights that may be of interest to others planning a trip in the area.

On a trip on the Burnside several years ago we rented canoes from Bathurst Inlet Lodge and were were able to save some money on flights by coordinating with groups flying in and out of the lodge. So as we were planning our Hood trip for this past summer, I contacted Boyd Warner at the Bathurst Inlet Lodge to see if we could make similar arrangements.

While Boyd said they're phasing out of outfitting canoe trips, he could still arrange charter flights. He said he doesn't mark up the cost of the charter flight operators, be he reserves the right to utilize the empty leg of the flight to transport passengers or cargo to/from the lodge.

Boyd secured a quote from Arctic Sunwest to fly us to/from the Hood on a Twin Otter for just under $18,000 and with a weight limit of 2100 lbs. From my prior experience, this seemed somewhat pricey and also a low weight limit for a Twin Otter.

So as a double check, I contacted Air Tindi directly to get a quote. The quote I got from Air Tindi was for $25,000 ($8000 more than the Arctic Sunwest quote via Boyd) and a weight limit of 2000 lbs (100 pounds less than Arctic Sunwest). So in comparison, the arrangements I made through the Bathurst Inlet Lodge turned out to be a heck of a deal. Furthermore, Arctic Sunwest was willing to carry two hardshell canoes internally as long as they would nest whereas Air Tindi wouldn't carry any hardshell canoes in a Twin Otter on the same flight as passengers.

Note: Our original thought was to take 6 people and 3 Pakcanoes. But I knew our group of 6 with gear would weigh more than 2100 pounds, so we decided to go with the original quote and 5 people with 1 tandem hardshell, 1 solo hardshell, and 1 tandem Pakboat.

About 1 week before departure, Boyd contacted me to say he was going to have us fly with Air Tindi instead of Arctic Sunwest. The reason for the switch was that Boyd's other canoe tripping clients were having problems with weight limits with Arctic Sunwest. After a few phone calls back and forth we were able to confirm that we could take 2100 lbs and 2 hardshells with Air Tindi. That ended up working out fine.

When we arrived in Yellowknife, our Air Tindi pilot was able to give me the scoop on what was going on with all the flip flopping between the two charter operators. Arctic Sunwest was recently bought out by Summit Air and Air Tindi also has a new ownership group. More importantly for paddlers, the main dispatch guy at Air Tindi (the guy who was adamantly opposed to flying hardshell boats on the same flight as passengers in a Twin Otter) moved from Air Tindi to Arctic Sunwest/Summit Air. So now it's Air Tindi that will fly hardshell canoes and Arctic Sunwest/Summit Air won't.

The pilot also said both airlines are kind of hurting for business. Apparently the NWT government has implemented some restrictions on mining, so mineral explanation in the NWT has come to a halt. Nunavut apparently still has lax regulation, so there's still lots of mineral explanation going on in Nunavut, but that's outfitted out of Iqaluit, so Air Tindi's and Arctic Sunwest/Summit Air's business has really dropped off. Hopefully that will be good news for paddlers in that the air charter companies may be more amenable to working with paddlers. On the other hand, lots of mineral exploration in Nunavut is not likely to be a good thing from an environmental standpoint.

In retrospect, I'm glad I had Boyd at Bathurst Inlet Lodge running interference for me rather than me having to deal with all the airline shake up directly. Also, he honored the original $18,000 quote even though I think he ended up paying Air Tindi more than that. I'm sure he still got a heck of deal on flights supplying the Lodge, it just wasn't "free" for him like he hoped it would be.

Another item worthy of note from our trip was that water levels on the Hood were incredibly low this past summer. Basically none of the rapids between the lakes in the upper part of the river were runnable. We left an awful lot of vinyl behind on the rocks from the Royalex boats and the frame on the Pakcanoe took some pretty good hits. It was also rough on bodies with all the portaging on sharp rocks over/around long unrunnable rock gardens. Also on the flight out we flew over the Burnside and Mara and the Mara especially would have been essentially a backpacking trip with boats and gear.


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PostPosted: October 5th, 2013, 9:17 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Thanks for all the additional info everyone, all very useful, and things to consider. Likely affordability will be one of the main considerations, would rather go longer and do it cheaper and try to avoid a charter at the start and finish, which may rule out the Burnside as well. Anyway it's perhaps too early for me to pick a route, I don't know exactly how much time I will have which is a huge factor. Will perhaps post later when I have a better sense of my exact criteria. Thanks.


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