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 Post subject: Atikaki provincial Park - trip report
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2006, 5:45 pm 
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My trip this summer (that almost wasn't, because of the backcountry travel ban) was without a doubt the best solo trip I have done so far. The weather was perfect, the bugs were non-existent, and the wildlife was incredible.

I had intended to go down the Pigeon River, but I made the mistake of phoning home from Sasaginnigak Lodge, and my girls were having trouble with their home renovations, so I was out for 2 1/2 weeks instead of 3 1/2. I think I got 3 mosquito bites and 2 fly bites for the whole trip.

I started at Wallace Lake, and went through Siderock, Obukowin, Carroll, and Aikins Lakes to put me on the Gammon, Bloodvein, and Sasaginnigak rivers.The water was low, but not low enough to cause any problems. Paddling down the Gammon River, I was singing a song (I do that when no one is around) and on river left, 4 little black wolf cubs sat in a row, watching me as I paddled past. Momma was behind them ignoring me, until I got to the yodeling part of the song (Wilf Carters Lullaby Yodel). I must have been either really good or really bad, because her head swung around, and she stared at me. I got around the bend, and was unloading for the portage, when they all started up, to show me how it was supposed to be sung. They carried on for about a half a minute, and then went on their way.

On the Bloodvein River last year when I went through, I stopped at a trapper's cabin called the Stagger Inn. He has a log book that has been there since 2000, and paddlers passing through are invited to write their comments. This year, I photographed all the pages, and am going to print them up to keep with my canoeing journals.

At Sasaginnigak Lake (one of the prettiest lakes you'd ever want to see) I was paddling up the arm on the east side, and stopped to make my supper. The water was on the boil, and I heard a commotion from across the bay. Something was swimming towards me, but it was too noisy to be a moose or a bear. It was snorting and gasping, and gurgling (it sounded like my dad when he goes swimming.) It was a caribou. I have been canoeing in that area off and on since 1972, and it has always been my dream to see an atikaki. This guy was coming for dinner. I was standing in my canoe, and took a picture as it swam up.but I was shaking so bad,the picture came out all blurry. He came up on shore, but there was a bush between us, so I couldn't get another shot. I went back to the stew pot as he crashed through the bush away from me. Suddenly he stopped, turned around and came back toward me. I took a picture of him standing broadside to me, and then he melted into the landscape. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night.

I returned to Wallace Lake via the Aikins Lake portage, and as I was cooking lunch at the start of the portage, I heard a crashing and banging coming down the trail. It was a guy carrying a canoe and some packs, and a girl following him carrying a large pack. I asked where they were headed, and she said Pigeon River. I said "that's where I was headed for, but didn't make it."

I had a funny feeling about it, so I asked if she had been talking about it on the internet recently. She asked me my name, and when I told her, it turned out she was pippen from the pigeon river thread. It was kind of neat to meet them.

On the Wanipigow River, I passed a cow and bull moose, and they barely even glanced at me. Further along, I poled my way through the rice, and came to a portage. As I was unloading, I glanced back at the way I had come and there was a cow moose looking at me as if to say "where the hell did you come from". I must have passed right under her nose, and neither of us noticed till I got out of the canoe. She stared at me for awhile, and then went back to eating .

There were lots of otters and eagles and I haven't seen that many mallards since the 60's.

All in all it was a most enjoyable trip.
Greg

Bloodvein River
Image

Caribou
Image

Gammon River
Image

Perfect Day
Image

Sasaginnigak River
Image

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Last edited by wapoose on January 23rd, 2007, 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Good Trip!
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2006, 7:11 pm 
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Location: Mid Coast Maine
Hi Greg,

I was just about to e-mail you to hear how the trip went. Sounds great!

I'm still looking forward to seeing my first Caribou. Glad you did after all the time you've spent in the bush.

Maybe this wonderful trip was the payback for the trials & tribulations you went through to make it happen this year.

Best regards,

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Atikaki provincial Park
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2006, 10:52 am 
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Joined: September 22nd, 2006, 11:18 pm
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Location: Winnipeg
wapoose wrote:
I started at Wallace Lake,and went through Siderock,Obukowin,Carroll,and Aikins Lakes to put me on the Gammon,Bloodvein,and Sasaginnigak rivers.


Hi Greg,

What was the route like between Wallace and Obukowin? I'm interested in doing the Bloodvein next summer, and havebeen researching the portage route. After reading some pretty terrible accounts of lots of bog walking, I was happy to find Martin's Kehoe's detailed description of this route here:

http://www.canoestories.com/obukowin/ob ... portage%22

What dates did you go, on what were the water levels like? Was it quite swampy, or not bad? I'd appreciate some more details on this section -- whatever you can tell me about it!


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PostPosted: September 24th, 2006, 9:14 pm 
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Hi Jason.I've done that portage 3 times now,and each time,I swear I'll never do it again.This year wasn't bad,as it was a very dry summer.Last year,I was taking my daughters on it,but when the water on the trail got up past our knees,and getting deeper,I asked them if they wanted to keep on,and was met with a resounding "NO".This year,it took me 7 hours to get from Siderock lake to Obukowin.I took a wrong trail from the first lake,I followed the snowmobile trail,and walked an extra hour through the bog.I was really pooped by the time I was finished.Mostly I think because I was just starting my trip,and I don't do any extra training or exercise before I go tripping.Everything after that was easy.I went in the second week of august.Water levels were quite low,but nothing to be concerned about.The only time the low water was annoying was on the Wanipigow on my way back.I had to do quite a bit of poleing through the wild rice.
Greg

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 27th, 2006, 4:47 pm 
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Sounds like I missed out on a good trip. Manitoba has been on my mind lately.

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PostPosted: October 28th, 2006, 12:05 pm 
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Hi Greg,
That was a nice trip report, I like to sing on my solo trips too, but if I tried to Yodel I would get banned from the north for cruelty to all wildlife. :lol:

Posts like yours are better than any article you can get in a magazine today.

You read it, and then you can ask questions, get more info, maybe plan a trip. Thanks Greg and CCR


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PostPosted: October 28th, 2006, 2:52 pm 
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Hey Wapoose, Two weeks paddling in the wilderness is the REAL THING, everything else is just practice. Glad to hear you finally got out.

I had an exciting time on Lake Superior this summer. If you would like to view a pictorial report go here:

http://www.network54.com/Forum/9927/mes ... -+Epilogue

BTW this link takes you to the last chapter. At the bottom are links that will take you to the beginning.(Prologue)

This report was written and all the pictures taken by this years paddling partner, NibiMocs (Wet Mocassins)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 29th, 2006, 6:41 am 
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Quote:
Sounds like I missed out on a good trip. Manitoba has been on my mind lately.

I'm thinking about finishing the trip next summer,actually going all the way to the Pigeon,and down to Lake Winnipeg.I'm wondering how far Pippen and co.
got -whether they made it all the way to the lake.I don't know if it could ever get better than this summer.It was like nothing could go wrong.The two times it rained,I was at the end of a portage with the canoe on my shoulders,and I just propped it up on some rocks and waited it out high and dry.I would be paddling at dusk,and think about finding a tent spot,and a perfect one would appear .I was thinking that I hadn't seen any moose yet,and I came around a bend,and there was a cow and a bull.The whole trip was like that.
Hoz.The pics of your trip are beautiful.I would try Superior,but I have a thing about big lakes,small canoes,big waves and cold water.But I like to look at the pictures.
Robin.Thank you for the comments.If you need any information on Atikaki,just ask,
Another thing I didn't mention,for all the times I've been to Aikens Lake,I've never seen the pectographs.This summer I was chatting with a guide from the lodge,and his 2 clients,and he told me how to find it. Facinating!

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 Post subject: good times!!
PostPosted: January 7th, 2007, 9:49 pm 
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Neat to read some of these enteries! After we got back from our trip to the pigeon, we completely forgot about checking myccr. so, it is neat to read about the past summers adventures!! It was fun to meet you on the trail Greg - and good to hear you got back safely too, we had a great time and were able to make it all the way to the pigeon (not without some hard slugging). Having a spray skirt was a definate good thing - eventhough I wondered why be had brought it for the first 14 days of "getting there" (it did come in hand on the Gammon and Bloodvein too). from Sasaginigak to Hangar lake is a very beautiful go. there are a few crystal clear lakes enroute that are near mystical (similar to Aikens lake but with a more glacial feel). The portages in that stretch were longer but the trails were good. There is however a horid portage, about a mile and a half, over the "pass" between the leyond and pigeon system. there are two trails, maybe three that were cut by a crew of highschool students from the states. One can be reached a little farther up the Leyond (higher water only) and, the one we took, that heads out on the north side of the lake straight up a steep rock, through 15 year old pine trees ffrom a burn, spaced about 3 inches apart. The trees on the trail were cut about shin hight, and it looked as if the last people through, were the ones who cleard the trail, about 9 years before, so there was plenty of small deadfall, lots of steep sections and a nice 300 yard bog to end it all off. rotten. but, we were in!! the two portages left to get us to hangar lak were older growth forest with clear clean trails!! Upon reaching the Pigeon, we were suprised to see a motor boat coming down the river! A family had flown in to family lake for the long weekend. It was neat to see someone for a change, but it was interesting to thing that they had just flown in where we had been slugging it for the last 14 days to get there!! anyways, the trip down the Pigeon will not be soon forgotten, even in a low water year the river gave us an amazing ride!! Lots of the rapids were very different compared with Hap Wilsons book, some "swifts" were class II, some "Class IV" were CII's and so on. But what a great time!! the whole trip on the pig we were leap frogging with another group, 3 brothers and thier parents, it was neat to see them from time to time and it gave us a chance to get our pics taken at a few rapids. I could write a whole lot more about the good times on the pigeon. we thoroughly enjoyed that river!! the water level made the majority of the rapids runnable (with a skirt) and they are numerous!
Once off the pigeon we found ourselves putskying our way down the east shore of lake Winnipeg. we didnt get too far, maybe 20 km down (to catfish creek) where we hunkered down in an abandonded fishing camp, waiting for the wind to stop, which it never did - even at night. we finnaly decided to call a fisherman from Matheson Island to come and get us, and thus ended our trip. We were graced with much island hospitality for a day or so untill our ride came to take us back to where we are now. What a good time.

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PostPosted: January 10th, 2007, 6:20 am 
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I'm so glad to hear you made it all the way to Lake Winnipeg.I will do the trip this summer,but a little earlier than you did,so I have a better chance of paddling down the lake to Matheson Island before the norwesters start up.I don't like to do much whitewater especially when I am alone.What were the portages like on the Pigeon river?Were they reasonably cleared,hard to find,hard to get to?Thanks for your report.You've given me lots to dream about for the rest of the winter.
Greg

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PostPosted: January 21st, 2007, 7:40 pm 
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about the portages on the pigeon, cant recall any that were really hard to locate, (the most difficult portages to find on our trip were a few on the broadleaf river by the way, did you take the short cut there on the way back, or go around on the broadleaf?) we were acctually able to run the majority of the rapids (which proved to be enormous fun!) but all the trails that we took were not hard to find. It would depend on waterlevels of course, since we had such low water, it made some rapids runable and others not. (one that was labeled class 1 easy, was a rather trecherous looking ledge!!) the lower waterlevels also made it possible to portage on exposed shore rock (quite nice but at times slippery).
the lake would have been all right without the intense southerly that blew for days!! really pretty paddling on the shore, lots of beaches, but the water is really really green.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 23rd, 2007, 2:51 am 
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I edited in a few pictures of my trip under my report
Greg

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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2007, 8:31 am 
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And what beautiful photos they are, Greg! Thanks for adding them into the report.


Barbara


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 23rd, 2007, 11:46 am 
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Impressive, the caribou that is.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 24th, 2007, 2:30 am 
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Thanks Barbara and Paddle Power.
Pippen.Yes I did do the "short cut" on the Broadleaf River.It was very well marked with orange tape.There was a short paddle on a small lake close to the middle of the portage,and the takeout was a very steep rock with a small ledge about 5 feet above the water,so I had to hoist my packs up to it,and then haul the canoe up after me.Part of the trail was along the edge of a cliff about 50 meters high.(I may be exagerating a bit,but to a prairie boy,anything higher than a riverbank is a mountain.)I found it a little troubling to look down the side of it,and was glad it was not wet and slippery that day.I think the whole portage took me about 2 1/2 hours,so I guess I saved about 2 hours and a lot of wear and tear on the bottom of my canoe by taking it.
Greg

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