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PostPosted: August 26th, 2015, 6:01 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Well I'm back from my trip and pretty much intact (had a little boat damage). I had a great trip, thoroughly enjoyed the river and the lack of companions!

In the end I shared a flight in (Turbo Otter) from Bissett MB to Artery Lake with a nice bunch of guys from Virginia. Many paddlers start their trip downriver from here ending at Lake Winnipeg 12 - 14 days later. I was looking for something longer so my plan was to paddle upstream through a series of lakes during my first week before heading downstream.

The following day the VA guys paddled off into a stiff wind while I hung out on Artery Lake for the next two days waiting for the weather to improve. I finally headed East towards Murdock Lake on Day 4, I planned to visit the pictograph sites on Murdock but I never made it. I got as far a Larus Lake at which point the wind and rain returned and I took another layover day.

Two days of paddling took me back to my first camp on Artery Lake. On Day 9 I finally headed West to the Manitoba border and the "real" river. 15 days later I arrived at Bloodvein Village on Lake Winnipeg and began the 2400km drive home.

This was not my first solo trip but the few previous ones I have done were much shorter and on familiar routes. While there were a few things I missed not having a companion or two I really did enjoy having full control especially as I was not on any particular firm schedule and could travel (or not) at whatever pace I felt like.

Over the coming weeks (months?) I'll be posting day by day details and selections from the 2000+ stills and 4+ hours of video that I took during the trip. For now you can look over my route map which shows where I camped each night and watch a short clip of the Turbo Otter landing on Artery Lake.

Check my website for updates: http://recped.com/bloodvein/

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Last edited by recped on April 10th, 2016, 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 26th, 2015, 6:56 pm 
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Thank you. All ears (and eyes). Solo travel on & around the Bloodvein is on the short end of my short list.

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PostPosted: August 27th, 2015, 12:46 pm 
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Location: Manitoba
Thanks for the update. It all sounds wonderful.

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2015, 11:30 am 
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Hello Recped,
Thanks for posting. I'm looking forward to your updates.
I'm considering the Bloodvein for August 2016, tandem with my teenaged son. The drive west from London, Ontario is long enough that I'd want to spend a month including driving time out and back. I'm looking at flying in from somewhere driveable near the mouth of the river__does that mean Bissett?__to Artery Lake where we'll explore some lakes in WCPP for 6-10 days before beginning the Bloodvein. We'd give ourselves at least 2 weeks on the river.
You mentionned sharing the Otter flight into Artery with a group form Virginia. (I understand there are no small Cessna's?) How did you arrange to piggyback in with them? Did the air charter company find you a spot at the last minute, or did you have to connect with the group in advance? How did you handle transportation from Bloodvein First Nations at the end of the trip? What kind of costs (approx.) would I incur for a flight/car shuttle for such a trip. (2 people, one canoe)
Any help or advice you can share would be greatly appreciated.
Martin


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PostPosted: November 29th, 2015, 7:48 am 
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A fellow from Iowa, Alan Gage, paddled from Red Lake, Johnson Lake put in in WCPP up to Artery then down to the mouth of the Bloodvein, turned around and paddled back up, coming back through the Gammon and back to his car in 35 days this last Summer.

Blue Water Aviation flies out of Bisset and Silver Falls, Manitoba, but there is now a road up to the Village at the mouth of the Bloodvein so perhaps a shuttle could be arranged for a road pick up at the end. We would consider doing the shuttle dependent on when you were going. It is about a 3 hour drive for us to Bisset.


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PostPosted: November 29th, 2015, 7:46 pm 
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Thanks for considering helping out with the shuttle, Mihun. Recped also PM'd me about getting me some river and logistics info. That's an impressive feat by Alan Gage. Not too many paddlers are paddling back upriver to their vehicles nowadays. I suspect the upriver option might be a hard sell with my son. With me, too, for that matter! I realize, though, that the river is mainly a "pool and drop" experience with lots of flatwater, and prevailing westerlies, but upriver? I wonder if I could find Alan Gage to ask him about his trip...


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PostPosted: November 29th, 2015, 7:49 pm 
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Thanks for considering helping out with the shuttle, Mihun. Recped also PM'd me about getting me some river and logistics info. That's an impressive feat by Alan Gage. Not too many paddlers are paddling back upriver to their vehicles nowadays. I suspect the upriver option might be a hard sell with my son. With me, too, for that matter! I realize, though, that the river is mainly a "pool and drop" experience with lots of flatwater, and prevailing westerlies, but upriver? I wonder if I could find Alan Gage to ask him about his trip...
Just checked: he's posted some Bloodvein reports on Youtube.


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PostPosted: November 29th, 2015, 10:06 pm 
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Martin2007, the Bloodvein will provide your son and you with a epic river run.

The Bissett option is a good one – fly in to Artery and, as recped did, spend some time in WCPP and then head down the river. Bluewater Aviation also handles the shuttle of your vehicle to Bloodvein village or to the bridge crossing the river. Mihun writes that “perhaps a shuttle could be arranged” but it is way more definite than that. Bluewater quoted me a price of $400. for one vehicle. This is the service that a number of canoe trippers including VA paddler have used. VA paddler’s crew is the one that recped teamed up with. His post on their 2015 Bloodvein trip is two threads below recped’s. Bluewater only has Otters available – no Beavers- so the prices will be higher.

Another option for you – not any cheaper but to my mind more elegant and satisfying – might be to start off at Red Lake instead. You’d park your car at Harlan’s Red Lake Outfitters store and have him shuttle you to the west end of Red Lake – or if you have a month to spend you could paddle the lake yourself over a day or two. From there you would start your journey down the entire Bloodvein River system . At the end of it, you would get picked up at Bloodvein on Lake Winnipeg by one of their Beavers and an hour and a half later you’d be back in Red Lake and putting the canoe on your car. We paid $1995. CDN + HST for the memorable flight back over the river we had gotten to know. VA paddler doesn’t mention how much they paid for each of the two Otters. They got to pay in US dollars!

My brother and I went for option #2 in July of 2014. Check out this post I put together on our Bloodvein trip – it has maps, info on planning and logistics and other related information.

http://albinger.me/2014/08/24/canoeing- ... -planning/

There are also links to a day-by-day summary of the trip and to a couple of posts on the pictographs of Artery Lake and Murdock Lake. the rock paintings are sure to be a highlight of your time in the Bloodvein headwaters of WCPP.

Here we are – it is the end of November and we’re planting seeds for our next river trip! I’ve spent the day looking at topos for a trip from the headwaters of the Coulonge all the way down to Ottawa!

BTW get a copy of Hap Wilson's Manitoba canoe tripping book; it may be twenty years old but there river hasn't changed.

Happy seedtime!

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PostPosted: November 30th, 2015, 9:21 am 
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My friends used Bluewater for flights into Woodland Caribou P.P. last summer and were so pleased with the service that I stopped for pricing details when we returned for a vehicle. 2015 prices were $11 US per mile with a 40 mile (80 round trip) minumum for the Otter. There is a $200 fee each time they tie on a canoe. Their Turbo Otter can carry two canoes on the outside and more than you need on the inside. Throw a Pak Boat inside and share the costs 6 ways.

They have a smaller plane but it is not certified for hauling a canoe on the outside. It cost about $6 US a mile with the 40 mile minimum.

Bluewater Avaition is willing to split these cost as long as everything is to and from the same lake. If you can set it so someone is using the empty backhaul these Fly-in canoe trips become very reasonable.

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PostPosted: November 30th, 2015, 1:36 pm 
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Upstream travel is really not that difficult on well traveled pool and drop rivers as there is not much current between drops and the portages are in good shape.

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PostPosted: November 30th, 2015, 4:06 pm 
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True North: your trip report is what really fuelled my fire in the first place! Excellent report with tons of useful detail. Now this is weird: I spent yesterday evening with Hap's Ottawa Valley book also looking at the Coulonge from La Verendrye. This trip planning phenomenon has an end-of-November feel to it. Time to dream of epic paddling destinations before skiing takes over both body and mind. :)


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PostPosted: December 15th, 2015, 11:45 pm 
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Location: Virginia
Blue Water ran us about $4600 USD for 2 flights that hauled 5 guys and 5 boats to Artery. We nested Ben's XL14 inside my Moisie, b/c it wouldn't fit inside the fuselage. As I recall, they charged us a $200/boat tie-on fee, (included in $4600) but that didn't charge for the nested boat. They were great to work with and came to the rescue when we decided to turn tail. Those Otters are a pretty awesome ride.

Hap's book is definately a boon for the rapid schematics. Topos also helpful. I overlaid Hap's rapids and descriptions on smaller versions of the topos and laminated them in smaller sections for daily usage. Make sure to use a compass on Artery, or risk shaming yourself by paddling back and forth for an hour in front of wondering eyes. Watchers may think you are American...

Paddling back up river would not be my cup of tea, but the majority of the miles would probably go just as easy if not easier, if you get the damn winds we had. The portaging I would only want to do once. I think I would cover more river as True North suggests, and pay for the ride home.

Absolutely beautiful river, glad I did (some of) it. But not enough WW for me.

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PostPosted: December 16th, 2015, 10:21 am 
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Sorry, I got the $ wrong. Blue Water charged about $1000CAD per flight, $200CAD per boat, and $500CAD for the shuttle to the 304 bridge.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 4:42 pm 
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Quote:
I wonder if I could find Alan Gage to ask him about his trip...


Here I am! Happy to answer any questions. I'll send you a PM in case you don't see this.

Quote:
Paddling back up river would not be my cup of tea, but the majority of the miles would probably go just as easy if not easier, if you get the damn winds we had. The portaging I would only want to do once. I think I would cover more river as True North suggests, and pay for the ride home.


My logic was that for the cost of a plane ride or shuttle from Bloodvein Village back to Red Lake I could take two weeks of unpaid vacation time. I'd rather spend the time on the water rather than at work paying for the plane ride. ;)

Like you guessed though upstream travel wasn't very difficult except for a couple rough days downstream of Lake Kautunigan (sp?) where all the CI and CIIs are bunched together. Many of the swifts I could paddle up. They could get annoying when there were a lot of them back to back but for the most part they were a fun challenge. The portages, and there are A LOT of them coming upstream, did get old. But you can't beat the feeling of getting off the river and back into lake country where you only have two or three portages per day.

I was unlucky in that I had less favorable winds coming upstream than going down. The last three days of the trip found me paddling directly into very strong headwinds. From the south the first day and the last two days from the east of all directions. Hardly seemed fair.

I'd definitely do the river in both directions again however and plan to do so on a different river this coming summer.

Alan


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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 6:36 pm 
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Where do I sign up?! Great trip - my wife will be in touch to give you proper crap for the inspiration.

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