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PostPosted: March 15th, 2013, 12:51 pm 
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Joined: March 14th, 2013, 8:55 pm
Posts: 2
Hello,
My name is Ryan O'Donoghue and I am currently in my second year of study at the University of Alberta - Augustana Campus. This summer I am taking part in an arctic canoeing course for a class. I was hoping somebody would be willing to talk with me, either over email or phone regarding the Burnside, Mara/Burnside, and Hood about their trip on it. If anyone is willing I would be very appreciative.Contact me any time at rpodonog@ualberta.ca. If you wish to talk via phone simply email me and let know and I will call you whenever works best for you.

Thank you very much for your help,
Ryan O'Donoghue


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PostPosted: March 15th, 2013, 9:33 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Manitoba
Ryan,
I've done the mara/burnside as well as the hood.
Happy to chat
I'll email you my contact info.
Brian

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2013, 6:18 am 
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Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
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Location: Toronto
email on the way.

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PostPosted: March 18th, 2013, 10:06 pm 
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Joined: August 19th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Hi rpodonog,

I have paddled the Burnside solo, twice. On one trip I started on Fry Inlet on Contwoyto, and the other I started south on Hardy Lake and worked my way up to Pellat and then up the south Contwoyto river into Contwoyto, which added some nice additional country to the trip.

I highly recommend adding Contwoyto to the trip. Although you will be wind bound for some time on such a huge lake, its also gets glass calm and is one of my favourite huge lakes. Hiking is excellent. Contwoyto is consistently late in its ice melt. On my first trip I got there in the second week of July and had to wait 8 days for the ice to melt. On the second trip I learned my lesson and did not start until the third week of July, and the ice had left the north end of Contwoyto a few days before, and the south end about 1-2 weeks before. There was still some ice on shore in some areas, and some frazzle ice in Hardy. Best to let that ice clear. As you paddle north, the water levels will moderate down, and that's a good thing. The Burnside gets big towards the bottom, so there is no need to rush it - let that water level calm down a bit. By August the bugs will be diminishing nicely, and the water may be warm enough to swim before the first frost hits mid to late August. Weather is typical north Barrens: everything from +35C heat stroke weather, to -5C and wet snow, with most somewhere in between in a pleasant zone, but you need to be prepared for cold wet hypothermia type weather.

There are zero trees and no wood, no driftwood, so its all stove and fuel, and you need all your own tarp poles and extra paddles.

By mid August there won't be anyone at Bathurst Inlet, so you may want to ask to have them leave a guest cabin open for you, or get a key. I found one open guest cabin of the lodge (and I used Boyd Warner as my expediter and this was part of the deal), and was glad for the cabin, since grizzlies roam around there. You will likely see griz en route anyways and may wake up to see one in camp (like I did), but they tend to be attracted to permanent settlements, so when in BI with no one around, I like to be in a cabin if at all possible. The settlement was run down last time I was there in 2009, so don't expect anything, no services, nothing – be totally self contained with a SAT phone, since you can be weathered in for pick up delays.

I recommend that you bring a collapsible water jug to use to fill up with clear fresh water below the falls on the last day before arriving in BI. As you approach BI on the last few hours of paddling, the water will get turbid and brackish. When in the settlement waiting for pick up, if you run out of water, you can paddle back up stream to re-fill.

Oh yes, do not miss the take out before the gorge at the end. The gorge is a gorge of no return and certain death, so make sure you know exactly where the take out is! Its marked by a cairn prominent on a hill, but last time I was there in 2009 I had to add rocks, as the local griz had knocked some rocks off, so it may or may not be visible. At the take out before the gorge there is a nice place to camp at the beginning up on a terrace on the rocks, or on the interior beach bar if the ice did not mess it up (it changes every year).

Then you can enjoy the 6 km portage! I portaged it solo over 3 days, but groups tend to do it in two days. In the early season when Contwoyto is still frozen, I hear river rafters do the trip and get picked up by ATV's at the portage beginning, thus avoiding it. The quad tracks are prominent, but take a round about route to the settlement, and it involves a boat shuttle as well, so the portage for us paddlers is up and over the saddle, and once up there through some hummocks and shrubs, it opens up to nice flat ground for walking and beautiful vistas. I got my original info in 2000 on my first trip from "Canoeing Canada's Northwest Territories" ed by Mary McCreadie, and then supplemental info.

I would rather discuss on line here so that others can benefit from the info.

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PostPosted: March 18th, 2013, 10:40 pm 
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Joined: March 14th, 2013, 8:55 pm
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Great, Thank you for the help. I have also read "Canoeing Canada's Northwest Territories" and it was quite helpful. Do you mind if I use you as a reference for the assignment I have to hand in regarding my assignment?


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PostPosted: March 19th, 2013, 6:45 am 
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Joined: August 19th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
rpodonog wrote:
Great, Thank you for the help. I have also read "Canoeing Canada's Northwest Territories" and it was quite helpful. Do you mind if I use you as a reference for the assignment I have to hand in regarding my assignment?


Sure, feel free.

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