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 Post subject: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 21st, 2021, 3:50 pm 
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Joined: June 21st, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Woodstock, Ontario Canada
Looking for ideas for a five day trip next year in central Saskatchewan. Will be a trip for 8 people, my wife and me and our daughter and son-in-law and four children ,ages six to eleven. All have canoed
before. We do not mind a there and back trip, loop or shuttle. Looking for a trip about 40kms or so ,portages are ok.. Mild whitewater is ok, class 1 prefered will portage bigger ones.
I have been searching the web but want some advice before buying guide books and maps. Will need to rent two canoes. Fishing and swimming and maybe one off day would be preferred.
Bill

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 21st, 2021, 5:06 pm 
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Location: Saskatoon
Hi Bill,
I just did 5 days on the Weaver River and that was a very good trip. The Weaver itself is small volume pool and drop, so the drops are all portaged as they are shallow rocky waterfalls and rapids. The portages are fair and pretty short. We flew into Larocque Lake to create a short easy(ish) trip and bypassed the day's-worth of portaging and small lakes required to access the river from the gravel highway north of Missinipe. The flight cost the four of us about $1300. It is reasonable to do the stretch we did in 4 days or less, or to do the whole thing starting at the road in 5 days.

The lakes and the river are scenic, there is little traffic (though traffic on the route spiked this year, with several groups descending the river), and there are some remarkable pictographs. Some of the route is through a burn in 2015 and 2011, and depending on how you finish, skirts the burn from 2021 at Devil Lake. At Clark Falls the Weaver joins the Churchill at Hayman Lake. From there you can paddle and portage Great Devil and Little Devil Rapids to go from Hayman to Devil. We chose to portage Sluice Falls (~1 km) and from there you can descend to Devil Lake via the whole series of rapids and fun that surround Barker Lake and Pawistik Island (Corner Rapids, Ric's Falls, Cokestop, Dieter Rapids, Surf City, Spawning Channel, Murray Channel, Three Sisters Rapids and so on). One canoe in our group ran Corner and had an exciting time of it but didn't swamp, my canoe chose to do a short carry to bypass it, and from there it was C1 & C2 rapids to get to Staircase Falls which required a short portage to get to Devil. From there we ran down Otter Rapids and finished back at Missinipe on Otter Lake.

Another option would be to start at Devil Lake (or at Missinipe) then paddle and portage to Hayman, then up onto Bellows Lake heading to the north end of Bellows to visit Standunder Falls on the Weaver River. Depending on time you might go a little farther up the Weaver, or head back down to Hayman and then Barker, etc. There are dozens of variations on that theme that could be done.

Anyway, there's lots of options but considering the Weaver River gives a whole series of ideas to consider or build from.

Cheers,
Bryan

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 21st, 2021, 6:33 pm 
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Joined: June 21st, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Woodstock, Ontario Canada
Which book should I get Ric Driediger or Archers book . And which map of the area.

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 21st, 2021, 7:32 pm 
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Pawistik has some great suggestions, if you have never been to Sask to paddle, the Churchill watershed should be at the top of the list. If you are into floatplanes, you can pick a spot upstream of Missinipe and paddle back. There’s lots of good camping with big sites and Archers book pretty much spells it out for you. With an easy five days, I’d fly into Black Bear Island or Trout and paddle back to Otter. It’s a little longer than 40km tho.
Missinipe and La Ronge outfitters make logistics way easy for canoe rental and shuttles,
Archers book will serve you well.


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 21st, 2021, 9:52 pm 
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Ordered Archer's book .thanks. not sure flyin would work ad my Wife and I are doing a flyin trip in Wabakimi the following week.

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 21st, 2021, 10:45 pm 
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Location: Saskatoon
For the Weaver specifically, the map from GoTrekkers and CRCO is the best resource. As usual with the GoTrekkers maps, there's some issues about the accuracy of the information, but it works. Ric's book describes the Weaver but it's not really a guide book in the way Archer's is. It's more of a trip planning book that will help a paddler decide which river or trip to do, but doesn't provide the details and information that you need to actually do the trip. It's a big collection of trip suggestions with length, some comments on logistics and access, and a couple of trip highlights, and you have to dig elsewhere to get the trip details.

I just mentioned the Weaver as one example of many options, and I mentioned it because it's fresh in my mind and not much travelled. There are a variety of loops you could do from Missinipe, or get shuttled up to McLennan Lake and paddle one of various routes back to Missinipe, or Missinipe to Lynx Lake, or McKay Lake to Missinipe, or a loop out of Stanley Mission via the Four Portages route to Lac La Ronge and Nistowiak Falls, or Missinipe to Nistowiak, or any of various loops in the McLennan Lake area or .... I could go on and on.

Enjoy Laurel Archer's books, it's definitely among my favourites.

Cheers,
Bryan

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2021, 12:05 am 
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Hi Bill -

As Pawistik mentions in his second post, there are many options in the Missinipe area that could meet your needs.

One thing I would say is that the Churchill River itself, within a day or two's paddle of Missinipe, can be quite busy in the summer, with canoeists, fisherman, and locals travelling through. It may not be quite the thing you are looking for, if a more "wilderness" experience is what you want. A route through some of the smaller lakes off the Churchill has usually been my preference in this area.

I agree about the GoTrekkers maps - they do include some imaginary portages and omit some real ones, but they are a good planning guide. The only issue is deciding which maps to buy before you have narrowed down the area you want to travel in - they are in 1:40,000 scale and it takes several of them to cover the area you may be interested in.

I would also suggest contacting Ric at CRCO early in your planning process. The areas around Missinipe and McLennan Lake saw quite a bit of fire activity this past summer, and some routes have been significantly affected. If you only have 5 days, you probably don't want to spend them sawing deadfall. Up to date information will be key to successful route choice. I mention this after spending 5 hours sawing my way through the last 3 km to Stauffer Lake last week.

I would also put in a plug for CRCO - I have always had good service from them, and they could provide everything you need in terms of rentals, shuttles, route information, pre- or post-trip accommodation, etc. There is a relatively new outfitter in Air Ronge - Montreal River Outpost - that also offers many of these services, but I have no personal experience with them.

Good luck with your planning, it's a wonderful area to paddle in, I hope you have a great trip.

- jmc


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2021, 12:25 am 
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Location: Saskatoon
I agree with everything jmc said. It does get busy and there were extensive fires, but Ric at CRCO would be able to make some excellent suggestions to suit what you and your family are after.

Regarding Montreal River Outpost in La Ronge/Air Ronge, I know the owners very well and have dealt with them a lot over the years. Martin Bernardin is very knowledgeable, runs a great shuttle service, and has excellent canoe rentals. https://www.montrealriveroutpost.com/

Another comment about the GoTrekkers maps, they take some liberties - scale can vary between map sets (the set I have for Reindeer Lake are an odd scale, maybe about 1:90,000?). For the Weaver River, North is not up, NE is up. I assume they did this to fit more river on less paper, but I find it extremely annoying. Regardless, here is the Weaver map: https://www.canoemapscanada.com/product ... er-sk.html

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2021, 9:07 am 
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Hi, Bill,
I agree with jmc and pawistik. It would be best to go through CRCO as they know the area, where there have been recent burns, where the portages are OK, etc., etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 26th, 2021, 6:22 pm 
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Thinking of doing the weaver. There are eight of us and three canoes. Thinking of a flight in with two canoes and gear for all of us , two canoes and 6 people. While my wife and I take the portages into Larocque and meet them there only traveling with day packs and our kevlar canoe. Hopeing it makes the trip into the lake a little easier and faster. Still planning and open for other suggestions or advice. Dont want to get too tired on this trip as my wife are on to a 11 day trip in wabakimi the next week.
.

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 27th, 2021, 10:38 am 
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In the "Weaver River" thread, Pawistik posted a link to a blog by "wildpaddler" describing the Weaver route from the road to Laroque Lake. 11 hours, 13 portages. Creeks and small ponds in the area are very low this fall, and if those conditions carry over to next year, this may not be a very enjoyable choice.

-jmc


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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: September 27th, 2021, 12:44 pm 
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Yes I read that, just wondering if it would be much faster if we dont have to load and unload two canoes and only one trip on the portages. Thinking it should take off a least a couple hours faster, even though we are both in our early 60's.

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 Post subject: Re: Canoe trip
PostPosted: October 3rd, 2021, 5:15 pm 
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Location: Saskatchewan
The French-Ducker lake loop starting and ending in Missinipe is 35 km. It is easy with no rapids, 3 portages, several camp sites (15 according to Marchildon/anderson book) and one set of pictographs. It is however a route through/past Grandmother Bay where there was a big fire this summer. Would have to call up CRCO to find out the state of things. It could be done in 2 days easily (IMO). Beginner stuff, but if you don't already know, every trip up there is beautiful.

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