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Canadian Canoe Routes

TR:Cree River Saskatchewan
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Author:  kingfisher [ July 22nd, 2009, 10:37 pm ]
Post subject:  TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

The summer of 2009 will be the year
we remember going fishing with a bunch of gun totin’ Republicans from Minnesota.
Image Band o' Brothers
Would we go with those Goombahs again?
. . . in a heart beat.
This is our second foray into Northern Saskatchewan’s aftermath
of that Ice Age 10,000 years ago.
A strange land demarked by glacial movements,
ribbed by eskers, sand bedded crystalline waters of lakes and rivers, devastating burns, dwarfed vegetation
and fish.

The Cree River is beautifully described and beckoned us all in Laurel Archer’s Book: A Guide to Rivers of Northern Saskatchewan.
She promised 200 kilometres of ‘pushy’ waters, possible in KevlarCraft
NO PORTAGES!! read and run as you go
and all you can eat Fish Buffet.
It will be all about the fish.
The north wind and clouds of insectivore
would re classify this trip as Hard Core,
hard core to the breaking point of hypothermia when 8 hands would cup around the 2 cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly (thanks for the recipe Monster)
with bic lighters and one-strike matches to create flame.
Nothing would ignite in the 60 mph ‘Zepher’.
a nod to Laurel's book

But when the Sun shone and the stringers were filled with fish,
all hardships of frost covered mornings, clouds of mosquitoes . . . the North Wind
were forgotten and then it was all about the fish again.

Our landing party of 9 in two planes, a Turbo Otter
and Classic Beaver,
courtesy of Osprey Wings out of Points North
witnessed the foreshadowed fishing bonanza that lay ahead for us upon landing, high above Cree Lake,
(look on a map will ya-there’s like NO ONE there!)
the fish clearly visible from above as we circled the northern beaches of Giant Cree Lake
The finny tribes of lake trout moving languidly in the sandy shoals.
We didn’t know you had beaches up here declared the ‘sottans
and so began an orgy of fishing
by the expert Minnesotans
For 10 days of: fish fry, fish tempura, Cajun fish, fish chowder, fish sticks, fish fried in oil, fish fried in butter, poached fish, fish steaks, fish-head soup, fish cheeks, fish . . fish .
and more ffffff-ish. . .
all the pickerel you can eat in a lifetime, record sized grayling- sadly lost but I believe him. Jim caught a sauger-whatever the hell that is
and of course (pronounced in the colloquial American :lol: )
Graaaayt Naw-thun Pie-kuh :doh:
Alligators so large they had to be coaxed to shore as they were unlandable.

All the excitement on the Cree happens on the first day after you leave the Big Lake.
Hawk Rapids = a continuous series of Class I and II elements over 4 kms gets your attention after eating all that Lake Trout
The azure curls of heavy water pour over broken sandstone ledges, river right, river left, all the way across, whenever the river feels like showing its boney bottom.
This years High Water forgave novice mistakes and we all continued on our way, unscathed . . .to where else?
more fishing ahead.
Even in the rapids, sad downcast eyes watched the quarry lounging in the swifts and riffles, >>>>>>sigh.

“What’s with all the interest with the Cree this year?” a friend asked.
“I dunno , we wanted to go last year but we waited for Jerry to get through another family reunion.”
Most campsites had not been used for years as we discovered
but now, 3 parties, including our group had visited most of the Esker topped benches. Decent Landing sites are at a premium and many a time the shores were stacked with colourful plastic canoes pulled up on the vertical.
We would hopscotch with a group of 12, headed up by a charismatic long haired biblical character wearing orange crocs (I thought those things got stuck in escalators??) followed by his 11 chicken-legged disciples as he would summon them by name.

They were no match for our heavily tack-tical units and some even claimed we fished out the system.
No harm intended, we freely shared tips and logistics for choice Walleye holes provided by Native (CIA) Guide Donald from Cree Lake Lodge on Wapata.
Thanks Don.

We were all so busy fishing- we failed to notice any wildlife- unless of course the wild ones were fishing too-a raft of white-white Pelikans and the Bird-of-Prey-Show every half hour at Osprey Landing just below Bear Mountain.
Yes, there was a Mountain, called an island but it qualified more as a continent. We sent out a reconnaissance unit to snag THAT campsite. Another scramble up a steep esker only to find humongous cowpat sized bear doo-doos, one with evidence of Moose hair tufts had us all wondering about that lone mythic Barren Lands Grizz that Laurel casually mentions in her book.
We abandoned that site quick enough and the rest of our party would indeed encounter the resident bear of Mountain Campsites.
From our perch at Osprey Landing we would see the group of 12 set up Camp
. . . on Bear Mountain. :o

Speaking of wildlife not only did we have to deal with right-wing curmudgeons and Rush Limbaugh lovin’ aficionados
we were subjected to the whims and antics of one Gorilla-type creature named ‘Damit’
Damit botherin' a bat
Damit having a dump
and his 14 year old side kick Colin Richards, son of Jerry Richards, our YMCA Rep.

Colin had to leave his Pig-Pettin’ job to accompany his Father to help him catch fish and teach us all how to play cribbage. At any one time, Gorilla and Colin could be seen lounging, noshing on smarties or blasting through whitecaps River-Centre in a yellow Kayak while the rest of us picked our way through the rock gardens, river left-to-right

Oh it was a hardship . . . but that’s just our slant on things
over to you



Author:  Krusty [ July 23rd, 2009, 5:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Thanks guys :D :clap:

Author:  Red Lake Rob [ July 23rd, 2009, 7:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Very nice!

I love the aerial shot of the lake.

Author:  Otter Mel [ July 23rd, 2009, 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

But just to add my 2 cents.
That shot was not of Cree Lake (which is HUGE) but another small body of water.

Author:  kingfisher [ July 23rd, 2009, 12:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

That's a pothole we passed enroute to Cree lake.
Can anyone think of good name for it? 8)

Author:  Erhard [ July 23rd, 2009, 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Can anyone think of good name for it? 8)

A pretty sweet shape, I thought so too.... :wink:

Author:  idylwyld [ July 24th, 2009, 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Great photos ... they look like classic vintage shots with a "real" camera, something from the 80s. Glad you guys had a great trip!

No photos of your epicurean delights? As I recall from your Fall BWCA trip, you made us all jealous showing amazing five course meals (or did you not invite the chef along this time)?

Maybe different group?

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ July 24th, 2009, 7:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Burst Bodice Lake?

Author:  Strathcona [ July 25th, 2009, 1:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

What on earth were you feeding Damit? :tsk:

I guess if you have no portages hauling that lawn chair around isn't such a big deal, eh?

Author:  kingfisher [ July 26th, 2009, 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

idylwyld wrote:
Great photos ... they look like classic vintage shots with a "real" camera, something from the 80s. Glad you guys had a great trip!

No photos of your epicurean delights? As I recall from your Fall BWCA trip, you made us all jealous showing amazing five course meals (or did you not invite the chef along this time)?

Maybe different group?


The photos are all by a banned member (I think she plays the drums) except for the one with her and the mushrooms. Some of them were shot with a $6.99 disposable camera that we bought in La Ronge when I was accused of forgetting the point and shoot at home. (It later turned up in her day pack.) The rest of them are from the "amazing grace" digital.

Compared to our humble fare, these paddlers eat like kings. They each take on the responsibility of a dinner and a breakfast, utilizing every spice and flavour known to man. I watched as the family size reflector oven produced french loaves, sweet breads, cookies, two kinds of lasagna and biscuits and gravy.
The deep square fry pans generated bucket 'o lard walleye and russet potato chips feasts complete with all the garnishes.

Author:  Jerry R. [ July 27th, 2009, 7:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan


More pictures to come. I have to send the memory stick to aformentioned banned member. There are food shots, and many fish shots too!!

Strath, the lawn chairs were a very nice creature comfort. No portages makes the difference!

I had a great trip and the company was excellant. Would I do it again! You bet! Although the drive there and back was a pain in the butt. Literally! 24hrs+ from my house driving time.

The worst part of it all is trying to fit back into life back in "civilization".


Author:  pawistik [ July 27th, 2009, 9:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Thanks for the report Kingfisher! I look forward to hearing more stories.

Author:  Damit [ July 27th, 2009, 11:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Wow! What a fantastic trip we had!

It was truely a trip of peers. Definately not some school kid "I'll tell you what to do and when" kind of tour. This one was based on mutual respect for each other.

And the food was unbelievable!

Pake, when are you gonna post some of your shots? I know that you've got some of me flyin that Beaver.

And what's all this about banned members?


Author:  pake [ July 27th, 2009, 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

Yeah, yeah I'll be posting some pictures soon Damit, along with a Trip Report.

For the past week I've been kind of basking in the memories of the trip. What an experience we had. But I've also been cleaning and storing my gear, dealing with hordes of e-mail and other necessities at work and attending to M's "honeydo" items.

As to the 'banishment'...

Damit remember when you and I were negotiating our way through Hawk Rapids? There were many kilometers of continuous WW with ledges running clear across the main channel. We had to move from RR to RL, avoid the standing waves and shoot around the edge of the ledge, and then pick our way through the boulder garden at the end. We made it through the most difficult parts just fine, then right near the end we let our guard down a bit and before we could finish another stanza of 100 bottles of beer on the wall, you were upside down in ice water. In a way the same thing happened here, and if you'da paddled better we wouldn't have gotten wet.

Apparantly, one of our flotilla, after repeated warnings about the danger of crossing certain "electronic ledges" in the river of information known affectionately as "the Canoe Store", let their guard down and crossed, that is to say shot across the ledge rather that slip harmlessly astride it, as instructed.

I think that they are in an Electronic Time Out. It's probably for the best since we just can't have people running around willy nilly expressing themselves all over the place. Before you know it, they'd have polluted our thinking and we'd all be paddling red canoes........

.......or yellow kayaks.

Close call. Disaster averted.

pp ppp pake

Author:  pawistik [ July 28th, 2009, 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: TR:Cree River Saskatchewan

By the way Kingfisher, did you happen to find any of those wild wayward potatoes on this trip?

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