View topic - South Seal River - Chiupka Lake to Tadoule Lake

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PostPosted: April 22nd, 2018, 3:29 pm 

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
A brief report from our canoe trip on the South Seal last summer. (note youtube link at bottom)
It was quite a drive from Winnipeg to Lynn Lake but halfway through we´ve visited our good friends and thus we´ve had a great start into our summervacation!
The Road from Thompson to Lynn Lake was much better than we´ve anticipated and we arrived there the day before our scheduled Fly In with "Wings over Kississing". We´ve enjoyed talking to Pilot Eugene most of next morning as our flight was delayed because of a gale and thunderstorms in the area.
July 25
- flew in to Chiupka Lake about noon time, was only a 30 min. ride. Found a nice place to land plus a little sand beach to assemble our pakboat. After working on the boat and getting ready to start the weather improved and we had a nice afternoon paddle afterwards.

July 26
- paddled through shallow rapids into LeClair lake and used the 1km portage from the Outcamp on the east side of the Lake to Cline lake. Took us only a little more than an hour - good trail and dry. Easy Rapids connect Cline lake with the southern reaches of Big Sand lake. Nice little rocky campsite at south end of the Lake.
July 27
- after Outmeal and coffee we headed north on beautiful Big Sand Lake and found a great Sand Beach to camp on the west side of the Lake. Nice hiking through the open forest, good swimming in the clear waters and Eagles and Loons to watch from shore.

July 28
- this day the big sandy Island who divides Big Sand Lake into a north and south part was our goal. We had luck with the wind and arrived there at noon time. A huge Sandbeach greeted us there and it was difficult to decide where to camp! Heavy thunderstorm in the evening but pleasant afterwards.

July 29
- got up at 6a.m. as usual and headed into a stiff headwind who shifted to the NW overnight. Picked the right course to have as much Lee as possible but had a very unpleasant crossing across a large body of water at some point. But another nice sandbeach to camp rewarded our efforts. Was able to fix the leak in our boat wich troubled us for two days and had no further problems afterwards.Had a wolf visit in the middle of the night as we camped right on his path I guess. He gave a big howl in front of our tent and left.

July 30
- Had a late start this morning due to a strong NE wind, but weather improved and we´ve made it to the NE end of Big Sand Lake. Beautyful Sandbeaches and many Pelicans at this part of the Lake. This afternoon we´ve found nice rock camping not far from the outlet of the Lake at the north side.
July 31
- had nice current towards Wolf Lake but the N-wind picked up and we just made it to the long Peninsula which divides the Lake and found some sherlter there. Decided to camp ride there as the strong N-wind became a gale.
Aug 1
- this day made 24.1 miles. Strong current, easy rapids and blue skies made for a great paddle day! There was only one double ledge rapids at this part of the river we´ve almost underestimated! It seemed ok from some distance but the closer we came the bigger the waves so we´ve decided to stop at the RL shore which looks sandy and firm but it turned out to clay and the current way too strong to stop save so we kept the canoe straight and got a wild ride through the entire thing! Without the spraycover we would have swamped for sure, but the pakboat performed greatly!
Found a nice camp on RL at a sandy cutbank, high and level! Many Moose encounters at this stretch of River.
Aug 2
- This day more Moose and one of the heavier Rapids so far, also marked by a slash at the Topos. Did a combination of lining and portaging on RR, large rocks and nice area. After our wild ride yesterday we´ve decided to play it save this time as we´re the only boat!
Towards Loon Lake there is low lying land and not much of camping, so we had a hard time here to paddle into the stiff N-wind. Almost exhausted we turned right into the Lake and saw a nice sandbeach at the south side just short before the Southern Indian Lake/Trout Lake route connect with Loon Lake.

Aug 3
- A 2 hour´s paddle brought us to Chipewyan Lake with more Sandbeaches to stop and enjoy. After the narrows to the north there was an exceptional good beach at the east side so we decided to stay here as it was uncertain to have good camping after Chipewyan.

Aug 4
- from the outlet of the Lake there is not much current for quite a while but we´ve had luck with the wind and paddled north into the heat of the day. After 5 hours paddling we´ve checked places to camp occasionaly but found none. Closing in to Davenport Rapids and not willing to shot through late in the day we´ve finally found a good spot on RL at an animal crossing.
Aug 5
- Davenport Rapids were much easier than expected, only the last drop which we´ve ran far RL was quite exciting. Shortly afterwards we´ve saw the Esker who crosses the River here and headed for the western part of it as we knew from recpeds trip report that there was good camping here. Comparing their picture of this spot they don't had a beach for landing here, must be a couple of feet higher waterlevels at their trip!
As we´ve had a looong paddle the day before we´ve decided to stay here and explore! Long Esker hikes, great views and many animal tracks in the sands heading anywhere! 5 star camping here!
Aug 6
- another nice paddle day!White Swans, Canada Geese, Moose, Ducks and Bald Eagles were plenty and we had good current and easy rapids till Porcupine Rapids. Shot through the first part, kind of a huge fast S-turn. Then lined the second part to big flat rocks on RR, made lunch there and resumed paddling on RR to the bottom of the rapids.
Now paddled towards Tadoule Lake and the wind picked up but found a nice sandbeach with some elevation at the back at the westside, not far from the mainbody of the Lake.
Aug 7
- This morning we´ve tried to paddle into Tadoule Lake and see what the wind is like out of the lee. Turned out to be a windbound day as it was a gale out of the NW, so we´ve turned round and ferried over to the other side of the narrows and the big sandbeach wich we saw from far. Seems to be a gathering place from the Dene out of Tadoule. Our plan was to do a late evening paddle to reach our goal Chip Point with the last daylight, but the wind didn´t die down so we choose a 3a.m departure next morning.
Aug 8
- broke camp and were on the water at 3a.m! Headlamp in place to check the GPS and the map. Greeted by a fading northern lights and the howl of wolfes in the distance. Paddled hard to make it at least past the first open body of water and picked a course to have at least some lee later on. Reached Chip Point at 7a.m. and pitched our tent ride away to have a nap. It´s a nice place to spend the day there anyways and choose the same tactic for tomorrow. Our scheduled flight out of Tadoule was on the 11th so we tried to waste no time.
Aug 9
- started at 4a.m. and paddled hard to make as much headway as we could, but it turned out that the wind choose to take a day off and we made it close to the village and a nice sandbeach to camp at the west side of the entrance bay. Only one motorboat with two natives zoomed by this afternoon otherwise we don´t met any people at the entire trip.
Aug 10
- a 1:15h paddle brought us to the Portage which leads up to the Airport at Tadoule Lake. Steering towards the village its easy to see the possible trail up to the huge sandpile at the Airport at the far left of the village.
Up there is a nice flat place hidden behind the Airport property where we packed up our stuff. Beeing a day early for the flight I just walked the short distance to the runway to check any possibilities to get a ride with the next plane. The guys there were very helpful and friendly and by chance a Dash8 is planned to come in later from Lac Brochet and we got seats for us and place for our gear the same day.
Our friends helped to have a place to stay back in Thompson and a shuttle back to Lynn Lake to retrieve our car!
So all went well and we´ve had another wonderful trip and found new friends in northern Manitoba.

Wings over Kississing - many bases throughout the north
Perimeter Aviation - many possibilities using a pakboat

see slideshow in youtube:

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PostPosted: April 22nd, 2018, 6:40 pm 
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Joined: December 20th, 2003, 9:27 am
Posts: 967
Nice report and pictures. Good to hear about using a Pakboat for remote trips. Thanks!

PostPosted: April 22nd, 2018, 11:35 pm 
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Joined: March 26th, 2013, 9:27 pm
Posts: 465
Location: Winnipeg, MB
I love the photos Chris!

I'm watching the video now. The Pakboat looks great with the skirt. The area has such a nice mix of green forest and eskers.

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2018, 2:31 am 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3584
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Brings back some nice memories. I checked the gauge (further downstream of Tadoule), levels were much higher in 2009 at around 1500cms while for you it was about 750cms.

"What else could I do? I had no trade so I became a peddler" - Lazarus Greenberg 1915

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2018, 5:02 am 

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76
that makes quite a difference! Guess the waterlevels we´ve had were just great!

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2018, 1:16 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1947
Location: Manitoba
I always enjoy your trip reports.

Loved the canoe dismantling images because of the setting and background.



PostPosted: April 23rd, 2018, 4:49 pm 

Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
Posts: 612
Yes, thanks for posting.

I paddled the South Seal from the Trout Creek inflow to Tadoule long, long ago - 1973 - so your report brought back some memories.

I think you may have had near ideal water levels. The average flow at the downstream (Great Island) gauge, the only one now in operation and I think the one recped refers to, was only 332 m3/s for July 1973. At that time there was also a gauge near Fox Lake on the South Seal, and it only averaged about 70 m3/sec. It seems you hit a happy medium.


PostPosted: April 24th, 2018, 9:56 am 

Joined: October 14th, 2007, 12:08 pm
Posts: 76

wow, that's interesting. Yes, guess we were happy paddlers!

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