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Les chemins de l'or bleu: 4000 km done, 2700 to go!
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Author:  Meteoexpe [ September 1st, 2015, 8:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Les chemins de l'or bleu: 4000 km done, 2700 to go!

Hi all,

This is to give you an update on this great trans-Canadian expedition, Les chemins de l'or bleu (The gold blue path)

Since their itinerary crosses many provinces and territories, I did not know in which 'Canadian Route Forums & Resources' forum topics to post, so I decide to post it into the General Discussion. I'm sorry if i'm not doing the right thing. I'm new to this web site.

Les chemins de l'or expedition departed from Montreal last late April once the ice disappeared and they are hoping reaching Inuvik before the river freeze-up, around 18 Octobre 2015.

They are currently, as of September 1st, about to leave the Churchill river system for the Athabasca river. They plan to arrive tomorrow at the beginning of their longest portage, Methye Portage or Portage La Loche, which is about 19 km long ( It is what it takes to go from a watershed flowing to the Hudson bay to another following to the Beaufort sea!

You can follow their progression on maps and get weather and canoe trip itinerary information on this web site: We can get more information about this interactive web mapping site in this post: ... 22&t=44314. Their Facebook is also a great source of updated information ( They have an official web site but it is updated less often:

Author:  Meteoexpe [ October 2nd, 2015, 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Les chemins de l'or bleu: 4000 km done, 2700 to go!

This is an update. As of October 2nd, the expedition is now on the Mackenzie river, about 30 km south-east of Fort Simpson, from which they hope to get to Inuvik, which is at least 1150 km away, by 18-20 October. This is a challenge since the river freeze-up at Inuvik happens around that period of the year in average. :o

But for the moment, thanks to the swift current on the Mackenzie, they are progressing 70-80 km per day. :)

To follow their progression in real-time:

Author:  Meteoexpe [ October 15th, 2015, 8:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Les chemins de l'or bleu: 4000 km done, 2700 to go!

This is the last update before the end of their journey. They have cross the Arctic Circle last Monday (12 Oct 2015), still on the MacKenzie river. As of tonight, Thursday 15 Oct, they are only 180 km away from their final destination, Inuvik NT.

I expect them to complete their trip this coming Sunday, the 18th, which is the climatological average river freeze-up date in front of Inuvik. 3 days ago, the East Chanel in the Mackenzie Delta, which is the fastest route to Inuvik, was still free of ice. So it is a race against time! Temperature is between -2 and -8 dec C, but feel colder with the windchild. The land surface is already cover with snow. about 5 cm of snow is predicted on Sathurday. Starting early next week temperature will become colder but fortunately, their trip should be completed by then!

I recomputed the total distance of their itinerary using better tools than GoogleEarth and came up with a total distance of 7231 km. GoogleEarth gave me 6700 km but it 'cut corners' reducing the total estimation by more than 500 km! The first estimate the expedition team made and advertised was around 7000 km.

To follow their final progression to Inuvik in real-time you can use the website I developed to follow canoe expeditions:

I'm now looking for other long distance canoe/kayak expeditions to display on for next summer. If someone has a proposal, just send me an email at

Author:  Meteoexpe [ October 17th, 2015, 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Les chemins de l'or bleu: 4000 km done, 2700 to go!

After 175 days and 7100 km, the expedition has ended yesterday their journey at Tsiigehtchic (Arctic Red River), just 131 km away from their original objectif, Inuvik. Tsiigehtchic was the last chance for them to make the decision to try or not to try to navigate further north the East Channel to Inuvik during this freeze-up period. The Dempster Highway to Inuvik crosses by ferry the Mackenzie at Tsiigehtchic level. Following the ferry staff's recommendations about ice conditions in the Mackenzie Delta, the decided to end the expedition there and completed their trip by car to Inuvik.

The decision to end to trip at Tsiigehtchic was a wise decision. Life security is the most important thing to consider in such situation, even when your so close to your ultimate objective. What are 2 days and 131 km to go compared to what they have accomplished!

Taking about life security, 3 weeks ago 2 canoers from that community have disappeared on that section of the Mackenzie river and are now presumed drowned (see ... -1.3247143). The expedition members has been asked for their help for contributing to the search and rescue since the presumably location of the incident was on their itinerary. They met the sister of one of the lost canoers yesterday in Tsiigehtchic and expressed to her their deep sadness and offer their help. I'm sure this event help them to put life security as the first priority and terminate their trip to Tsiigehtchic instead of taking the risk of navigating in hazardous icy conditions to Inuvik.

Voilà! that's the end of this story and this thread. Thanks to the Canadian Canoe Routes Forum, this extraordinary canoe trip is now part the history. I'm Bertrand Denis, father of Valérie Jolicoeur, member of this 'Chemins de l'or bleu' expedition. If someone would like to get more information about this trip, just write to me at or directly to them at .

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