Saturday, April 17, 2010

An April Fools Adventure

A couple of weeks ago, on April 1st, NSE announced it's big plans for a grand expedition. This trip was big - over 3000km, the first thousand of which was across the prairie and farmland of Saskatchewan following creeks, ditches and small rivers. Some of the route was standard fare having been utilised by natives and fur-traders for hundreds of years or more. Other parts of the trip were a little more unique and off the beaten path. Most of that first 1000km is only navigable during a narrow window of spring runoff. Furthermore, the 1000km estimate for the first third was highly conservative - we simply got tired of measuring all those meanders in the small rivers. Finally, to make things even more grand, we chose to do the trip in a direction that would ensure that most of the trip was uphill! (We had to hit the southern waterways early while there was still some water left in them.)

Our announcement garnered a lot of response (which was our goal, after all). Some very supportive, others incredulous, some incensed. And, when they learned that it was all a big April Fools joke, some were down right ticked off. We thought certain aspects would have tipped people off to the false nature of the post, but evidently not everyone got it. For instance, our sponsors included not only the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but also the Canadian Wheat Board. Now it's a pretty far stretch to imagine the Riders sponsoring a canoe trip, but the CWB? A certain brother of mine was apparently ready to write a letter of protest to the CWB expressing his degree of outrage that the CWB would be directing any form of sponsorship toward a canoe trip. Other friends of the group were ticked off at being asked to financially support our venture. 

We had some good responses in the comments section of the original post, on facebook, and via e-mail. For posterity and your enjoyment, we'll post some of the responses we had here.
CP: Slightly insane - and VERY impressive. I look forward to your pictures!
BH: Are you paddling or poling? I heard that poling is the new thing and paddling is so yesterday.
RB: That is in-freakin-credible! You have to get a sponsor who will keep you linked up the whole time so that you can blog it all!
BS Reply: You might even say it's un-freakin-believable! Happy April 1st!
RB Reply: jack ass!
SS: Will you be doing it on a weekend? I might be interested if I could be back by supper on Sunday.
JY: Wow! Make sure you have passports with you for that first leg – and be careful how you brandish your paddles south of the border! Very impressive trip – but maybe for the 20 year trip you can paddle over the 4 corners of the province.
LD: All I have to say is that is a LOT of girl's weekends for me and K!!
JS: WOW! I’m glad you’re starting out early.  I’m from Carrot River and it’s barebones by summer, and I sense this is going to be hot, dry sucker, also the mossies are the size of ravens along it.  Those northeast creeks are going to be, uh, fun…. I hope you like beaver.
Are you going to do Blue Sky [local CBC Radio] reports?
...Ric isn’t familiar with this first part of the route, by the way.
BS Reply: J., I can't believe Ric isn't familiar with that route. It's a famous route well documented by the Hutterite paddlers at the turn of the century.
CN: I think I paddled Yellow Grass Ditch one spring a long long time ago, back when EVERYTHING in Middle Earth was flat.
Remember to take a hard right at the dead cow.
WD: That plan truly is EPIC ! ...one week per leg? How do you guys manage to schedule this?
DB: Hey Jay, I'll offer you all the moral support in the world, and usually financial is not too hard to come by, but I think I better draw the line at paying for my buddy's holidays...:)
MB: (After the joke was revealed) What’s really annoying about all of this were my immediate plans to sneak away for a part of the summer and join the expedition…
The fact that you spent hours creating a trip that couldn’t exist says a lot about you though.  I’m not sure what, but definitely something.
SS: You guys are a bunch of punks.  Good one.  I must say though, it speaks to our overestimation of your stamina & canoeing ability.  And our ignorance of what is physically possible for a bunch of beer-guzzling goofballs.
IB: Wow, that is some trip. How many beers did it take for you to come up with that route, and how many are you taking with you. I suspect that you are pulling a bit of an April fools joke on us? But if not, maybe I can sign on for the Clearwater River section of your route.
RZ: You had me. I was thinking "Epic" and trying to imagine how much time and effort it would take to do it. I guess that I'm just too willing to believe that some people go on these amazing expeditions. Good one.