Thursday, April 1, 2010

NSE 2010 Expedition Plans Revealed

2010 is a big year for Northstar Expeditions. It's our 10th year of tripping together so we want to do it right and we figured this was THE year to go big or go home.

2010 Four Borders Expedition

It's taken a lot of hard work and planning (we just spent the whole weekend preparing and stockpiling jerky) , but we are finally ready to reveal what's in store this year. We are looking at a major expedition. Our goal: to cross all four borders of our home province, Saskatchewan. Yup, that's right we are going to hit the southern, eastern, western and northern borders of our giant rectangular province. We will start in the south and work our north, hitting the eastern and western borders as we go.

Here is our route plan: We will start early in the season by paddling on Long Creek near Crosby, ND, across the border into Saskatchewan and onto Boundary Dam. From there, it's into the Souris River to Weyburn and into Yellow Grass Ditch (that's right, a ditch with a name, and the best part about it is that it skips all the damn oxbows we've been weaving through for the previous 160km! Oh, how we will grow to love/hate those oxbows), back into the Souris River to Wascana Creek. This we will follow downriver through Regina (right past my uncle's house) and on (right past another uncle's house) to the junction with the Qu'Appelle River at Lumsden to Mountain Creek at Craven to Last Mountain Lake, into Lanigan Creek which we will paddle upstream to Delwood Brook, portage into Wolverine Creek (which flows two directions), to Humboldt Lake and on via the Wolverine to Ranch Lake (locally Ranch Slough). The Wolverine will take 50% of NSE right past the farms where they grew up and we will be stopping in for a couple of meals, equipment repairs, resupply, and a few beer. From Ranch Slough we will continue on to Eagle Lake via a series of ditches, sloughs and gravel road portages. We leave Eagle Lake via Melfort Creek (from which point our prairie traverse will certainly get easier) to the Carrot River. The Carrot River will be our meandering highway for a while as we paddle out of the prairie farmland and enter the forest! To this point, we will have traveled somewhere over 1000km.

Leg 1 - 1000 km of meandering creeks, sloughs and reservoirs, with at least one gravel road portage.

Satellite view of Leg 1.

Leg 2 of our journey has us continuing down the Carrot River (in the forest now and we will be encountering our first real rapids of the trip) past the Sipanok Channel (access to Sask River) and on into Manitoba, where we will enter into the Saskatchewan River at The Pas, MB. From there, we paddle just as the voyageur's did, upriver on the Saskatchewan River back into Saskatchewan and entering Cumberland Lake and the Sturgeon-Weir River system at Cumberland House. The voyageur highway takes us up the Sturgeon-Weir River to Namew Lake, Amisk Lake, past Pawistik Lodge, Mirond Lake, Pelican Lake, and Wood Lake, crossing the famous Frog Portage into the Churchill River system at Trade Lake. From there it's upriver on the Churchill westward across the province all the way to Lac La Loche (end of Leg 2, a distance of some 1200 km).

Leg 2 - Out of the prairie and into the boreal forest and onto the shield.

Satellite view of Leg 2.

From Lac La Loche we will continue on the voyageur highway and cross the infamous Methye Portage into the westward-flowing Clearwater River. After having fun in some of the Clearwater's rapids, we will join the Athabasca River at Fort Mac (Fort McMurray), a good location to re-supply and perhaps earn some trip money by working a few days in the Alberta Tar Sands. The Athabasca River will take us to Fort Chip and Lake Athabasca, and once again, back into Saskatchewan. We will follow the beautiful south shore of Lake Athabasca (maybe I will try to show the others where I caught that 35 pound trout), passing the Athabasca Sand Dunes, and travel upstream on the Fond du Lac River to the Grease River which will take us northeast to the Straight River. The Straight will connect us to Selwyn Lake where we will make cross the border into  the Northwest Territories, several kilometers before we dip back into Saskatchewan, finishing our trip at a hot tub in Selwyn Lake Lodge (Leg 3 total over 950 km). Whew, that's a lot of waterways!

Final leg of our epic voyage.

Of course we will be posting updates as we get closer to launch time and may even update things as we go when the opportunity allows.

NSE would like to thank our sponsors: (And there is always room for more sponsors!)