The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SUMMER 2003











In this issue

Front Page


Summer Packet


From the Editor

Canoelit I

Canoelit II

Discovering Eden

Back page





Boreal Confluencers

Part  1  2 




Members of the Boreal Confluence Expedition, stand in front of their birch bark canoe along the shores of the North Saskatchewan River Tuesday, July 8, 2003. From left to right: Vincent Athias, Sylvain Cordeau, Franck Blanchi, Gilles La Niece, Samuel Duc and Sebastien Pandolfi. The group has been making steady progress and there are occasional updates on their Web site at

Their route is following in the steps of David Douglas a Scottish botanist who crossed Canada in 1827 and set up one of the first complete herbariums in Canada. Along the way they have been met with the great hospitality of many Americans.

Their quest to take care of their fragile 24-foot birchbark canoe has been a difficult one. The team was delayed for two days in Jasper National Park after the canoe crashed into a bridge on the Athabasca River. The group used hockey sticks to repair the canoe, and the experience gave them insight into the difficulties explorers faced, said member Vincent Athias. And also as this entry from their log indicates along the heavily dammed Columbia River, there’s always the unexpected:

“Yesterday, early afternoon, we arrived at the dam of Rocky Island. The navigation was nice, along the Waterfalls Chain that marks the end of the arid plateau of the Columbia. We admired the basalt columns and the frothy flow by the natural little springs.

“We were peacefully having lunch on the bank. The canoe was floating on the water just behind us. A ‘Crack’ startled us. We knew where it came from, but none of us could have thought it would happen...

“Between the dam we are crossing at present, the level of water can vary ten centimeters in a few minutes. Right at that moment, a drop in the level of water let the loaded canoe lie on the rock. And the bark cracked, widthwise, at the back of the dinghy. It cracked there, whilst at a stop, under a wonderful sun, with no wind, with no waves, with no current. A stupid accident that will cost us many days of repairing.”

Their plan is to finish at York Factory on the shores of Hudson Bay in early September.




 Summer 2003         Outfit 113 

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