Tim's Log cont'd
last day on the Sipanigo was a long day in unusually cloudy weather.
The Canadian Shield disappeared into a willow-strewn shore as we paddled
with a stiff current to the Fox River. When we reached the Fox we
were instantly in awe. The big river seemed to project itself as an
ocean river. The temptation to turn our bows into the current and go
to the sea was nearly overwhelming, and we felt jealous of our Section A
friends on the Coats River in Quebec. The Fox had big rapids that
were easily navigated by stealing a quick liftover or pull-up along the
red-rocked shore. As we worked up the Fox, we could feel the cool
breeze of the sea, and occasionally smelled a bit of salt in the air.
July 25 we had paddled up the massive Fox River to the point where it
meets the Bigstone. We had, of course, planned to come down the
Bigstone to this point, but were happy we hadnít. We quickly
realized that the big easy Fox was going to shrink as we paddled up the
rest of it to the riverís head at Atkinson Lake. What we didnít
anticipate was the heavy current that appeared once we passed the Bigstone.
It took us two more days to get to Atkinson, and we were all very tired
from ceaseless paddling against heavy current.
|Hey, Andy. Get
Photo: Tim Nicholson
last height of land lay before us at Atkinson. We needed to get off
the Bigstone-Fox system and back onto the Nelson system. Instead of
an obvious route there was a 2-mile gap on the map with only speculation
of a portage. This was something that we had been a little concerned
about because we were unsure if we would have to cut a two-mile portage.
Lady luck was with us again because a clear, wide, snow-machine trail was
there to provide Gillam residents with access to Atkinson Lake (see Photo
of the Month) in the
winter. The trail was difficult, but it beat cutting it ourselves.
over the last height of land, we spent three days making our way down the
delightful Kettle River to the hydro town of Gillam. We had arranged
for Jack to leave our van and trailer in Gillam with the police. He
had driven it out a week before and taken the bus back to Thompson.
This was a good setup because it allowed us to arrive in Gillam whenever
we wanted. After an almost perfect last morning chasing ducks and
geese along the small winding Kettle River, we retrieved the van and
trailer, and headed the four hours back to Thompson. Just outside of
Gillam we crossed the Nelson River again over Long Spruce Dam. Here
the Nelson is absolutely huge. It reminded me of crossing over the
Mississippi or Missouri Rivers down in the States.
arrived in Thompson and spent the night, then started the long trip back
to Keewaydin. A highlight was stopping at a big bookstore in
Winnipeg where the some of the guys checked their e-mail on the storeís
computers. Dave and I assumed that was a Keewaydin first. We
also stopped at Old Fort William in Thunder Bay and toured the restored
fur-era post. Because we had spent the summer in one center of the
historic fur industry, it was fairly interesting to check out another.
arrived on Lake Temagami with a couple of days to spare and spent the time
floating in the water, cooking food and reading books. We paddled in
on August 7 in the intense heat and were welcomed home with the usual
All in all, it was an excellent summer with an excellent crew.
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