Paddling North

Marian and I are “Paddling North” and you are invited! We will be leaving Jasper, Alberta on May 17 and paddling north approximately 3400 kilometres to the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories and hope to arrive there in mid August. We will travel along four different rivers and we hope you’ll come along for the adventure. We will be accompanied by our Adventure Pig, Delilah. You can follow the expedition here at www.taloeffler.com where we will be posting SPOT updates as well as an audio post daily. Where cellular or wifi coverage exist on the route, we will also try to post some pictures of our adventures, as well. You can also see pictures on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts (all are @taloeffler). Take care and catch you from four rivers while we are paddling north!

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 69.41199
Longitude: -133.03539
GPS location Date/Time: 08/13/2018 21:36:29 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/-0WHf/69.41199N/133.03539W

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Paddling North: Summit’

After an epic day, we achieved our summit and paddled to the pingos just outside Tuktoyaktuk. More details soon.

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 69.40640
Longitude: -133.08691
GPS location Date/Time: 08/13/2018 05:50:35 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/z-JvL/69.40640N/133.08691W

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 69.23782
Longitude: -134.19055
GPS location Date/Time: 08/12/2018 03:04:26 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zxbOJ/69.23782N/134.19055W

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 69.10308
Longitude: -134.40788
GPS location Date/Time: 08/11/2018 00:59:06 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zuWtS/69.10308N/134.40788W

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 68.85241
Longitude: -134.46161
GPS location Date/Time: 08/09/2018 22:44:58 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zqWA9/68.85241N/134.46161W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 68.68961
Longitude: -134.13568
GPS location Date/Time: 08/08/2018 21:43:07 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/znKoV/68.68961N/134.13568W

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 68.68950
Longitude: -134.13531
GPS location Date/Time: 08/07/2018 22:09:45 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zkEan/68.68950N/134.13531W

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 68.63325
Longitude: -134.06879
GPS location Date/Time: 08/07/2018 03:55:41 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zhfKj/68.63325N/134.06879W

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How #PaddlingNorth is Like Climbing Everest Part Two: The Summit Push

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the similarities between this expedition and climbing Everest. You can find that post here: How #PaddlingNorth is Like Climbing Everest https://taloeffler.com/2018/07/13/how-paddlingnorth-is-like-climbing-everest/ This is part two.

Marian and I reached Inuvik last night about 1:30 am after two days of long paddles with little current to assist us. We decided to push into Inuvik because we knew we would likely be winded off today and we wanted to use it for planning and decision making. We were winded off and we did use the day to make our plans.

Some may remember that Marian and I were up here in March doing a dog sledding program (as well as scouting for this expedition). We had a fabulous learning time and even paid a visit to Tuktoyaktuk because the all weather road had opened to the community. We also went to Tuk in case we didn’t get to paddle there on this expedition because we were stopped by weather, injury, or fatigue.

Marian and I had totally been putting off the decision about whether or not we would paddle to Tuk until we reached Inuvik. We’d originally thought it would take us four days to get here but, because we pushed, it only took two and thus today was our decision day. Today reminded me of summit bids on Everest (and all mountains really.). Thus the part two…how this “summit push” to Tuktoyaktuk is similar to one on Everest.

1. Both require specialized clothing to protect you from the cold (and in this case, the bugs. )

2. It’s hardest to push to the end/summit/goal through the haze of acquired fatigue. This fatigue can be intensely demotivating.

3. Just when you are most tired and wore out, the biggest, longest, hardest, most technical, and most committing challenges come.

4. Many folks around you, some of whom you’ve climbed or paddled with, will opt not to climb higher or paddle further and will head home. This can also weigh heavily on your mind and be demotivating.

5. You will often face the most wind, most cold, and challenging weather nearest the top/ocean. (Most bugs too).

6. As you climb, the altitude gets higher and hypoxia (low oxygen) makes you slower. As you paddle a river delta, the current dissipates and you much work harder for each kilometre.

7. As your summit bid draws near, doubt builds as well. You question your ability to pull it off and if you even still want to pull it off. Then you remember why you took on this mountain/river in the first place and make the decision to go for it, forsaking comfort, ease, and slacking off for one last big push to the top/end.

8. It’s much easier to go down that to keep climbing up but the views from the summit are life-changing.

9. The summit is obtained by taking one step after another step for hour and days or by taking paddle stroke by paddle stroke. Even when you think you don’t have another step or paddle stroke left in you.

10. The summit is only halfway. It’s important to continue to have the big picture, keep an eye to risk management, and never let the goal be worth more than returning safely to climb and paddle again.

We are off on the final phase of Paddling North, our summit push, tomorrow. We are not sure how long it will take-that will depend on weather and paddling conditions…likely in the vicinity of a week or so. We’ll continue to share audio posts and SPOT posts so you can hear witness to our daily progress making our way past the 3000 km mark, past 69 degrees North, and our arrival in Tuktoyaktuk. As always, we appreciate you cheering us on. We plan to continue our conservative paddling decision making and risk management style that has brought us 2880 kilometres safely thus far!

To the summit and safe return!

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 68.35173
Longitude: -133.72433
GPS location Date/Time: 08/06/2018 01:21:57 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zeUoN/68.35173N/133.72433W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “TA” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

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Paddling North: Km 2880 and Back in Inuvik

We didn’t start the day thinking we’d finish it in Inuvik but we did. We put a second big day in the books to try to sit out some weather here where we can do some planning. Our evening paddles have been some of our favourites and this one was no exception. As you can see from the picture above, it was a calm and still night (the mosquitoes in Inuvik are wicked).

It’s day 80 and it truly is hard to believe that we are back in Inuvik, five months later, having paddled almost 3000 km. What a trip it has been!

We spotted several beavers yesterday and today. It’s great to be back in a smaller channel where we can see more birds and critters. Falling asleep at the keyboard. More soon.

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 68.35173
Longitude: -133.72433
GPS location Date/Time: 08/05/2018 06:40:25 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zcJP2/68.35173N/133.72433W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “TA” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.92722
Longitude: -134.06947
GPS location Date/Time: 08/04/2018 03:19:58 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zZGOd/67.92722N/134.06947W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.44547
Longitude: -133.74504
GPS location Date/Time: 08/03/2018 04:47:37 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zWPtq/67.44547N/133.74504W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “TA” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

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Paddling North: When Life Gives You Rain and Wind, Learn to Make Fish

We woke to wind and rain so loafed around a bit since we knew the wind was supposed to last much of the day. We then took Julie up on her offer to learn about making fish Tsiigehtchic style.

We went out on Julie’s boat to check nets and learned how to identify coneys, broken backs, and the prized whitefish.

We then got a lesson in cutting fish for both filets and for drying. If my fish hadn’t already been dead, I’d murdered it. Julie said, “I’ve seen much worse, you have some flesh still there.” With a bit more coaching, my second was much better.

And now, we are going to learn to cook fish Tsiigehtchic style. Can’t wait to taste the fish we’ve heard so much about all along this river.

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Paddling North: 2739 Kilometres of Memories

Crossing the Arctic Circle by canoe will be a pivotal memory from the expedition because it come after an epic paddling day, a night with a musk oxen sharing our beach, a bear sniffing our tent, a gorgeous sunset, and two and a half months of paddling to get to that moment of crossing 66 degrees 33 minutes North.

There are memories attached to every kilometre, every paddle stroke (and there have literally been millions of them), and every bend and turn. Seeing wildlife ( some close and some closer), hearing bird calls and songs, the feel of a slight puff of wind on my cheek and the intense gusts of a storm ripping at our tent. It’s all there. In my cells. In my soul. Memories, enough to fill a river, several rivers in fact, flowing in and through my DNA mixed with deep gratitude for the insights and challenges and tough moments and joy times that have cemented them in place.

Today, while paddling, I remembered every campsite on the Athabasca and Slave Rivers. It seems, as the expedition draws near its end, I am drawn to reflection and wanting to make sure I capture as much of it all as I can. Photos help. Writing my journal and blog posts helps. Weaving all of the moments into a quilt of adventure helps. Telling you all helps.

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.44547
Longitude: -133.74503
GPS location Date/Time: 08/02/2018 02:14:59 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zT8fS/67.44547N/133.74503W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “TA” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.21856
Longitude: -132.99139
GPS location Date/Time: 07/31/2018 23:55:55 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zPr8u/67.21856N/132.99139W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “TA” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.21859
Longitude: -132.99139
GPS location Date/Time: 07/31/2018 01:40:53 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zMp5V/67.21859N/132.99139W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “TA” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.34363
Longitude: -132.09641
GPS location Date/Time: 07/30/2018 02:27:01 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zJpEr/67.34363N/132.09641W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.43792
Longitude: -131.18375
GPS location Date/Time: 07/29/2018 01:15:54 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zGswM/67.43792N/131.18375W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.31346
Longitude: -130.59103
GPS location Date/Time: 07/28/2018 01:42:54 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zE56T/67.31346N/130.59103W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

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Check-in/OK message from SPOT TA

Device Name: TA
Latitude: 67.10507
Longitude: -130.27092
GPS location Date/Time: 07/27/2018 01:35:47 NDT

Message: TA & Marian are paddling to the Arctic Ocean. Check the map to see where they are paddling & exploring today!

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/zB8BV/67.10507N/130.27092W

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “TA” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

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