Driving North: Car Portage #1

Howdy from Fort Mac! It’s interesting to finally see the place that’s been so central in so many Newfoundlanders lives over the past two decades. We had a quiet night at our up along “Disappointment Welding” camp and enjoyed watching a beaver and deer this morning as we packed up for the one kilometre paddle to the boat launch.

We took everything out and off of the boat and washed all the mud off the canoe and the bottoms of dry bags. We both enjoyed a shower and then
Sara and Anthony arrived. Sara’s car was gracious enough to swallow us and all of our gear and Anthony helped engineer a solution to modern car lack of tow hooks/tie downs and we got the canoe secured for the three hour trip north.

A quick lunch st Grasslands, where both Marian and I marvelling that food just doesn’t come out of blue barrels, and we were on our way. It was truly wild to be traveling at 100 km an hour instead of 10 km and to have such a wide view of the land and sky after 17 days of the Athabasca River corridor.

We’ve been charging electronics, downloading satellite imagery, and generally trying to tick things of our to do list like laundry and banking. Tomorrow we will buy perishable food resupplies, scout our put in, and decide what if anything doesn’t go further.

When we started in Jasper 18 days ago, we didn’t know if we were paddling one day or ninety. Now, finished two phases of our Paddling North expedition, I look forward to the next 18 and the 18 after that, still of course, paddled one day at a time.

We called tonight’s camp, pitched in Sara and Anthony’s lovely home, Fancy Camp. It sure is. How we appreciate their hospitality and their time spent shuttling us to here. We learned that a recent wildfire recently jumped the river in the section we decided not to paddle. Turns out we wouldn’t have gotten to paddle it anyway…funny how things turn out.

I do already miss hearing the sounds of the river, the honks of the geese, the wind in the leaves but I will sleep a little deeper tonight knowing I won’t have to chase a bear out of the kitchen.

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4 Responses to Driving North: Car Portage #1

  1. WOW ! You guys completely missed one of the most pristine untouched sections of wilderness on the entire Athabasca River! Athabasca to Fort McMurray? Over 250 miles of untouched wilderness, with no traces of the modern world, and a very historic stretch of river filled with Natural Wonders (Grand Rapids), remarkable scenery, and amazing wildlife, How come?

    • TA Loeffler says:

      As a solo boat, we didn’t feel like that section met our risk tolerance. We would have paddled it with our buddies but none were available. We hope to return to that section in future summers. We also realized that we hadn’t budgeted enough time for the entire expedition so we gave it a pass for now.

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