Open Water Trips

Adventures in Open Water in Small Boats

RNP's Big River trip continues this summer

Well, it's been four years of hardship and, of course, delays to the continuation of my big river trip. I put off announcing that I will be continuing on until I was sure I could get the time off from work and that other issues were settled, namely my divorce. Mom is going to drive me to the put-in and meet me at the take out point.

For those of you who don't know what I had been up to: I started a cross-Canada river trip that began in the Alberta Rocky Mountains on the North Saskatchewan River. That was back in 2002. I had to restart the trek in 2003 because I erred and ran my wood kayak thorugh a major rapid and broke it into 11 pieces - almost drowned that time. After building a new kayak and rebuilding the old one, I successfully completed the first leg of my big trip. That was a ~1000-km adventure. In 2004, I attempted leg two but was thrashed so badly by bad weather and equipment failures and lack of confidence that I ended the leg after 287-kms. 2005 should have been the beginning of the third leg but because of a failing marriage and ensuing divorce action, job lay-off and start-up of my own home renovation business, I couldn't carry on with my big river trip - no time, no money.

That has all changed now and the trip is on. I will launch at Borden, Saskatchewan (right under the Yellowhead Highway Bridge) on May 31 and paddle to Grand Rapids, Manitoba, located at the north end of Lake Winnipeg. There isn't anything short of death that will stop me this year. I have three weeks to complete this leg. I figure that will be plenty of time to do what I must do. If I get to Grand Rapids in good time, then I am hoping to connect with Ken Sutherland and do a little paddling on the big lake. If I get to grand Rapids way ahead of schedule, then I am considering paddling the length of the lake from north to south and meeting Ken at his house. He lives in Winnipeg near the Red River, so my portage after the upstream battle with the Red River will be gloriously short.

I have not prepared any maps of the route for you to see yet but I hope to do that some time during the next few weeks. For now, I will be spending my time getting the VJ and provisions for the trip ready to go. I did manage to land a limited sponsor for the trip this year. Riverbend Plantation, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, will provide me with all the pemmican I want at greatly reduced prices. In return, I asked them to make up a sticker that I'll attach to the hull of the VJ. I tried using beef jerky during the first leg of the river trip but the stuff made me sick with all the preservatives in it. I tried pemmican made by the Riverbend Plantaion and man, all I felt was good. If anyone wants info on Riverbend Plantation, just ask. That said, I definitely will not be harping about how good the pemmican is every time I post a message. I hate that kind of talk.

Oh yeah, I'll try to post a list of equipment and provisions that I will be taking so that y'all can screw-tin-ize it and advise me if there is something I have missed or something new to try. I will be taking along my vhf radio. The Canadian Coast Guard has a ship on the big lake. I will also bring along my cell phone in case of emergency and to let mom know when to come git me. I have considered taking along an ipod but have opted out of entertaining electronics - I am out there in the Canadian wilderness to get away from such distractions. I will not be bringing along a shotgun. I've got my big knoife and bear bangers. The shotgun comes into the picture when I do the Hudson Bay section of this river trip but by then, it won't be a river trip, it will be an Arctic Ocean trip. :)

Robert N Pruden