• Happy Scream Day! 😱

Ok gonna need some planning help to get these crossed off the list

Apr 27, 2020
Reaction score
Rochester NY
Well, after kicking this situation around with Chick we have come up with a plan. Looking to fill in the blanks.

Missainabi - I am hoping we get some more snow so I can canoe this river in the spring. Maybe I just get the upper portion done. I will destroy the Rockstar if need be to do it all , which of course will be reflected in the asking price.

I am planning on going to the Arctic. I will never be one to shirk my required chores on a trip, but I feel perfectly fine right now, so if it holds I'm going to go.

I had always wanted to canoe the Thelon, this coming from a National Geographic article about 100 years ago. My original plan was to eventually canoe the Upper Thelon - or middle, self guided and possibly solo. Lacking huge twisty bits while being solo helped. My primary goal was to stand in the Barren Lands - I just have to do this before that permanent capsize. The lower section sounds very interesting as well. So far, price is about the same for either. If you wanted to stand on the barren lands but enjoy fishing and the best scenic views, which one would you do and why? Mr. Pitt's TR really got me thinking about this. Outfitter recommendations welcome.

Other rivers are also an option, as long as I am firmly in the barrens.

Would like to go solo if possible.

I'll portage ever rapid if necessary.

Will drive to Yellowknife if need be.

Prefer 2 weeks, but flexible depending on health.

If my health deteriorates rapidly, I would even skip canoeing and go to an outfitters fishing lodge.

Now, not to preach too much, but take a long look at what you still need to do. I forget who said it, but "the view from here is different than the view from there." In the matter of 5 seconds my entire life changed. And all I can think about are the things I won't be here for in the future. Cross these things off your list now. So, I'll plan my trips above, change the oil in the quads and get the boat ready. Cancer is going to catch me this time, but it will need redline shifts to do it.

Thank you for your hep, and support!
Only dead fish swim with their keels up!

... and then it's time to spit in the grim reaper's soup by doing exactly these tours!

I wish you the necessary health and lots of time to do!

Last edited:
I will not make those trips but I fervently hope you do. Always look forward…the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror for a reason.
The wheels are turning.

First, a warm shout out to Chick. She didn't tell me, but when we started getting more details on my newest medical malady she quietly withdrew money so I can spend my last months playing. After 43 years with me she has already paid a big price - maybe the monetary side is worth it to get some peace and quiet. Added bonus - I no longer have to paint the house this summer.

I figured I had a couple of years to plan this out, but in lieu of that I would love to tap into your collective knowledge/experience - again - to move this forward. I am considering booking with an outfitter and running either the Upper Thelon or the Upper Horton. I know the costs to travel to the Horton would be quite a bit more then Yellowknife, but setting that aside which would be a good way to go? The Elk looked interesting as well.

I won't go if I am a burden to the trip, and I will discuss specifics prior to booking. I will forgo my deposit if need be. I have looked at trips that seem pretty straightforward - not too demanding, but what do I know? I like smaller rivers so upper portions made sense, and pouring over CCR and all I did have multiple references to the fact these rivers are as described.

Any practical or anecdotal information is welcome. If my plan is just silly, don't be afraid to point that out as well.

Thank you!

Anyone ever driven to White Horse from the eastern US? I love driving and think I would enjoy the scenery. Nice 5 day drive maybe? I just got a new to me tripping truck a year ago so I figure I am allowed to add as many miles as I want.
Only dead fish swim with their keels up!

... and then it's time to spit in the grim reaper's soup by doing exactly these tours!

I wish you the necessary health and lots of time to do!

Thank you Michael, Chick and I were looking to go to OctoberFest one time. Have a beer for me, every time you go! "spit in the grim reapers soup." I love this!
Just wanted to give a heads up to @PaddlingPitt in case he missed this thread as he might have some good info.

I don’t know that I can really add much, Keeled Over, as it seems you have already read my trip report on the Thelon River, which Kathleen and I paddled in 1993. We flew to the outlet of Lynx Lake with Loon Air, out of Fort Smith. They still operate out of Fort Smith. I consider the upper Thelon to be Lynx Lake to the conflience with the Hanbury River. This section provided nearly all of the rapids in the 950 km (600 miles) down to Baker Lake. It also offered all of the portages, including the 5 km (3 miles) around the Thelon Canyon. As we saw in another thread, Jackpine Paddle, out of Yellowknife, leads guided canoe trips on a section of the upper Thelon that misses most of the rapids and the major portages.

i think that a better section to paddle would be from the confluence with the Hanbury down to the beginning of the three large tundra lakes. Easy paddling through the Thelon Game Reserve, where you are guaranteed to see muskoxen. I don’t know if anyone offers guided trips in this middle section of the Thelon River.

We have flown twice out of Yellowknife, both times with Ahmic Air. I just snapped this picture of Kathleen, in Fort Lauderdale, where my daughter is getting married five hours from now.

Access - at the moment, I don't believe Ft. Smith is feasible as an access point for the Thelon, assuming you are intending to use a "hard shell" canoe which would need to be carried externally on the aircraft. There is still a Loon Air in Ft. Smith, but it is now a small, one man charter operation and is not certified to carry external loads on its Cessna 206. Similarly, Reliance Air cannot carry external loads on its Cessna 180 - although Reliance Air is a sister company of the Lynx Lake Lodge operators and they might be able to get you there (to Lynx) if you could work something out for a canoe. The only aircraft in Ft. Smith last summer authorized to carry a canoe externally was NWAL's Cessna 185. Unfortunately, its maximum permitted takeoff weight is seriously reduced when it is carrying a canoe externally, so its range is very limited - the Thelon would be well out of range, absent a lot of fuel caches. So I think Yellowknife is really your best bet for access.

Not an endorsement - I have never been on a guided trip - but here is a link to Jackpine Paddle's guided trip on the upper Thelon. Their "upper Thelon" is shorter than Michael's definition. It begins below the falls on the Thelon and encompasses the mostly northward flowing stretch of the river, ending before the Thelon canyon. At the least, you can find pictures of the area and see if it will offer the experience (Barrens) that you are seeking.

Best wishes to you, good luck with your planning.

Keeled Over Death Watch - Taking Canada By Storm

In my best efforts to enjoy myself, meet new people, and contribute to the Canadian economy, this summer is all about Canada. Due to lack of snow I have postponed my Missainabi trip till (hopefully) next year. Here is my plan for the summer - please point out any ideas that need development or are just plain stupid.

First 2 weeks of June will be in Wabakimi. Working with Bruce at Wabakimi Outfitters. I have read he is a very nice guy, and from my interactions so far that seems to be the case. He directed me around some burned areas, and gave some good pointers. We will drive up to Armstrong, take the train west, and paddle around to Armstrong. There are some good climbing routes around Thunder Bay so we will hit that after the canoe trip.

Next up is the Thelon trip. I'm gonna drive up there. Four days to get there, with an extra day for WTF stuff, and upon return I am going to head south until I can go west to the Alaskan Highway. Always wanted to drive it - my grandfather did it in the 60's - and since I'm that far west I will go for it.

Following the arrival at the terminus of Dawson Creek, I'll head down to see Katahdin, spend 2 days there, and then head down to Ketchikan AK where I am looking for a guide to help me cross some fish off my list. Pink salmon and sockeye will be my goal for 2 days, and then back into Canada for a cross country drive to Winnipeg ( want to see the plains) and home to NY.

Finally, we are planning on driving to the Gaspe' area in the fall with the family. Still working out details but they will include a shot at an Atlantic Salmon - I have only seen a dead one, and brook trout on the fly. I understand there are some whales frolicking about and a pretty cool bird sanctuary to see.

I am renting a van for a month for the Thelon (unlimited mileage, heh, heh) and with seats removed that will be my base. Looks like you can stash it at the airport in Yellow Knife, which now has paid long term parking.

This has all been planned via a laptop, and a certain amount of reality has not crept in yet. Let me know if reality tops dreams. Any pertinent information - positive or negative - is welcomed.

Here we go!

Thank you.
That sounds like a great plan! The van is a nice touch. Having a base like that is great. I spent a few months living out of a minivan with no seats in the back and it made so many things easier.

I'm a little jealous...well....except for the sword of Damocles part.