Churchill River Saskatchewan canoe trip: August 16, 2007

Day 5

It was another nice morning, so we decided to bake our cinnamon buns. Several fishing boats zoomed by and we waved to the fishers. We wondered where they could be going. We did a little birding again, and Barbara found a Chestnut-sided Warbler and an eagle feather. There were these openings in the forest where the ground was covered with moss.

We were just thinking about leaving when we saw 5 canoes coming our way. It was a party of 11 from a group home in Prince Albert. Their leader was Curt. He had another male and a female leader for the mixed-sex group of native youngsters. They were pulling in for a mid-morning snack. Everyone was in good spirits. Curt was very experienced, and gave us some valuable advice about the rapids and falls coming up.

We left them behind and paddled to Trout Falls. We got off course again, but I realized why. The computer maps that we had did not have the magnetic declination indicated. A little help from the GPS soon got us straight.

We made the first carry around the falls, and returning, saw Curt’s group arriving. We completed the portage and had our lunch. Bill took a few casts, but, surprisingly, there was no luck. The guide book said that the best places to fish were below the falls, but we did not find it to be the case.

We shot Little Trout rapids, which was easy. Then, after scouting, we shot the north channel of Moose rapids. It was tricky, and later we heard that Curt hit a rock.

This brought us into Stack Lake where we saw a Bald Eagle beside a nest. It allowed us to get very close and take lots of photos.

We paddled across the lake to Rock Trout Rapids. The kids were already there and setting up camp for a two-day layover. I noticed that Curt had regular topo maps, so I asked to see them to find out the declination. But for some reason, it was not indicated, and Curt said he never worried about it.

The rapids were in two parts – the first was Class 3, but doable. But the second part, although only Class 2, had that nasty undercut that Ric had warned us about. Curt said that someone had been pinned there once.

It was fairly easy to line the first part. We planned to run the second part, but before we could start, the kids started jumping into the rapids and let themselves be carried down. The rocks were very deep here. They were having a ball. Curt gave me his email address, and we sent him a bunch of photos later. He also showed us the location of a good campsite on the next lake, Mountney.

We planned to run the V on the left near the undercut, but after watching the kids, decided to follow their route on the right. We had no trouble, and the kids all cheered.
It was amusing to see a motor boat arrive and blast up the rapids at full throttle. He hit his prop near the top, but it was ok, so he just shrugged and carried on.

We ran Little Rock Rapids on the extreme right – it was a bit tricky. Once again we got lost while looking for Curt’s campsite. The map is not correct here. While circumventing the wrong island, we saw a Pine Marten right by the rocky shore. He scampered off while Bill was reaching for the camera. We finally found the excellent campsite at E0492373 N6173135. In no time, Bill caught a pike for supper.