I’ll use this page to mention where I’m at when I have access to a computer. Also want to include this link to my personal locator (Spot) tracks. When I’m on the move, it shows where I’m at, and where I’ve been, every ten minutes for the past seven days.
January 16 / 2023
A week before Christmas I booked a flight to Buenos Aires, with the intention of spending three months cycling a loop around the Andes. That flight would have been today but I’ve cancelled it or rather postponed it until next fall when I will hopefully depart in November. I am now on Vancouver Island where it’s been some what wet but mild. I will relocate to Kelowna in mid February and the new cycle tour plan is to ride to Winnipeg starting in early April. I would store the bicycle somewhere there and reunite with it in the fall for the trip to Chile. I expect that this summer’s canoe travels will get me back to the west of Winnipeg. (That would include some train travel as I have no intention of paddling Lake Superior again.) From wherever I decide to leave the bike I will likely use the trains to get back to Saguenay and the canoe by mid May.
I’m now in Quebec City waiting for a flight west. The bike and canoe have been stored in Saguenay until my expected return next May. I was only able to paddle for 110 kilometres from Sept Iles before conditions became to rough to paddle and I had to revert to towing the canoe. A challenging highway with it’s many steep pitches but otherwise a great highway for towing a canoe because of the constant four to five foot wide paved shoulder. My very own private lane. Next spring I hope to find a suitable route that will allow me to paddle most of the way to Senneterre, Quebec. My mother was born in Quebec and I want to paddle a lake near there that my grandfather certainly would have paddled. He was a trapper in that region. How far I’ll get next year I can’t say but hoped for plans beyond Quebec include paddling the French River and then getting aboard a train to pass the Great Lakes and get back to The Pas, Manitoba. Cumberland House is up river from there and it is the start of a voyageur route that led to the Arctic. That route, using the Meythe Portage, comes out at Fort McMurrey on the Athabasca River. That then joins the Peace and the the Slave Rivers with access to Fort Chippewa on Lake Athabasca. I’m making Fort Chip a future hoped for destination. Alexander Mackenzie built the first fort there and that was his start and finish point when he explored the length of the then Dencho River.
I am now in Sept Iles, Quebec, thanks to the cargo ship / passenger ferry that services the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. ( A ferry that did a very good job, with some schedule changes, of outrunning Hurrican Fiona.) Paddling here was certainly not an option and the only road connecting the Labrador border to Sept Iles would have been a 1600 kilometre ride along the very desolate Labrador Highway. Everything went as planned with my Newfoundland cycle tour although I would have preferred to be able to have paddled more. I had hoped to have a look at the Labrador coast, using the ferry service that runs from Goose Bay to Nain, but I realized it was too late in the season and I’d best get back to populated Quebec. Here I hope to be able to continue my travels until late October. Nights will be chilly but I now have two sleeping bags and will be cozy at temperatures even below freezing. My next destination is Lac St. Jean on the Sagunay River, a distance of 600 kilometres. How long it will take to get there will depend on weather conditions. I intend to paddle whenever possible and will wait out too windy conditions rather that switching back to pedaling. It doesn’t matter where I end up storing the canoe for the winter. As a location re where to spend this winter, I have my sights on starting in the Patagonia region of South America and making my way north with both hiking and cycling.
I have been in Newfoundland for a month already. I left the canoe in Deer Lake as I didn’t feel there was enough inland water I could string together to make hauling it around with the bicycle worthwhile. I intend to circle the island, which will include the use of ferries further down the South Shore to reach a road that will get me back to Port aux Basques. From there I’ll ride back to Deer Lake and head up the Northern Peninsula with the canoe in tow. Eventually Labrador is a destination as is a return to the Quebec highway system by taking the ferries that service the Quebec towns along the north side of the Gulf.
Oops. It’s been more than two years since I updated this page. Two years of covid! But two years of covid that I pretty much missed out on, reason being that I have been in New Zealand all that time. If you’re not aware, NZ was able to eliminate covid from the entire country for almost a year and half after the initial lock-down. With provincial borders closed, I would not have been able to get back to the canoe last year, so it made sense to stay put there. This was my fourth visit to Aotearoa. For eight months I did full time volunteer predator trap checking. I spent another six months tour cycling.
I am keen to return to the canoe, which has been stored in a shed in Nova Scotia for these past two years. That will be in May. I intend to spend the entire summer exploring Newfoundland Labrador.
My 2019 paddling season is over, the canoe is stored in Nova Scotia awaiting my intended return in May of 2020. Rather than recap my last summer paddle here I’ll instead put my time to better use constructing more pages in the format of the first two years. (The quickest way to do that initially is to copy my Facebook content of my travels to this journal.) I did reach the Atlantic at Shediac, New Brunswick on August 16th. I only paddled the coast for about 15 kilometres before deciding to store the canoe and cycle the Maritimes instead. I will be taking the canoe to Newfoundland next year, but I suspect it is not a canoe friendly coast and I expect to be doing most of my touring by bicycle there too.
After a 200 kilometre bike portage from the St. Lawrence River, I have now arrived on Lac Temiscouata, near the New Brunswick border. This waterway joins the St. John River at Edmundston. 450 kilometres of the St. John and a couple more bike portages will get me to New Brunswick’s north coast.
I returned, after three months in Nicaragua, to my stored canoe, in Peterborough on April 13th and resumed my paddle eastward a week later. I wasn’t aware that the Trent Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal didn’t open until mid May. Portaging around the Severn’s remaining eighteen locks was not only going to be time consuming but with some locks and my loaded ‘barge’ of a canoe it would be difficult. When there is a concrete wall sticking up two feet or more above the water unloading to empty the canoe so it can be pulled out, is best not attempted. I was able to paddle 60 km from Peterborough, but at that next lock I decided to hook up the bike and cycle to the end of the Trent Severn. I arrived there about the end of April and launched the canoe into Lake Ontario. Since then I have been helping a farm family in Prince Edward County will I wait for the Rideau Canal to open. Tomorrow the weather is favourable to resume paddling the 60 km to Kingston and the start of the Rideau Canal which will get me to Ottawa. From there I am back on the voyageur route leading to Montreal and the St. Lawrence River.
It’s a lousy job I have been doing of trying to get this journal updated. Trying again now though. I returned from five months in the UK and Europe in mid December. I will be returning to Nicaragua in mid January for three months. In April I will return to Peterborough and continue my canoe journey east. Looking forward to that. I enjoyed my summer spent in the UK backpacking and cycling but it wasn’t as interesting (or as adventurous) as the canoeing. Considering the possibility of one day shipping the canoe over there and paddling the canals of England, Scotland and why not a journey through Europe too.
I’m back! Not back from my travels but back in front of a computer screen with the intentions of updating as much of this journal as possible in a few days. I am presently in Stornoway, in the Hebrides of Scotland. Stornoway is the birthplace of Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Seems appropriate that I should stop here and update my journal, in that I left of just prior to telling of my paddle down the length of the Mackenzie River – four years ago now! (August 19 It’s about 3/4 completed now but available to read. It’s under the 2014 Canoe and Bike menu heading.)
But first an update of what I have been doing since my last mention of that on this page. I spent a full six months last winter in Rio Blanco, Nicaragua. As I did the previous winter in Haiti I was volunteering not traveling. I returned to B.C. in May but by mid May I was back in Ontario and resuming my cross Canada canoe journey. Only a couple of weeks spent in the canoe this year however. I decided last year that I would like to spend this summer season backpacking in the British Isles. I had left the canoe at a cousin’s south of Lake Simcoe last winter. From there I biked to Lake Simcoe which is part of the Trent-Severn waterway. A hundred year old canal system, now maintained by Parks Canada, that joins Lake Huron with Lake Ontario. My destination for this year was the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario. I wrote the museum last summer asking if perhaps I could store the canoe with them for the upcoming winter, and they graciously accepted. I will resume my paddle eastward in May of 2019.
I arrived in Ireland in early June with the intention of cycling the Emerald Isle. Didn’t like how narrow the roads are, however, so elected to start walking from there. I took a train once, and have accepted a couple of offered short rides but it is my intention to hike anywhere scenic and bus, train, or hitch only where needed to get to areas of interest to me. I don’t intend to return to Canada until late October.
The canoe is now stored for the winter and I am back in B.C. – but not for long. On Sunday, I will be flying to Nicaragua where I intend to spend at least three months and perhaps six. This trip will be similar to my Haiti excursion last winter. I’m going to do volunteer labour. In going to Ile a Vache, Haiti, though I didn’t have any plan of how I could help. This time my efforts will help the work being done by Aqua Para La Vida. An NGO that has been working in the Rio Blanco area of the country for, I think, thirty years. They find water sources in the hills and install underground gravity water systems to pipe the water to villages. I’ve known of them for about ten years. I want to learn Spanish, as I hope to cycle South American next winter. I’ll help in what ever way they want me to help, but my preference is to work with the villagers digging the necessary ditches.
I have added up the distances google maps provides on my Routes Traveled map. In my four seasons of exploring Canada (and Alaska) I have canoed 8300 kilometres, and cycled 4760 km pulling the canoe. Bicycle touring without the canoe adds up to 2370 km.
Now in Sudbury. I worked here for a couple of months 50 years ago. That was for International Nickel, working underground a mile and a quarter below the surface. That same mine now houses the SNO Lab. A very expensive and elaborate physics lab doing research on neutrinos and dark matter. This side trip with bike only, started out as a tour of Manitoulin Island but then the reunion with Sudbury beckoned. On my return to South Baymouth I will resume paddling to Bruce Peninsula.
After a month and 560 kilometres of paddling on Lake Superior I’m getting back on the bike. Presently in Wawa and I intend to bike 400 km to Spanish, Ontario before I put back into Lake Huron. The Mother Superior was kind to me and there were only a couple of times when someone would have had reason to comment ‘look at that idiot out there in a canoe’. And during those times, yes, I am getting bounced around, and I’d rather not be there, but the canoe is very much like a cork in the way it responds to the waves, and I’ve never once felt I was on the verge of tipping over. From Spanish, east there are many islands offering wind and wave shelter. The voyageur route was up the French River but I will continue to the south end of Huron and bike to Lake Ontario.
Now in Thunder Bay after a three week paddle through the ‘Boundary Waters’. They are called that because they follow the Canada / US boundary for about 400 kilometres. And that is because that boundary was, long ago, established to follow the centuries old voyageur canoe route. I found some of the 24 portages difficult due to the very bouldery paths and the need to transport the canoe by cart not by carrying. 630 kilometres of Lake Superior shoreline to follow now to reach Sault St. Marie and access into Lake Huron. I expect to be spending a number of days wind-bound on the world’s largest lake.
On May 1st I retrieved the canoe from the Saskatoon storage yard, where it sat all winter, and resumed my paddle down the Saskatchewan River system. I had intended to paddle Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba but after being windbound three days out of five on Cedar Lake I have decided to put the bike back on the road and tow the canoe to Ontario. Big lakes and prairie winds don’t make for great canoeing. Also during those five days, spent on Cedar Lake, I never saw anybody and that’s not how I want to experience ‘Friendly Manitoba’. My cycle destination now is Lake of the Woods, which leads to the Boundary Waters canoe route along the Ontario Minnesota border. That chain of lakes and rivers with many portages ends at Grand Portage on Lake Superior.
Perhaps the day will come when I find a nice cabin site with wifi on a quiet lake somewhere where I will spend a week or so and update this blog. But I do post to Facebook and all my travel related posts are public.
I have a lot of catching up to do with this journal. In October I left the canoe and all my gear, sitting on a pallet in a storage yard in Saskatoon. I flew to New York City and joined a sailboat headed for Haiti. The sail to Haiti was a slow trip, taking fifty days because of all the stops we made. My four months in Haiti were all spent on ‘Ile a Vache’ (Cow Island), a small eight mile long island off the southwest coast. It was no holiday. My time was mostly spent fixing broken water well hand pumps, looking for new water sources or trying to better existing ones. At the end of March I joined another sailboat for the seven day journey back to the Florida Keys.
I am looking forward to resuming my paddle eastward at the end of April. Yet to be decided is what route to take through Manitoba. Lake Winnipeg is the route the voyageurs used but I think I will choose a Lake Winnipegosis – Lake Manitoba route. Then I would bike east two hundred kilometres to avoid the Winnipeg River which would require an upstream paddle.
My original plan, re continuing my journey eastward, was to rejoin my previous route at Fort Vermilion and follow the route of the voyageurs. That though would require a paddle UP the Athabaska River and I chose to not attempt that. Instead, after ferrying to Prince Rupert, I took the train to Dunster B.C. (Both the ferry and train are a relatively cheap way of shipping the canoe.) Dunster is north of the Yellowhead Hwy junction at Tete Jaune that heads east through the Rockies. Valemont is a shorter distance south of that junction. I reached Valemont after a paddle up Kinbasket Lake in 2013, and I consider Dunster to be the same as resuming at Valemont.
My choice then, was whether I took the North or South Saskatchewan River. I chose the South, as having previously day paddled its tributary the Red Deer River, I wanted to see more of it. Getting to the Red Deer meant pulling the canoe over the 2030 metre pass at the Columbia Icefields on the Banff Jasper Highway. That is one of Canada’s most scenic highways and was worth the extra effort.
I resumed paddling near Dickson, Alberta and am presently in Drumheller. The Red Deer joins the South Saskatchewan a few hundred kilometres from here.
Completed my Alaska/Yukon cycle ride at Carcross, Yukon where I boarded the White Pass & Yukon train to Skagway. Ferry from here to Juneau today where I’ll pick up the canoe before continuing by ferry to Prince Rupert on Aug 8. Then a car rental or something motorized to get me back to where I left the Peace River in 2014 to head for Inuvik.
Presently in Nenana, Alaska. I enjoyed five days in Dawson City while waiting for a shuttle bus that could take the canoe back to Whitehorse. Then I was able to get a ride to Skagway and ferried to Juneau. I left the canoe there and took a three day boat ride around the Gulf of Alaska from Juneau to Kodiak Island. After a few days there another ferry to Homer and I cycled to Anchorage. Took the train from Anchorage to Denali National Park. I intend to cycle from here back to Whitehorse which is a little over a thousand kilometres. The weather is looking great! And the mosquitoes seem to be having an off year here. I heard tales of needing a head net so you don’t breathe them in but I slept out twice in Denali without the tent and there were no mosquitoes at all. Same goes for flies. I am able to ride without sunglasses which usually double as a windshield for bugs.
In Carmacks, YT paddling the Yukon River to Dawson where I’ll decide whether or not I continue into Alaska.
It’s obvious I haven’t been updating this page. Back in B.C. now and preparing to resume my canoe travels in the next week or two. I intend to paddle the Yukon River to at least Dawson City. There I’ll decide whether to continue into Alaska, or either ship everything back to Fort Vermilion, or transport everything to the coast at Skagway and paddle down the Alaska Panhandle to Prince Rupert.
Presently in Wanganui, NZ. Since arriving in NZ I have paddled the Whanganui River, hiked two ‘Round the Mountain’ tracks and climbed Mt Taranaki. I will next be cycling the length of the South Island as I would like to re-visit Stewart Island before resuming my Te Araroa tramp of last year.
December 16th, 2015
I am now back in New Zealand. This journal is still not up to date. The last addition re paddling and cycling Hudson Hope to Hay River has been completed to the end of my Peace River paddle at Fort Vermilion.
I left New Zealand on March 13, and returned to British Columbia. Presently my wings are clipped as I am caring for my parents. You might say that the genes that allow me to do what I do at age 65 have called me home. I stopped my Te Araroa hike two thirds of the way up the South Island with the intention of completing it when I am able.
I have been in New Zealand since my December 13th arrival in Christchurch. I purchased a bicycle and cycled to Bluff with side trips to cache food for my planned Te Araroa hike. I arrived in Bluff December 30th and caught the ferry to Stewart Island the next day. Yesterday I completed the Northwest Circuit Track that follows the outer perimetre of the north half of the island. Today I left Bluff following the Te Araroa and am presently in Invercargill.
I have now completed my hike east across B.C. Plans now are to return (by air) to Fort Good Hope to volunteer for a couple of months but, as yet, nothing certain in that plan. In January I intend to fly to New Zealand and spend four months there hiking the Te Araroa trail.
I arrived in Inuvik on the 20th of September and was there for ten days. I am presently in Whitehorse, having shipped the canoe here and hitched a ride for myself. I now intend to paddle the Yukon River to Fairbanks, Alaska, next spring, before proceeding east again from Fort Vermilion. With the canoe stored I will next resume the rail trail hike east, I started last fall, from where I left off in Castlegar.
Now in Norman Wells, NWT. Have about 850 kilometres to go to reach Inuvik but am past the half way point along the Mackenzie River. Even allowing for a couple of days being windbound I should reach Inuvik in two weeks, by Sept 20th. I am well equipped to deal with a few degrees of frost at night.
Have arrived in Hay River on Great Slave Lake. When I bike, I must ship some of my equipment ahead by Greyhound as otherwise the weight is too much for the canoe cart. That package, plus two boxes of food I previously made up, have arrived and I’ll likely be leaving here tomorrow morning. It’s about 70 km to the start of the Mackenzie at the west end of Great Slave. When I’m out of cell range I will be making some public posts via InReach to Facebook. It’s a 1000 miles to Inuvik and how long it will take depends partly on the river flow. Expecting it to take a month.
I am presently in Peace River, Alberta. Since leaving Terrace I biked to Houston, and then took a logging road south, from which I was able to access Francois Lake. The east end of Francois Lake is near Fraser Lake where I rejoined Highway 16 and biked to Prince George and then north to Mackenzie Junction. I then paddled 9 km of the Parsnip River to reach Williston Lake. I took out at the Bennet Dam and resumed paddling at Hudson Hope. From the town of Peace River the Peace wiggles its way another 400 kilometres to Fort Vermilion. I intend to take out there and bike to Hay River on Great Slave Lake.
Finishing up a family matter kept me in Terrace for more than a month. I have now resumed my journey and hope to have enough time to make it to Inuvik before the river there freezes at the end of September.
I completed my paddle from Ocean Falls to Kitimat on May 25th. I am now in Terrace with the intention of staying put here until I update this journal.
I am presently in Ocean Falls and will be leaving tomorrow in the direction of Kitimat. From Bella Bella I paddled to Alexander Mackenzie’s Rock with the intention of then coming here. Instead I chose to paddle to Bella Coola and ferry back to here. It was twenty kilometres further but I thought it the better option for a few reasons. It is approximately 300 kilometres to Kitimat and I expect to arrive before the end of the month, weather permitting. No cell or wifi until I reach Kitimat.
I resumed my travels for 2014 on April 15th. I am canoeing from Buckley Bay south of Comox to Port Hardy where I will catch the ferry to Bella Bella. Today I arrived in Port McNeil. It’s been a slow go because of the weather and I have been windbound for at least five full days. Only two days now to Port Hardy though so expect to make the ferry this coming Saturday. Interesting waters Georgia and Johnstone Straits are for a small boat.
My tracks, shown with the link above are lacking in that my cell phone has quit and I am not able to make my Spot Connect track. I also use a Spot Trace but for some reason it doesn’t track on the water. Hope to get everything working properly before leaving Hardy.
I completed my walk from Horseshoe Bay to Castlegar on November 13. I have now ceased my roaming until the spring and am spending the winter at my sister’s at 108 Mile Ranch. I will be adding the Vancouver Island bike and canoe portion of my journey as well as the rail trail hike portion to my journal over the next couple of weeks.
This is day 14 of my hike from the coast. Presently in Summerland and will be following the KVR east to Grand Forks. Expecting though that a heavy snowfall could stop me any day now.
The canoe and bike have been stored for the winter. I’m going to try some hiking and intend to hike the Trans Canada Trail to the Kootenay’s or as far as I get in a month. I’ll be starting out from Horseshoe Bay today. I have my pack down to a decent enough 40 pounds.
Yesterday I arrived in Campbell River and am presently on Quadra Island. From Zeballos I paddled to Esperanza where the Uchuck picked me up. From Kyuquot I paddled out to Spring Island and stayed there for a full week. The Uchuck brought me back to the Gold River dock. From there I cycled to Gold River and then to Upper Campbell Lake and a paddle to it’s north end. A short bike ride around it’s dam brought me to Campbell Lake which I canoed to a short distance from Campbell River.
I have now completed the Bella Coola leg of my journey. This journal has been updated to my arrival on Vancouver Island. I’m presently in Zeballos, on an inlet in from Nootka Sound. Since arriving on the Island I have biked into Port Alice, paddled up to Coal Harbour, cycled back out to Port Hardy then to Port McNeil. Then a paddle to Telegraph Cove and a bike to Zeballos. Next a ride with the Uchuck III to Kyuquot and after a week there it will fetch me back to the Gold River wharf where I’ll resume cycling down the Island.