We are sorry we havent been bloging much since we left. Who would of tought it would be so much work to paddle across the country with a 5 year old ;-) We decided that I, Benoit, would be bloging in english and that Magali will be bloging in French. Reduces the work load on each of us a bit. We will try and slowly catch up to our current position but here is some stories from the first couple of weeks of our trip.
The next few days go buy well as we revisit some of the sites we paddled last spring. We quickly realise the water is much lower than last year which we appreciate at first as it helps us finding campsites. On May 6th after 5 days of paddling however we are forced to take our first day off (which our body appreciate) due to the snow storm that hit us. We spend a whole day in the tent trying to stay warm and are happy to have brought our propane stove to cook on. We are also very happy to have our Exped mats as they have down in them and keep us insulated from the ground. I take a short walk outside in the afternoon only to realise how much it would have been cold on the water and that staying in the tent was a good idea. At that point we decide to let Mother Nature decide to some extend when our rest days will be.
On May 8th we paddle hard to reach Heinsburg Alberta our first stop in civilisation. We were surprised to see the amount of people there this spring as last spring it felt like a ghost town. We meet lots of great people who organized the 2nd chance trail ride an event to raise funds and promote awareness about organ and tissues donors. It makes us realise how lucky we are to be healthy and able to take on the adventure we are on. Mali also enjoys the bunch of kids that are there and plays until late at night with them. Mali is sad to leave his new friends but the next rapids we paddle the next day quickly make him happy again to be in the canoe. Mali loves rapids, it’s like a big roller coaster for him. I usually love them as well but at this time of year there are more of a concern for me and I always take the easiest and driest route through them (unfortunately for Mali who always wants us to take the biggest waves…). Our objective for the day was to reach Saskatchewan which we reach later that evening after another good day of paddling. That evening after setting up camp we get the visit from a hunter who surprised us by walking up to our camp from the bush!!! We didn’t expect to get visitors at all. He warns us that he has just place bear bait 500m away from our camp and that he knows of a least 6 bears in his sector one of which is a BIG males that might not want to share his snack. We eat our supper, pack all our stuff and at 9pm we get back on the water to find a new spot which we do on an island a bit downstream. We always felt safer on islands but a few days later after witnessing a bear swimming across the whole North Saskatchewan River, that feeling of safety on islands was gone.
A few days later we get some very cold night and thus we are a lot slower in the mornings. I often let magali and Mali sleep in in the warm tent heated by the sun but I have a lot of difficulty sleeping past 7am. I’m always to excited, so I get up prepare a fire and just appreciate the calm and quiet and sometimes see a few beaver that are curious to see what I’m up to. On May 10th our objective is to make it near North Battleford so we can call Elaine our contact there who has our box or resupplies. We manage to find a site with cell reception (so we can contact her) only as the sun was setting which means another long day of paddling. Being on the water late in the evening however has it up sides as we see a lot of wild life especially beavers who like to let us know we are near their house. Lucky for us there wasn’t too much wind that day which is always nice. The next day we reached North Battleford and thus completed the first part of our journey. We underestimated the time required to get there however and make it only after another 9 hours of paddling and arrive around 7pm. We decide to camp near the river in North Battleford and to reorganize everything the next day. Lucky for us the rain forecast has changed for a nice sunny day. That evening we also get the visit from a local journalist who brings some gifts for Mali, some books, sand toys and little boats. Mali is really happy and we thank her with all our heart for her kind gesture. The next day Elaine meets us again and gives me a ride to her house so we can get fresh water and then drops me into town to get fresh goods and some things at the pharmacy. I have a finger that has gotten infected and wanted the advice of a pharmacist. I take a taxi back to our camp and we reorganise all our food for the next section of our trip until The Pas Manitoba which we hope to reach in two weeks. We leave North Battleford late that evening and camp nearby. From this point on the adventure really begins for us as we had paddle up to North Battleford last sping but what is coming up is the unknown. We are really excited to discover new areas ahead.