South Saskatchewan River – Paradise Beach to Saskatoon (25 km)

Last fall, I was planning a four-day packrafting trip down the South Saskatchewan River from Outlook to Saskatoon. High winds and family obligations foiled my plans, and instead I ended up taking two day trips, both along the stretch from Paradise Beach to the city. I had never done a river trip before, minus a …

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Prince Albert National Park (2020): Day 6

I packed up and left before the other campers were up this morning. Lily Lake was calm as I padded to what looked like the entrance of the portage, which was logged with lily pads and reeds... https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/50203107858/in/dateposted-public/ Not really packraft-friendly. I padded to the beach nearby, partially deflated my packraft and bushwhacked through the …

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Prince Albert National Park (2020): Day 5

Anticipating shallow waters on the Bagwa Canoe Route, I positioned my backpack behind me in my packraft today to better see over the bow. The route heading SOBO begins with a paddle down the Bagwa Channel, which had beautiful scenery, calm waters, many weeds and some water lilies to push through. https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/50203931377/in/dateposted-public/ Bagwa Channel https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/50573343016/in/dateposted-public/

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Prince Albert National Park (2020): Day 4

As usual, I got an early start today. The sunrise was beautiful over Bladebone Bay. https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/50203126158/in/dateposted-public/ Remembering how quickly the packrafting went yesterday, I was in no hurry as I started down the west side of Kingsmere Lake, and I stopped for a long break at a solitary beach. https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/50203159038/in/dateposted-public/ Beach #1 I left, paddled …

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Prince Albert National Park (2020): Day 3

30 July 2020 My first day of packrafting! I woke up early and left camp by 7:00 AM, skipping breakfast to take advantage of the early morning period when Kingsmere Lake is beautifully still. Packrafts don't track nicely like a canoe or kayak does, but adding weight to the front of the boat helps, and …

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Prince Albert National Park (2020): Day 2

29 July 2020 I ate breakfast on the beach this morning to avoid the mosquitoes. I never ended up meeting the people camped in the other site - they returned to the campground after I went to bed, and were still in their tent when I left. The walking between Chipewan Portage and Sandy Beach …

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Prince Albert National Park (2020): Day 1

28 July 2020 Backcountry campsites around Kingsmere Lake and the Bagwa Canoe Route are reserved first-come, first-served on the day of departure. Never having booked sites in Prince Albert National Park before, I didn't know how crowded the campgrounds might be, but since most are small (some only have two tentsites), I was hovering outside …

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Prince Albert National Park (2020): Introduction

26 July 2020 I'm ready (?) and raring to go on my first packrafting trip! A recount of me announcing this trip to my mother: Me: So I'm going to buy a packraft and go packrafting this summer... Her: THAT'S A TERRIBLE IDEA. Me: Do you know what a packraft is? Her: NO. Me: It's …

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Great Divide Trail Pre-Hike 4: We’re Just Very Unhappy Now

So, decision time came and went and I decided to cancel this hike. The question of thru-hiking in 2020 has been debated so intensely that it’s garnered the long-distance community more attention than we’ve received since Wild (see the New York Times, Washington Post and this amusingly titled LAist article), so I feel no need …

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Great Divide Trail Pre-Hike 3: Permits

Sunday, March 29, 2020 The GDT uses a patchwork of shorter trails, some of which are well-maintained and popular and some of which are the complete opposite. In most of the parks, camping requires permits that may be of two varieties: 1) random camping permits for less popular trails/areas without maintained campgrounds; 2) campsite bookings …

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Great Divide Trail Pre-Hike 2: More Coronavirus

Saturday, March 28, 2020 How things change in just a few weeks! On the day that I cancelled my Grand Enchantment Trail hike, there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sasky, none in New Mexico, and I believe eight in Arizona. Those three places still have a (comparatively) low number of cases, but numbers are …

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Great Divide Trail Pre-Hike 1: Coronavirus

Monday, March 16, 2020 Let me suggest a scenario. A seemingly normal human being opens his bathroom cupboard and methodically counts the eight rolls of toilet paper inside. He frowns. He drives to the supermarket. He fights another shopper for a cart. He rushes to the toilet paper aisle, bowling over several children on the …

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Great Divide Trail: Introduction

Sunday, March 15, 2020 https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/49651710888/in/dateposted-public/ As a hiker I drift between extremes. Too much easy hiking provokes a mental backlash; too much difficult hiking provokes a different kind of mental backlash; they must be measured so that by the time I return to one or the other I've forgotten whatever boredom or frustration I was …

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Florida Trail (2019-2020) 5: Arrival At I-75

The mosquitoes were thicker overnight than those in the Diamond Peak Wilderness during my 2017 PCT LASH, and that's saying something. Those that crowded into my vestibule were easy to kill by pressing my tent mesh against the doors, so Florida played witness to a bloodbath in the morning when the mosquitoes and a burst …

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Florida Trail (2019-2020) 4: Day of Wading

Beautiful weather today! Soon after the mile 27 marker (which actually marks 21 miles from Oasis Visitor Center), the route became 99% wading with a few sections of mud. The mud was more difficult than the wading, having incredible suction. https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/49709185562/in/dateposted-public/ Muddy. The water level was below my knees most of the time, but still …

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Florida Trail (2019-2020) 3: Suddenly Dry

https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/49703260252/in/dateposted-public/ The trail was suddenly dry this morning. I encountered no water until a notorious alligator hole located directly beside the FT, where a small amount of water was visible. Guthook claims that the alligator lives underneath a ledge inside the hole, so despite no alligators being in sight, I wasn't going to stick my …

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Florida Trail (2019-2020) 2: Still No Alligators

Day two on the FT. Everything was misty and wet this morning and I felt little incentive to get up, but get up I did. The sun emerged just before I entered a section of wading. https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/49702938816/in/dateposted-public/ 7 Mile Camp https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/49702475783/in/dateposted-public/ I don't know what I was expecting from the swamp water, but I was …

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Florida Trail (2019-2020) 1: Escape to Florida

On December 21st, I flew down to Florida to hike the first thirty miles of the Florida Trail and engage in some touristing. Aside from my working holiday in Australia, I've taken no winter holidays since childhood, but this year the stars aligned with a work vacation and my antipathy towards facing another commercial Christmas …

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Overland Track: Concluding Thoughts

https://www.flickr.com/photos/187104378@N07/49682581693/in/dateposted-public/ Monday, March 14, 2016 Overland Track complete! I would recommend it to anyone in this part of the world, especially if you have a decent chunk of time to take advantage of side trip opportunities. The area is lovely and the trail less crowded than I thought it would be, probably because of a …

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Overland Track Day 8: How Much Would You Pay for a Boat Ride?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016 I woke up, dried most of the condensation off my tent, ate the dodgy couscous for breakfast, mulled over the possibility that the dodgy couscous had already been cooked, and set off towards Narcissus Hut. I had decided pre-hike to take the ferry to Cynthia Bay instead of walking around the …

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