Sunday, June 25, 2006


"Lost", on the "Berens River"........

OK, OK, I wasn't lost, but now I have your attention. Last week I had dropped off Michael Palmen and Michael Hobbs and a canoe at Long Lake, on the Berens River system, and they were going to canoe the local area. They were also going to paddle "upstream" to "Big Moose Falls". Well, Friday morning I picked them up. I flew over the area and they had a VHF radio, and told me they would be at our pre-arranged pickup spot in one half hour, as they were still paddling. I was early, so I figured I would land, tie-up my horse, and go in the "Saloon" for a "snort of whisky". Well, I tied-up, but couldn't find a saloon, so I went wandering with my camera. The place I tied-up was a spot I was familiar with, as I used to haul non-Resident moose hunters into this area years ago for Peter Kalden, owner of Davis Point Lodge and Outfitting. It is a beautiful spot, and a great area to stopover and camp and cook when travelling the river.

The Berens River starts modestly in a weed-choked marsh just west of the height of land that separates the Berens watershed from the Albany River watershed in Ontario. Although currently in a state unchanged and untouched since the glaciers retreated, these two river systems are among Ontario’s most threatened Rivers with logging and road construction to start in the not too distant future in and around their headwaters. The Berens River grows quickly from a modest meandering stream to a river of incredible power and might as tributaries such as the Serpent and Throat Rivers feed its volume. Moose, woodland caribou, bear and most animals and birds that inhabit the boreal forest can be seen frequenting its shores. As you approach the river mouth you can also expect to encounter the bird with North Americas second longest wingspan - the white pelican. A fishery of great quality also awaits those who take the time to wet a line.

The Upper Berens consists of long channels broken by powerful falls, rapids of which a few are runnable and beautiful sparkling lakes. Un-maintained portages are old, mostly short and seldom trodden by man, as they should be on a truly wild river.

Eventually the upper Berens ends tangibly at Berens Lake. It is here the river changes character and becomes a pool and drop system of picturesque rock-rimmed lakes interspersed with a few channels of whitewater, which is typical of rivers flowing into the eastern shores of Lake Winnipeg. Downstream of Berens Lake is the village of Pikangikum, ON, one of several First Nations Villages along the way. These also include Poplar Hill, ON, Pauingassi, MB, Little Grand Rapids, MB, and Berens River, MB. At Family Lake, Manitoba, the river divides into two parts, the southern portion becomes know as the Pigeon River, the northern portion remains known as the Berens River. Long Lake and Big Moose Falls are roughly halfway between the communities of Little Grand Rapids Indian Reserve and Berens River Indian Reserve, which is on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg where the Berens empties into the "Big Lake". Berens and Little Grand are 72 miles apart. From its headwaters to its mouth, trading posts to pictographs, the Berens River is a wonder to explore and experience. Have a "gander" at some pics I took while I waited for "Mike" and "Mike"!

"Big Moose Falls"! Posted by Picasa

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UKN tied-up! Now, "where is that Saloon"..........? Posted by Picasa

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Abandoned fire-pit........ Posted by Picasa

....and another. Posted by Picasa

An old "moose-hanging" rack....... Posted by Picasa

......and another. Posted by Picasa

Some carnivore had killed a northern pike and devoured it on shore. Look at the teeth on the bottom portion of the pike's jaw. Posted by Picasa

Local vegetation. Posted by Picasa

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At last, here come the two "Mikes".......! Posted by Picasa

"Mike" and "Mike"! Posted by Picasa

Pulling up to UKN. Posted by Picasa

Offloading! Posted by Picasa

Other canoers on the river. Posted by Picasa

Loaded, and canoe tied on. Posted by Picasa

Michael Palmen rides "shotgun"....... Posted by Picasa

.......Michael Hobbs enters UKN through her rear door. Posted by Picasa

Well, I returned the "Mikes" back to Pine Dock safely, "Mission Accomplished"! I bid them "adieu", as their "river adventure" was over. They videotaped the flight out, and they now have additional memories to reflect upon years from now, as the "twlight of life" descends upon them, as it will us all.


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