One of the reasons that I chose to paddle my canoe along this route is because I am an admirer of David Thompson and all of his achievements as a fur trader and mapmaker from 1784 until 1812. The Saskatchewan rivers were his highway on his way west to trade for the beaver skins and returning east loaded with the furs for the North West Company.
David Thompson was taken on by the Hudson's Bay Company as an apprentice clerk in 1783 and travelled to the Hudson Bay in 1784 when he was 14 years old. That was the beginning of his lifelong career as fur trader, explorer and cartographer. He became a proficient surveyor while he spent a long period recovering from a badly broken leg. Once he had recovered he travelled across what is now Canada and parts of Idaho and Washington trading for beaver furs, establishing trading posts and creating the survey data that became the maps of the area where he had established the fur trade for the Northwest Company. His maps became the maps that were used to help determine the Canada/USA border and were used as the authoritative map of Canada for many years after his death.
My preparations for the trip are progressing well but the pace will have to accelerate over the next three weeks. My departure date is now decided - June 2. Jenny will drive me to Rocky Mountain House with my canoe and equipment starting on June 1 and staying at Aurum Lodge with our friends Alan and Madeleine Ernst for the night before completing the drive on June 2. This will break up the journey for Jenny and make an early start on the river possible for me.
Since my last post I have approached several businesses for sponsorship with some success. The list on the sidebar shows sponsors who have already provided items that will help me to complete my trip safely. More will be added in the next week as I receive the help that I have requested.
Last Saturday, May 1, Jenny and I went to Hinton to have our winter wheels swapped out for our summer wheels and at the same time I collected some of my equipment from our storage in Hinton. Unfortunately I left my equipment list at home so we will be going back In the next week to collect everything that I need and bringing it back to Jasper where I can start to organize how it will be packed.
As I add posts to this blog I will be attempting to raise awareness about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other forms of infant deaths. This has particular significance for me because I have lost three granddaughters to unexpected infant deaths: Hazel died from SIDS, Lily died due to a serious genetic disorder and Eva was stillborn. The term used to classify many forms of infant deaths is Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and SIDS is included as a category within this group.
"Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is a term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby's sleep area." (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) https://www.cdc.gov/sids/about/index.htm
Obviously, as this will be my last extreme outdoor, I would like it to be a successful fund raiser for Gill and Hazel's Heroes so that she can continue with her retreats to support grieving mothers. Donating is difficult if you don't know how you can to do it, so here is the information you need to donate to support my effort
For UK residents who would like to donate to a UK charity I have partnered with The Lullaby Trust and I have put a link to their website on my donation page.
Since my last post to this blog I have been busy and with some success. I approached two companies and asked for some sponsorship help for the dehydrated food I will require and a new spray deck for my canoe with only one spray skirt for a solo paddler. For those of you that wonder what a spray deck is, it's a cover that fits over the whole length of the canoe to prevent water coming in from whitewater waves and from rain. On a long trip it keeps everything safe and dry including me. Usually a spray deck has two spray skirts, one for the front paddler and one for the back paddler and I have one already for two paddlers. Now I have one on order for a solo paddler with the spray skirt located over the front seat so that I can face towards the back when I paddle. That puts me in a more central position where I have better control of the canoe. The picture below shows you what a spray deck looks like.
As for the dehydrated food, I ordered 30 meals which I have already received. I chose to go with Harvest Foodworks because on my canoe trip round the Bowron Lakes the one meal we had from them was by far the best. Here's a small sample of the meals that I'm going to be eating on my paddle.
These sponsors helped to make my canoe trip possible.
You can help me to achieve my goals for this trip in a number of ways: