Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Trip Plan Comes Together

By:  Tom

Sarah and I have had a busy week with the help of the patient folks at NARWAL and Arctic Sunwest Charters.

After several email and phone communications Sarah and I agreed on an itinerary.  We will be flying up to Yellowknife on August 18.  On August 20 we will be flown to the East Arm of Great Slave Lake with our boats and gear.  We'll get picked up and flown back to Yellowknife on September 3 and fly back to Chicago on September 5.

That plan gives us a full day in Yellowknife before our flight to the East Arm.  This will give us a chance to unpack the boxes we plan to send on ahead.  We will also go shopping for stove fuel (apparently can't be shipped), food, the local bug dope, and last minute odds and ends.  It will also give us a chance to rest.  Our flight from Chicago is scheduled to arrive in Yellowknife at 11 p.m.

Likewise, we're scheduling a full day in Yellowknife before our return trip.  This provides a cushion in case Arctic Sunwest can't pick us up on the scheduled day due to weather conditions or mechanical problems.  Hopefully, we can use that day to dry out our gear before packing it up for shipping back to Chicago and for celebrating a successful trip.

In between we will have 13 full paddling days plus the two days of transport to and from Yellowknife and the East Arm.  Neither Sarah nor I have camped out of our kayaks for that long a period so we are looking forward to the logistical challenge of packing enough food and gear to tide us over.  As I'll outline in an upcoming post, the end of August marks the transition from summer to fall, so we will be facing a wider range of weather conditions than we might have encountered had we opted for an earlier trip.

We're counting on fewer bugs by going later in the season, when air temperatures are lower.  In routine correspondence and web reading I've seen too many references to bugs and insanity to want to be up there during the height of bug season.  

We had a bit of drama after we had locked in our schedule.  Arctic Sunwest said that it had a 16 foot limit on the kayaks it can carry.  The kayaks we were planning on renting from NARWAL are over that limit.  The Seayak is 16'1" and Kodiak is 17'.  The thought of finding alternative boats and finding ourselves trying to do a two-week unsupported trip using fat, short and slow "rec" boats was enough to make me reconsider the trip.  Fortunately, Cathy Allooloo from NARWAL interceded and Sunwest rechecked its length limit for kayaks.  It is now 17 feet.

I'm now searching for flights to Yellowknife from Chicago and will book soon.  The B&B and boat reservations forms are in the mail to NARWAL already.

1 comment:

  1. With your rudder on the Kodiak, length is more that 17 feet. Be careful and check again with them!