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We’re following the journey of six young men as they canoe across Canada, 2,800 miles to the Arctic Ocean. They’re calling the expedition, “The Source Runs North“.

canoe trip, canada, pemmican, source runs north

They will be documenting their endeavor, showcasing the natural beauty of Canada alongside the challenges they encounter, incorporating a historical account of the local history of the region as well as the routes of expeditions past. They aim to highlight the rewarding nature of demanding wilderness tripping and to encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy what their local wilderness has to offer.

Journey Updates

Departing early May 2019 – Stay tuned!

April 22, 2019 – Heading to the starting point. Waiting for thawing.

May 9, 2019 – Day 1:

Today was day one for the men of The Source Runs North. They left from Camp Kooch-i-Ching earlier today, but not before a quick stop at The Coffee Landing in International Falls. After that, they paddled fifty miles– not a bad start. Zach Schiller and I spoke on the phone for a few minutes about their first day. He mentioned that they battled a few headwinds in the morning, but then had great weather the rest of the day. They are all in “great spirits” and sound thrilled to be on the water.

May 10, 2019 – Day 2:

Good news from our crew up north– after clearing Rainy River, the guys are now into The Lake of the Woods after another big day of paddling. According to Zach, they paddled about 49 miles today. They are trying to pack in some big days prior to Lake Winnipeg, which could present challenges when it comes to weather.

In both conversations, it was mentioned that they are “astonished” by how much food they have. The pemmican sounds like it is supplying much-needed energy throughout the day.

May 12 – Day 4:

It’s been a busy two days for our guys in the North Woods. They have officially cleared the Lake of the Woods. Zach sounded thrilled to have gotten through this section of paddling. Yesterday, while paddling Lake of the Woods, they had tremendous tailwinds out of the south and sailed for ten miles. Today, they woke up early in the morning and paddled to the town of Kenora. They will camp in Kenora and plan on progressing towards the Winnipeg River tomorrow.

May 13 – Day 5:
A few quick updates on the stellar progress the Source boys have been making. They are camped just before the Winnipeg River on a set of rapids, which leads to a dam. Tomorrow morning they are planning on a 4:30 a.m. wake-up to line down the rapids carefully. Then, they will portage around the dam to continue their way down the Winnipeg River. According to Zach’s report, this is a gorgeous river. They are clearly working effectively as a group and are making the most of the momentum they have during these early days of the trip.

Last night, I received an excellent voicemail from Zach expanding on some of the sights they have been encountering. They are still seeing some ice and snow on the lakes, but assure me they are staying warm. Zach has a new-found love for pelicans, as they are “everywhere.”

Finally, a quick story about a kind soul in Kenora. After deciding to camp for the night in Kenora on Sunday evening, the boys set up their tents in a local park. A stranger came by, who they would come to know as Dan. Quinn and Dan struck up a conversation and Quinn mentioned that he was a little sore from paddling. Dan was so intrigued by their journey that he offered them to stay at his cabin for the evening. “We didn’t take him up on that,” said Zach. After having a brief conversation, Dan left for about fifteen minutes only to come back with a bag of ice for Quinn. Kindness prevails.

May 15 – Day 7:

The boys are currently on the Sharkeys Channel. According to Zach, they are still making miles but have battled pretty poor weather in the past two days. Rain and roaring headwinds made Tuesday very difficult. However, they continue to push on and keep paddling through it all. Zach is optimistic that they will make it to the mouth of Lake Winnipeg tomorrow. 

Last night was the best campsite they have had since starting the trip. If you have ever been on a canoe trip with Kooch boys, you know that they love a flat, wide campsite. Zach said, “You could drive a golf ball down the grassy section of this campsite.” 

May 16 – Day 8:

Zach just gave me phone call with a brief update on their day today. They woke up at 4:30 a.m. and got on the water around 6:00 a.m.. He said that this is really becoming a trend– waking up early and taking their time to get on the water. Today the first challenge was making their way down the river to find a dam that they had to portage. The portage ended up being about half of a mile. With the weight of their food this early in the trip, it made for a pretty difficult way to start the day. Nevertheless, they made it through and continued forward.

It sounds like the guys have had a number of opportunities to share the news of their journey with people they have met along the way. Today, the Source boys met Joel. They stopped to make lunch only to find that they were on someone’s property. Joel came down to ask the group why they were on his property. “What are you doing here?” he asked. When they told him that they were just stopping through to make lunch and go on their way to paddle 2,800 miles, Joel was in disbelief. A once skeptical Joel soon became an ecstatic Joel. He could not believe it. It was a highlight for the boys today.

Our guys are currently camped at Lac Du Bonnet. They did not make it as far as they wanted to due to more headwinds in the evening. After trying to push through them for some time, the boys decided to make camp on the bank in an effort to conserve energy. Zach mentioned that they are, in effect, windbound at this moment. Lake Winnipeg will soon be the next big challenge. The plan is the same as always: wake up at 4:30 a.m., eat breakfast, and push on.

May 18 – Day 10:

The boys made it to Lake Winnipeg yesterday. On the phone, Zach said it was quite daunting to look out onto the endless horizon. The winds, since arriving on the lake, have been quite intense. It is not unusual for them to be paddling with little to no wind, then have to pull over due to large rollers being stirred up by a headwind. Due to how shallow Lake Winnipeg is, wind can churn up waves quite easily. Our guys are taking their time and not risking anything. Today they made the decision to stop at 3:30 due to high winds. According to Zach, they are at a beautiful campsite this evening out on a rocky point. They will turn in early tonight.

The boys are going to try something new for tomorrow morning: they will be waking up at 2:00 a.m., wearing their headlamps, and paddling along the shoreline. This isn’t ideal, but the guys are looking to get ahead of the wind.

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