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My friend Saif and I went on a two day canoe-camping trip in Nopiming Provincial Park, Treaty 2 territory, from Bird Lake into Elbow Lake and back on the weekend of April 29, 2017.

One of the rules that I abide by when trekking is to learn about the Indigenous history and present of the region before going on any trip. The Manitoba government have some Indigenous history and stories about the Nopiming, which has traces of Indigenous communal living dating back 8,000 years.

A slogan that I’m starting to embrace is, “trek early, trek often.” Going on regular treks throughout the year gives a more nuanced appreciation for the cycle of the natural world (life, death, rebirth). Changes are often subtle and trekking regularly helps identify those subtleties.

Plants were hardly budding when we arrived, birds were nesting their eggs and early signs of underwater life were emerging. Signs of death and decay from winter were everywhere, but life will soon wash that away. This was a taste of spring before it hits full bloom.

We began by strapping a friend’s canoe onto my partner’s little car, which makes for a great visual:

Arriving at Nopiming Provincial Park, the road to Tulabi Falls was closed as the season had not officially begun. This added an hour of paddling to our trip as we parked further down-river.

It was a perfect weekend for paddling. Warm but not boiling. No bugs. No people. We literally had the whole route to ourselves. So we hit the water.

Saif is an avid photographer. Here he is taking a shot of what I believe is a young eagle at Tulabi Falls:

Here is the picture of said young eagle:

Photo by Saif.

I personally consider the paddle from Tulabi Falls to Elbow Lake family friendly, with some qualifications: you need to have good paddling experience, have the right gear, and insure weather, wind and water conditions are good.

It is a longer paddle (over 5 hours) but—if the weather is good—there are only three easy portages and the route itself is not challenging aside from its distance.

Saif and I would alternate at the portages. One of us would take the canoe, and the other would take our two backpacks. This meant more weight, but it also meant we could portage all of our gear in one trip:

Saif somehow manages to make portaging after two hours of paddling look very stylish:

I have been trekking regularly for one year now and enjoy improving my skills. This trip, I progressed in identifying wood varieties that are good for fire. I am slowly getting better at fire-starting and maintenance but it’s a difficult skill to master:

 

Kelsey and I recently had some of our gear stolen from the back of her car, so we had to replace our pot and some plates.

I am really happy with the MSR Seagull pot that we purchased because it saves space with a removable handle, and because we found MSR DeepDishware plates that fit perfectly into the pot along with other cookware, saving us space and weight:

 

I’ll close off with a short photo gallery and hope to integrate more video into the next trip:

 

 

 

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