Canoeing The Bloodvein Day 17 – To Bloodvein Village & Flight to Red Lake

Previous Post: Canoeing The Bloodvein Day 16  – Lagoon Run to Rapids W88  Campsite 

day-17-w888-to-bloodvein-first-nations-village

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DAY 17 BASICS:

  • distance: about 8 kilometers
  • weather: sunny and clear
  • rapids/portages: W89 (swifts) ran
  • campsite: by 9:30 p.m. a room at the Telstar Motel in Kakabeka Falls!
The view from our tent site 7 km. from the mouth of the Bloodvein

The view from our tent site 8 km. from the mouth of the Bloodvein

We left our Day 16 campsite at about 8:30 and a little more than an hour later we had paddled past the Bloodvein River Lodge on Kitchi Island on our way to the Bloodvein First Nation ferry landing and the end of the trip.

Bloodvein River Lodge on Kitchi Island

Bloodvein River Lodge on Kitchi Island

Hello, Bloodvein Village! the suburbs come into view...

Hello, Bloodvein First Nation! The suburbs come into view…

Once at the ferry landing  Max stayed with the canoe and gear while I went off in search of a telephone so that I could phone Viking Outposts Air and let them know we were ready to go.  All we needed to know was where exactly the plane would be landing.  For months before the trip I had assumed that we’d be picked up at the landing strip just to the east of the village – without thinking of asking to make sure.

Shortly before we left Red Lake Harlan informed me that we would have to make our way over from Bloodvein Village to Islandview on the ferry  and then get ourselves and the canoe and gear over to Pine Dock Lodge where the pick-up would be made. I can’t say we were too happy with the news – but it was what it was!   I had forgotten the name of the lodge and was now phoning to find out exactly where it was and how to get there.

The Dumoine has landed! Bloodvein Village ferry dock area

The Dumoine has landed! Bloodvein Village ferry landing area – landing is above the canoe

the Edgar Wood ferry landing at Bloodvein Village

the Edgar Wood ferry landing at Bloodvein Village

Welcome to Bloodvein sign as you come down the ferry docking strip

“Welcome to Bloodvein” sign as you come down the ferry landing strip

After a short walk over to the corner store/restaurant ,  I was making use of the landline phone to contact Harlan Schwartz at Red Lake Outfitters.  No answer!  So  I phoned Viking Outposts and got Craig Carlson on the line. He said he’d been expecting the call and had some news for me – the pick-up would not be taking place at the lodge near Islandview after all.

Bloodvein First Nation - Satellite View

Apparently the new lodge owner had ended whatever landing arrangement the lodge used to have with Viking.  The de Havilland Beaver would land right in front of Bloodvein First Nations and pick us up there.  Alright!  This was making a lot more sense!  It meant that we could relax instead of jumping through a few extra hoops before actually getting into the plane.

Bloodvein's new Nursing Station on Main Street

Bloodvein’s new Nursing Station on Main Street

Bloodvein Nursing Station window message

Bloodvein Nursing Station window message

Carlson figured the plane would be there in under three hours so we settled in for a bit of a wait in the shade of the “Welcome to Bloodvein…” billboard.  In our rambles around the village we did chat with a few of the locals – a high school student, someone working at the Nursing Station, a local keen on information about moose numbers up river.  Most people seemed to be driving up and down Main Street – still unpaved and very dusty but given the presence of a road construction crew soon be be covered with asphalt.

Bloodvein Village - to the side of the old Anglican Church building

Bloodvein Village – to the side of the old Anglican Church building

Bloodvein's old Anglican church building

Bloodvein’s old Anglican church building

When I saw the old Anglican church just off of Main Street I thought about a Bloodvein trip report (perhaps jjoven’s) which mentioned that they had slept inside the church for a couple of nights at the end of their trip. The building is looking a bit derelict; services are now held in the building next door – the new Anglican Church! We learned that they made use of straw bale to construct it.

the new Anglican Church building - next to the old one

the new Anglican Church building – next to the old one

We watched the Edgar Wood ferry make a smooth stop at the end of the gravel ramp.  It didn’t seem especially busy on this particular day. After the white truck in the photo below dropped off its cargo on the ferry, it went back to town.

the Edgar Wood ferry at the Bloodvein Dock

the Edgar Wood ferry at the Bloodvein Dock  – see here for the ferry schedule

Islandview-Bloodvein area

Islandview-Bloodvein area – see here for an interactive  map view of Manitoba

off goes the Edgar Wood ferry to Princess Harbour before returning to Islandview

off goes the Edgar Wood ferry to Islandview and Highway 234

Within thirty minutes the ferry had come and gone and we were left listening for the sound of a De Havilland up above. When we did, we hopped into the canoe and pushed off shore – obviously keen on moving the day’s proceedings along.

We couldn’t understand why the pilot – Mike, as we would learn! – kept on circling and not committing to a landing. It actually took him ten or fifteen minutes before he hit the water.  We would later learn that landing in front of Bloodvein Village means a good chance of hitting badly-placed rocks!  This would explain Mike’s deliberate approach!

Waiting for the Breaver to arrive from Red Lake

Waiting for the de Havilland Beaver to arrive from Red Lake

the de Havilland Beaver control panel

the de Havilland Beaver cockpit and instrument panel

Beaver serial number plate

Beaver serial number plate

Bloodvein flight path back to Red Lake

Bloodvein flight path back to Red Lake

Up in the air by 1:30, we would be in Red Lake before 3:00. (It is a 200 kilometer/125 mile flight.)  On the way back we got to see – but not always recognize – bits and pieces of the river that we had spent the last seventeen days with. Here are some of the shots I took from my front row seat with the window rolled down.

The Bloodvein - between the Bridge and the last set of rapids (W89)

The Bloodvein – between the Bridge and the last set of rapids (W89)

the bridge over the Bloodvein in late July 2014

the bridge over the Bloodvein in late July 2014

The Bloodvein Bridge under construction - July 2014

The Bloodvein Bridge under construction – July 2014

Meekisiwi Rapids W87 just above the new Bridge

Meekisiwi Rapids W87 just above the new Bridge

The Bloodvein's Meekisiwi Rapids up close

The Bloodvein’s Meekisiwi Rapids up close

Off the Bloodvein - Kaneeshotekwayak Creek headwaters just above Meekisiwi Rapids

Off the Bloodvein – Kaneeshotekwayak Creek headwaters just above Meekisiwi Rapids

The Bloodvein's Wayweekokanshok Falls (W76) with W77 coming up at the bottom of the image

The Bloodvein’s Wayweekokanshok Falls (W76) with W77 coming up at the bottom of the image

The Bloodvein - Leyond Junction and Namay Rapids

The Bloodvein – Leyond Junction and Namay Rapids

The Bloodvein - Sekak Rapids (W49)

The Bloodvein – Sekak Rapids (W50)

The Bloodvein from the put-in after Crater Rapids (W32) towards the junction with the Gammon River

The Bloodvein from the put-in after Crater Rapids (W32) towards the junction with the Gammon River

looking down at a small pond on our Bloodvein flight path .

looking down at a small pond on our Bloodvein flight path

Google view of pond, flight path, and Bloodvein

Google view of pond, flight path, and Bloodvein – click here for the Google view

X-Rock Rapids and Island campsite

X-Rock Rapids and Island campsite

Looking down on the Bloodvein - Rapid W25 just before X-Rock Rapids.

Looking down on the Bloodvein – Rapid W25 just before X-Rock Rapids.

Bushey Lake on the Bloodvein River system

Bushey Lake on the Bloodvein River system

Basecamp view of Bushey Lake on the Bloodvein

Basecamp view of Bushey Lake on the Bloodvein

Burn evidence in the Larus Creek area south of Larus Lake

Burn evidence in the Larus  Lake area

approaching Red Lake

approaching Red Lake town from the west end of Red Lake

RGB - Green Island in Blue water on Red Lake

Red Lake with Green Island in Blue – natural RGB!

Red Lake Townsite under the wings of the Beaver

Red Lake Townsite under the wings of the Beaver

The Beaver has landed - at the Viking Outpost dock

The Beaver has landed – at the Viking Outpost dock

our Beaver's next emergency flight cargo into Woodland Caribou Park

precious cargo on our Beaver’s next emergency flight into Woodland Caribou Park

one last look at the iconic dehavilland Beaver

one last look at the iconic de Havilland Beaver

Wow – nothing like a bush plane ride!  Even better, nothing like a bush plane ride after having earned the ride by paddling from one end of the Bloodvein to the other.  Canoe and de Havilland Beaver – this was only my second ride, but I’m liking the combination a lot.  Yes, it does free the bankbook of a bit of cash – but it also frees you from always having to plan your trip as a loop.

We came back from the trip totally buzzed by the experience – and by the river itself.  A few weeks later when putting it all into words on a canoe forum  it came out this way –

My brother and I have canoed a string of incredible rivers in the last few years. Our introduction to the Wabakimi area opened up a new world for us, focused as we had been on NE Ontario. While I am hoping that next year’s trip is still better, I think this summer we may have hit the jackpot.  The Bloodvein River is the most beautiful river we have ever paddled down. We spent seventeen days – six on the headwaters in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in Ontario and eleven on the Manitoba side in Atikaki Provincial Park down to Lake Winnipeg – on a river system that has it all. 

A couple of months later it still sounds completely reasonable. Stay tuned as we search for a new river which may take the crown away!

First Post:   Canoeing The Bloodvein River System – Introduction,  Maps,  And Planning

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