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Well, I decided over the weekend (with Deanna's ok) that this Wed & Thurs I'm going to pull the trigger on my plan to paddle from home to Patricia beach.  Originally planned as a 24 non-stop trip I'm instead going to divide it up into two 12 hour days with an overnight stay in Selkirk.  As it turns out Selkirk is exactly half way and there's a nice campground on the banks of the Red right in town - quite fortuitous.  The campsite is booked, the food is purchased, and tomorrow I'll gather up the gear.

I've also set up my new Blackberry to be able to email pics and tweets to my twitter account so I'll be taking pics every hour or two and updating twitter with my progress.  Note that the twitter widgets I've embedded on the message board homepage will have a link to the pics but you can't click on the links within the widget (it just doesn't have that functionality) so here's a link to my actual twitter page where you can click on the the links to the pics I'll be posting: http://twitter.com/scottwiebe

Also, below I've embedded a goggle map containing my route and some specific points marked along the way.  The points themselves aren't necessarily that interesting but I'll use them as references in my tweets so I can more accurately update my progress.  If for some reason you can't view the map below you can click on this link to view it in its own window: http://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=101722947023562749663.0004741c60d1b10cad912&t=h&z=9

I'll probably check email after I get the tent set up Wed night and I receive automated email updates of any posts made to this message board so feel free to post a message here - I'll probably have a chance to read it.

View paddlefromwinnipegtopatriciabeach in a larger map

Wow, sounds cool and long.  I hope you make it safely and comfortably.  The weather looks good.

Great adventure Scott, glad you are able to fit it in now ... safe and fun paddling bud.  You probably won't have to deal with unexpected beaver dams like we did last spring ... but take some bug juice - eh, they're nasty right now!
Nope, can't imagine there will be beaver dams, though I do have to portage around the dam at Lockport.  A kind girl from the Selkirk campsite called me back to make sure I knew that I'd encounter the dam - I said I did know about it but thanked her for thinking of me. Deanna and I actually scouted it out last week to make sure there were okay places to take out and put in.  As you know Tom the problem with even an overnight trip is that your boat is weighed down with gear and food so portaging isn't quite as easy as it is with an empty boat, but at least there won't be any silly beavers.  Maybe next year you can make the trip to Patricia Beach in your new canoe!

Graham, you commented last year when Tom and I paddled the Roseau that the solitude appealed to you.  I'd always rather be with my wife (I'm not implying that you wouldn't) but that aside it is pretty cool to paddle "in the middle of nowwhere" even while you're always pretty close to civilization.
You're making great time Babe! Not sure if we can fit another boat into the house tho so you'll have to make do with the one you're in .

(replying to this tweet from Scott: http://twitpic.com/iucov - Now thats a boat, and its for sale! Whataya think babe? Btw I'm just approaching river rd.)
Just checked Scott's Tweet Pics - very nice considering you are sending out 'from the field'... what a great day for paddling and camping over, almost like summer!  Well done today Scott!  Enjoy the camp over and stretching the back no doubt!


good night

I'm back from a trip away and have the day off ... so ... I plan to ride up past Selkirk and hopefully get ahead of Scott and wait for him on the banks of the Red, then ride up to Patricia Beach to rest and cheer Scott in ... then ride home (my own "Reach The Beach")!  Cunning plan ... I'll see how the bod does?!

Cool adventure! I'm glad you're back safe and sound.


Scott's busy at the shop now and I may get called out later, so I will post a bit about my small part in his excellent kayak trip ... watching him arrive at Patricia Beach ...

Scott's paddle to Patricia Beach was a great excuse and motivator for my long ride (in lieu of the Headwaters Century) from Winnipeg to the beach and back.  The day was wonderful on all accounts.

It was rather surreal to be sweating in Manitoba, while wading in warm water on a beautiful sandy beach ... in later September?!

I was glad to have arrived before Scott, to have a chance to relax/rest after a long ride there and to be able to catch first sight of him as he rounded the point to the west.  But then, he just kept tracking across to the far eastern point of Patricia Beach???  Apparently the main beach that I was on, which was now abandoned of beach goers (except for me standing there waving) , did not look correct to Scott ...

So I gave an echoing yell out and Scott calls back ... "Tom is that you?" ... "Is that Patricia Beach?" ... all was revealed and he started tracking in ...

I think he just wanted to coast in (can't blame him), but after taking pics of bike racers, it seemed to take a while, until I told him I was going to start filming ...

Good job Scott!

Scott standing proud ... once he got his 'on-shore' legs back!

A beautiful view on an amazing nice September day!

Deanna arrived a little while later to pick up Scott and I was off to ride back to Winnipeg ...

Kudos Scott and thanks for giving me the motivator to get out and enjoy a wonderful day of many kms on the road !
Great adventure, Scott!  You too, Tom!!
Okay, time for the recap...

In a nutshell, I'd totally recommend the first day of paddling from home to Selkirk.  The second day from Selkirk to Patricia Beach wasn't nearly as interesting.  I'm still glad I did the whole thing though - ever since I realized that home to the beach was exactly 100 km I wanted to paddle it, and overall things went well

Believe it or not I've never paddled the Red River north of the Seine before (considering how much time I've spent on the water within town that comes as a surprise to me) but most of the river was still somewhat familiar to me because I've been on roads up and down both sides of the river many times.  In fact the entire route to Selkirk felt somewhat urban because there are houses, businesses, and so forth along the banks the whole way.  I wondered if from the water I'd be able to recognize where I was but it was no problem at all.  One nice thing about the first day of paddling was that there were a few convenient places to dock and get out of the boat for 10-15 minutes to stretch and grab something to eat. 

I discovered early that as far as my boat was concerned there was no current whatsoever.  If I stopped paddling for 10 seconds to get a drink the kayak would stop dead in the water and remain stationary relative to the shoreline until I started paddling again.  I'm not complaining though - it's still better than paddling up stream. Midday on Wednesday there was a mild to moderate south wind that aided me a bit.  It was smooth going all the way to Lockport.  There is no convenient place to take out a boat at the dam (I guess they assume you're using the lock) so it was a bit of a pain to grapple with my loaded kayak over a very rocky and slippery shoreline trying not to scrape up my hull.  The portage to the other side of the dam where there's a boat launch was surprisingly long but I had my cart w. wheels strapped under the boat so that was no big deal.  The final stretch of the first day to Selkirk was uneventful and I found the riverside campsite in Selkirk with no problem.  The whole day of paddling took about 10 hours, 2 less that I gave myself, mainly because I had favourable conditions the whole way.

Camping was also very uneventful.  I was definitely an odd duck at the site though.  There were maybe 100 RV's at the site, all in a serviced area, and then off to the side there was a football field sized plot of land for unserviced tents.  I was the only tent there, in the middle of this deserted field.  Set up was quick, my new camp stove worked very well, and the dehydrated spaghetti was surprisingly good.  So was the freeze dried ice cream.  My sleep was decent, and by 6:30 the next morning I was getting ready to head out again.  The campsite had hot showers and I was temped to take one but I wanted to get going so I skipped that and went straight to the docks.

The first hour or so of my second day of paddling was familiar because Deanna and I have driven along that part of the river many times.  Conditions were good again and I had no complaints.  My only real concern was that I hadn't packed quite enough food for the first day, and I had the same allotment for the second day, so I hoped I wouldn't bonk before the end of the trip.  I was however happy that I wasn't that sore and otherwise felt pretty good.

After that first hour though you loose all reference points on land.  Once you enter Indian Reserve territory it's just scrub brush and every paddle stroke looks just like the last one.  That lasts for at least a couple of hours until you hit the south basin where all you see is marsh.  The marsh lasts another 3 hours or so.  Boring.  There's also no place to get out of the boat for a stretch anywhere so the whole second day was spent in the boat without a break. I was a bit nervous about finding the correct channel as I paddled the basin because googlemaps on my blackberry was not working properly (it would show my location only within 5000m, which is of no use at all).  I left my GPS unit at home because I was having some problems with it and I thought googlemaps would suffice.  At any rate, after some more boring paddling I got to the lake itself.  I tried to send a couple of twitpic updates around that time but they didn't email properly - I guess reception just wasn't great out there.  By this point I was getting pretty hungry and had just ran out of food with 3 hours of open water paddling left.  I could sight what I thought was the point on the distant shoreline I was supposed to head to (thank goodness for the superman-like vision I was born with and for some reason still have) and after briefly hugging the shore I decided to cut a straight line for my destination.  The water was glassy (a Godsend - it would have been tough if there were rough waters) and the paddling was smooth but there's a downside to being able to sight a shoreline that far in the distance: The 3 hours of paddling to actually reach that shoreline felt interminable.

As I finally reached the point I had been targeting for a few hours (now very hungry and relying on repeatedly pouring cold water over my head to keep me feeling 'refreshed') I looked at the beach around the corner assuming it was Patricia Beach.  The only problem was that it didn't look like Patricia Beach to me at all, in part because it was deserted, so I discouragingly headed for the next point on the shoreline (which as it turns out was the far-end of Patricia Beach) but no sooner had I adjusted my path than someone from shore yelled out my name.  It was Tom!  This was indeed the section of beach I had been targeting all along.  Tom saved me a bit of extra paddling, and at the end of a long two days that is worth a lot!  I think it took me 10-15 minutes to paddle in to Tom after he yelled out to me but by that point I had completely forgotten about my hunger because I knew the end was near.

As I took the final few strokes I realized that although I felt generally fatigued none of my muscles really felt that sore.  My butt had been hurting for hours on the second day and I had one nasty blister on my hand, but other than that I held up quite well.  The second day took a little under 10 hours of paddling so it was about 20 hours in total - not a fast pace by any means, but that wasn't the point.  All in all I accomplished what I set out to do and feel good about the experience. 

As always, I special thanks to my wife for encouraging me and taking care of me pre and post trip (and throughout the rest of life).  You're the best babe.
nice job Scott!
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