Summer 2003:Our Yukon tour is over a long time and it is time for new plans. Sometime in the summer of 2003 Michael calls me and asks whether I would be interested to paddle the Thelon, which flows through the arctic tundra into the Hudson Bay. Naturally I am interested – what a question. We investigate in the Internet, inquire a little about flight fares and inquire at airlines in Canada, what a seaplane will cost us to the headwaters. Ula, who we became acquainted with at the Yukon, works in a travel agency in Moenchengladbach is helpful. At the same time she announces likewise interest in the trip. Anja, Michaels girlfriend and I will only get a bit more then five 5 weeks vacation, which Ula thinks will be definitely too short. Thus we plan the Trip only for the three of us.
November 2003:The costs of the flights and the charter seaplane grow and grow. In addition I have no own boat, which I must still buy. I look in the Internet after used Klepper folding Kayaks and find one. At the end of November I am the proud owner of a Klepper Kayak two seater folding boat with a spray cover and large sail. I bring the boat first into a boat shop, in order to let attach a lateral keel strip. After two months I get the boat back finally and the keel strip falls off more or less instantly. The shop had no experience with Klepper Kayaks and underestimated the work obviously. Michael knows someone in close proximity to Berlin and brings my boat there. A few weeks later the keels strip is professionally attached.
January 2004:After the costs do not stand in a reasonable relation anymore to the time of one ‚short' 5-Week Trip, we decide to paddle the Bell and Porcupine Rivers instead of the Thelon. The costs are here simply substantially smaller.
September 2004:The homepage www.flusstagebuch.de goes online. Lotti registers herself in the guest book and writes that she has likewise paddled the Porcupine about 2 weeks before us. However she selected an different approach. She lives only 40 km far away and we meet for an exchange of experience.
April 2005:Michael and I start anew with the planning of the Thelon paddle tour in the year 2006. We like to spent more time there and plan for 8-10 weeks now. Ula agrees to this time frame and in such a way we plan the adventure in a threesome. Anja has unfortunately no way to get a vacation that long. I will save a large part of my leave days in 2005, in order to use them in the year 2006.
Lotti is interested in our tour and would likewise gladly paddle the Thelon. She wants to stop work anyways, to that extent she has sufficient time.
Michael orders the maps in Canada.
May 2005:Michael is visiting in Frankfurt and so we organize a meeting, so that Lotti and Michael become acquainted. Thus we sit on the 22.May in Gelnhausen in a cafe and make plans.
The search in the Internet for information is now clearly intensified.
September 2005:Michael considers whether he goes vocationally nevertheless for 9 months abroad; thus the tour would be cancelled again.
Oktober 2005:The stay abroad is passé, planning continues. Lotti has doubts to be able to paddle the Thelon alone in a Klepper. She has, like Ula also, no boat yet and has still to buy one. Since Michael mentioned already to paddle together with Ula in a Ally Canoe I make the suggestion too, to buy instead of a Klepper Kayak a Ally Canoe. With this statement her decision seems now final to participate in the trip. She starts to search the internet for boats and finds an offer there. In Ulm a business sells used boats. On a Saturday we drive down there and look at the two Ally´s available. The boats were probably used a bit more then only a few hours, some even for testing between 2 - 3 weeks. However the users were not overly cautious in handling the boats. One shows numerous and quite serious damage at the bottom. We load the other boat into my car - with 5.60 m length it nevertheless stands out from the tailgate of my Volkswagen-Bus - drive to an anabranch of the Danube and make our first experiences paddling a Canoe. It is equipped with a normal seat and one luxury seat with a backrest as well as a spray cover. The damage is not too bad and Lotti buys the boat with all extras for somewhat more than half the original price.
The advantage of the Ally compared to the Klepper Kayak is the enormous additional load of 430 kg, in addition such a boat is very simple to load.
November 2005:We build up the boat, apply the 34 mountings for the spray cover and after the splices give a stable impression we decide to strengthen the bow and stern. There are unfortunately no parts, prefabricated by Ally available – we have to tinker.
December 2005:Ula worries meanwhile intensively about suitable airline connections and inquires at numerous airlines about prices for the charter flight to the Lynx Lake. On 9 December all four of us meet in Berlin. Now also Ula and Lotti finally become acquainted. The period for the tour is marked out, the earliest departure date is 10 July, since Michael has a leave ban due to the football/soccer World Cup till 9 July.
We consider, which project we can connect with the journey. Perhaps we take a video, as Herman did at the Yukon or write about the trip. We decide upon a river guide. The www is naturally continued likewise.
Michael orders a satellite phone with Carsten in Munich (www.welthandy.de) for the duration of our tour. The rent per week amounts to 30 EUR.
At the end of December Ula sent out our airline tickets. Outward flight from Frankfurt over Calgary to Yellowknife is on the 10 July 2006, on the 13 July we fly by Air Tindi to the Lynx Lake - a distance of approximately 350 km. On SEP 8 we will return from Baker Lake toward Frankfurt with intermediate stops in Rankin Inlet, Winnipeg and Toronto.
Between Christmas and New Year I scan the relevant parts of the maps, and join them into 18 DIN A5-size maps. These are laminated. Thus the maps are waterproof and we don’t have to work in the boats continuously with paper maps. The original maps remain at home.
January 2006:Jörg Tews writes me an E-Mail. He has paddled part of the Thelon in the year 2001 and is coincidentally stumbled over our Internet page. He lives meanwhile in Canada and after my mail inquiry, whether he can give me additional first hand information, I talk on the telephones one hour with him. By E-Mail he supplies specific information about places to camp and hike, he informs me about further cabins and rapids not shown in the maps. Also he refers to the enormous amounts of Black Flies. This was also to be read in nearly all other Internet reports. A company offers suitable protection under www.bugshirt.com. I order myself a ‚bugshirt'.
Also we worry about a gauze tent/kitchen tent for the stay ashore.
Ula worries about a hotel room reservation in Yellowknife. That is not really the proper style, but this luxury is needed. After we do buy our groceries in Yellowknife, we must repack our whole luggage for the flight in the seaplane. Altogether we will probably have over 350 kg of baggage. Thus we will be able to pack in our rooms in peace.
Dear Ula Elfes
Thank you for your interest in staying with us here at the Red Coach Inn. I Have made the Reservations for 2 rooms from July 10 - 13. You are coming up at a really nice time of the year, You will really enjoy Yellowknife.
The rooms cost 117,00 CAD per night, each.
March 2006:Carsten from Munich informs us that he needs the already promised to us satellite telephone by himself. Just great, if one can rely on an offer in such a way. Another offerer asks 500 EUR rent for the 9 weeks. After a short discussion we decide to buy one ourselves. In ebay a Motorola M9500 is offered. After few days we become the new owners. In Austria I find a supplier, who rents SIM cards for iridium telephones. For the 9 weeks he offers a SIM card for the price of 85 €.
30. March: Michael receives a call and is asked to start work in Bosnia from 1.May for 8-12 months! He has only one day time to decide, otherwise the possibility to participate in an international mission in the next few years will be cancelled for him - which is apart from the desire to paddle the Thelon also his large goal.
On the next day only three of us are left. Now we have to organize the tour a little anew again. Instead of two Ally's we will take along now one Ally and my Klepper Kayak. Thereby in particular the pro head baggage quantity increases. The Klepper weighs 35 kg contrary to the Ally, which brings only 23 kg on the balance.
May 2006:In the middle of May Lotti and I meet to test paddle the Ally on the Frankish Saale. It costs us 1.5 hours to build up the boat. Personally I think the accuracy of fit of the Ally catastrophic. Sometimes it helps to begin simply again from the beginning, then somehow it fits suddenly. If we are lucky we must assemble the boat just once in Canada. We paddle successfully along the Saale. Lottis arm problems are within limits; I notice that I have to do still something against my back pain. Two days later I let prescribe myself physiotherapy and from now up to the journey I try to develop my only rudimentarily existing musculature.
We discussed for a long time our gauze/kitchen tent for our times ashore. Canadian Tire in Yellowknife offers numerous versions. The costs star at 170 CAD. For the three of us they are actually way too large and in particular too heavy (approx. 15 kg). We must always consider that we have numerous Portages and on the other hand we will not be able to take a 15 kg heavy tent back to Germany.
Lotti finds a showering tent, which weighs only about 3 kg in a Globetrotter outdoor shop. Into the sides she sews gauze and/or plastic windows. The “showering tent” costs only about 50 EUR apart from the work and it seem suitable for a mosquito-free land stay.
June 2006:For months we discuss our food list. Now we seem to have achieved a reasonable solution. We will have to adapt the list anyways still to the goods offered locally.
Ula provides a list with all the odds and ends needed, thus we don’t carry along certain things threefold. Each Kilo which we take along unnecessarily, we still have to carry also.
Lotti provides a list with medicaments. It applies here also, to carry forward as much as necessary, however as little as possible.
Ula reserves a rental car in Yellowknife – the largest available. For the drive from the airport to the hotel we would need two taxis anyway and for our shopping trips we would need numerous taxi rides, too. With a rented car we will be simply substantially more flexible.
© 2006 by Matthias Cramer email@example.com