Canoeing in the time of Covid
Here at CRCO we’re struggling, like many other businesses in the tourism industry. Lots of people are coming here for canoe adventures, so our canoe rental and cabin rentals are strong. But, sadly, almost all of our guided trips have been cancelled this year. For many people there was the uncertainty or impossibility of travelling during the pandemic. For others, money is short and people are thinking twice about large ticket trips.
There’s not much we can do to open up close borders. As for cost, most of the trips we offer are pricey because they are “trips of a lifetime”involving expensive flights and other logistical complications. So we asked ourselves this question: can we cut 50% or more off the price of a trip and still offer quintessential guided canoe trips?
As it turns out the answer is “YES”! How did we do it? It turned out to be pretty easy: remove the flight, and keep things local with minimal shuttles. Sure, you don’t have the excitement of flying into the river… but what you really want is great paddling, right?
There are many amazing trips that are easily road accessible that create inexpensive trips that are as good as anything we offer for thousands of dollars more and require a flight. Here’s a selection of our very best.
And finally, if you like our prices then you’ll love our booking conditions: 100% full refunds up until 7 days before the trip departure date, and for cancellations after that we refund 80%. So (almost) risk free booking!
Here are five amazing trips for you to consider. These are exclusive, small-ratio custom-style trips at bargain prices, offered for the Covid season only.
Starting in Missinipe this classic trip brings you past Robertson and Twin Falls, pictographs in Rattler Bay, and lovely small channels and lakes as well as over a picture-perfect section of the Churchill River. This is the same trip we’ve always offered and one of our most popular but at 1990s pricing! Well, almost. 5 days, guided and catered, just $995 CAD per person.
Bill Mason once said that anyone who claims to like portaging is either lying or crazy. There’s a third option: they don’t like to pay for float planes. Here is an opportunity to paddle some of the very best of the Churchill River, without the expense of a float plane, at the minor cost of a day of paddling and portaging the small lakelet chain north of Nemeiben Lake. It’s a small price to pay, and rewards you with a glimpse of the fur trading lake country Canada was built on. From the north end of the portages the horizon opens up on the big waters of the Churchill, a mighty water highway that brings you back to Missinipe via some of the very best rapids and waterfalls on the Churchill River. 7 days, guided and catered, just $1195 per person.
Our "normal" Boreal Primer trip -- one of our most popular trips of all time -- uses a float plane to access Kinosaskwa Lake. From there we paddle over Silent Rapid into Black Bear Island Lake. This year's “budget” variant starts at Nemeiben Lake, up through Besnard Lake, and continues over Besnard Creek into Black Bear Island Lake. Being road accessible this results in a trip that's almost half the price despite being one day longer! With the water levels this year the normally rugged 2 km portage has turned into a fun exercise in lining. This guided and catered 9-day adventure of a lifetime is our deal of the century at just $1545 per person.
The best whitewater on the Churchill River can be accessed easily and swiftly from the put-in at Devil Lake. There’s a bit of upstream travel and portaging, but it’s spectacular country with well maintained trails and superb camping. This trip offers 5- and 7-day options and provides outstanding opportunities for running whitewater in an open canoe up to Class 2+ through the Barker Lake area’s countless rapids, as well as a chance to get off the beaten track with a side trip to the picturesque camping on Champagne Island and Stand-Under Waterfall on Bellows Lake. 5-day: $995 per person; 7-day: $1195 per person, guided and catered.
Here’s a seldom visited but incredibly spectacular circuit 150 km north of Missinipe through small waterways and little rivers. Those who have travelled this area have likened it to the best that Quetico has to offer. Our route brings us down Brabant Lake into Kakabigish Lake, over Settee, north to Buchanan, down the Wierzcyki River and Chartier Rivers and finishes up in Brabant Lake. Guided and catered, 6-day trip, just $1195 per person.