PACT PORTAGING- Huge Dam Portages!

Canoe tripping encompasses a number of different skill sets; paddling, building a tent, paddling, sleeping on the ground, not losing tent pegs, starting a fire…maintaining that fire, cooking over that fire, paddling, more paddling and for pleasure and/or pain- the sacred art of portaging.  Beginning our journey on the North Saskatchewan River allowed PACT to ease into the first 45 days without ever having to hoist our beloved boat upon our shoulders.  That is not to say however there were no obstacles in our way in that first month and a-half.  Nearing the end of the North Saskatchewan, found us on our first lake of the trip- Lake Tobin. Before entering however, we had to pass the François Finlay Hydro Dam.  We got news of an agreement between the Saskatchewan Government and any paddler who was looking to paddle the historic waterway route would receive a free shuttle service on behalf of Sask Power.  Having already began to mentally prepare for our first portage, we were a little hesitant to allow a trailer to be the first to get to officially portage our vessel, however after a brief PACT meeting we made the call.  It was the right call.  Within an hour a van, with large trailer in tow found us on the shore at the edge of the Extreme Danger Do Not Cross boundary line.  The journey of portaging the canoe around the dam would have been a great ordeal.  The twenty minute shuttle ride took us down a maze of dirt roads several kilometers away from the river, down a highway, through two locked gates and finally to the base of the east side of the gigantic cement barricade.  At the two other hydro dams before we got to Lake Winnipeg this was also the very necessary protocol.  Although a little perturbed that these obstacles were not overcome by PACT power alone, the very essential assistance was greatly appreciated.