Quest for Grey Owl Canoe Trip – Prince Albert National Park

Trip Overview

Grey Owl's cabin in Prince Albert National Park

Grey Owl’s cabin on Ajawaan Lake

The trip to explore the Grey Owl legend in Prince Albert National Park is one that a lot of canoeists worldwide have on their lifetime checklist. Grey Owl was so successful in foisting his fraudulent alter ego on an unsuspecting public that he achieved international celebrity status through his wilderness writings and speaking tours. His demise at age 50 at his backcountry retreat on Ajawaan Lake also brought a swift demise to the fiction of his Indian ancestry. This trip is a marvellous opportunity to explore the myth and mystery of the Grey Owl story and discover events and places associated with an incredible figure in Canadian history.

Grey Owl travelled to and from Waskesiu by canoe from his log cabin haunt via Kingsmere Lake and River. Following his path as this trip does, presents today’s canoeists with a few challenges. The Kingsmere River has a low water stretch of rapids which involve about a kilometre portage. A rail push cart is available to transport loaded canoes over the portage, however this can be a bottle neck depending on how many groups descend on the portage at the same time. A more serious consideration is the crossing of Kingsmere Lake once the portage and the short trip on the river are completed. The lake is vulnerable to wind with virtually no protected areas to hide behind while paddling the 11 km (7 mi.) across the open expanse of the lake. There is always the risk of being wind bound at either the south or north end of the lake or even halfway up the lake. Because of these nature-related constraints and to allow a margin of safety and still guarantee that people will be able to get there and back, we have chosen to turn what would be a two or three-day trip into a four-day trip. This usually allows enough leeway to be able to work around unruly weather.

To add variety to the paddling, the trip involves a 6 km (3.6 mi) round trip hike from the north end of Kingsmere Lake through the scenic boreal forest to the site of Grey Owl’s original log cabin. Here the well-preserved cabin with in-house beaver lodge and the gravesite of Grey Owl, Anahereo and daughter Shirley Dawn, are the tangible remnants of a former wilderness refuge and a strange, but remarkable story.

Trip Details
Duration: 4 days, 3 nights
Scheduled Dates: June 30 – July 3, 2017
Custom departure dates for groups can be arranged.
Geographic Area: Prince Albert National Park, northern Saskatchewan, Canada
Nearest Communities: Waskesiu and Prince Albert
Paddling Venue: Lake & river flatwater
Adventure Rating: Novice to Intermediate – a modest degree of fitness and upper body conditioning will help prepare you for paddling and portaging
Minimum Age: 14
Paddling Distance: 50 km (30 mi.)
Accommodation: Wilderness camping in nylon tents
Price per Person: $895 plus 5% GST

Booking Info

Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart Saskatoon early morning and travel to Waskesiu townsite in Prince Albert National Park. Stop at the National Park Nature Centre to view a few archival movies of Grey Owl. Travel to Kingsmere River and launch canoe trip. Portage canoes and gear to reach final stretch of river leading to Kingsmere Lake. Travel up the lake to north end campsite.

Day 2 – Hike the forest trail to Ajawaan Lake and Grey Owl’s cabin. Return to north end campsite and begin return journey via west side of Kingsmere Lake, stopping to camp at the Bladebone campsite.

Day 3 – Morning hike of the Bladebone portage trail before launching canoes to move down the lake to the Pease Point campsite at the entry to the Bagwa Lakes. Option of canoeing a loop through the lake chain after establishing camp.

Day 4 – Return to Kingsmere South End, using marine trolley portage to get back to the Kingsmere River take out. Load gear and travel to Waskesiu Resort to visit the Grey Owl Museum, which features a recreated, refurbished interior of Grey Owl’s famous 1930’s-era Beaver Lodge cabin. After a refreshment break at a local café, travel back to Saskatoon. arriving early evening.

Package Includes:

  • Canoeing and safety equipment
  • Nylon tents
  • Waterproof packs for personal items & clothing
  • Park entry & camping fees
  • Nutritious meals prepared over an open fire
  • Certified instructor/guide
  • Return transportation by passenger van from Saskatoon

Prices shown in Canadian Dollars; applicable taxes extra
Advance booking required, subject to availability

To book your space on this trip, please see Registration

Packing List, Liability Waiver and Detailed Trip Info – contact Cliff Speer 306-653-5693 or cliff@canoeski.com

Canoeing Tales of Discovery

My Canoe Trip to Grey Owl’s Cabin in Prince Albert National Park by Sarah Keeping September 2014

Sarah's Grey Owl Story16 year-old Sarah was on a mission to gain her Duke of Edinburgh bronze award in outdoor adventure, but the canoe trip to Grey Owl’s cabin proved to be more than just a convenient means to a desirable end. Adventure she discovered for sure and more! Read her trip tale on all she encountered on her trek into the Grey Owl wilderness . . . >>>