The first third of this trip follows a series 5 lakes and 6 portages connecting Nemeiben Lake to the Churchill River. Our total trip is about 190 kilometers. This portion of the route is typical Precambrian Shield country. Beautiful rock outcroppings form great camping spots all along some of these lakes. This is mixed with some muskeg lakes and wet portages.

Then we get to the Churchill River. The Cree call the river Missinipe or Big Water. They have been it’s inhabitants for thousands of years and continue to live along it’s shores. The Churchill was part of the main voyageur route across the continent during the fur trade era. We’ll visit a site of an old fur trade post.

The trip is a great mix of peaceful lake paddling, challenging portages and thrilling whitewater. You’ll get to see eagles, pelicans, osprey, moose and bear. You will likely meet other groups, but the river is not busy until you get within a day of the end. The trip begins with a van shuttle from Missinipe to Nemeiben Lake (65 km).

Trip at a Glance

Churchill River - Nemeiben Lake to Missinipe
Lakewater with Whitewater options wilderness canoe trip
Length: 9 days
Skill Level: Novice/Intermediate
Dates: June 15 to 23
Trip Fees: $2095 CAD
Trip Rendezvous: Missinipe, Saskatchewan with shuttle service available from La Ronge for those who are arriving by commercial flights

About the Trip

The trip starts out on Nemeiben Lake. This is a large island filled lake that takes at least a day to paddle. Then comes a series of 5 lakes with short portages. This takes us to the Churchill River on Trout Lake. Some of these portages are swampy. Be prepared to get wet. This portion of the trip used to be a route to bring supplies—mainly pemican to trade with the voyageurs as they paddled the Churchill River. If you know what to look for there is still evidence of that history.

That history also shows itself on Trout Lake. There is evidence of 2 trading posts these suppliers of pemican used to trade with the voyageurs. We will visit one of those sites.

The portion of the Churchill River we will be paddling on this trip is typical of northern Saskatchewan’s Precambrian Shield. The forest is a mix of black spruce or white spruce, jack pine, trembling aspen and white birch. The forest floor is typically a thick layer of moss. The island filled lakes give the River an intimate feel. The granite of the Shield country is everywhere. The water in the Churchill River is clean and warm, typically reaching temperatures of the low 20s C by mid summer.

The Churchill is a unique river. In Precambrian Shield country the rivers tend to follow the grain of the shield, usually northeast to southwest or vice versa. The Churchill cuts across this grain. In Precambrian times, numerous ranges of mountains cut across the land running from northeast to southwest. The Churchill of that day filled the valleys between the ranges and looked for a place to break through. These places became the rapids and waterfalls of the Churchill. What we are left with is a river that is made of beautiful lakes filled with islands (the peaks of old mountains). These lakes then flow over ancient ridges into the next lake forming the rapids and waterfalls common to the Churchill.

Even though this is primarily a lake trip, there are many rapids that can be run. These rapids tend to be short. There are many that are very easy, Class 1 or an easy 2. There are also many that are much more difficult. Any of the more difficult ones can be easily portaged. In some cases the group will portage the gear and run the canoes down the rapids. In total there are 8 mandatory portages.

The trip ends at highway 102 at either Devil Lake or Otter Rapids.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 Tuesday, June 15th, 2021
- Travel to Missinipe, SK
- Flights from Saskatoon to La Ronge, CRCO shuttle pickup at the airport to Missinipe (80 km).
- Pre trip meeting, gear check, dinner, overnight at CRCO in Missinipe
Day 2 - Breakfast, van ride to Nemeiben Lake
- Set up camp, canoe skills review
Day 3 to Day 8 - Paddle the Nemeiben Lake to Missinipe route
- The unspoiled clear waters of the Churchill flow over a number of lakes, across portages and through rapids. There are many fun rapids, and a few falls that we will have to portage. Each night, we will camp at a new site, surrounded by ruggedly beautiful scenery.
Day 9 Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021
- The trip ends at Devil Lake or Otter Rapids. Shuttle back to Missinipe (5 km).
- Optional Group Dinner and overnight in Missinipe (own expense) or mid-afternoon departure from Missinipe to the La Ronge airport. That shuttle to La Ronge can also go the next day.
- Overnight in Saskatoon (own expense) or flights home

What is Included in the Trip Fee?

•Overnight stay at CRCO in Missinipe on June 15
•Guides - 5:1 ratio
•Trail Meals
   • Excellent meals from Day 2 lunch to Day 9 lunch
   • Snacks
•Canoeing Equipment:
   • 17’ Prospector expedition canoes
   • Paddles, PFD, helmets (you may bring your own)
   • Throw lines and other safety accessories
• Camping Equipment:
   • Tents - free standing custom expedition dome tents - 2 per tent
   • ‘Kitchen’ - tarp, firebox, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc
•Safety Equipment:
   • First aid and repair kits, communications equipment (satellite phone)
   • Canoe rescue gear •Local Transportation:
• Charter van ride from Missinipe to Nemeiben Lake
• Transportation to and from the La Ronge airport and Missinipe
• Transportation of guides, group gear, canoe etc to and from trip

What is not Included in the Trip Fee?

• Saskatchewan tax: 11% of the trip fee
• Personal clothing and gear - a recommended clothing & equipment list will be provided
• Travel between your home and the trip rendezvous - Missinipe, Saskatchewan
• Accommodation in Missinipe SK after the trip (approx $60 per person based on double occupancy)
• Any meals in Missinipe after the trip
• Any additional expenses or costs incurred as a result of delays to the trip caused by factors beyond our control - i.e. wind, waves, unsafe paddling conditions, forest fire, pandemic, etc
• Any costs associated with your emergency evacuation from the trip - please contact us at CRCO for more information
• Gratuities - we recommend $12-$15 per day per guide

The Churchill River region often has idyllic summer temperatures, but not always. Expect temperatures to range from 12 C to 32C, but averaging from 17 - 25 C. A good rain suit is a must, along with some warm clothing for cool days and nights. The water temperature in mid June is usually about 18 C.

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