Ogichi to Return to Historic Churchill River

By Meredith Freshley

In its 15-year history, Ogichi has sent out two extended canoe trips, one down the Churchill River in 2010 and another down the Cochrane River in 2016. This summer, we will send out two more. A group of LDACs will explore a new route along the Mountain River in the Northwest Territories, while a second group will make a long-awaited return to the Churchill in Saskatchewan.

Churchill River

Being our first “big trip” in 2010, the Churchill River has a special place in our hearts. Long used by the Cree and Dene people, and later as part of the Canadian fur trade, this Heritage River will not disappoint anyone hoping to run big rapids, retrace a historical route, and overcome challenges in a remote setting.

Over the course of 16 days, the LDACs will paddle more than 250 miles. Halfway through the trip, they will encounter my all-time favorite set of whitewater, Otter Rapids, which flows into the town of Missinipe. Later that day, they will visit the oldest standing building in Saskatchewan, a church built in 1851.

The route also includes many other large rapids, such as Guaranteed Swamp, which was run multiple times during a lunch break in 2010 (no one swamped).

Pigeon River

First-session LDACs will paddle the scenic Pigeon River in Manitoba, which parallels the fire-ravaged Bloodvein to the south and also empties into Lake Winnipeg. The Pigeon offers a mix of tough portages, big lakes and lots of runnable whitewater. On the river, trippers can look forward to beautiful campsites and great fishing.

Wind River Range

Eight years ago, the first Ogichi backpackers trekked through western Wyoming’s Wind River Range. This summer, a group of girls will return to this majestic section of the Rockies for a 10-day encore. Starting at Worthen Meadow, they will head northwest, hiking deep into the mountain range and eventually to Lizard Head Meadows, where they will explore the area’s pristine alpine lakes.

The Classics

Ogichi will also return to familiar favorites in Ontario, including the Turtle, the English and the Quetico. And thanks to new drop-off points in the park, some of our campers will paddle to Argo Lake.

Ogichi’s tripping program has come a long way since the inaugural trip in 2004, and we are continuing to explore new areas while enjoying our traditional routes in the heart of Ontario’s boreal forest.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of Songs of the Paddle.

OgichiBen Woods