Athabasca River & Athabasca Lake
This section is all about paddling. Covering 1,300km we plan to complete it in 45 days.
We begin where we left off in Stage I (Old Fort Point, Jasper), and finish the Section at Fort Chipewyan at the Western edge of Lake Athabasca.
Most of this section should not be too challenging. The most difficult part is the rapids prior to Fort McMurray (Grand Rapids section). This is series of rapids spanning over 140km and all Classes – from Class I to Class VI+. Needless to say we shall not be running the Grand Rapids at Class VI+. The average is Class III-IV, which we shall negotiate by running and lining; portaging is apparently not feasible due to the topography and steep cliffs along the river. This is certainly one of the most dangerous parts of our voyage and the section I approach with the most trepidation. As such, we shall take all possible care and precaution, trying not to do anything that will increase the risk in this area.
Once we reach Fort McMurray, the river calms once again and we leave large areas of habitation for the most part, beginning long sections of paddling with few towns and villages along the way.