Route Information

Over the course of the springs and summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008, Seth Wotten turned his dream into a reality by paddling the Water for Future Generations expedition. He traversed most of Canada, from southeast to northwest, and a portion of the United States. His journey began just outside of Montreal, Quebec, ending in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

The expedition followed traditional routes that have been used by native peoples, explorers, and fur traders. The route was over 8000km in length and required several hundred portages. It crossed four major drainage basins: the St. Lawrence, the Nelson, the Churchill, and the Mackenzie. The first and second year of the expedition involved mostly upstream paddling. The third year consisted entirely of downstream paddling.

In 2006, Seth departed from the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal National Historic Site (just west of Montreal) on April 15th. He traveled up the Ottawa and Mattawa rivers, down the French River, and across lakes Huron and Superior. After a three week break in Thunder Bay, Ontario, he crossed the border into the U.S. (Minnesota) to complete the historic Grand Portage into the Pigeon River, continuing along the U.S. / Canada border to Lake of the Woods. He arrived in Kenora, Ontario in early September to complete the first year of the expedition.

In 2007, Seth began paddling down the Winnipeg River on May 5th to cross the turbulent waters of Lake Winnipeg. Beyond the lake, he traveled almost exclusively upstream for the remainder of the spring and summer. He climbed a portion of the Saskatchewan River, followed by a short but arduous journey up the Sturgeon Weir River, which consisted of hard paddling, lining, wading, and portaging. He ascended the Churchill River across most of the province of Saskatchewan and completed the approximately 20km Methye Portage at its headwaters. He continued downstream for a few days on the Clearwater River before finishing his second year of paddling in Fort McMurray, Alberta in early September.

In 2008, Seth left Fort McMurray, Alberta on the third and final leg of his journey on May 22nd. He thoroughly enjoyed this "downstream run" portion of the expedition, which took place mostly in the Northwest Territories. With the near 24 hours of daylight, much of the paddling took place at "night". He traveled down the Athabasca River to Lake Athabasca. He continued down the De Rochers River and Slave River to Great Slave Lake. He paddled the South Shore of the Great Slave Lake to the entrance of the Mackenzie River. He continued down the Mackenzie River to its delta to end the expedition in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, north of the arctic circle, in early August.

Contrary to common perception, Inuvik is farther West in longitude than the westernmost point of coastal Britsh Columbia. From the east, the paddling distance northwest to Inuvik is longer than the distance straight west to the British Columbia coast.

Seth aspires to return to Inuvik, Northwest Territories some day to paddle up the Rat River, down the Porcupine River, and down the Yukon River to reach the Bering Sea on the west coast of Alaska.

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