Saskatchewan Safari: Episode 4

Jim Baird, Tori and Buck paddle the Porcupine River in this four-part adventure canoe series.

By Jim Baird

(Spoiler alert): Putting the Porcupine River behind us, we camp on a large, and spacious esker on the Fon Du Lac River. Our guide book calls the site “Camping For Millions”. Soon after, as we approach the Burr Falls portage, we see a mother bear and two cubs right on the tail! I fire a bear banger to scare them off, and we give them a few minuets to clear out as we eat lunch while taking in the beauty of the Falls. The ensuing portage was a little more nerve racking than most, do we run into the bears again while on the trail? Soon after the portage, the weather get’s really really crappy, and we make camp at the mouth of the river, right before massive Black Lake. The end point of our trip, lies across the huge lake, 40km away in the community of Black Lake. But there’s not way we can paddle in the huge waves, and we’re still windbound the next day. Luckily, the weather breaks after a full day of waiting it out, but I found a moose skull with full, intact antlers attached while we were waiting out the wind. It was half-buried in muck at the side of the river. Tori and I dig in and paddle 40km in one day while the weather is on our side. I catch a couple nice fish while trolling on the big lake, and we camp about 2km from the community of Black Lake. That evening, we take in a spectacular Northern Lights show. The next morning, our canoe glides over the glass like waters of Black Lake and we end our journey in near perfect weather conditions. What a trip!

Watch more episodes of Saskatchewan Safari:

Saskatchewan Safari: Episode 1

An epic road trip en route to the putin.


Saskatchewan Safari: Episode 2

Heavy rains and headwinds compound with serious whitewater challenges.


Saskatchewan Safari: Episode 3

Entering the formidable lower canyon.


Related stories on C&K

--Jim Baird’s experience on “Alone”

--Different Strokes: Expedition Canoeing

Jim Baird is an avid paddler and consistent contributor to C&K.  If you’re interested in Canadian Rivers check out his take on 5 Ontario Classics.   Notably, Jim and his brother Ted,were the winners of the 2016 season of History Channel’s ALONE survival show. Check out 'The Things We Carried' on the 10 pieces of gear essential to Jim and Ted's survival success. Watch Baird’s Lessons From the Trail, a 15-episode C&K series following an expedition through Quebec’s Côte-Nord region.