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14TuesdayJuly92013SportsRecreationPaddling100NorthernOwnedOperatedforover30Years1YellowknifeCometoYellowknifeforFolkontheRocksJuly19-21OurfriendlystaffarealwaysheretohelpByRENEFRANCOEURExploringthemightyandmysteriousCanadianwilder-nessalonewassomethinghighonNicolasPeyrelonguesbucketlistandthissummerhewillbecrossingitoff.The28year-oldmanfromMimizanFrancesetoutfromJasperAlta.onJune10andispaddlingnorthtoTuktoyaktuk.Iwantedtospendsometimebymyselfoutinthewil-dernessthinkaboutchangesIwanttomakeinmylifejustthinkaboutlifePey-relonguetoldTheJournalwhenhewaspassingthroughFortSmithonCanadaDay.IthoughtifIdontdothisnowIllspendtherestofmylifethinkingaboutit.Hetookayearofffromhisjobasanairtrafccontrollerandhoppedonaplaneankedonlywithgutsandambition.Withnopreviouscanoeex-periencePeyrelonguesignedupforathree-weekpaddlingcourseinMaineinMay.Thiswasgoodformetodo.Ilearnedalotandnotjustpaddlingtechniquesbuthowtoliveinthebushhesaid.AfterporingovermapsandnallypickingoutafairlyeasyroutewithnotoverylittleportagingheslippedhischerryredcanoeintotheAthabascaRiveratJasperandbeganhislongjourney.Itsjustbeautifuloutthere.Theriverisveryquietthoughthewaterisveryhigheverywherehesaid.IhaveyettoseeanybearsalongtheriverbanksbutIdidseemyrstcougaronmythirdday...Bythecolour-ingIthoughtitwasadeeratrstthenIsawthelongtailandhejustlookedatmeandIdidgetabitscaredFrenchmanembarksonpaddlingjourneyNorth-thoughthedfollowmebuthedidnt.PeyrelonguewasforcedtostopjustsouthofFortMc-MurraybeforetherumblingGrandRapids.Ididntwanttochancethat.Imnotskilledenoughtomakeitthroughtherehesaid.HehitchhikedintoMc-MurraywherehestartedpaddlingagaincoastingintoFortChipewyanintimeforthelocalFirstNationstreatydayscelebrations.OnenightIhadtosleeponapileofwoodbecausetherewaswatereverywhereelse.ThiswasontheAthabascaDeltahesaid.AthabascaLakewasreallyroughwhenIpassedthrough.Ionlysleptuntil300a.m.andthencontinuedon.Therehavebeenunexpectedchangestohiscanoetripashemeetsnewpeopleineachcom-munityalongtheroute.WhenIstartedinJasperIthoughtImgoingtodothisandgettomydestinationasfastaspossibleforme.ThenIstartedmeetingsuchin-terestingpeoplealongtheway.TheyaresowelcomingandhelpfulandkindPey-relonguesaid.SoIendupstayinglongerinthetownsandIlearnfromthemandevenifIdontmakeitallthewayitllbeokaybecauseofalltheseotherexperiencesalongtheway.HeattendedasweatlodgeinFortChipandanotheronewhenhearrivedinFortFitzger-aldonJune29.FrancoisPaulettesawmepullupfromtheriverandhecamedowninhistruckandpickedmeupevendrovemetothecampsiteatQueenEliz-abethandinvitedmetomysecondsweathesaid.ThatisveryspiritualformeandIfeellikeImevolvingspiritu-allyaswellasmentallyphysi-callywiththistrip.ThegenesisofPeyrelonguesadventuresparkedfromabookhereadaboutfouryearsagodetailingthecanoetravelsintotheArcticofoneMontrealman.ThismanhadnopreviouspaddlingexperiencehejustwentforitandIwantedtodothatPeyrelonguesaid.FromtheSlaveRiverinFortSmithPeyrelonguetravelledtoHayRiverandFortProvi-dencelastweekbeginninghislongstretchontheMackenzie.HesaidhesetsnotargeteddatetoreachTuktoyaktukbecausehehasnoideawhoorwhathellrunintoalongtheway.IhavetobebackinFrancebyOctober.Tillthenany-thingcanhappenhesaidwithalaugh.NicolasPeyrelongueofMimizanFranceisonapaddlingjourneytoTuktoyaktukforsomesolitarytimeinthegreatCanadianwilderness.HebeganhisadventureinJasperonJune10.PhotoPaulBannister