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Technology

By THE HIDE-AWAY CANOE CLUB

Technology in the Wilderness

When John Franklin, George Back, Alexander Mackenzie, and other explorers of northern Canada traced "one warm line," as Stan Rogers called it, across the cold and barren north they all did the same thing at the end of their long trips. They wrote a book about it. They told the story of their adventures; what they had seen, whom they had met, and how they did what they did (usually by using native guides).

That is the historic tradition we follow with these little northern excursions of ours. We want to tell the story. And technology now allows us to do that immediately. Franklin and company took with them the finest technology they could muster. Indeed, Samuel Hearne who walked across the breadth of Canada's far north -- from Churchill to Coppermine and back (equal to walking from Quebec City to Juneau, Alaska), had to return to base a second time after the quadrant he used for map-making broke when he was several hundred miles out -- the first, he got "rolled" by some of the locals and beat a retreat home.

The essence of our trip is still the same. Yet, with all the technology, we still have to paddle and walk the miles of rugged country. The wind blows just as hard whether you're carrying a satphone or a bag of pemmican. And if you are interested in technology, we will tell you how we do it.

We will differ from our predecessors, however, by, first, not getting mugged or breaking anything (right, Geoff?) and second, we will not be able to twist events or embellish details as they once did -- it is remarkable how steep, rocky, and perilous hills got, how wild and dangerous rapids became when they lay in uncharted territories! George Back's description of the cliffs by Rock Rapids on the Back River had them streaming up to a perilous 800 feet. It was with some disappointment when we went by and saw they had "eroded" to 100-feet... max.

From us, you will get honest opinions, descriptions, and glimpses of a fantastic region most people will never get to see. No hype. No hooey. We invite you to come along with us. There's lots of room up here.

Email the paddlers with your questions and comments