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Canol Road 2009

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Doc Tari
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Canol Road 2009

#1 Post by Doc Tari » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:58 pm

Though it's still months away, we should probably start getting an idea of who expects to join the Canol Heritage Trail expedition. I say expedition because this is going to be long 6000km (?) round trip, time consuming (~3 weeks?), and likely rough (washouts and deep water crossings). The timing is expected to be last two weeks of August and the first week of September.


Participant ................... Vehicle
Pete L. ................... D110/300Tdi
Kris M. .................... D110/300Tdi
Dave F. ...................... S109/2.25
Norman .................... D90/200Tdi
Shawn D. ................... S109/2.25
Charlie .................... Unicat U500


Min. required
2 - Chain saw ....................... Kris, Dave F.
2 - Axe .................................. Kris, Dave F., Norman
2 - Ground anchor................. Pete, TBD
1 - Satellite phone ................ Pete
1 - SPOT transmitter ............. Norman
2 - Video camera .................. Pete, Dave F.
3 - Air compressor ................ Kris, Pete, TBD
1 - Welder ............................ Pete
1 - Boat ................................ Mark, TBD
8 - Large ratchet straps ....... Kris, Norman
20 - Small ratchet straps ...... Pete, Norman, TBD
3 - FRS, walkie-talkie, etc ..... Dave F.
2 - Sankey trailer .................. Kris, Mark, Dixon
2 - Traction/bridging plates .. Pete
4 - Winch .............................. Pete, Kris, Mark, Dave F., Shawn
Extension winch cable .......... Pete, Kris, Mark, Norman




Image


At a previous Rover-Landers monthly meeting, there was talk of a trip over the Canol Road. Since I wasn't able to make this month's meeting where this year's event planning was to take place, I was wondering if the Canol was discussed. Has the timing been established? Route? Plan for crossing the deeeeep water....? :shock: Any info for those of us that need to plan in advance for the time off is appreciated.

Thanks,
Pete
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Canol

#2 Post by Dave_F » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:11 pm

Hi Pete,

Is the Canol Road you are referring to the one in the Yukon? How far up would you go and when? My son and I are planning to drive up to Whitehorse this summer and I have been eyeing this road as a possible circle route. Up to Carmacks then east to Faro on #4, then onto Ross River and back down Canol Road #6, to Johnson's crossing.

Don't know much about the route other than it is very remote, virtually no services, but looks "freakin" incredible as far as scenery and wilderness.

You ever been up there?

Cheers,

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#3 Post by DaveB » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:23 pm

Hi Pete,

I had pencilled in the first 3 weeks of August as a tentative date for the Canol Trail — road being south of Ross River and Trail being north and into the NWT.

Unfortunately Pamela and I are pretty sure this is not our year for that trip. I'd love to go, but you guys will have to go first and build all the bridges for us! :wink:

Dave F, yes it is one and the same, and gets more rugged the further northeast you progress, until it finally disappears somewhere around 80 km into NWT.

cheers, Dave

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#4 Post by Doc Tari » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:38 pm

DAVE B., YOUR NOT GOING? I thought you were in charge? Uh, anybody got a map...? :wink:

Bridges? I was thinking more like a raft or pontoons. Hardcore! Come to think of it, a nav chart may be more useful than a map. Maybe a Mog? (see picture to the left...)

Dave F., I've been through the area but never on the Canol Road. From what I've read, the road is decent until you reach the NWT border, then it becomes a trail and the fun starts. It's not really seen any use in many years and there are several water crossings, some of which may be kinda deep...

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Event planning 2009

#5 Post by ANDYD » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:03 am

Hi Pete,

We did table the 2009 Event planning at the last meeting but, alas, we ran out of time (actually we were asked to vacate the room! :shock: )

So we will revisit the event planning at the next meeting.

Sounds like a great trip, the kicker for me is it will probably require 2 to 3 weeks for that kind of distance. What do you estimate for time line?

cheers,
Andy
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#6 Post by Dave_F » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:57 am

I figure 3 weeks for our trip...I'm in a Series :lol: I'm thinking of either going up the Stewart Cassiar for a little more scenery, so that adds a day to the junction up, but I think it would a much more interesting run up to the Yukon.

Pete... I've Google Earthed the route I was thinking of going on and didn't see any water crossings? Are they on Canola north of Ross River?
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#7 Post by Doc Tari » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:18 pm

Hi Dave,
I was thinking we would try to go from Johnson's Crossing east on Canol Road (#6) and beyond. Over Macmillan Pass and on to Norman Wells. Maybe this link will help: http://canoltrail.tripod.com/ Click on "Trail Info & Map" near the top.

There are several water crossings, one or two may be too deep to walk across or ford. This is where the pontoons come in. Oh, and did I mention the boulders... 8)

Pete

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#8 Post by Dave_F » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:30 pm

Hi Pete,

Looks pretty rugged...do you know if you can actually drive all the way to Norman Wells...reading the notes, it seems that it keeps referring to the trail? I think just this section (if drivable) would take 3 weeks...lol

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#9 Post by Dave_F » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:36 pm

I found this from a 1997 trip report...

"Fifty years ago it was possible to drive a vehicle along the Canol Road, from the Mackenzie River near Norman wells to Whitehorse in the Yukon. Today, only the western section of the Canol Road, from Macmillan Pass, at the NWT/Yukon border to Johnsons Crossing on the Alaska Highway, is maintained as a single lane gravel road. The eastern section of the original Canol Road, from the Mackenzie River to Camp 222 near Macmillan Pass, is the part that is now called the Canol Heritage Trail.

"In some parts of the trail the roadbed remains, but for the most part the Trail is a narrow track that follows boulder strewn river beds and steep mountain sides. All the original bridges were either removed at the end of the project or have been destroyed by the fast flowing rivers of the Mackenzie Mountains. Today it is not possible to drive a car or truck along the Canol Heritage Trail.

...just another challenge to the Roverlanders...???
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#10 Post by Doc Tari » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:57 pm

From what I've read, it seems that the long stretches are pretty easy going, but then there are sections that are rough, and of course there are the fordings.

Are we mere mortals or Rover-Landers? Do we not have the "metal"? Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?! :shock: We choose to go Norman Wells not because it is easy, but because it is hard!

FOR PETE'S SAKE, WE DRIVE LAND ROVERS, WE CAN DO IT!
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#11 Post by Doc Tari » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:59 pm

Actually, I don't yet know if it's possible, I'm in the process of doing some research and would welcome any input. Plus, I have to ask my mom...

Pete

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Canol Heritage Trail Challenge

#12 Post by ANDYD » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:10 pm

Canol Heritage Trail Challenge
Quote...
"The trail runs over 200 miles from Macmillan Pass at the eastern edge of the Yukon Territory to Norman Wells, Northwest Territories.

Macmillan Pass, at the border of Yukon Territory and the Northest Territories, is one end of the Canol Heritage Trail. Here, Yukon Highway 6, the Canol Road, ends and the Canol Heritage Trail begins. In actual fact, another twenty or so miles of the trail may be driven, but only by 4WD vehicles at a recommended maximum speed of 20 MPH."

I guess the first step is to find out what the first obstacle is at the 20km mark (just in case its a big yellow goverment gate!)

For Pete's sake ... the challenge is on!
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#13 Post by Dave_F » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:17 pm

LMAO...:lol:

I've been doing some "investigating" and it seems you can easily drive to MacMillan Pass just into the NWT. Then the info gets a little sketchy. It's classified as a Heritage Trail and is considered a difficult hike...25 days with three difficult, deep and fast water crossings. Pictures that I've seen are stunning!!!

I'm thinking if there is a "northern" 4x4 club or association they would be able to help. I've done some webing and so far nothing, but will keep trying. If anyone knows someone up there speak up.
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#14 Post by DaveB » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:18 pm

http://www.motorcycleexplorer.com/

Click on the Yukon and NWT buttons to see the trip and photos they did on the North Canol. I believe they got about 80 KM into the NWT on motorcycles before turning back. I think the Land Rovers can do much better than that.

Not wanting to change the topic, but another interesting trip referred to on this site can be found by clicking the BC link and reading their page on Spatsizi. The railbed they ride here is supposed to go through all the way southeast to Fort St James...

They also have several other side trips off-road in Yukon and Alaska that are worth a look.

Dave

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#15 Post by Dave_F » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:54 pm

Great site Dave!

The scenery up there is absolutely STUNNING!

I agree that we could get past the 80k mark...it would be all about the rivers.

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#16 Post by HeadDamage » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:58 pm


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#17 Post by Dave_F » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:17 pm

Maybe they could give us a lift over the rivers... :alien: :alien: :alien:
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#18 Post by Dave_F » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:48 pm

Look what I found...

Travelling on the North Canol Road...

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/10468809

I believe this picture was taken around the mid to late 70's, perhaps early 80's.
Last edited by Dave_F on Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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1955 Series 1 86 Hardtop 57130577 ~ just a heap o' parts now

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#19 Post by Doc Tari » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:08 pm

Dave,
This is great stuff and from what I've read, the really scenic parts are further east. Keep up the good work, the more info the better.

Pete

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#20 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:38 am

This is turning into an interesting discussion!

so here's a few more things to toss into the mix. From what I've read you have a window from early August until the 15th of September where the rivers are lower and the weather hasn't deteriorated. 6 weeks, basically to do the full trip.

So lets assume that with various bridging equipment, floats, cranes and lifts that Mark is able to build, etc. that we were able to pass the really big water obstacles and get through to Norman Wells. I think we can also assume that theres some fairly good roads down from the mountains into Norman Wells so it wouldn't be a slog the entire distance, but we really don't know.

We've arrived at Norman Wells and discover its 4 hotels, 6 restaurants and 1 bank. Sounds like good fun, but 2 days later, its time to go home.

Some scenarios...

Plan A is to go back the way we came, but... we came through several fierce rivers that just about wiped us out, so we're not too excited about doing that again!

Plan B is to take another road route or trail south. Is there such a thing? Guess we gotta start looking at possibilities.

Plan C we use the marine highway down, by barge from river and lake to lake, until we hit highway again.

Plan D, we try and find a compound to safely stow the trucks for a few months, fly home, and fly back in January and Drive the official ICE ROAD down.

Just a few ideas... I for one don't like to retrace my path, and I think in this case there may end up being some good reason why we don't want to go back the same way we came in.

I'm still very game for the trip, but financially and time-wise with my work right now, I'm trying to be realistic and for us 2010 provides more time to plan and save...

cheers, Dave[/url]

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#21 Post by kRiS » Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:58 am

I think we should start with setting some dates for this trip as some of us need to book the time of work.

We could start last week in August and two or three weeks into September.

and it would be nice to find out how many people are actually interested in going on this trip.

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#22 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:04 am

I would recommend putting a cap on it as 10 confirmed trucks and a waiting list for others interested.

Dave

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#23 Post by HeadDamage » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:08 pm

How are we going to get to Norman Wells? If we got to Norman Wells how would we get out of Norman Wells? It is on the east side of the Mackenzie River and the only road to and from Norman Wells is the frozen river. The Canol road has to be driven in then back out as far as I understand it.

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#24 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:48 pm

From what I've there is regular ferry/barge service that can be arranged to the other side of the Mackenzie, so if thats all thats stopping us, I don't think its that big of deal. I think the challenges getting from Mile 150 down to Mile 0 and all the washouts, water-crossings and hazards that exist just getting to the Mackenzie River.

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#25 Post by HeadDamage » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:28 pm

There is no road from or two Norman Wells other than the ice road in the winter. If we drive in the Canol we have to drive out the way we came. Unless we have the trucks all barged out to Hay River.
[edit] Transportation
Norman Wells is accessible by navigating the Mackenzie River, in summer, or by driving over the winter ice road, December to March, that connects with Wrigley and Fort Simpson.[5] The most common method of travel into Norman Wells is by air via the Norman Wells Airport and the town is connected with both Yellowknife and Inuvik.[5] Scheduled flights are provided by Canadian North and North-Wright Airways. In the summer floatplane access to the town is possible at the Norman Wells Water Aerodrome. There is an annual sealift to the town by Northern Transportation Company Limited from Hay River.[5] Other aviation companies that have a presence in the community include Canadian Helicopters and Sahtu Helicopters.[9]

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#26 Post by HeadDamage » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:49 pm

A bit more reading on the subject:

http://www.sonic.net/~ckelly/Seekay/canol.htm
The last thing we expected as we sat eating lunch was the sound of a motor, but it was unmistakable. Presently a tiny motorcycle hove in sight, piled high with camping gear, a folded inflatable raft, a rifle, camera gear, and almost incidentally a rider. His name was Archie Knill, and he had started out from Norman Wells on his trail bike the summer before. He told a harrowing tale of capsizing his raft while crossing a river, nearly losing his camera gear and motorcycle, then dismantling and drying his engine.

Caught by snow (in August) before he could complete his trek, he had left his equipment at a hunting camp and flown out the previous summer, returning almost a year later to retrieve it. He also told us of the river crossings we would have to deal with soon. "I had to cross the Ekwi river six times," he reassured us, "But you can carry your bikes, so the only bad one should be the last one, where it's deep. Pretty wide, too." He regaled us with bear-escape stories before leaving.

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#27 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:09 pm

We have to drive out the we we came...

Well, when first discussing this trek my thoughts were to go as far as we could, certainly further than the motorcycles, but at some point make a reasonable decision to say "enough" and at that point turn around.

However as a group not all of us are on the same page yet as to what's enough. Reading a book on the subject recently, it reflects much the same info as your last link — that its become nothing more than a gravel path and is no longer a road. But I know how hikers think, and we constantly surprise them as to where we've gotten — staying on the road — when they think its no longer passable for motorized vehicles.

I like those kinds of challenges, but we as a group have to decide how much of a challenge we are prepared to do before we say enough. My initial plan was to go as far as we could, then turn around and go to some other Yukon destinations and tour around.

Others are in for more of a hardcore adventure. Its up to us over the next several months to educate ourselves and decide where the right place to draw the line is. Anyone got a float plane that we can use to explore?

Dave

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#28 Post by red90 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:48 pm

Dave wrote:However as a group not all of us are on the same page yet as to what's enough.
:lol: Don't you just love those parts of the trip.

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#29 Post by red90 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:27 pm

I had a look and the "ibycus" maps show the first 100 km continuous and quite a bit of the rest of it in pieces, but it looks pretty good.

When I am bored, I might throw it all together into a track file for other to look at via whatever method they like.

It looks like quite an involved route....

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#30 Post by HeadDamage » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:12 pm

I'm thinking that we would need a fair amount of pioneering gear and man power. Likely should have at least two able bodies per truck... trees look to be a bit small, might need bridging equipment of some sort and ground anchors.

A couple of small trail bikes to scout ahead might be nice to.

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#31 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:27 pm

OK, so you're onside to go all the way through now, Andrew? I agree with your assessment of needed equipment. I think it likely goes beyond that too...

Check out the photo galleries from Founders Day and you'll see Mark M has built a crane for his truck. This just leads to the next big project... pontoon inflatable rafts interchangable between all the trucks. Like the ones used on the recent Cape to Cape adventure:

Image

But the difference with ours is it will have to be set up to easily attach to every vehicle, whether 88", 90" 100" or 110". Peter T. and I get to go on long road trips together from time to time so we've had some long daydreams about how to do it. We're thinking a subframe attached to the sides of the truck to accept a 2" trailer type Class III receiver and pin the pontoons on as required, then winch them back across the water for the next vehicle.

Lots of ideas... something to pass the time while its chilly out!

cheers, Dave
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#32 Post by Doc Tari » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:34 pm

I spoke with the tourism and parks manager today and confirmed that the Canol Trail is still open to motorized transportation. He said that they're working to make it a restricted trail and if that happens, it will be closed to vehicles. He's not sure when that will happen but I guess that if we want to do it, the sooner we go, the better.

I also asked him about the depth of the more severe fordings in August or September and he said it really depends on how much snow they received the winter before, how wet the summer was, luck, etc. (naturally) but it could be anywhere from a couple feet to well over your head. Most of what I've read and from pictures I've seen, thigh to waist deep seems to be most common. How far do we go in preparing for deep water (pontoons, bridging, etc)?

Finally, I checked into routes out of Norman Wells and as Andrew's already stated, unless we do this in the winter, it's back out the way we came or via barge. Did a quick check on barge rates it looks to be expensive: $800 - $1000 for a single vehicle but we may be able to get a charter and save $. I'll make a few calls tomorrow but back-tracking looks to be the deal.
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#33 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:40 pm

Hi Pete,

We may only need a barge to Wrigley as there appear (at least by Google Earth) to be a fair network of roads south of there, especially if we have our own pontoons for crossing rivers.

You're making me want to abandon all care and say I'm going, but I just don't know if it'll work this year for us. I guess I'll continue intending to go as I just can't resist this chat we have going.

Dave

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#34 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:01 pm

Pontoon designs... Well maybe if we have the Max boys welding it, we could build solid pontoons that would act as screw drives...

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=afJ18eJeN ... re=related

http://www.icechallenger.com/icechallenger/ice-adsl.htm

OK, maybe we don't quite need this big of pontoons... but they're pretty cool for all types of terrain!

Dave

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Pontoons

#35 Post by chilliwack » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:31 pm

Just a though, following the thread

What about talking to the X-Jack people about sponsoring the pontoons?

Cheers,

Roger
Now where's it leaking .....

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#36 Post by HeadDamage » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:33 pm

Pontoons are good for lakes and such but a bit more hairy for moving water. We would likely need to rig a cable ferry type affair that uses the current to move the load across but does not drag it under or flip... I think we will need to do some thinking on this.

We need to determine exactly how serious the water crossings are and also what sort of terrestrial obstacles need to be crossed. Severe side slopes, gullies, bolder fields, etc...

This needs to be a well organized team effort to push a limited number of rigs through. Should make a good TV show... hint, pay for the barge idea :idea:

I'm not sure if I would take my best truck or a truck I could afford to leave on the trail... it depends on how organized we are. I'm thinking practice and prep this year and try it in 2010 or 2011 depending on how much we figure it will take to do it.

I'm very interested but also very interested in still having a truck at the end of it ;)

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#37 Post by DaveB » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:46 pm

What about if we looked at the Spatsizi/Skeena route this year, which has several water crossings that are a bit lesser than the Canol from what I can tell — but may still require pontoons, and aim for 2010 for the Canol Trail?

I think there's a much higher possibility of getting through this route, and also with our existing club connections chartering a bush plane to reccy the route out in advance.

Here's the previous thread I posted on the topic:
http://www.roverlanders.bc.ca/roverforu ... php?t=1186

It shows the basic route in Google Earth.

Dave

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#38 Post by red90 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:42 pm

I quickly stitched the "Ibycus" data together last night. It actually covers well over 90% of the trail.

I show 365 km from the border to the Mackenzie.

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#39 Post by HeadDamage » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:10 pm

Here is a basic map of of the Canol hiking trail:

Imagehttp://canoltrail.tripod.com/

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#40 Post by red90 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:12 pm

OK, here is the track I made up with waypoints of the major rivers and such. Mainly based on the Ibycus Topo maps which gets its data from teh Feds.

http://members.shaw.ca/red90/Canol_Road.gpx

You should be able to open that into most map programs, including Google Earth. The best useful view is in Mapsource with the Ibycus Topos.

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Canol road Tracking

#41 Post by ANDYD » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:31 pm

Hi Red90,

Looks like you did a great job with tracking the waypoints along the trail, but you will have to help us less-computor-savy a little more and explain how we put this list of numbers into Google Earth...

thanks in advance,

Andy
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Water crossings ...

#42 Post by ANDYD » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:44 pm

This is a great thread, cant help but get drawn to the challenge of it all!

Obviously the river water crossings will be the greatest obstacles, I was reading in some places that the trail and river have become one, with steep slopes on both side the only option will be to drive down the river in some spots.
With a snorkel, we should be able to "wade" up to waist deep, keeping a rope or winch cable to another truck on the bank should give some feeling of security. We should try and walk the crossings as much as possible (bring a pair of waders).
One would hope that none of the crossings would be deeper than waist deep in late August?
ummmmmm
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#43 Post by Doc Tari » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:03 pm

Andy,
By saying we, does this mean you're up for the challenge? If so, glad to hear it! After all, you are our president and should lead by example. That means you go into the water first (and I don't mean on foot)... :D

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Re: Canol road Tracking

#44 Post by Dave_F » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:23 pm

ANDYD wrote:Hi Red90,

Looks like you did a great job with tracking the waypoints along the trail, but you will have to help us less-computor-savy a little more and explain how we put this list of numbers into Google Earth...

thanks in advance,

Andy
Andy...Click on the Canol_Road.gpx link in the Roverlander message and right click. THis will give u a pop up menu and you will select save link as...
The next menu will be the save menu and you'll note that the file name Canol_Road.gpx will be saved (put in on your desktop for easy access) as a text doc. Go ahead and save.

Now open Google earth and select open from the main menu. You will need to change under files of type at the very bottom and change it to GPS (*.gpx*.loc), then you should be able to see the file that you have saved to your desktop...click open on that and presto...trail marked on google earth.

Cheers,

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#45 Post by red90 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:13 pm

Thanks Dave.

There are some ways to get the Canadian Topos to work on GE as well. See http://ge.gbif.net/gbifwmslinks.php It is a little slow and not as clean as with Mapsource, but it works. You can see that the track I am showing is from the Federal topo maps.

And, yes, the road goes down some very narrow canyons.....

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#46 Post by Dave_F » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:47 am

Now that is very cool...Gives a much more detailed view Topographically speaking. Shows swamps, rivers and creeks and even some alternate road? routes.

Slow but worth the wait...this really helps give an idea of what kind of terrain we'd be running.

Good Stuff!!!!

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Thanks ..

#47 Post by ANDYD » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:23 am

Thanks Dave for instructions ... :D

Now lets see if I can figure it out !

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Andy
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#48 Post by Doc Tari » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:53 pm

Though it's still months away, we should probably start getting an idea of who expects to join the Canol Heritage Trail expedition. I say expedition because this is going to be long 6000km (?) round trip, time consuming (~3 weeks?), and likely rough (washouts and deep water crossings). The timing is expected to be late summer, since that's when the rivers are lowest.

Google Canol Road or Trail to learn about its history and location and post up if you'd like in. I'll begin a list on the first post of this thread.

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#49 Post by John » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:53 am

For those interested another good read is "A Walk on the Canol Road" by S.R. Gage. A single copy is available in the Fraser Valley Regional Library system with the book currently residing in Langley.

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#50 Post by JD » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:38 pm

VVV

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