The Middle Track Pack

Greetings parents/grandparents/followers of the Middle Track Pack,

We leave in a short few days which is very exciting!! At this point, we have most of the logistics and route planned out to a T, but naturally things will be subject to change on trail.
Route planning was interesting because there are also past journals and notes on our route from previous voyager crews as well as other expeditions that have also gone. From their reports, it will be a really fun, beautiful, and at times challenging route.
As of now, we are planning on starting our trip at Norway House, Manitoba. We will drive all the way up there, drop off our stuff, and Greta and a few other girls will drive our van/trailer to where we will eventually end our trip in Wabowden. There is a nice truck driver named Wayne who will shuttle them back to Norway House and let us park our car and trailer in his truck lot while we are gone. After this, we hit the water! The first part of the trip will be a few days of lake hopping with smaller rivers until we get to the main rivers. We planned very long days, but we have some room to have lay over days, wind bound days, and shorter days than planned. The only day that is not subject to change is our final day. We will have to wake up quite early in order to make the 80 kilometers we need to. Good news is that the river is moving very fast and it will be doable! We can’t camp in that area because it is a higher PB risk (polar bear — Greta’s new abbreviation is PB). We will then camp at York Factory where there is a fenced in area and guards so we are out of PB danger. After we are done with our trip, we will take a boat ride around the Hudson Bay peninsula and up the Nelson River a ways to Gillam. The area around Hudson Bay is supposedly good whale watching and polar bear watching so fingers crossed! From Gilam we will take an overnight train to Churchill (PB capital of the world!!), spend the day there, and then take the another overnight train back to Gilam. From Gilam we take another train back to our van and trailer (hopefully still) parked in Wayne’s lot. From there we are just a car ride away from being back home safe and sound.
We also received a list of names and numbers of people who previous voyageurs have been helped by whether it was car/bus trouble or hitching a ride somewhere to sleeping in a church basement in Churchill. It is great to know that even when we so far away from home we have people to lean on if needed. (Also we have AAA courtesy of the Fritz family so thats also a good thing)
See you all soon! (Last breakfast is this Sunday at the Fritz household so be there or be square)

-Kenna W.

Baking Day

Hi everyone,
This past week on Thursday, we had baking day. We had this at Mady Mohs' house in Sartell (much thanks to the Mohs' for hosting)! The day sounds pretty casual, but it's actually pretty intense because we get so much done. We started off having to thaw our meat, because it was frozen solid (even after thawing in coolers for 12+ hours) and eventually we would have to blend it with our hands. After we did that, we realized we were pretty short on a lot of the ingredients we needed for bay bread, so some of us had to make some runs to get what we needed (sugar, oats, etc). When we got everything we needed baking day was kicked into full gear! There were groups of us creating bay bread, there were groups creating bannock mix (which we cook on trail, not at baking day) and there were groups blending the meat and adding spices. Bay bread is very similar to a granola bar, but it's pretty fun because we get to add whatever fun sweet ingredients we want. Some ingredients we added to them consisted of pretzels, chocolate, coconut, rolo candy, and marshmallows. We eat bay bread at lunch, and since it'd be pretty bland without the extras we like to make it as interesting as we can! Both the bay bread and the spiced meat had to be cooked in the oven, so the rest of the day kind of consisted of rotating things in and out of the ovens and bagging the bay bread, and boxing the meat to be shipped off to our dehydrator. We celebrated the good days work with some nice Domino's pizza (again, thanks to the Mohs' family). After that good days work we are getting more excited for our trip and also excited to eat all the food we've been making!
Peace out,
Keely/crew

Gray Crew Update

Hello from the Gray Crew,

 We have recently started our whitewater training. We paddled originally out at basecamp to refresh our paddling skills. After 1-2 years of not paddling, it was a little rough and we realized how hard it is again (but fun:)))) We then moved to the classroom where we talked about the different things we would find in the river that would cause problems, or would be causing the rapids. Some things that we may find in the river are strainers, pillows and ledges.

 It was then time for us to hit the rivers. We first paddled from Beaver Island Trail to McStop where we practiced on some rapids and learned a few techniques in whitewater such as ferrying. We then moved on to the Sauk River where we got more of an experience in rapids and were forced to maneuver around rocks. We started at CentraCare and paddled to Wilson Park. There were some parts that were a little scary as we were just beginning to figure out what we need to do. Some scary parts include getting too close to tipping for comfort and losing a paddle in fast water (whoops :\) but were able to recover it. With each time we go, we are improving! We have practiced being in bow and stern so that we get experience in both and are able to see which position we like the most.

Currently we have boats stored at Stocker’s house and we were able to go on Tuesday night to portage the canoes down by the Sauk Rapids River to work on eddy turns in and out of the eddy line. After a while of practice with eddy turns, we shot some rapids and continued on to the end.

Thanks to Ann, Peter and Austin for paddling with us to show us the ropes!!

Signing off,

Kenzie Fritz

Hello!

Greetings to all!

Welcome to the Gray Crew Website! On this page you will be able to find our blog, some photos of our preparation, and the Gray Crew calendar. I will be working to keep this website updated as much as possible throughout the next two months prior to our trip.

My name is Greta Gray and this will be my 6th consecutive summer guiding for the Les Voyageur program and will be my 3rd time guiding a Far North expedition. As of recently, I had been working as the Lead Youth Counselor at the St. Cloud Children’s Home (which unfortunately closed it’s doors this week) and plan to begin my Master’s Degree in Social Work this upcoming fall. I am excited to dedicate my new found time and energy into facilitating an incredible and safe canoe expedition on the Middle Track River Route to Hudson Bay!

If you ever have any questions about anything that will be happening this summer, please feel free to contact me. My phone number and email can be found on the website and are also listed below.

-Greta

Phone: 320-420-2359

Email: gretagray44@gmail.com