Monday, July 20, 2015

American paddler more into the silent sports

Bill Nedderman of Iowa has been paddling the routes of North American explorers and voyageurs, such as Alexander Mackenzie, DavidThompson, Simon Fraser and Lewis and Clark since 1998 in his handmade, collapsible canoe outfitted with a small solar panel to charge one LED light, radio and phone batteries.

This summer’s journey began at Prince George and on to the Grease Trail, once travelled by Sir Alexander Mackenzie and his voyageurs, on the way to the Pacific, assisted by First Nation guides. Bill did not reach the famous Bella Coola rock which bears the vermilion painted inscription “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land 22nd July 1793” because it is only accessible by boat.

He hitchhiked back to Prince George where he had left his canoe and supplies.  From here he canoed the Nacho River to where it confluences with the Fraser River and spent 32 hours paddling 27 miles along the Fraser following Simon Fraser’s route, not Mackenzie’s.

Eventually, he is on the Peace River downstream from the Bennett and Peace Canyon dams near Hudson’s Hope, B. C. Taking his time, he reached Peace River seven days later.

During his travels, Bill tries to set up camp along a river where a tributary enters. These places usually have flat, accessible land for camping. When in communities, such as Peace River, he visits the library to use a computer to catch up on his e-mail and keep in contact with family and friends. In the case of Peace River, he visited the Museum to conduct some research.

Bill’s final destination is Fort Chipewyan.

Bill Nedderham in our Museum's Fur Trade Gallery. In the background
 is the birch bark canoe built by John Zeitoun in 2001.

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