Sedona Westerners Hiking Club Experiences A Journey To The Arctic Ocean Without Leaving The Red Rocks Of Sedona
Something awakens you in the pre-dawn hours. You are far away from civilization in Canada's northwest arctic tundra. Your eyes focus intently trying to make out an object just inches from your face on the outside of your tent. It is a black bear. It's eyes and nose are nearly pressed against yours. You reach over to alert your companion from his sleep to this real life drama playing out before you. The bear rights its self, turns, and walks away. It was just curious to find you and your tent in its realm. You watch as the bear fades off into the distance. You are traveling alone on a journey through one of the most isolated parts of our earth, as you launch your canoe into a fast moving stream, you notice several arctic wolves approaching. They remain with you, for a good part of the morning, strange companions trotting along the shore line keeping you and your canoe in sight, just as you are likewise keeping a vigil on them. You conclude that the wolves are simply inquisitive as they are probably observing the only man and canoe they may have ever seen. The wolves never make a threat toward you and eventually, they too, are absorbed back into the arctic landscape as you continue your solo journey to the edge of the Arctic Ocean.
These are just a few of the experiences related by Bob Dannert during his talk on adventuring in Canada's arctic over the past 40 years to the Sedona Westerners at their second general meeting of the 2014-2015 hiking season on the evening of November 13th. Over those years, Bob says, he has paddled over 10,000 miles, 2,500 of them solo. He relates that his longest trip was 700+ miles and consisted of 53 days on the water. Bob has confined the majority of his on water adventures to Nunavut, the largest, northernmost and newest territory of Canada, it separated officially from Canada's Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999. Bob does not canoe Yukon or Alaskan rivers. During all of his treks he has never been lost, which he says he owes to meticulous advance preparations and abundance of caution when faced with a potential crisis.
The focus of Bob's presentation was a solo 2010 summer sojourn where he paddled 625 miles in a 15' solo PakCanoe down the Lockhart, Baillie, Back and Armark rivers plus three smaller unnamed rivers. The canoe carried over 450 lbs. in weight, Bob at 205 pounds and about 250 pounds of food and gear. Bob spent a total of 46 days on the water before he reached his final destination: the shore of the Arctic Ocean.
It goes without saying that Bob loves the outdoors, and he says this love comes from not only being in an environment that is isolated, beautiful and abundant in wildlife, but, from the self satisfaction of having to rely on your own judgment in every decision that you face along the journey. As Bob says, on his solo trips, there is no one other than yourself to blame if something goes wrong. Bob has traveled with other companions, including his very supportive wife, Sue, and their son and daughters. Bob says the important part of having your children develop a love for the outdoors, is to expose them to its wonders early in their life. His son and daughters have continued experiencing outdoor adventures on their own well into adulthood.
Bob retired in 1996 from his position as a food scientist with General Mills. He is now 78 years old and, as you might expect, he is already in the planning stages of future adventures including something completely new for him: a trek into the Antarctic in early 2015.
If you are interested in joining the club, please go to our website at http://sedonawesterners.org or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.