The Thlewiaza-Seal Rivers

Challenge of the Ice

The book is about a true canoeing adventure in the northern wilderness of Canada.
Read more about the adventure by clicking on BOOK.

The author made his first canoe trip in the wilderness of Canada in 1969 and
completed nineteen trips by the time he retired. Read more by clicking on AUTHOR

A review of the book made this statement, “The balance of images and straightforward
storytelling made the story flyby, and the emotional and physical journey the author
and his crew went on, kept the reader invested and captivated throughout this entire
book.” Read more by clicking on REVIEW.

Several summaries of the book with photos can be seen by clicking on VIDEO.

The Thlewiaza-Seal Rivers: Challenge of the Ice

This book is about six canoeists who planned to canoe down the Thlewiaza River in northern Manitoba, Canada to the Hudson Bay and then north to Eskimo Point (now named Arviat). However, they couldn’t continue the planned trip after six days because Nueltin Lake was still covered with 80 miles of ice! Consequently, the canoeist worked their way 75 miles overland to the Seal River and canoed to the Hudson Bay then south to Churchill.

The planning for this canoe trip began in December 1977 when Brian Gnauck visited his brother Gary for Christmas. Brian and the author had made six wilderness canoe trips together in Canada, but Gary had not participated on any of the trips and wanted to go on a trip with his brother. Together they mapped out a 450-mile trip down the Thlewiaza River from Snyder Lake in Northwest Manitoba to the Hudson Bay and then north to the village of Eskimo Point on the west side of Hudson Bay. The trip would consist of six people in three canoes which is an ideal number for a trip such as this for safety reasons. Brian Gnauck and Carl Schmieder would be in one canoe, the author and his 17-year-old son would be in another canoe, and Brian’s brother Gary with Greg Dufeck would make up the third canoe. All were experienced canoeists and all except
Gary had been on several wilderness canoe trips. This would be Gary’s first wilderness
canoe trip.

Apprehension grew when the canoeist arrived at the small village of Lynn Lake at the end of the road north in northwest Manitoba. A bush pilot would fly them to Snyder Lake where the river trip would begin, but the locals told them on June 18 that most of the rivers were still frozen over because they had the coldest winter in 40 years. The bush pilot who was to fly the canoeists to Snyder Lake thought the Thlewiaza River was flowing, but was agreeable to fly them to the Seal River in the event the river was still frozen. They flew to Snyder Lake the next day and found that the Thlewiaza River was not frozen so the canoe trip could begin. Six days later the canoeists arrived at Nueltin Lake only to find that any further advance was blocked by eighty miles of ice!

At this point, the canoe trip became a canoeing adventure. This book is about this canoeing adventure in the far north wilderness of Canada and tells how the canoeists solved the problems confronting them almost daily. It describes how the canoeists worked their way seventy-five miles overland from the Thlewiaza River to the Seal River and then south on Hudson Bay to Churchill. The story tells of the many difficult portages on ice and snow, of running extreme rapids on near freezing water, water falls, encounters with bears, and cold rainy days mixed with warm beautiful days. The canoe trip on Hudson Bay became a real ordeal when a polar bear prevented them from camping on the shore. Consequently, they spent a night on Hudson Bay in a storm.

You can also enjoy the adventure, but in the warmth and comfort of your home. If you
like exciting stories, this book is for you.