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TV Jobs. The cast in their foot Clipper.
The Brigade (Overkill)
Courtesy photo. How would we fare? How would our experiences running whitewater in plastic kayaks and portaging Kevlar canoes prepare us for the challenges faced by the voyageurs? Considering it took the voyageurs themselves about 14 weeks to cover the distance, we went out on a limb and said nobody would take home the prize money.
Producers soon came to the same conclusion we did, and shortened the course. And instead of 10 weeks, the cast has 28 days to complete the journey, resupplying at seven caches along the way — if they can find them. The cast has that tablet, a compass and their wits to find their way. If they miss a food cache they go hungry.
The Brigade by H.A. Covington
If they pass a portage trail they have to backtrack. This is no Bear Grylls special. It sounds like great television, and just a little sadistic. The realest thing about reality TV these days is that budgets are limited. The first stretch from Castlegar, British Columbia to Jasper House includes a long upstream slog on the Columbia River, then a tough climb over the Rockies to the glacier-fed Whirlpool River, and finally down the Athabasca River to the historic fur trade depot in Jasper National Park. The second section follows the Nelson, Hayes and Fox rivers across Manitoba.
The two stretches clock in at about miles each, and promise the full smorgasbord of canoe-trip challenges: Long distances, tough portages, powerful rapids and, it goes without saying, bugs.
The cast used Kokopelli Mirage packrafts on the Whirlpool River and spent some time in Pelican tandem canoes on the Athabasca, but did the bulk of the distance in the big canoe. To reach York Factory and collect the prize they have to work together. That was especially true when the team began running rapids in the foot canoe. On paper at least, the team had the right mix of talent to drive the big canoe through anything. Vincent Coulcombe is a voyageur canoe guide who brought a wealth of experience and scholarly knowledge.