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A very nice trip, and the first trip for Jay and Anne-Marie. Also the first trip we've done with Randy and Candace!


Friday, July 23, 2004:
Leave Waterloo at 5am
Drive to put in Little Wren Lake UTM 668,380E, 5,005,900N (Based on UTM Zone 17N, NAD83)
Met Jay and Anne-Marie
Paddle North on Little Wren Lake/Black River
P 85m around dam
NE across Raven Lake
P 360 into Gun Lake
P 60 around Brandy Falls
P 170m into Ernest Lake
N through Ernest Lake into Herb Lake
Camp on site UTM 672,390E, 5,010,470N

Today's Portage Distance: 675 m
Total Portage Distance: 675 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 7.9 km
Total Paddle Distance: 7.9 km

Saturday, July 24, 2004:
S through Herb Lake into Ernest Lake
P 170m into Black River
P 60m around Brandy Falls
SW through Gun Lake
P 360m into Raven Lake
SW through Raven Lake
P 85m around dam
Stop at access point to meet Randy and Candace
W into Wren Lake
LO around shallow rapid
P 40m around Falls
W on Black River
P 340m around mulitple rapids (Ran it with Matt's boat - very rough)
P 230m (muddy put in and steep climb!) into Horse Lake
S through Horse Lake
P 210m into McEwen Lake
S through McEwen Lake
P 70m into Dan Lake
all sites were taken, so reversed route back to Horse Lake
P 70m into McEwen Lake
N through McEwen Lake
P 210m into Horse Lake
Camp on N shore of Horse Lake, 666,140E, 5,004,510N

Today's Portage Distance: 1845 m
Total Portage Distance: 2520 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 17.4 km
Total Paddle Distance: 25.3 km

Sunday July 25, 2004:
P 230m into Black River
P 340m around rapids
P 40m around falls
LO around shallow rapids
NE through Wren Lake
N on Black River to access point
Loaded up cars and headed home

Today's Portage Distance: 610 m
Total Portage Distance: 3130 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 4.1 km
Total Paddle Distance: 29.4 km

Maps & Info:

Darren CopeMatt Fallowfield
Jason BloreAnne-Marie Cote
Candace BurgessRandy Burgess


Friday, July 23, 2004:

I spent part of Thursday packing gear for the trip, although most of it was packed from the last trip we did the weekend before. I had done some laundry, and dried everything out, but that was all there was to packing for this trip! Matt had done all the food shopping and he had the rest of the gear all set as well. I slept from about 11:00pm on Thursday night, until about 2:30 on Friday morning. Matt was supposed to be picking me up in Waterloo at around 3am, so I had a quick shower and then sat waiting for him. He wasn't there by 3:30, so I called his cell phone, thinking he would be on the road. No answer. I called his apartment, and he picked up the phone (obviously just been sleeping). He had slept through his alarm, so it's a good thing I called. He got ready quickly, and headed for Waterloo to pick me up. He got here in good time, and we threw my stuff in the car and were ready to go by about 5:00am.

We headed out for the "Wren Lake Access Point" in the Lesley Frost Centre, where we were to meet Jay and Anne-Marie, who were coming from Ottawa. We made a quick stop in Bracebridge for some breakfast (eggs, cheese, ham on a bagel at a coffee shop) and some butter milk (ewwwwww...thanks a lot Hil :/) We also stopped at a pharmacy to find a Tensor bandage for my ankle. They didn't have a single Tensor bandage in the whole store (WTF mate?) so we bought some tape stuff that was supposed to be just as good (turns out it wasn't but that's another story). We stopped at the Frost Centre buildings on St. Nora Lake (just closed a couple of days before we arrived, thanks to the government cuts...) and took a quick look around before heading North to the access point. We arrived at Wren Lake by around 11:00am, and began organizing the gear and re-packing everything into the canoe packs. Jay and Anne-Marie called Matt's cell phone to say that they were still about 50km away, and that they would be a bit later than planned. They arrived at about noon. I introduced everyone, and we set to packing up their gear. We managed to get everything into Matt's red Ostrom Pack, my green Serratus portage pack, the food pack and a couple day packs.

We were on the water at about 1:00 or 1:30 and headed N on the Black River to Raven Lake, with me paddling my canoe with Anne-Marie in the bow, and Matt in his canoe with Jay in the bow. We portaged around the dam and then NE across Raven Lake. Raven was a bit windy, so we zig-zagged our way across into the waves. The next portage was 360m into Gun Lake, which starts at a dock, and is a fairly easy portage with a section of boardwalk. We headed through Ernest into Herb Lake, taking the P60 and P85 as we came to them. We camped on a nice site at UTM 672,390E; 5,010,470N. After setting up camp, we went for a quick swim, and Jay spent some time skipping rocks. We had a nice supper of grilled pork chops and rice (mmm....) and then cleaned up. We then decided to go out in the canoes to practice some rescues and clean out the canoes, swim, etc. We had a good time doing that for a while, and I gave Jay some pointers on his J-Stroke (no, not the Jay-Stoke, he's already an expert at that....) After we pulled the canoes up for the night, we took some pictures on the rock while Anne-Marie picked blueberries. Then we hit the tents for a game of Euchre, then to bed.

Saturday, July 24, 2004:

We were up at about 6:30am. We got down the food pack, and started the stove to boil up some water for breakfast. After breakfast, we packed and were on the water. We reversed the route from the day before, back to Wren Lake Access Point. We pulled out the two-way radio to try to contact Randy and Candace, who we were to meet at the access point. At the end of the P360 into Raven, we were putting new batteries in the radio, because we didn't think it was working properly. I set the old batteries on the map case beside me on the dock. Unfortunately, they rolled off the mapcase into the water. I peaked through the crack in the dock, and saw one of the batteries, so reached under to get it. I moved a rock out of the way, and the battery fell down out of site. Matt then went in (fully clothed) to try to get the batteries. After moving some rocks around, he managed to get all three batteries back! :)

After loading everything back into the canoes, we paddled across Raven to the access point, where Randy and Candace (and Yosemite) were waiting for us. I introduced Jay and Anne-Marie to them, and we were soon ready to roll. We paddled south and under the Hwy 35 bridge. Shortly after, we stopped to pump some water, then continued on. We came to a lift-over (rock ledge across the river) and Matt and I ran it with our boats (scraping the bottoms) while Randy and Candace chose to lift over. We then did a quick portage (P40) around the falls which were shortly after. At the P340 (around 3 sets of rapids), Matt suggested that we run his boat across, and come back and run mine over if it wasn't too bad. I agreed, so we spend a long time scouting the rapids (and falls). While we were doing this, the others were portaging all of the gear across to the other end. We gave Randy and Jay throwbags, and had them stand at the bottom of the first drop to rescue us if necessary. As we lined up to run the first drop, Anne-Marie and Candace had the cameras out, and took some action shots of us coming down! We had a pretty good line, but when we went over the drop, the bow bottomed out at the bottom, and the canoe tipped. I went out, and somehow Matt managed to stay in the canoe. I held on to the side with my left hand, and to the paddle with my right hand. We got the canoe to shore and emptied the water out before continuing down. The next set of rapids was pretty shallow, but we made it through with some scrapes. The next drop was similar to the first. Matt got out and waded to the bottom to scout it out, while I remained upstream holding the canoe. He came back and said we could make it. We lined up and ran perfectly! It was a great run--lots of fun! There was another drop that we lifted around, and another shallow spot right at the end close to where the portage comes out. I decided that it was a bit of a rough run, so opted to portage my canoe to avoid damaging it, so we carried it to the end as well. At the end, we had some lunch of stoners and salami with cheese, and some granola bars. Randy did a bit of fishing while we ate, and he got an ~10" smallmouth.

The P230 into Horse starts in a muddy swamp, and I went in up to my waist in mud. The portage climbs steeply for the entire way (gaining about 30m), but ends at what we agreed was the most beautiful lake on the trip. At the south end of Horse Lake, we did the P210 into McEwen (the porage, BTW, is not on my Chrismar Map but is on Candace's newer version.) This portage is one of my favourites ever. It is nice and flat, and has a wooden boardwalk for part of it. We planned on camping in McEwen, but there was a group on the east shore that had a radio and a chainsaw. What is with these people? We decided to move on, because we didn't want to camp beside them. We did the portage (P70) into Dan Lake to look for a site there. However, there we no sites available at all! We decided to turn around and head back to Horse Lake to make camp.

We reversed the route back into Horse, and found a nice site on the north shore. We looked at the site on the island, but decided it wasn't too great. After setting up camp, we went for a swim to cool down. We had dinner of freeze dried potatoes, chicken, veggies and some of Candace's excellent carrot cake for dessert. Matt and I both took turns testing out the Langford solo (sweet boat!), then went out together to try it tandem and to pump some water. While pumping, we heard what sounded like something peeling bark off of a tree. We figured it was either a bear or a porcupine, but didn't see anything. After cleaning up a bit, we told the story of our Chiniguchi trip around the fire, then headed to bed.

Sunday, July 25, 2004:

We slept in until about 8:30, since we were in no hurry to get home. Candace made an amazing breakfast of scrambled eggs on toasted bagels with cheese. It was very good! We leisurely packed up and headed out. I got muddy again at the north end of the first portage! We arrived at the access point at around 1:30 and packed the cars and trailer. We said our goodbyes and set off. Jay and Anne-Marie headed back to Ottawa, and Randy and Candace were on their way back to Hamilton. We agreed to meet them at Webers burgers on the way home, which we did. After that, we said goodbye to them and we headed to Waterloo. Matt and I stopped at Quiznos for subs in Waterloo, and then unloaded all of my gear before Matt headed back to Woodstock.

Once again, an excellent trip! Jay and Anne-Marie did very well for first-time trippers, and it was a pleasure tripping with Randy and Candace!

  This page was last updated on August 3, 2008 at 08:15 PM