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Thursday, September 1, 2005:
Drive to main Frost Centre Campus put-in (UTM 669,460E, 5,002,770N [Based on UTM Zone 17N, NAD83])
E through St. Nora Lake
P 815m into Sherborne Lake
E through Sherborne Lake
P 300m into Summit Pond
P 590m into Noname Lake
P 70m into Big Hawk Lake
LO rapids (likely only in low water)
P 195m into Nunikani Lake
P 45m into North Nunikani Lake (aka Lake #30) Camp on Campsite 63

Today's Portage Distance: 2015 m
Total Portage Distance: 2015 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 14.2 km
Total Paddle Distance: 14.2 km

Friday, September 2, 2005:
P 45m to Nunikani Lake
P 440m to Red Pine Lake
E through Red Pine Lake
P 20m to Kennisis Lake
S through Kennisis Lake to the "Soapdish"
P 810m to Cat Lake
P 1000m to Little Hawk Lake
LO into Big Hawk Lake
P 70m into Snowshoe Lake
P 100m into Midway Lake
P 300m into Chico Pond
P 50m into Blackcat Lake
Camp on Campsite 54

Today's Portage Distance: 2835 m
Total Portage Distance: 4850 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 23.3 km
Total Paddle Distance: 37.5 km

Saturday, September 3, 2005:
P 540m into Clear Lake
P 225m into Little Clear Lake/Big Hawk Lake (this trail was actually more like 100m, as we ended up at a private dock, not the official portage end)
SW through Big Hawk Lake
P 805m into Sherborne Lake
W through Sherborne Lake
P 105m into Sundew Pond
P 365m into Little Avery Lake
P 195 into Bruin Lake
Camp on site 110

Today's Portage Distance: 2110 m
Total Portage Distance: 6960 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 12.8 km
Total Paddle Distance: 50.3 km

Sunday, September 4, 2005
P 180m into Long Pond
P 800m into Raven Lake
NW then W then SW through Raven Lake
P 85m around dam into Black River
S on Black River
Take out at Little Wren Parking Lot (UTM 668,391E, 5,005,935N)
Walk (3.6km) to Frost Centre main campus to retrieve car
Park car at Little Wren access point
W on Black River under bridge
SW through Wren Lake
LO Rock Ledge
P 40m into Upper Marsh
P 340m into Lower Marsh
P 230m into Horse Lake
P 210m into McEwen Lake
P 70m into Dan Lake
P 310m into Margaret Lake
Located swampy portage into Little Margaret, and decided not to try it
P 310m into Dan Lake
Camp on Campsite 114

Today's Portage Distance: 2575 m
Total Portage Distance: 9535 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 17.0 km
Total Paddle Distance: 67.3 km

Monday, September 5, 2005
P 70m to McEwen Lake
P 210m to Horse Lake
P 230m to Lower Marsh
P 340m to Upper Marsh
P 40m to Wren Lake
LO Rock Ledge
NE through Wren Lake
N on Black River
Take out at Little Wren Parking Lot (UTM 668,391E, 5,005,935N)

Today's Portage Distance: 890 m
Total Portage Distance: 10,425 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 7.0 km
Total Paddle Distance: 74.3 km

Maps & Info:

  • Darren Cope
  • Kari Johnston


Note: This entire log was written two weeks after the trip, strictly from memory. Thus it may contain quite a few errors!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 (Day 0):

I spent the morning doing last minute packing of gear and (mostly) food. I then tied the canoe on the car and loaded all the packs and other gear into the back seat. I killed a bit of time before setting out at ~1:00pm. I filled up the car with gas, and then hit the 401 to Toronto. I made good time, and arrived at Kari's house at around 2:45 or so. I found the key, and let myself in. Only Bunny (Kari's dog) was there, and she didn't appear too concerned that I had intruded. I made myself comfortable, and read one of Kari's books about Temagami. Kari's roommate Moira arrived home, and I chatted with her for a bit. Kari arrived from work at ~6pm. While she showered and got ready, I finished the last of the packing. We set off from Toronto around 7pm. We made pretty good time on our way to Lake of Bays, chatting most of the way up.

We arrived at the Cade's (family friends of the Johnston's) cottage, where we stayed the night in the guest cabin. We went to bed shortly after arriving.

Thursday, September 1, 2005: (Day 1)

We woke up at 7am to my alarm, and had breakfast of canned peaches and Kari's excellent homemade granola, while sitting on the dock. After cleaning up and packing, we were off to the main Frost Centre Campus, which was about a 20 minute drive. We carried the canoe and gear to the main dock, locked up the car, and headed off, making our way east across St. Nora Lake. We made good time, and soon found ourselves at the first portage into Sherborne. This portage is shown as an 815m, but I'm pretty sure we carried further than that, right up past the dam (partially on a road). We single-tripped the portage, stopping to rest once. Once in Sherborne, we paddled east to the 220m into Summit Pond. This is a steep trail, and we stopped once to rest here as well. Summit was not as nice as I'd remembered it, which we determined was a result of the very low water levels. We did the 590m into NoName Lake with no stops. In NoName, we had a floating lunch of bagels, cream cheese and salsa, and an apple.

After the short 70m into Big Hawk, we stopped for a swim, directly across from the portage. The water was so low that the sandy lake bottom was exposed along the shoreline, forming a beach. There were motor boats of people playing in the rapids just to the north. We paddled to the first set of rapids, and portaged around. Turns out that these rapids are not the ones marked on our map, so we actually only had to lift over them instead of portaging. We actually ended up putting back in and paddling to the actual start of the 195m into Nunikani. Kari took some pictures from the dam. Our original plan was to head up to Shoelace Lake to camp, but we decided against even trying, as a result of the really low water levels. Instead, we headed to North Nunikani Lake. We checked out site 63B on the north shore of Nunikani, and found it to be terrible. We then did the 45m into North Nunikani, where we camped on site 63 which was quite nice. Just before the portage, we noticed a very square shape on the shore. We determined it must have been a foundation or something similar, although I still have my doubts! We set up camp and I went for a quick swim before relaxing on the rock. Kari tried to do yoga, but the slanted rock proved to be less than ideal for this! We then played some cards for a while. Supper was "pita pizzas" although they ended up more like "pizza goulash on pitas." They still tasted good though! Really a fire/oven are best for pizzas, not a stove! After cleaning up we hung the bear bag and relaxed around the fire. We took turns reading aloud from "Where Rivers Run," the story of Gary and Joanie McGuffin paddling across Canada. It was an incredible, peaceful way to spend the night. When the mosquitoes started to get bad (the only night we really had a problem) we headed to the tent. After talking a bit more, we finally went to sleep.

Friday, September 2, 2005: (Day 2)

We woke up at ~7am again, and packed our dry bags. I retrieved the bear bag and started oatmeal, while Kari took down the tent. After breakfast we headed off to the 45m again, back into Nunikani. Then, up the very shallow section below the dam. We took the 440m into Red Pine, and single tripped it without even stopping to rest, a practice which we continued for all the remaining portages of the trip! We crossed Red Pine, and headed to Kennisis Dam. Here, there was a major boat launch, and a wheeled track to take boats over the dam. I chose to portage instead. There were 2 Parks Canada guys at the dam doing some type of measurements. I'm not sure why it would be Parks Canada, as this is not a National Park! We floated and rested for a bit before heading across the lake, which was quite windy. We made it to "the Soapdish" by ~11am, and stopped for an apple and chocolate bar. The plan was to camp on Lypsy Lake, but that would have put us on the site by noon! We decided to camp on Blackcat instead, which was originally Saturday's site. We headed back onto Kennisis in an on and off light rain/drizzle that made us put our rainsuits on. We paddled west into the wind to the 810m into Cat Lake. We stopped for lunch on site 38. It was very windy, and we were having stuff blown in our eyes, so we moved our lunch up into the bush out of the wind. Tuna wraps with cheese and mustard were excellent.

From Cat, the 1000m into Little Hawk was a nice, quite easy trail. We paddled to the tiny narrows between Big and Little Hawk Lakes, where we had to lift/drag the canoe over some rocks. This may be paddleable in high water, but I'm not sure. We then did the "hop, skip and jump" through Snowshoe, Midway and Chico into Blackcat via 70m, 100m, 300m and 50m portages. On Blackcat, we set up camp on site 54. We spent the rest of the day swimming, talking, pumping water, and preparing supper of spaghetti with homemade, dehydrated meat sauce. After eating and cleaning up, Kari went out for a solo paddle. We then read some more of the book around the fire, and later in the tent, before going to bed.

Saturday, September 3, 2005: (Day 3)

Up at ~7am, we had breakfast of oatmeal, raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and powdered milk. We packed up and were on the water fairly quickly. We took the 540m into Clear Lake, which is very nice. We paddled across to the P225m into Big Hawk. This trail turned out to be more like 100m, as we ended up at a private dock. We figured we could launch there with no problems, so didn't bother searching for the rest of the portage.

We paddled SW across Big Hawk, while chatting about Kari's thesis and sustainable building, etc. We ended up entering Saskatchewan Creek by mistake, but while there we got really close to a loon. Definitely the closest I've ever been to one without it diving! Kari got some pictures of it. We then paddled north a bit to the 805m to Sherborne, which is squeezed in between cottages. Paddled NW the W across Sherborne, to the 105m into Sundew. We had lunch of pitas with PB&J on the rock in the middle of Sundew Pond. We then paddled into Little Avery and Bruin, with 365m and 195m portages in between. Site 69 in Bruin was just OK. Site 14 was terrible-overgrown, full of broken glass and charred logs. We ended up on 110 which was not too bad. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, reading and talking. Dinner was couscous and lentil curry, with apricots and freeze dried veggies. It was excellent, which is good, because there was a lot! We somehow managed to eat it all though! After cleaning up and swimming out the bear canoe, we read some more around the fire. We went to bed after reading some more in the tent.

Sunday, September 4, 2005: (Day 4)

We had breakfast of oatmeal and raisins and struck camp. We had decided to do the Black Lake Loop, and our day's goal was to reach Black Lake for the night. We set off via the 180m into Long Pond. It was a complete swamp, so we ended up dragging and hopping over logs through most of the pond. There was a clear channel further along at least! The 800m into Raven was easy. We headed NW up Raven. At this point, Kari began to worry about her wallet, which she had thought was in one of our packs but wasn't. Since loosing the wallet would cause problems, we decided to deal with the situation instead of continuing on the Black Lake Loop. So, we headed to the Little Wren access point, taking the 85m trail around the dam. At the parking lot, we stashed the canoe and packs, and walked the 3.6km back to the car. Once at the car, Kari phoned the Cade's to see if they had found the wallet. They had! With that problem off our shoulders, we decided to continue on our trip and pick the wallet up on Monday. We drove the car back to the Little Wren access point, where we parked it and began paddling again. Leaving the car here instead of at the main Frost Centre Campus would allow for a quicker escape (and thus less traffic) on Monday. We lifted over the rock ledge, then P45m into Upper Marsh on the Black River. This section was low and weedy, but paddleable. A 340m took us to Lower Marsh, and a 220m (uphill!) into Horse. We stopped for lunch on my favourite site (#7) - pitas, humus and honey. I went for a quick swim to clean the mud off my pants. Paddled into McEwen via a 210m, then into Dan via a 70m. We decided to check out Margaret and Little Margaret for campsites.

Margaret is a very nice lake, with sandy bottom. We headed to the portage into Little Margaret although decided not to bother, since it was very swampy. Instead, we took the 310 back to Dan, where we camped on site #114. We set up camp and relaxed a bit before preparing dinner of Mac & Cheese with freeze dried veggies and dehydrated ham, which worked out quite well. Kari went out for a solo paddle and took some videos on her camera of the loons. Tonite was Kari's turn to swim the bear canoe. She really didn't want to swim, and I recorded a funny video of her jumping in and swimming to shore, where she proceeded to mock my fire for being too small. Classic comedy, and the origin of the line: "You call this a fire?!? This is like...three matchsticks!" We read some more before getting cold and moving to the tent. We were both asleep soon after.

Monday, September 5, 2005: (Day 5)

Up once again just before 7. Breakfast of granola. Back on the water very fast. 70m into McEwen, 210 into Horse, then 230 downhill into the marsh, and back to the car via 340m to Upper Marsh, 40m and a lift over into Wren and under the bridge and up the river to the takeout. We had the car packed and were on the road by 9:15am! We headed N on 35 to the Cade's to retrieve Kari's wallet. On the way, we drove by Camp Arrowhead, where Kari had spent some time as a counsellor. At the Cade's we got Kari's wallet, and the tump line, which we had also left there unknowingly. We also changed into clean clothes for the ride home.

We stopped in Huntsville for a snack at Timmy's and once for gas and a newspaper. Kari read me the news about Hurricane Katrina (yikes!) as well as more of our book. We arrived at Kari's place at ~1pm and unloaded all her gear. I stayed for a while, and met her other roommate Justin. I then said goodbye and headed back to Woodstock.


After finishing the last bit of the book, Kari mailed it to me (along with the tump line). I read the rest as well, and mailed it back, along with her cell phone and charger which she had left in my glove box.

Overall, an excellent trip. It was great to trip with someone as experienced as Kari. Hopefully we have the opportunity to trip together many more times!

  This page was last updated on June 3, 2007 at 05:32 PM