Darren's Outdoor Page

Home Tripping Gear Misc. Maps
       Canoe Trips |  Other Trips |  Resources |  MNR Canoe Routes |  A Day in the Life |  Food |  E-Mail Me! |  Search



Friday, April 21, 2006 (Day 1):
Drive to Little Wren put-in (UTM 668,391E, 5,005,935N [Based on UTM Zone 17N, NAD83])
N on Black River
P 85m around dam
N then E through Raven Lake
P 360m into Gun Lake
P 60 around Brandy Falls
P 170m into Ernest Lake
N into Herb Lake
N then E then S through Herb Lake
P 65m around Proper Falls into Minis Pond
P 40m into Knife Lake
E through Knife Lake
P 1020m into Jean Lake
Camp on Campsite 82 on the north shore (UTM 675,882E 5,012,553N)

Today's Portage Distance: 1800 m
Total Portage Distance: 1800 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 12.9 km
Total Paddle Distance: 12.9 km

Saturday, April 22, 2006 (Day 2) (my birthday!!):
P 1195m into Mooney Lake
Hike to Wolfsbane Lake and back
Camp on Campsite 82 on the north shore (UTM 675,882E 5,012,553N)

Today's Hike Distance: 7800 m
Total Hike Distance: 7800 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 0.0 km
Total Paddle Distance: 12.9.0 km

Sunday, April 23, 2006 (Day 3):
SW through Jean Lake
P 1020m into Knife Lake
P 40m into Minis Pond
P 65m around Proper Falls into Herb Lake
N then W then S through Herb Lake
S into Ernest Lake
P 170m onto Black River
P 60m around Brandy Falls
SW through Gun Lake
P 360m into Raven
W then S through Raven Lake
P 85m around dam
S on Black River to Little Wren take-out

Today's Portage Distance: 1800 m
Total Portage Distance: 3600 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 12.9 km
Total Paddle Distance: 25.8 km

Maps & Info: Photos:
  • Darren Cope
  • Randy Burgess
  • Michael Rogers


Friday, April 21, 2006 (Day 1)

I got up at 4am, showered and had some breakfast. Randy and Mike showed up at exactly 5am, with two Nahanni's on the extended roof rack (very solid setup.) As we were loading my stuff, we realized that Randy did not bring the key for the cable lock locking the canoes to the racks. We set off from Barrie at 5:10ish, and headed north on 11. Breakfast was at the Petro-Can truck stop just south of the Muskoka Airport--very good breakfast! We headed in to Gravenhurst to United Rentals and borrowed a pair of bolt cutters to cut the lock. Then 188 to Kushog Lake Road, to 35 to the Little Wren put-in at 8ish and on the water by 8:30ish. Up the usual route into Jean Lake. The forest is virtually snow-free and surprisingly dry. We saw loons, kingfisher, beaver, muskrat and herons. Got to camp on Jean Lake at 2ish and set up camp (awesome tarp set-up that unfortunately causes major back-draft.) Had a few beers and relaxed. Supper of chicken gumbo (good!) and then sat around the fire. Heard three strange "bangs" from the bush where there is nothing shown on the map (hammer? Shotgun?) The weather was fairly warm all day (~5oC?) and overcast with variable to stiff SSE wind. Lots of water on Brandy and Proper Falls. Stopped at Jay Barry's hunt camp and signed log book on the way through-looks like we were the first people there this year.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 (Day 2) (my birthday!!)

Woke up to rain and grey skies. Had breakfast of corn meal and couscous with dates. It was a good thing I added raisins, otherwise it wouldn't have had much flavour! Because of the wind, we decided not to paddle, but to hike instead. We packed a lunch, and then paddled to the start of the portage into Mooney, stopping to pump water on the way across. After stashing the boat at the end of the portage, we started hiking back towards Mooney. We saw lots of Moose and Deer sign (scrapes, broken and chewed branches, etc.) on the way back. At the ATV/Snowmobile "highway," we headed north towards Wolfsbane Lake. It was about a 2km hike. We saw lots of Moose and Deer prints, and one bear print as well. We also saw a dog-like print that could have been wolf, coyote, or dog. I thought it was too small to be wolf, but it's hard to say! At the trail junction there were a lot of road signs and an outhouse--obviously a heavily used trail. We took the trail towards Wolfsbane Lake, and then bushwhacked a short way to the first campsite--it turns out we didn't have to bushwhack, as there is a trail that joins up with the main trail. It looks like a nice site for a large group, as there are many tent sites in an open grassy area. We had lunch of bagels, cheese kielbasa (or cuu-bah-saw as Candace would say), orange and granola bars. Wolfsbane is a pretty nice looking lake, and not easily accessible from the way we came (by canoe anyway.) After eating and relaxing a bit, we headed back the way we'd come. The trail was quite muddy, and _very_ wide, with trees clear-cut well back from the trail. Why? I wish I knew! You could probably drive a transport truck down the trail that's meant for ATVs and Snowmobiles! We arrived back at the canoe, and paddled back across to the campsite. It was quite windy still, so we "sailed" using the paddles as sails. At camp, we decided to get Mike's green tarp (4'x6') and lash it to some paddles. We then sailed across the lake a few times, before ending up in the back-bay of Jean Lake. Here, we noticed a boat pulled up on shore, and paddled over to discover a dock and cabin. We yelled "Hello," but got no reply, which was strange because there were two ATVs there and a light on (generator?) We decided it was a sketchy, so decided not to go up and knock. We paddled back to camp and spent some time re-arranging the tarp setup to eliminate the "backdraft" that was causing dust and duff to blow up in our faces while standing around the fire. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful. Next, we set off to gather more firewood, and Mike found a dead, standing, bone-dry tree (beech?) about 8" in diameter that he knocked down. We chopped it in half with Randy's "Sawvivor" and dragged it back to the site. Then, we set up a "sawmill" production-line, and cut-to-length and split the whole tree into a perfect pile of wood. We had some Mr. Noodle soup as a snack earlier, so had plenty of energy to do this before starting supper. We boiled a bunch of water for two different freeze-dried meals--Kung Fu Chicken and "Beef" (TVP) Stroganoff. The chicken was better than the stroganoff. We finished off the oranges and granola bars, and had some hot drinks. The rest of the evening was spent cleaning up, then relaxing around the fire chatting and joking. We went to bed ~45 minutes after dark, after thoroughly dousing the fire (there was a massive pile of very hot coals!) We all slept shortly after getting into the tent.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 (Day 3)

Woke up to overcast (again!) drizzly weather. Packed everything up in the tent, then started breakfast of freeze-dried scrambled eggs and oatmeal. Cleaned up breakfast dishes and packed up camp. Paddled back out the same way we'd come in. At the portage into Minis, my spare paddle (the war club) got away and floated down the rapids. Mike went to dislodge it with a stick, and succeeded in moving it, but it got stuck again, this time much harder to see and get to. He got it out again, and I retrieved it at the bottom of the rapids. We paddled out to Little Wren fairly uneventfully, except for each of us falling in the last hour or so. Mike went down on a slippery rock carrying a pack and the canoe--ouch! Thankfully he was ok. Randy took a picture of the "For Sale" sign posted on the cabin at the Raven-Gun Portage. We thought it'd be interesting to look it up and see how much a place like that sells for.

At the Little Wren access we loaded the car and headed out. It was approximately 1pm when we arrived at the take-out. We needed gas badly, so instead of taking Kushog Lake Rd., we took 35 south to Carnarvon. There, we filled up with gas, then back a bit north to a restaurant we had seen on the way by. It was a good decision! Randy and Mike had big burgers with peameal, and I had fish and chips. Along with that was cold cold delicious beer (I had Rickards Red, Mike and Randy had Keith's.) After our great meal and beers, we set off to Barrie. We took 118 to 11 to 400, listening to the Blue Jay's game on the radio (they lost unfortunately.) The guys dropped me off in Barrie before heading back to Brantford to drop off Mike and then Randy went home to Hamilton.

Overall, another great trip despite not seeing the sun at all pretty much the entire time. It was the last trip to the Frost Centre before the new pay/reservation system comes into effect (May 1!) Once again the traffic was low (actually saw a grand total of zero other people the whole time!) and it looks like the Jean/Mooney route is still not heavily traveled at all.

  This page was last updated on June 3, 2007 at 05:22 PM