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Friday, June 29, 2007 (Day 1):
Daily Portage Distance: 100 m
Saturday, June 30, 2007 (Day 2):
Daily Portage Distance: 2956 m
Sunday, June 31, 2007 (Day 3):
Daily Portage Distance: 2956 m
Monday, July 1, 2007 (Day 4):
Daily Portage Distance: 100 m
Friday, June 29, 2007 (Day 1):
I had everything loaded and in/on the car last night and drove it in to work this morning. I worked until 3:30, and took off straight from work, taking Hwy 511 all the way to Calabogie, then across to 17. I stopped for a quick bite at Pizza Pizza in Petawawa (which is really far off the highway!) and then was right back on the road. I arrived at the put-in by 19:00. Unloaded, packed the canoe and set off. There is a possible campsite where I parked the car, but itíd be very noisy since itís a stone throw to Hwy 17. The creek here is fairly wide, and there are two beaver dams right away. I was able to punch through both without too much trouble, and without stepping out of the boat. I paddled across the buried gas-line (warning signs, large rock rip-rap on the shores and a clear-cut path indicate its location.) Shortly after this, I paddled under the hydro lines. In this slow-moving section, two beavers saw me and dove before I could even see them (I just saw/heard the tail slap). I was impressed with how quickly the sound of the highway seems to disappear as I continued upstream. Soon I came to a set of rapids. The portage is on the left (River Right) and was clear and easy to find. It appears to be quite well used, with only one small tree down over the trail, which I was able to step over with no problem. The portage is a total of 106 paces, and ends at a slippery rock put-in on the north shore of Logslide Lake.
It was sunny all day, but started to spit rain on and off at about Cobden, continuing until I got to the put-in. Everything is damp (hence the slippery portage!) but it hasnít rained yet since I got out of the car! Theyíre calling for more tomorrow, so weíll see!
Logslide Lake opened up in front of me out of nowhere--a beauty, tiny lake with the creek rushing in at one end and out at the other. The final lingering sounds of the highway are drowned out by the falls, so it should be a peaceful night, unlike if I had camped at the car.
Thereís a possible campsite right at the end of the portage, but I paddled across to the other side of the rapids, and set up there. It was a bit hard to find a spot for even one tent, but I squeezed it in on a bit of a hill. I quickly set up camp and got everything organized (no good branches to hang the food pack, so hopefully it is OK on the ground well back from camp!) I had everything set up and ready by 20:00, then went for a refreshing swim and took a few pictures. I started writing the journal outside on the nice stone bench by the fire ring, but whimped out to the tent because of the bugs! Mosquitoes are fairly bad, and down by the fire pit there are THOUSANDS of tiny little buggers (no-see-ums?) that absolutely swarmed me, and could get in every little crack in my defenses that mosquitoes couldnít (the headnet didnít even phase them!) Now itís slowly getting dark, so Iím going to study the maps and plan for tomorrow!Saturday, June 30, 2007 (Day 2):
Wow! What a day! I didnít sleep all that well last night. I fear itís because I was cold, even though it was certainly not cold out. I think it may soon be time to retire the purple sleeping bag! Up at ~5:30, and packed and out of the tent by 6:00. On and off rain (only rarely heavy) starting this morning, and continuing until at least now (20:00), but often clear and sunny. Not too hot all day, but not cool either. Mostly just comfortable. Lots of details today...Iíll try to get everything in the right order, but a lot of the portages seem to get mixed up in my mind...
The P120m from Logslide to Spencers Lake skirts a very nice looking waterfall. I got some pictures (last ones today b/c the camera was packed away for the slog that followed!) The portage started steep, then went through a small section of deadfall right before a boardwalk (which seems kind of pointless, as it was dry underneath!) Short and sweet, and the deadfall didnít cause undo stress. Spencers Lake is another very small but nice lake, but there is no sign of a campsite. I canít remember for sure, but I think the P464m had some deadfall and was heavy with undergrowth at times, which made it tough to see the trail. However, it had flagging tape marking the trail for the difficult sections. It ends in Grants Creek Marsh. I paddled to the right after exiting the portage, and got stuck in the swamp. I had to backtrack to the portage and head further east before swinging around to the west. Follow the largest stream of open water and you should be OK. A fairly long (1.5 hours?) paddle through the marsh (saw ducks, herons, cormorants(?), beaver, muskrat) brought me to a possible campsite (maybe for tomorrow night?) and the start of the portage to the creek. The P260m is a clearly visible trail (except for one section at the top of the hill thatís a bit confusing) despite having thick undergrowth again. Lots of deadfall slows the going in the second half, but the trail works its way around without too much trouble for the most part. Very shortly afterward ending this portage, the creek runs into a wall of massive jumbled rock. A P50m is on the left (river right) would be easy if it wasnít for the deadfall covering 40 of the 50 meters! This is possible the hardest 50m portage I have ever done, and resulted in my poor canoe being pushed, pulled, dragged and pried through the mass of branches and rocks to the far end of the portage. Way too much work to gain 50m!
After another short paddle, an incredible set of falls appears. At this time, the rain let up and the sun came out. I took that as a sign, and went in and sat under the waterfalls. Itís like a very powerful massage whirlpool, with the water pounding down on your shoulders. Very nice! The portage (on the right [river left]) was 200m, and again had some deadfall, but nothing major. The next portage is very short (50m) but steep at both ends. It didnít seem to be much of a problem though, even with wet/slippery rocks.
The P585m is a real nasty one! I was constantly unsure where I was, and always close to the water, so itís tough to stay dry. Thick undergrowth and some deadfall made it even more fun! At what I figured would be approximately the end (according to my pace count) I found a likely put-in, complete with flagging tape. Iím still unsure if this is the actual end of the portage or not... After this, I could only paddle (through marsh) for 10 seconds, then a nasty wade/liftover was required. I beat up my poor boat again here :( One would expect the portage to bypass this, but I never did see another put-in spot! Because of the ambiguity, I was a bit unsure where I was at this point, thinking I might still be alongside where the P585 runs. Thus, I continued dragging the boat up the creek over some shallow rocks. However, soon I came to "Jet Camp Bridge" and realized I was well beyond the end of the portage. As soon as I saw the bridge, I left the boat and walked with the pack to find a better way. I waded up to the bridge, dropping the pack there, and then walked the road from the bridge. I found where the portage crosses the road, followed it back to its start, waded across the creek again to get the canoe, and portaged it to the end of the portage. Then I went back to the bridge to have lunch (it was approximately 13:30 by this point.) Bagel, salami, cheese, GORP. The bugs were very bad by this point! (not that they were good the rest of the time either though!) I finished lunch, packed up and portaged the pack to the end.
From the portage, I continued south on the creek towards Menet Lake Road Bridge. In this section there are some shallows that have to be waded (rocky!) for several hundred meters. I left a lot more yellow paint here! The bridge at Menet Lake Road has no obvious trail, so I crashed up the steep bank. I checked my maps and notes and headed off with the pack. I took the fork to the right where the roads branches, and very shortly after was at the bridge to the Hunt Camp. I took a quick look across to see smoke coming from the chimney, so determined that the camp was occupied. I then headed back and continued down the road. After what I thought was at least 200m, I saw no trail down to the creek, so decided to head back, drop the pack at the Hunt Camp Bridge, and at least get the canoe to that point before exploring further. I went back, got the canoe, and carried it to that point. I then took only the map and compass and set off down the road again. The OBM map showed a trail well around the bend in the road, where it turns west, so I walked a least a kilometer (probably more!) and still saw no sign of any trail---only blowdown and brush everywhere---it looked like a disaster zone. If there was a trail it must have been covered with brush! As I was getting eaten alive by bugs (deer/horse flies had joined the mozzies by this point) I decided to jog back to the bridge rather than walk. Since I couldnít find any sign of the trail, I decided that my only option was to walk along the creekbed! I took the pack first, and crashed down the very steep shore at the bridge. The rocks were slippery and unstable, and several times I came close to an accident! After about 75 meters or so, thereís a...(guess what)...BLOWDOWN! I went to the left (river right) and got around most of it, then crashed through some bushes to get back to the main creekbed. Shortly after this, the creekbed widens up into a very large boulder garden. This was better, because it was clear of brush and most of the rocks were above the water and thus dry. After ~50m of this, a massive beaver dam is reached, and thereís swamp as far as you can see. Exhausted by this point, I dropped the pack on the rocks, but still had to go back for the canoe! After a fun balancing act with the boat, I was finally floating again! About a kilometer of paddling through the marsh later, it narrows down into a creek again for a short while. A bit more wading here, then finally Pooh Lake appears! At this point I was done for the day!
I paddled to the closest campsite, and set up the tent on the rock---no way to drive pegs in, so I had an elaborate rope setup to keep the fly taught. Rain on and off the whole time. Dinner was of instant four-cheese potatoes and tuna steak (Thai flavour). Excellent! I managed to break the GORP bag, spilling it all over the ground. I picked up as much as I could (spending maybe 20 mins?) and hoped that the bears werenít too hungry! I then went for a quick swim out to the rocks beside the site, cleaned up camp and hit the tent. I was totally exhausted, so went right to bed.Sunday, June 31, 2007 (Day 3):
I sure slept well last night! I had made the decision after yesterdayís slog-fest to not continue further upstream today, but to head back down and camp either at the marsh or on Logslide again. Up a bit late (8:30?) after a good sleep. Breakfast was oatmeal. I packed up and was on the water shortly afterwards, retracing my steps from yesterday. Paddled Pooh Lake back into the Marsh. Lots of herons, red-winged blackbirds, and loons here! Once again, I waded down the creekbed to the Hunt Camp Bridge, then up the road to Menet Lake Road bridge. While crashing through the thick brush around the blowdown in the creek, I lost my knife (Spyderco Delica) that was clipped to my pocket (grrrr...) I spent maybe 10 minutes looking for it with no luck, despite knowing exactly where I lost it to within a meter or so. Itís probably under a rock in the creek! I completed the portage much faster this time, because I didnít spend any time hunting around for a non-existent trail!
The section of creek between Menet Lake Road and Jet Camp Bridge required some wading again, and dragging over of rocks. MORE yellow paint lost! I single carried the P200m across the road. Rattled off the P585m, P20m, and P200m reasonably quickly, since I knew where I was going. While still not easy portages, they are not terribly bad. I made my way down to the nasty P50m around the massive rock pile. I decided to forget the portage, and just go straight over the rocks and logs. It turns out this is much easier said than done! I left some more yellow paint, and got more balancing workout in, but I think overall it may still have been slightly faster than doing the portage. I got a bit confused looking for the start of the P260m into the marsh---I didnít remember coming up over a rocky ledge yesterday, so was looking for a trail starting upstream of said ledge. I couldnít find one, so paddled over the ledge to see some packs and gear sitting at the end of the trail! Ten seconds later, a man with a canoe appeared, followed by a woman carrying a pack. I sat quietly until he set the boat down, then they noticed me. We had a good chat. It turns out they were from Barrie! (I later find out it was Alex and Erin Rau, and Iíve linked to their photos from the trip below) I "warned" them about the portages to come. They were headed into Owl Lake, so would miss some of the fun! I think they were as surprised to see me as I was to see them, although they mentioned seeing some signs that someone had been through recently (my flattened tent pad on Logslide Lake, etc.) I wished them luck and started the portage. At the end, I had my lunch (bagel, salami, cheese) and relaxed for a bit. It was ~14:30hrs by this point, and I had originally planned on camping here. However, I decided I needed to move on!
I paddled through the marsh again, partially through fairly heavy rain. I saw lots of herons, and realized just how cool of a bird they actually are---very Ďprehistoric-likeí when they take off and go swooping overhead. I reached the portage (565m) and went across with the pack first. Somehow I managed to get a bit mixed up going around the deadfall section (weird, because I didnít have any trouble yesterday, but couldnít find the proper trail any of the three times I walked it today! Weird!) I made my way into Spencers Lake, then carried the P120m into Logslide again. I set up camp, and since it was sunny, hung some socks and clothes up to dry. Supper of curry and rice (fantastic!), cleaned up, and hit the tent to escape the bugs. Wrote in the journal a bit, then went to bed.Monday, July 1, 2007 (Day 4):
I slept in today after a fairly good nightís sleep. Woke up to overcast, dreary weather again. Took my time with breakfast (oatmeal) and packing up. The sun eventually came out, and it started to get warm. I got underway at ~10:30hrs, after taking a bunch of pictures. The dragonflies were everywhere, so I got a few good shots! Portaged down into the creek again, and floated back down to the car, taking my time and lots of pictures along the way. Packed up the car, cleaned up, got changed, and hit the road. I decided to leave a note on Alex and Erinís car so that they could get in touch with me, hence how I learned of their photo site! I stopped at "Mr. Hotdog" for a dog and some fries just before Petawawa, and beat a large group of troops who showed up while I was eating. I was home to Perth by ~15:30hrs, unloaded and got things spread out to dry.
Overall, this was one of the more challenging trips Iíve ever done! Some tough portages and tough bug conditions to deal with! Certainly not an "easy" trip, but that was the whole point! This one will be memorable for a long time---at least until I get back here again with a saw to brush out those portages!!
|This page was last updated on September 14, 2007 at 01:19 AM|