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October 20, 2006
Drove to put-in at South end of Nine Mile Lake (UTM 17, NAD83, 575577E, 5031797N)
North on Nine Mile Lake
P1200 m to Wolf Lake
N, then SW on Wolf Lake
P70 m to Upper Marsh Lake
Camp on point north of outlet to Marsh Lake (UTM 568791E, 5038963N)

Today's portage distance = 1270 m
Total portage distance = 1270 m
Today's paddle distance = 13.3 Km
Total paddle distance = 13.3 Km

October 21, 2006
S into and through Marsh Lake
P20 m around rapids
S on Blair Creek
LO beaver dam
S on Blair Creek
Lunch on Point in Cranberry Lake (UTM 570286E, 5033802N)
N on Blair Creek
LO beaver dam
N on Blair Creek
P20 m around rapids
N through Marsh Lake and into Upper Marsh Lake

Today's portage distance = 40 m
Total portage distance = 1310 m
Today's paddle distance = 11.5 km
Total paddle distance = 24.8 Km

October 22, 2006
Hike to Round Lake
NE through Upper Marsh Lake
P70 m into Wolf Lake
NE then S through Wolf Lake
P1200 m to Nine Mile Lake
S through Nine Mile Lake to take-out

Today's portage distance = 1270 m
Total portage distance = 2580 m
Today's paddle distance = 13.3 km
Total paddle distance = 38.1 Km

Maps & Info:
  • Darren Cope


Thursday, October 19, 2006 (Day 0)

Worked a normal day ('til 4:30), rode home and then went to the grocery store for trip food, came home, finished packing and ate some dinner (store-bought sushi-not nearly as good as Izumi's!). I then drove to the office to get the canoe. I unlocked the compound and canoe, and tied it on the car. I drove home and watched game 7 of the NLCS. The Cardinals beat the Mets in the 9th inning, and will face the Tigers in the World Series. Went to bed at approximately 11:30pm.

Friday, October 20, 2006 (Day 1)

Up to the alarm clock at 7amn. Had a bowl of cereal, then loaded the car and set off. I was out the door at approximately 7:45am, after saying "bye" to Keli and Kona. The drive was uneventful, aside from some construction south of Parry Sound. I got to the put-in and unloaded, and was on the water by about 10am. There is a "McDougall Township" park at the put-in, with plenty of parking. Georgian Nordic Ski Club also has their base on Nine Mile Lake Road, just off 124.

I paddled North on Nine Mile Lake, checking out some of the streams running into the lake along the way. The water level is very high, as shown by the docks under water, and no visible "high water" mark on the rocks. Even here at my campsite, the fire pit is half under water! I got to the most southerly island of Nine Mile Lake at approximately 11:30am, and had lunch (bagel, pepperettes, cheese, apple). The campsite on the island was a bit of a mess, with miscellaneous garbage including a charcoal grill, and Rubbermaid tub sitting around the kitchen area, and a big tattered blue tarp around the shitter.

Another kilometer or so brought me to the portage. It's in the western bay on the north shore and is signed with two snowmobile club signs. I carried the big pack and a paddle over first. The trail is fairly easy to follow, except when the beaver pond is reached (just past the half way point). Here, the snowmobile trail clearly goes across the pond (when it's frozen of course) and the "foot" trail goes through the bush just barely skirting the pond, and in some cases climbs up along a small cliff on the east side of the beaver pond. The "foot" trail never gets far from the main snowmobile trail, and joins back up in places. Soon, Wolf Lake appears, and the trail ends. I walked back, then returned with the day pack and canoe. I would say that the trail felt like less than 1200m, but it can't be, according to the map! Wolf is a nice looking lake (aside from the hydro lines of course). I paddled up to the center of the lake, then took the western arm, on the south side of the big island. I saw no obvious campsites, so decided to push on to Upper Marsh Lake. The portage is at the extreme south west end, and is very short (<100 m) and easy. Unfortunately, some idiots left a fire pit full of garbage (including a big inflatable air mattress) at the end of the portage. In Upper Marsh Lake, I paddled south west, watching for (and stopping to check out) potential campsites along the way. I found no "real" campsites, and very few fire pits even! By the end of the lake, I found a decent spot. It's on a point just North of the narrows leading to Marsh Lake. I set up camp, then started dinner (Lipton Sidekick with tuna). After eating and cleaning up, I hung the food pack and organized gear in the tent. Now, I'm sitting writing and relaxing by the water. Unfortunately, I managed to camp next to (likely) the only other people on the lake. Just north of me, there are at least two guys on ATVs. There's either a cabin, or a fairly permanent campsite, as there's also a boat pulled up on shore just across the bay. I will have to check that out later.

I'm getting a bit chilly sitting here. It's probably about 4oC, and overcast. It has been overcast and grey all day, but the temperature was not too bad (~10oC?) when I was moving. It was dead calm all day until I got to Wolf Lake and even now there is only the slightest bit of breeze. All for now.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 (Day 2)

I slept not too badly last night. However, since I went to bed so early (~7pm?) I was up and wide awake in the middle of the night (probably at about 3am, after my usual 8 hrs of sleep). I managed to get back to sleep after an hour or so. I was up again at 7:15, and got dressed. I got the food pack down, and boiled some water for oatmeal. After cleaning up, I re-hung the food, and packed for my day's excursion to Cranberry Lake. I set off at ~8am, south into Marsh Lake. Once I got out from shore a bit, I saw my "neighbours" cabin. It's on the next bay to the west of my camp. There was no activity there this morning. The narrows open up to Marsh Lake in fairly short order. Here, there's another cabin (with road access I find out later) in the big NW bay. I continued down to Blair Creek. Here there's a good-sized beaver dam/rapids that I portaged on river left (<50m). The creek then opens up into open water with standing dead timber. This continues for ~600m before another beaver dam is reached. I dragged over this one, and into a low-grass swamp. Somewhere in this section is a hunt camp on river right. There's a clear, deep (~ 2m) channel through the swamp, so I made good time with the current. The channel winds it's way into Cranberry Lake, which opens up before you.

The west shore of Cranberry has many Tamarack, which give some colour to the woods. I paddled up to the point to check out a boat pulled up there. As I was doing so, I saw a deer up on the rocks. She hesitated, then took off back into the bush. I paddled to the south side of the point, and pulled ashore for lunch. At this point, it was ~10:30am. I had lunch of bagel, salami, cheese and apple. Unfortunately, this nice spot is also littered with cigarette butts (and an empty pack) and a Jiffy Pop tub hanging from a branch. An ATV/Snowmobile trail runs over the point, and probably crosses the lake to join on to a trail there. I paddled over to the creek outlet (to Spectacle Lake). There is a green boat pulled up on shore, and a well used trail (with recent cut trees and fresh sawdust) on the east side of the creek. I followed the trail for ~10 minutes, and it kept going. Here, the creek is more like a river, quite wide and running fast over several sets of rapids. Very nice!

I hopped back in the canoe, and paddled the entire east shore of Cranberry Lake slowly as I went north. I then went upstream, lifting over, then portaging, at the same places, and was soon back in Marsh Lake. Here, I found a boat with two fishermen. They said they were moose hunting, and had bagged two bulls. They were staying at the cabin on Marsh Lake, and when I paddled past I saw a truck there. At this point, the light rain that had been falling all day picked up, and I put my rain pants on before continuing my paddle north to Upper Marsh. In Upper Marsh, I stopped to pump some water, then paddled back to camp, arriving at ~2:15pm. The rain had pretty much stopped already! As I was unloading, the fisherman boated up and tried their luck just west of my campsite. Apparently they had no luck, as they left shortly after. Now I'm sitting on the rocks writing and enjoying the sun (yes, it did come out!). It's actually quite warm, although when a cloud covers the sun it gets chilly quickly! Now I think I'll rebuild the fire pit (out of the lake!) and gather some wood before I cook supper.


I rebuilt the fire pit further up from the water, then went to gather wood. As I walked back behind the site, I flushed six grouse right behind the tentsite. I then noticed that there is a small cabin on the other side of "my" bay where the boat is pulled up as well as the big cabin on the next bay. I gathered and broke up some wood to be prepared for dark. Now I think I'll look at the map for a bit, then maybe nap in the sun until it's closer to dinner time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006 (Day 3)

Last night I sat around the fire for an hour or so after dark, then went to bed. I slept well again, waking up once during the night to the sound of rain. I was up at ~7:30 to a steady rain falling on the tent. I packed everything I would need for my day trip, hoping I wouldn't have to enter the tent again (to try to keep it as dry as possible inside). I had breakfast of oatmeal, then re-hung the food. My goal for the day was to get into Round Lake and up to Fox and maybe Bear Lakes. I figured the best way in would likely be via the creek, but decided to first check out the camp beside me and see if there was a trail there (It'd be the likely "shortest path" trail.) I paddled over and tied up to the little dock. The camp consists of a trailer (that hasn't moved recently!) a couple of small buildings, two boats and an ATV trailer (for moose?) I followed the ATV trail for a while, and soon came to a snowmobile "highway" (similar to the one near Jean Lake in the Frost Centre.) Again, a huge wide trail with lots of destruction-why?!? I followed the trail east, then took the first trail to the north. After wading through some mudholes (one up to mid-thigh, most knee deep,) Round Lake was visible to the north. However, the trail kept heading east, so I kept following it. Eventually, the trail crosses the stream, and I stopped here. There was a lot of water in the stream for as far as I could see. I decided to head back, and paddle up the creek to reach Round. I retraced my path to the snowmobile highway, but ended up taking the wrong trail from there (both started several meters apart) back to the camp. I ended up on the point to the east of my camp. I hiked back to the proper trail, and then back to the canoe. I paddled back to my site to regroup. At this point, the wind was fairly strong, and it was raining steadily. I made the decision to strike camp, and head to the island site on Nine Mile Lake (Friday's lunch site). My thought was that if the wind stayed strong, I wouldn't have as long of a slog out on Monday if I made it part-way out today.

I struck camp, and headed off at ~11am. I paddled east on Upper Marsh, then did the short, quick portage to Wolf. After Wolf, I set my sites on the P1200 m into Nine Mile-the start of which is nestled in a group of birch trees. I had lunch (bagel, salami, cheese) then ate my apple as I carried the red pack across. As I walked, I told myself that if I got to the island site by 2pm, that I would just continue on to the take-out and home (not relishing the thought of setting up the wet tent!) However, I had no expectations that I would be there by 2. I returned for the canoe, and completed the portage. At the end, I checked the time, and was surprised to find it was only 1:15! So, I decided to push for the take-out. I think the wind must have died down by this point (or the orientation of Nine Mile made for less wind) and it was fairly calm despite still raining steadily. I got into a bit of a "zone" and paddled my way down Nine Mile, sticking to the west shore until I was passed the islands, then crossing to and following the east shore the rest of the way.

I arrived at the take-out (also located in a grove of birch trees) at 3:15pm, surprising myself again. I loaded everything in/on the car, then changed out of my wet clothes. I'm not sure how I got so completely soaked, as I was wearing my full rainsuit all day… I was quite cold by this point, so it was not the greatest situation (or wouldn't have been had I not been at the take-out). Of course, I did have several dry layers in my pack, so I would have been ok. I should mention that my hands (usually my weak point in the cold) were in pretty good shape-this was the first real test of my SealSkinz gloves, and they worked better than anything else I've tried at keeping my hands relatively warm in soaking wet conditions.

I drove into Parry Sound for some gas and a burger at Harvey's. Then I hit the highway, set the cruise, and was back in Barrie before dark.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, a good learning experience and a neat area that requires further exploration (next spring?) Maybe next time I'll go in from the North side, and make the connection down to Upper Marsh that way. Of course Monday's weather turned out to be dry (but cold!) so I'm sort of kicking myself for wimping out and wasting a good day of paddling! Oh well!

  This page was last updated on November 8, 2006 at 02:32 AM