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  POKER LAKE ROUTE

This is a short trip that I did with 2 friends on the Thanksgiving long weekend. Scroll down to read my journal of this trip.

Cinder Lake
Cinder Lake


Oct.6, 2001
P 175 m from Parking Area (UTM 662900,4989100 [Based on NAD 27, Zone 17N]) to Big East Lake
Paddle to S end of Shelter Island and set up camp
Camp on site UTM 661400,4986800

Todays portage distance = 175 m
Total portage distance = 175 m
Todays paddle distance = 3.6 Km
Total paddle distance = 3.6 Km


Oct.7
N through Big East Lake
P 275 m to W. Bentshoe Lake
N through W. Bentshoe Lake
P 320 m to Poker Lake
NE through Poker Lake
P 50 m to Ooze Lake
P 70 m to Quirt Lake
P 70 m to Cinder Lake
Camp on site UTM 663200,4991700

Todays portage distance = 785 m
Total portage distance = 960 m
Todays paddle distance = 8.4 Km
Total paddle distance = 12.0 Km


Oct.8
S through Cinder Lake
P 170 m to Muck Lake
P 170 m to Poker Lake
P 280 to Upper Crane Lake
S through Upper Crane to Lower Crane
W to portage
P 300 m to E. Bentshoe Lake
W to W. Bentshoe Lake
S through W. Bentshoe Lake to portage
P 100 m to parking area

Todays portage distance = 1020 m
Total portage distance = 1980 m
Todays paddle distance = 4.6 Km
Total paddle distance = 16.6 Km


Maps & Info:
Journal:

I wrote this journal from memory after the trip, so I may have missed some details, or put some events in the wrong order. Oh well.. here it is anyway!

October 6, 2001
           I got up this morning at 6:45. Our plan was to get on the road by 8:30, since Matt had to go to Canadian Tire to pick up an adapter for the trailer lights so that they would work with Mike's van. Mike showed up at my house at 7:45, and we loaded all of my gear into his van, and tied my canoe on the roof of the van. Just after 8, Matt called from Canadian Tire to tell us that they didn't have the right adapter, so we took off to Mike's to re-wire the van. It took us about 15 or 20 minutes to splice on the right plug to match the trailer, and we were then off to pick up Matt. We got to Matt's, and put his gear in the back of the van with the rest of it. We then took my canoe off the roof of the van, and put it on the trailer with Matts canoe, and hooked up the trailer. We were on the road by around 9:45. We had a short stop for some coffee and donuts on the way up, and then had to make a quick stop at Mike's place in Lindsay so that he could pick up his jacket. From there, it was just over an hour drive to our put in! We parked in the big lot on the South side of Highway 118, which is approx 20 km from Carnarvon on hwy 35. At the parking lot, we unloaded all the gear from the back of the van, and packed it all into our packs.
            The weather was really damp, and quite chilly at this point. It was raining on and off all the way up in the van, and continued to do so all day. After the quick 175 m portage from the parking lot to Big East Lake, we were finally on the water! I started off in the solo boat, with Matt in the stern of his canoe and Mike in the bow. We paddled for just a short while, and it started to rain enough that I decided to put my rainsuit on. I took off my hat, and threw it in the bottom of the canoe. After I put my rainsuit on, I picked up my hat and flipped it up by the strap. Of course, I'd forgotten that my sunglasses were on my hat, so I watched them arc through the air and drop into the water. I watched them sink for a bit, and they were gone! Damn! Only on the water for 5 minutes and I'd already lost my sunglasses. Oh well...shit happens. Paddling into a fairly hard rain, the bottom of the canoe started to collect water. Since I was paddling solo, I was kneeled in the center with the canoe heeled to one side a bit, so of course all the water collected under my knees! Good thing I had my rain pants on! Since this was the first time I'd ever paddled solo on a trip with gear, I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep up with Matt and Mike. I didn't do too badly, but they were taking their time. As we passed the campsite on the west side of the large Island ("Shelter Island") we saw a large group of campers with tarps set up. They yelled hello as we paddled past, and I joked that the rain was ok, because at least it wasn't snow (yet!) At the very south end of Shelter Island, we found a very decent (although well used) campsite. It had a table and at least 3 thunderboxes. One of the boxes was visible from the water, and obviously way closer than the minimum 50 m from the lake that all boxes should be! By this time the rain had let up a bit, so we were able to set up the tarp and tent without them getting totally soaked. We hung some stuff up to dry and then went looking for firewood. We found a reasonable amount of wood, and soon had a nice fire going. After an excellent dinner of hamburgers, we went to sit on the rocks by the water. Matt tried some fishing, but soon gave up after his line got hopelessly tangled. Shortly after this, it started to rain heavily again. We quickly cleaned up and headed to the tent for the night. We lit the candle lantern, and played 3 handed Euchre for a couple of hours. What a great game (haha)! Then, it was off to bed. That night was quite chilly!

October 7, 2001
           Matt was the first one up on Sunday morning, and he soon had the stove going with water for oatmeal. He told us that it was snowing so badly he couldn't see the other side of the lake! Mike and I dragged ourselves out of our nice warm sleeping bags, but by the time we were dressed the snow had let up a bit.

A snowy morning!
The 'snowstorm' that we woke up to!

We had a great breakfast of Quaker "Cinnamon Bun" oatmeal. Mmmmm. Matt showed us a trick that he'd learned on one of his earlier trips - make the oatmeal in a ziploc bag, then just bite off the corner of the bag and suck it out! Saves dishes in the morning! We also learned that the bag of hot oatmeal makes a great hand warmer! After our breakfast, we starting breaking camp. I shook the tarp a bit, and a whole lot of ice came falling off onto the ground! The tarp was coated! After taking down the tarp and tent (also had some ice on it), we packed up the packs and were ready to go again. We headed North back towards the parking area. The snow was coming down, but only lightly now. The lake was amazing, since it was calm and smooth, and we could see the mist rising off the water, since it was warmer than the air. The perfect fall colours didn't hurt the picture either! Again, I paddled solo and Matt and Mike were in Matts canoe. At the parking lot, we decided to hop into the van and warm up. Mike turned the heater on, and we put our wet stuff out to dry while we had lunch of bagels, ham, cheese and onion. As we were sitting around, a couple arrived and told us that they had just driven through Barrie, and that there was an inch and a half of snow on the ground there! They were just going fishing for the day, and I think they thought we were crazy for camping in this weather! Soon after we finished lunch, we were ready to go again. We left some gear in the van, (didn't need all of it!) and crossed the road to the portage into West Bentshoe Lake. From the parking lot, it's a 100 m portage into Bentshoe, and it's quite an easy stroll. Matt took over the solo boat here, and I paddled with Mike. We paddled N through Bentshoe, and met one other canoe on the way. The P 320 m into Poker Lake was not too hard, and we single carried it easily. I took the big pack and my canoe, Matt took a daypack and his canoe, and Mike had everything else (one big pack, one day pack, paddles and the food bucket.) Poker lake is a nice looking lake (like all the others on this route.) We went NE through Poker to the 50 m portage into Ooze lake. Again, an easy portage. Ooze lake would likely be very mucky and gross in low water, but thanks to all the recent rain we didn't have too much of a problem. Another easy 70 m portage led us to Quirt Lake. From there, we went NW to the portage into Cinder Lake. Once again (notice a theme?) it was an easy portage. Cinder lake has a hunt camp which is visible directly across from the portage trail. However, at this time of year it didn't look used. We paddled to the small island (Table Island) which is NE of the portage. This island has a nice site on it, but it's quite small, and there is no box. We decided we wanted something more sheltered, so we continued on to the site on the S tip of Cinder Island. This site is huge! It had a big table made from a tripod of logs (actually I guess it wasn't a tripod...what do you call a tripod with four legs? a quadpod?) So it had a table made from a quadpod of logs... There were plenty of places to set up the tent, so we found the most convenient place to set up the tarp, and then put the tent under it. We strung up some clotheslines to dry out stuff, and set the tent up to air for a bit. The whole time we were paddling and setting up camp, the snow had been coming down lightly and melting as soon as it hit the ground. We soon had camp pretty well made, so we went across the lake to get some firewood (there was no firewood on the site). We paddled out into the middle of the lake to filter some water, and then across to the shore to get wood. We found plenty of nice dry wood. While we were looking for wood, I noticed one of the canoes drifting away. I quickly yelled "Shit!" and jumped into the other canoe. Luckily, it didn't get far at all, and I grabbed it. Then I tied the canoes together with my throwbag (all the painters were holding up the tarp!!) and paddled back to load up with wood. We filled the one canoe with wood, and the three of us got in the other to paddle back. We towed it along behind us, then unloaded the wood by the firepit. Soon we had a rip-roaring fire going and water on for pasta! We cooked up the pasta, and had a great meal of Fettucini Alfredo.. mmmm.... We managed to polish off an entire 2 lb package of pasta. For once I was the smallest eater on a trip (I usually eat more than most people!) After cleaning up and putting out the fire, we headed back to the tent for a Euchre re-match. Again, we were to bed early, and were considerably warmer tonight than last night. Mike set his alarm for 6:45 so we could be on the water early.

Canoes on Cinder Lake Campsite
Canoes at our campsite on Cinder Lake


October 8, 2001
           Mike's alarm went off, and we slowly rolled out of bed. Matt got up again and started the stove, while Mike and I packed up our sleeping bags and clothes. We then got out for some more excellent oatmeal in a bag Mmmmmmm... There was mist over the water again, and it was perfectly calm. We packed up the tent and tarp and all the rest of the gear. Mike picked up the paddles and they were coated in snow and ice, so we laid them all out side by side for a photo.

Frosty Paddles!
A shot of what the paddles looked like in the morning

We were on the water in excellent time. Today I was in the solo boat again, with Matt and Mike paddling tandem. We paddled across the bay to the portage trail, and took some more pictures on the way. The portage is a 170 m into Muck Lake. Again, it's an easy trail. Muck Lake isn't too much to look at, and isn't very big. It appears to be beaver heaven though, as there dams and lodges and chewed sticks all over the place. There appeared to be a campsite on Muck that's not marked on any of my maps. We didn't look at it too closely, but it doesn't seem like a lake I'd want to swim in or drink water from. From Muck Lake, we portaged 170 m back into Poker Lake for a short while. After paddling for literally a minute in Poker Lake, it was time for another portage. This time it was a 280 m into Upper Crane Lake. No problem again. At the end of the portage, there was a motor boat :( We decided that they must have brought it in on an ATV, since there was an ATV trail crossing the portage from Poker to Upper Crane. We figured that they certainly didn't portage in a boat and motor! Too bad it was there, because it ruined the mood a bit. Besides the boat, Upper Crane and Lower Crane are very pretty lakes. As we reached the narrows between the two lakes, we came across ice! There was a very thin layer of new ice on top of the water! We guessed that it must have been the first ice of the year. Of course it posed no problem to paddle through, as it was very thin. The portage from Lower Crane to Bentshoe Lake is a 300 m trail. Matt went across ahead of Mike and I, carrying his canoe. I was carring my canoe, and Mike had the big pack and other stuff too. I made a wrong turn onto an ATV trail and Mike followed me. Eventually we came across the swamp that we were trying to get around, so I put the canoe down, and we yelled for Matt. He replied from quite far away. We headed back along the trail until we saw him. Turns out I had missed the actual portage trail where it crossed a smooth rock area, and followed an ATV trail instead. The actual trail is much more well worn, so if in doubt, turn around! (Which is what I should have done, as I was doubting the trail at times.) Turns out that the area we got mixed up at was very close to the end of the trial, so we walked a lot further than we had to! Eventually we were back on the water though, and almost done. We headed back to the portage that leads to the road and parking lot. At the portage, we said goodbye to the Poker Lake route, and loaded up one last time to portage back to the van. After crossing the road, we loaded the canoes onto the trailer, and loaded the packs into the trailer as well since they were wet. In no time, we were on the road back to Linsday. We stopped in Lindsay for a quick bite to eat at Wendys. One 6 piece chicken nugget meal and 2 junior burgers later I was full. Of course Matt and Mike both out-ate me easily. We made reasonably good time on the way home, and were in Woodstock right on schedule. We went to Matts to drop off his canoe and tied my canoe onto the roof of Mikes van. Then we dropped off the trailer at its home. We went back to Matts to drop him off, and soon Mike and I were on our way back to Sweaburg. Mike dropped me off at my place will all my gear and my canoe.

Matt and Mike
Matt (stern) and Mike (bow)


           In the end, this turned out to be a fantastic trip. The snow, rain, ice didn't cause too many problems (we were well prepared for cold!) and the fall colours and lack of other people made the trip amazing! Overall, one of my better trips! (yes I know I say that every time!) It was a good solo paddling experience, and now I'll have to think about doing an actual solo trip!

 
  This page was last updated on December 18, 2007 at 12:50 AM  
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