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This trip was the second edition of our "annual" Thanksgiving trip. Hopefully this is a long-lasting tradition. This year, Mike was unable to join us, as he had a lot of work to do, so it was just Matt and I.

October 12, 2002
Drove to Government boat launch on Anstruther Lake
N through Anstruther Lake
P 162 to Rathbun Lake
NE through Rathbun Lake
P 180 to Anstruther Creek
E on Anstruther Creek
P 837 to Copper Lake
NE then NW through Copper Lake
P 30 m and P 160 m to Serpentine Lake
Camp on Serpentine Lake UTM 722950E,4964380N (Based on NAD83, Zone 17N)

Todays portage distance = 1369 m
Total portage distance = 1369 m
Todays paddle distance = 10.9 Km
Total paddle distance = 10.9 Km

October 13, 2002
W through Serpentine Lake
P 1584 to North Rathbun Lake
Camp on North Rathbun Lake (UTM 720520E,4963840N)

Todays portage distance = 1584 m
Total portage distance = 2953 m
Todays paddle distance = 2.2 Km
Total paddle distance = 13.1 Km

October 14, 2002
S through North Rathbun Lake
P 135 to Rathbun Lake
S through Rathbun Lake
P 162 to Anstruther Lake
S through Anstruther Lake to take-out

Todays portage distance = 297 m
Total portage distance = 3250 m
Todays paddle distance = 7.8 Km
Total paddle distance = 20.9 Km

Maps & Info:

Here's the journal that Matt wrote on our trip:

October 12, 2002

Woke up at 3:30 AM to be on the road for 3:35 AM.
401 to Mississauga Tim Horton's.
401 through TO, to hwy 115 cutoff (Peterborough).
Hwy 115 to Peterborough.
In Peterborough (6:30 AM) stopped at Stop-A-While restaurant for breakfast.
Back onto hwy 28 to Lakefield for gas.
Hwy 28 to Anstruther Road.
Anstruther Road to Government launch.
Total of 5 hours driving from Woodstock to Government Launch including all stops.

Counter-clockwise route.
At Government Launch there was what appeared to be one more group of people just getting ready to head out into the same loop as us.
N on Anstruther to Rathbun Dam
(Waterfall in middle of portage on right hand side)
"Wilderness marina" at Rathbun Lake end consisting of many aluminum boats, canoes and a barge.
N then E on Rathbun Lake to Anstruther Cr.
P 180m to Anstruther Cr. (Waterfall on Left of portage)
W on Anstruther Cr. To
P 300-350m to Copper Lake end of portage and ate lunch
bear?? Print at Creek end of portage. The print had 3 toes and one "thumb" like toe, about same size as a large dog print (3" diam)
When eating Lunch we could see the opening to Copper Lake.
NNE on Copper Lake, (This took forever to get through the swamp, very shallow)
There were some Mexican fishers on Copper Lake
L/O 30m to creek
NNW on creek (Creek wound through a floating muskeg type of shrubbery on water)
P160m Around "Gorge" into Serpentine Lake.
When we reached Serpentine there was no sign of anyone but ourselves on the lake. No sign of the other group whom we saw at the Launch. (They were, we assume, going clockwise on the route) Scouted the lake and found that the island site was in pathetic shape and that it was not really a practical site for our needs in the type of weather we had. However the marked land site in the Kevin Callan book was quite good.
When we got to the land site we set up the tent and the tarp shelter from the rain.
Put the freeze-dried food in some water to soak.
Paddled out to filter water.
Cooked supper of Cooked Ham, and freeze dried beans, corn, carrots, and mashed potatoes. (Freeze dried foods are light and also filling, just as good as a home-made dinner)
Started a fire to burn straining pine needles.
Washed dishes and cleaned up garbage on site.
Explored a "Rock face" on opposing side of lake, where we found some scat and assumed that it was again bear related.
Cached food and played cards in the tent.
To sleep around 8:30 - 9:00 PM.

Weather: Misty all day (Not quite rain but close), breezy at times but the air was warm except for the wind. Cloudy all day with no sun and even though it wasn't raining it did seem to "rain from the trees" from the amount of mist.

There were 3 other groups on Serpentine Lake that night, with one Solo???

October 13, 2002

Woke up late to crappy weather. Mist and rain continued all night long and so did the wind. Woke up to rain, but continued on with our days activities just the same.
Breakfast of instant Quaker oatmeal, apples, and cookies.
On water and packed up at approximately 10:00AM.
WNW on Serpentine Lake to
P1584 to North Rathbun Lake.
Decided while eating lunch to stay on a site on North Rathbun Lake right across from the end of the portage.
Lunch consisted of Bagels, Ham, Cheese, Onion, Stoners, Salami, GORP, and Water.
Setup tent with ropes instead of pegs, rocky site.
Paddled around the lake in search of the "Tram Remains", filtered water, and explored a hunt cabin (Abandoned??)
  • 2 - 4 cylinder, inline Chevy (Tram??) engines in bush.
  • Logging wagon (Used with trams??)
  • Set of clutch?? Pedals (from tram??)
  • Fuel tank or exhaust (Tram??)
  • 2 tires and one rim.
  • And a steel frame (Not sure what it was from)
Came back to camp and set up tarp shelter against wind.
Cooked supper of freeze dried beef, chicken, mashed potatoes, Beans, carrots, corn, onion, cheese, stoners, salami, cookies, GORP, and water.
Set up different tarp shelter to relax under (Not sure if it would rain)
Cleaned up a bit, cached food and then headed to the tent.

Weather: Warm without the wind but chilly with it. Rain in the morning, but clear and somewhat sunny in the afternoon. Cloudy patches but it was nice to see the blue sky and sun.

****NOTE: The P1584 is much easier to tackle Counter Clockwise when wet. Easier to climb wet rocks, and roots then to descend over them. It would (As matter of opinion) be easier anytime to go CCW (Counter Clockwise).

October 14, 2002

Woke up to the nicest day yet. Sunny, with fog rolling on the water, slight breeze - kind of chilly.
Breakfast of Oatmeal, cleaned up camp, packed. On water for around 8.
South on North Rathbun Lake to portage
P135 to Rathbun Lake
South on Rathbun Lake returning to "Marina" of boats, one dock was changed and the one that was there was cut loose to float
P162 to Anstruther Lake
South through Anstruther Lake returning to the government launch.
Took the first load of stuff up to the car, unlocked it to find that the interior lights weren't on. Thought the battery was dead so I decided to start it. It just started, so I let it run while we packed the car. When we got in it was nice and warm. We were on the road for around 10:00 AM, that was back on the main highway.
Highway #28 back to Peterborough to Arby's for lunch. (11:15 AM)
Peterborough was our only stop all the way back to Woodstock.
From Peterborough we took highway 7 down past Lindsay and then connected with the 407.
407 back to the 401.
Off the 401 in Woodstock at about 3:00 PM
Traffic was steady, not really slow considering the holiday Monday.
Took Darren home, 3:35 PM I left his house and I was home for about 4:00PM.
We both returned home for a homemade Turkey Dinner.

Overall this is a good trip, lots to explore. Many traces of bears, suggest especially around Thanksgiving, (but you should all year) bear bagging is a MUST!

Suggest that you take 3 days to explore everything, and enjoy the scenery, but the trip could be done in 2 days with no problem. Camping on Serpentine, it is a nice lake and I recommend either this lake or North Rathbun Lake, the others are too over-populated.

Another successful, good trip.

Matt Fallowfield, Darren
  This page was last updated on June 17, 2003 at 02:16 AM