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PostPosted: June 6th, 2015, 11:48 pm 
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Joined: August 25th, 2014, 9:49 am
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I'd been itching to do the complete circuit of the Sayward Lakes chain (https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dcr/Index_fil ... ochure.pdf) since I got my canoe late last summer. It is right in my backyard, after all, the most common starting point being under 40 kms. away, and I have been to several sections on day trips. With the absence of a snowpack and no rain for the last month, I decided I'd best get on with it before the creek sections I heard are prone to drying up in the dry season totally evaporate in the current drought.

I borrowed a C-Tug portage cart for the trip and knew I would need to reinforce the attachment system. It was well worth it's weight in the end, though of limited use, depending on the portage. It was easy to carry when it wasn't up to the trail though.

The Morton Lake Parking lot was empty at 10 am Saturday when I set off. There was a light breeze and clear skies as I made easy time down Mohun and Goose Lakes to the first portage. Not a soul in sight.

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The portage is a fairly easy one, though it is 1.6 kms. long and I did have to fuss with my untried cart to get the system sorted and to figure out the limitations. The trail ends at a small pond and after a quick paddle there is another portage.

This one is often just a very short up and over the rock to another pond, but today with the super low water, I had to take the portage path along the undulating exposed bedrock to the low water put in. I couldn't use the cart on this track so did the old school carry the gear and back for the canoe. Thing is, at the end of the low water portage trail was a mud pit. Daunted, I stared for a minute until I noticed someone had hauled a canoe or kayak across the mud to the open water about 30 m away.

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Getting across the mud was an adventure. I ended up in cake-batter like mud up to my waist before I clambered back in the canoe, spreading gooey mud everywhere. I got stuck at one point, but managed to probe a submerged log and push further, finally making open water behind a beaver dam. Covered in mud, I found my way through the little maze into Twin Lake.

I had hoped to get cleaned up at the boat launch at the end of Twin Lake, but it was occupied by a family who had pitched a tent at the water right in the middle of the launch. I wanted solitude anyway, and I'm sure they could do without me muddying up the water, so I pressed on to Amor Lake over the 0.9 km portage. This one has a couple of very steep sections and was challenging with the little cart.

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When I reached Amor I again hoped to wash the mud off my boat and bags, but when I stepped into knee deep looking water just off the portage landing, I sank up to my chest through the silt. I bounced back up and was onshore in a flash, tossing my mud-coated kit into my mud-filled canoe and was away down Amor Lake with Victoria Peak and Warden guiding me.

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I got to the little island just around the corner at about 3 pm. There is a nice little bay on the leeward side that I used to finally get the mud washed off my gear and scrub my canoe, inside and out. I had a swim too, and hung my wet stuff to dry in the sun and light breeze. I decided to bivy here for the night. The island was nice for the little bay and the breeze and I had no bug trouble at all.

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I was up and away by 7:30 the following morning. There was a slight breeze, and the day was clearly going to be fine. I made the little portage to Surprise Lake and the empty Mr. Canoehead campground. Surprise Lake is lovely and I shared it's waters with a pair of loons and their two little ones.

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After Surprise Lake came the longest, though one of the easiest portages. Other than a switchback hill for the first 50 m or so, most of the trail is easy, some even follows the road. I got my boat wet again at the north end of Brewster Lake in a marshy section of narrow passage - water is dropping fast there and it looks like it will be impassable as the drought deepens.

Brewster Lake is lovely and I enjoyed the views sliding along the western shore. At the end of the lake the road bridges the narrows and there are old trestle ruins which have cause a log jam. I had to get out of the canoe onto the floating logs to get past, but all went well and I was at the start of the first of three little portages along the creek leading to Fry Lake.

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After the first one I lined the canoe down the creek past the next two portages. The water was way to low to stay in the boat, but it was fine for lining. On to Fry Lake.

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I faced a stiff headwind up Fry lake but did a bee-line down the middle anyway. The wind had calmed by the time I got to Lower Campbell, the big lake of the circuit. I made my way along the rocky shore, enjoying the views and relaxing. I had planned to bivy along here, but it was still early and there were too many motorboats whizzing about, so I made for the portage and headed back to Mohun.

The trail to Gosling lake is fine and the little lake beautiful. The following portage to Higgins Lake is easy too, but the one between Higgins and Lawler is a little tricky with lots of ups and downs. No cart on that one. I was back at Mohun and cruising the west shore looking for a bivy spot before 5.

Found a ncie sandy beach to camp on and had a pleasant night under the canoe. Next morning I took a slow run up the shoreline to Morton Lake and my waiting vehicle.

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Had a great trip and I look forward to doing it again at higher water.


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