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PostPosted: February 18th, 2008, 12:37 pm 
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Location: Cambridge Ontario
It's that time of year for planning and about time I revisit the boreal. :P

There's not much posted about Raphael so that's got my interest piqued. I'm wondering about the must see areas/lakes, any rivers that would decide my direction of travel, and the lodge on 599 at Pashkokogan Lake (the name/operating/shuttles availibility)? Also if this is an operating park with fees?

So far I'm just working with a Backroad Mapbook and will get topos later. I've got about a two week time frame. It looks like it could be figure eight loop trip judging by the park shape? Also, do water levels affect the area between DeLesseps Lake and Lawson because I do not see a canoe route marked on the map in that area of the park?

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PostPosted: February 18th, 2008, 2:03 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Robbie take a look here

http://wabakimi.org/project/files/wabak ... 007_r8.pdf

The map describes about two weeks worth of travel but you could get off Via at Savant Lake and add to that time.. Savant is a huge lake..

The routes are all open and as of last year cleared.

This however is in the Caribou Forest.. St Raphael is on the other side of 599.

Voyageur knows the area quite well and may be able to help you.

On the fees list for backcountry
http://www.parkreports.com/fees/backcou ... ?year=2008

I dont find any mention of St Raphael..must be a non operational park as of this time


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PostPosted: February 18th, 2008, 3:26 pm 
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Thanks to Kim for the recommendation.

The Wabakimi Project will set off this year on May 16th to spend six weeks on the Crown land canoe routes east of Highway 599. These routes provide vital access to Wabakimi Provincial Park and provide strategic links to nearby protected areas such as Albany River and St. Raphael Lake Provincial Parks.

This summer's efforts will involve reconnaissance, rehabilitation and improvement to seven routes that lead to/from Savant Lake (the water body, not the town on the CN railway line) as far as Velos, McCrae, Pashkokogan, Davies and Tew Lakes. They include:

- Pashkokogan River from Fitchie Lake to Pashkokogan Lake;
- Fitchie Lake to Savant Lake via Elwood Lake;
- McCrae Creek from Jabez Lake to McCrae Lake;
- Savant River from Savant Lake to Velos Lake;
- Little Savant River from Savant Lake to Velos Lake;
- Velos Lake to Davies Lake via Redmond & Takeoff Lakes; and,
- Ogoki River from Savant Lake to Tew Lake.

Last year, the route from McCrae Lake to Takeoff Lake via Shoe Lake was re-opened.

I would be remiss if I did not point out to our good neighbours from south of the border that, unless they use the services of a licensed Canadian outfitter, Non-resident Crown Landing Camping Permits are required in this area.

Non-residents who participate on The Wabakimi Project reconnaissance trips do not need these permits as "Uncle" Phil is a licensed outfitter.


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PostPosted: February 18th, 2008, 4:33 pm 
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Thanks, Phil..for the update..but I believe Robbie was looking for info for a personal trip..I thought you might be able to help her for anything west of 599..

I remember from last year clearing Savant River portages and a couple on the Little Savant..but they do need to be improved further.

Its good to know that folks will be able to get around...while there are fishermen and Natives who use some routes, not all are documented or in NRVIS.


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PostPosted: February 18th, 2008, 5:31 pm 
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Thanks for the info on the areas you are concentrating on this year Phil. I had visited your Wabakimi site just before you posted. I hope to join your efforts maybe next year. Dates at this time are kind of difficult to pin down right now.

My New Years resolution this year was to complete a written trip report, not just the trip. :P Long days paddling make me fall asleep with pen in hand. :roll: and I promised my husband trip planning more exploratory in nature instead of a set number of kilometers per day. 8)

I believe Hoop has been in Raphael and recommended it....maybe he's out on a snowshoe trip again...he'll have to come in out of the cold sooner or later. :)

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PostPosted: February 18th, 2008, 6:22 pm 
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Hi Splashdancer,

I wish I was out on a winter trip!

I solo paddled the outer route of the St. Raphael Prov. Park back in 2001. You picked a very beautiful area to paddle. The route I did allowed me to do a circuit and paddle back to my vehicle on my own time, with no specific due date. I pre-arranged to park my vehicle at North Albany Lodge, which is on Hwy 599 on the outflow of Medcalf Lake, which is one of the entries to the Park. The folks at N.A.L. run a fishing camp, and they were very friendly and found room for my vehicle amongst their other client's vehicles. Their parking fee was very reasonable. Their contact info is posted on the Town of Pickle Lake’s website's business directory: http://www.picklelake.ca/directory_items.asp?id=9

St. Raphael is in the process of being regulated, so you won't find info on the main website of Ontario Parks. However drilling down through the website's park planning links, you can find the St. Raphael Signature Site's planning documents with a downloadable map: http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/stra_planning.html
here is the link to the park management plan proposal: http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/planning_pdf/stra_strategy.pdf

I was supposed to write this route up and post it on the MyCCR database, but alas, I have been lazy. I got all my original route info from the old MNR route brochure, photocopied from the canoe route files at the Sioux Lookout MNR District Office. Maybe they could photocopy it and mail it to you.

My route was as follows (Note this is general and does not include info on all the portages and small rapids runs, all of which are portagable if you don't want to run them):

Medcalf - P into unnamed pond - P into Miniss Lake - down Miniss River into Dawson Lake - upstream on the St. Raphael River - P into Churchill Lake - P into St. Raphael Lake - into Ghost Lake - P into Vincent Lake - into Hooker Lake - into Peg Lake - into Yam Lake - into Miniss River - into Lawson Lake - P into a small lake extending from Lawson (I call it Upper Lawson) - I took the traditional 1.4K portage which runs from end of Upper Lawson east into the creek at the south end of DeLessups, but they refused to make this part of the park, so they re-cut a pond hopping portage from the end of Upper Lawson north into a side bay of southern DeLessups. There has unfortunately been logging road construction across this now, so it has changed since I was there - into DeLessups - into the DeLessups River - into Miniss and follow the reverse route back through Medcalf.

There are other access points off the highway through Minchin or Payne which I am not familiar with.

I solo'd this route in 14 days at a leisurely pace with days off. I highly recommend taking your time. Walleye fishing is fantastic. The east end of Miniss Lake has a big burn in 1996 and is classic rock and shallow soil, and when I was there August 2001, the blueberries were unbelievably super-abundant. I camped in the burn on a great flat rock site. It’s been 12 years now since the burn, so the young jack pine regen are probably well up now and may be shading out the blueberries, so I hope you can still tie into some. Campsites are hard to find, but hang in there and you always find one. I made a couple of new sites, and re-cut some blowdown out of existing sites. Bring your saw, since this is boreal and blowdown is always possible. Every site I found had bedrock deep, clean water with great swimming. Firewood was always abundant since at that time it was lightly traveled. You will run into the fly-in fishing camp folks in a few motor boats, but I was able to find campsites well away from their outpost camps, and hardly noticed them.

The only lake I did not like was Medcalf, which is a front country lake. Once off it over the portage you are into back country. I never saw another canoe party the entire 2 weeks. Have a great trip!


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PostPosted: February 20th, 2008, 11:28 pm 
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Thanks for the info Hoop.

I've made notes and if I find any more interesting info on my searches I'll post it here.

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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 12:05 pm 
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With topos ordered and received we lay out a route for a 10 day paddle. After contacting the Sioux Lookout MNR and person in charge of St. Raph we had little information to add to planning other than lodge locations on some lakes. Other research I did turned up some areas of archeological interest. We'd paddled Wabakimi before and were prepared for blocked portages and nonexistant campsites with axe and saw.

We arrived at North Albany Lodge and were well looked after by the owner and family. They provided us with safe parking and Laurence also told us of a new portage cut out of Medcalf Lake into Miniss. Maps still indicate the old portage that Hoop mentioned. The new portage in the last small bay on the south shore goes straight up and over an esker. Very steep he warns us.

We start out after lunch and arrived at said bay with rolling waves behind us. Chuck's shoulder has been bothering him off and on for a couple of months and it's now downright painful with each paddle stroke. With the first pass along the bayshore we didn't see a sign of a portage. Being 4:30pm we decide that a campsite was in order and we'd see what his shoulder felt like in the morning and then look for the portage.

We found a small point on the north shore just before the burn area of '96 and moved blowdown to make room for the tent. It was warm so we had a swim and cooked and ate supper. The wind kept the bugs to a minimum so we where ready for tent dive when the evening came and the wind dropped. Hordes of mossies were pinging off the tent netting and we looked up at the stars and moonrise with tent fly pulled up to the top. We discussed our options while Chuck popped Advil for the relentless shoulder pain. Is that a good idea after drinking wine? :o

A moose walking slowly and crashing through the blowdown behind our tent woke me up. I couldn't believe it took a shake from me to wake Chuck from his slumber.

The shoulder is still painful with each paddle stroke and we know we can't start a trip like this with half the team out due to injury. :( We decide that we'll retreat rather than risk continuing and then needing help.

We still wanted to find the portage and on the pass along closer to the shore
this time, there it was, marked by a faded Coors beer can and faint doorway in the shrubbery. We took some time to follow the trail which was good until we came to a large, multibranched blowdown that would require cutting. Not with the shoulder my husband now had to deal with though.

We took most of the day to paddle slowly back to North Albany Lodge. I'm glad I couldn't see Chuck's face grimace each time he raised the paddle. We explained our situation back at NAL and they graciously provided us a cabin overnight. We've never had to cancel a trip because of physical inability before and we were equipped and prepared for other difficulties in a trip of this sort so it was disappointing. Better to retreat I guess than end up calling for help.

For the 30 some odd hours we spent on Medcalf we watched what we first thought was a moose swimming turn into a mother bear and cub as they jumped up on shore, a moose clearing his own trail through blowdown and two eagles.

We drove south and turned the trip into a visit and stay at the various Provincial Parks on Superior and discovered some hidden gems there too in various hiking trails.

Home now and awaiting an appointment at the Doc's for diagnosis.

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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 12:41 pm 
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that's a real shame Robbie, after all the planning and dreaming. Turning back no doubt a wise but painful decison to make. Hope Chuck's much better soon too. It must have been seriously frustrating for him.
on a good point, you've highlighted a cool new spot, can visualize it all now, and your planning work is done for next year, right?

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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 1:00 pm 
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Golly what a disappointment that must be and a long drive...I hope you saw some other sights to compensate for the lack of a canoe trip.

Yes your planning is done for next year!


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 10:03 am 
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Has anyone travelled this route recently who could comment on portage conditions? After much online sleuthing, this looks like a good route that works in the calendar for a trip this summer.

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PostPosted: April 17th, 2019, 9:32 am 
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Stajanleafs

We have paddled the entire park over two 2 week trips but that was back in 2010 and 2011. So any info I have on portage conditions is definitely out of date.
But.....last August we did a short trip that included some of the park. We started on Medcalf, then on to Miniss, Delesseps, Minchin, crossed Hwy 599, Hamilton and Pashkokogan.
I'm happy to report that the faded Coors beer can is still marking the 800m portage out of Medcalf. I know for a fact that other people are paddling the area (but I don't think very many) even though there is very little info online. I know what shape that 800m port was like in 2011 and last year it was obvious somebody had worked on it. For the first time ever we brought a chainsaw with us and improved on it. Also on the short port from the small unnamed lake to Miniss.
Sure would be nice if more people would paddle the area and help maintain the ports. We love the area and are thinking about another 2 week trip there.
Let me know if I can be of any help

Pete


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PostPosted: Yesterday, 7:33 pm 
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Good info Pete. There might some changes there nowadays.


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