Just wanted to write a trip summary about my trip up the Bird River to Eden Lake (Aug 26-29th/2006). Since I did not get any help with my earlier post, I figure I could try and help the others who are out there will the same questions.
This trip was done in 4 days (8-10 hours / day), however it would be much better to do it in 5-6. It involves roughly 110 KM of travel, with about 6 KM being on portage trails (22 portages). The lakes you end up hitting are Tulibi, Elbow, McGregor, Snowshoe, Alga, Wingiskis, Bee, Eden, Kangaroo, Midway (Eagle), Chase, the back down the Bird River to Snowshoe. It is a very nice trip. The portage trails for the most part were in good shape, there is lots to see, and many great campsites.
I will provide some details that may help others with this trip:
- The trip up the Bird River from Tulibii to Snowshoe is well marked, with wide portage trails. The first 2 portages out of Tulibi can be very muddy. I would avoid staying on Elbow for any amount of time, the sites are pretty trashed as it is quite busy.
- There are a number of nice camping spots on Snowshoe, on the river portion as you come in, on the islands to the south, and where the lake narrows before opening up again. It is a large lake, a West or East wind could really delay your crossing. We woke up at 6AM so we could paddle across without wind.
- The portage into Alga is about 1KM down the Bird out of Snowshoe, there is a bend in the river from west to south. There is a rock ridge on the north shore just to the east of a small creek that flows out of Alga. This section of the portage is 250m and comes out on a rock ridge to the east of the same creek. You must paddle across Alga to the north west corner of the lake, it is easiest to start the portage on the rock ridge there. The put in and take outs on Alga were difficult to find. This portage is 1400m, well marked and maintained. It comes out on the very southern tip of Wingiskus (Lodge is just around the corner to the East.)
- The portage out of Wingiskus was at the very North bay, more to the East. This trail is maybe 150m, in good shape, and there are aluminum boats cached on either side. You come out on Bee straight East of another outpost lodge. We meet some nice American fishermen who gave us a beer :)
- You must take the Manigatogan River out of Bee into Eden. The water is only 4"-8" deep, and there are a few beaver dams. It is slow going!
- Eden lake is very nice, there are sand beaches as you enter to the northeast as well on teh south east shore. There was nice camping on the islands to the southeast.
- We were told that there was no longer a portage out of Eden to Kangaroo, so we had to spend some time looking for it (windstorm knocked down may trees recently). It is on the East shore in the bay to the Southeast. There is a sand beach, then a small rock point before the shore turns more east. The trail is on the beach just before the rock point, about 500m from the end of the lake. There was a 4 foot high birch tripod on the beach when we were there. The portage has recently been cleared and is 800m. You come out at the northern tip of Kangaroo, just east of a ridge.
- Kangaroo lake is small, but very nice as well (Good "canoe size".) The portage out is at the southern tip of Kangaroo, and starts on a flat rock. Trees were blazed and rock piles marked the start of the trail. This trail has also been recently cleared, it is 500m and come out in the northern bay of Midway lake. This is where I had a problem. I know the Paddle Manitoba Trip Log W-05 states that it is in the first bay of Eagle Lake, but I find this deceiving. I would say that once you go to the east on Midway and through the narrow section, that then you were in Eagle lake, until then you would be in Midway. Either way Topo map 52L/10 shows a creek flowing between Midway and Kangaroo, the portage comes out 200m west of that at the base of a steep ridge. It was marked with orange ribbon.
- From here it is easy to find your way back through Midway and Chase back on the Bird River. This being my first time this far up the Bird, I did not realize that the section from Chase to Snowshoe has 6 portages (100-500m in length). The topo map does not show these sections of fast water. What we thought was a 2 hour paddle down the river, turned out taking 5 hours. Half the portages were good, the other half had lots of down trees and were hard to find. Give yourself extra time.
It is kinda long, But I hope it helps someone.