Thanks for the help from Richard and Tony from Wekusko Falls lodge for making my summer trip possible. Here are some basics:
1. Get maps from Richard (http://www.myccr.com
2. Call Tony from Wekusko Falls Lodge (http://www.wekuskofallslodge.com
) to arrange a portage across Wekusko Lake. This is a big and dangerous lake.
3. Be prepared and consider taking a satellite phone. This route is travelled less than a dozen times a year, unlike the busier Grass River routes to the East and West.The Trip
Wekusko Lake is not a small lake. The Winds were blowing in the wrong driection and the swell was 1m when Tony took me across. Earlier the same morning the lake was smooth as glass. There is a navigable northern route you can take across the lake, but if you do not have the stomach for 30km of sometimes hairy lake paddling consider Tony's shuttle across the lake.
Tony tells me that most people take 6-8 days. For me the long Northern days are opportunities to paddle, and so I completed it in 4 1/2 days. There were a lot of fish, plenty of waterfowl, artic fox, and I sighted one black bear.
This section of the Grass River is mainly river paddling. However, the current is not strong and and the river is wide in points. There are some long straight stretches on the river in which the wind pick up speed (not always to your advantage).
There are some very pretty falls, and some excellent camping sites on the portages. Up until the last 100 or so years, these camping sites were heavily used by aborigines and traders, and athough they are now only used a few times a year and a little bushy, you can feel the history. There are several abandon trapping cabins visible for the river. Get out of the canoe and explore these!
After you pass Whitewood Falls you are in the part of the river that can be reached from Wabowden by motor boat. I did not see any other vessel until I was in Setting Lake, but be prepared for signs of civilization after this point. Some of the prettiest canoeing for me was after this point, crossing Pakwa Lake early in the morning, driving up the last stretch of the Grass River before in meets Setting.
All in all, a wonderful canoe/wilderness experience! Highly recommended.