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PostPosted: July 26th, 2020, 3:05 pm 
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Just back from two weeks of paddling the St. Raphael PP loop. Moose, Caribou and Timber Wolves - oh my, what a lovely and lightly traveled route. I suppose with the fly-in fish camps all quiet this may have been an unusually light traffic season.

The few required portages are easy to find, campsites are infrequent, scenery is outstanding. No fishing for me, but with the fly in lodges in the area the chances are fishing is pretty good.

I did GPS map the portages and campsites that I used if any future paddlers are interested.


Darl-h


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2020, 3:35 pm 
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I could use a .gdb or .gpx file for your route.

I've started a few trips off of hwy 599 but all on the east side of the highway. It's a great area for paddling and as a non-operating park no ridiculous fees.

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2020, 7:07 pm 
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I'll post a link to the GPS data once I clean it up. I'll be back on the road to Pickle Lake again, probably next year on the Little Savant River via Fitchie Lake and Neverfreeze Creek.


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2020, 8:27 pm 
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I did the Savant Lake / Savant River route starting from Harris Lake and going north to Osnaburgh Lake (and then down the Albany) also a nice route. There were a couple of motorboats on Savant Lake and fireworks from the Lodge on Canada Day but otherwise saw nobody.

Lots of great routes north of Pickle Lake as well.

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PostPosted: July 27th, 2020, 7:44 pm 
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Here is a KMZ Google Maps version of the route.

http://drive.google.com/open?id=1kfieT9 ... haring_eip


Here is a CalTopo link, can be viewed with no account :
https://caltopo.com/m/RLGQ


Message me direct and I can email a GPX file (.gpx file are not an allowed attachment filetype).


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2020, 1:46 pm 
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Great to hear! We cleared most of the portages when we went through last summer (save stuff we ran on the Miniss River - curious to know if you found ports there, or ran/lined). Also cleared out campsites (lots of blowdowns and you couldn't get tents in half of them). See you stayed at a few we did, so I know you were treated to some gems!

We only saw people on 3 occasions on our 9 day trip through there. So even in a regular season, there is minimal use by the lodges. Fishing is outstanding for walleye and pike. Fish for dinner was always guaranteed within 5 mins. Dad's just finishing up a trip video.

Our trip map as well, should anyone be interested (there's pics attached to some locations).
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1z38bUwwJyEGPdFzplkXplsOPFl2C7Vdy&usp=sharing

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PostPosted: July 28th, 2020, 4:16 pm 
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Hey Brad - you have been everywhere in Ontario!

My wife did find the portages on the Miniss River as it heads to Miniss Bay, she walked them while I solo our boat and gear down. There was lots of water in the river but still some rocks and trees that warranted attention. I had the gps in the boat so no tracks, but they were where you would expect them.

Our challenge was 12 out of 14 days were full sun and 29 to 33 degrees, and a few windy day on those big lakes.

Looking forward to the video, we did not take any pics.

Spoke to a Trapper who has the cabin on Peg Lake, he said a annual group of young Americans usually come through once a year and do the loop down the Saint Raphael River and up the Miniss River, opposite of our trip. That group did not come this year.


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PostPosted: July 28th, 2020, 7:49 pm 
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Darl-h wrote:
Message me direct and I can email a GPX file (.gpx file are not an allowed attachment filetype).



CalTopo link even better, I downloaded the .gpx from there.

Thanks!

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PostPosted: July 31st, 2021, 4:26 pm 
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I just completed this loop yesterday and I wanted to add a few comments for others who might be considering it.

- Many of the lakes are big, so the whole trip might take longer than expected if the winds aren’t favourable. Early-morning paddles are a good idea.

- The campsites aren’t always great, thought many are pretty good. There are some comments in Darl-h’s GPX file, as well as some in Brad Jennings’ regarding campsite quality; if you’re in a tent it might be an issue at some locations. I was in a hammock solo, so was able to make do anywhere.

- The first two portages (day 1 for most people) are in good condition. The first is very wide and a bit boggy in places. The second is very short and no issue.

- There didn’t appear to be portages around all the rapids. On day 3 or 4 (for most people), there will be six rapids to deal with. In the information provided by Brad and Darl-h, it seems that there is a portage that avoids the first three rapids, as indicated in the first image below. I found the portage and walked it the first 100 metres or so, but it was very faint and looked difficult to carry a canoe over, so this is what I found:

*The first rapid has a portage round it RR.

*The second rapid probably has a portage RL, but I couldn’t see the start of it. (I saw the end of it after wading the rapid.)

*I had to wade the third rapid.

*The fourth and fifth rapids, when I went, were such that the water level allowed that I could carry over rocks on a part of the rapid that would be underwater in higher water.

*The fifth rapid, between Dawson Lake and the St. Raphael River is very scenic and long (the area around this is shown in the second image below). I was able to line/wade this one and saw an outboard boat motor under water near the beginning of it.

*The sixth set of rapids has a portage on RR, if you’re going counter-clockwise through the loop the water here is coming towards you.

- The next portage will be a day or two later between Churchill Lake and St. Raphael Lake. I had trouble finding the start of this portage, but once found it was easy to follow. There are some rotting boards laid down in parts of the portage with metal nails that could injure people. Having the GPX file and a GPS on my phone was helpful in finding the start of this portage.

- The next portage will be a day or two later into Vincent Lake. This was a good portage.

- The campsite at Torbie Narrows is good/decent and you’ll find a plaque dedicated to Gene Torbert there. (Third Image below.)

- The pictographs at the south end of the loop include some more recent additions. (Fourth image below.)

- The 90 meter portage at the end of Lawson Lake was great/easy/straightforward.

- The 1.6 or 1.7 km portage back to De Lesseps Lake isn’t super fun. It was easy to follow and locate from the Lawson Lake side. (It looked like someone used up all their remaining flagging tape marking the start of it.) This portage has some low boggy spots and a fair bit of big blow-down to carry/lift over. In 2021 it’s not something that should stop a trip for most people, but be prepared to spend some time and effort getting through it.

- On my second-to-last night I stayed at the campsite on the big island nearest to the portage out of De Lesseps Lake. There was a fire pit set up there that had been cast in some kind of concrete (or similar). It was kind if interesting for the inscriptions on it, which are in the last four images below. It was inscribed “G. Lewis 67,” “J. Bedei ENG.,” and, “B. Brunner.”


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2021, 7:28 am 
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Last-minute request here: about to start this trip and the forecast calls for bad to terrible headwinds for the first 8+ days. I'm now trying to start the route from the south end to make use of those winds as I'm concerned I won't even be able to complete the route within the allotted time with these winds.

***Does anyone know of drive-to access from the south end of the route that won't add significant KMs?***

Starting from the south would avoid the linear part of the lollipop through Minchin L and the two associated portages, so I'd be losing KMs there and can add something equivalent, just not some huge connection.

The province's trails layer shows a route coming up from the south, from Fairchild L, and that would be wind-friendly. But no idea what the ports are like, if they exist.

Linking Brad's (Jennings) map again here for reference (many thanks Brad):
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing

Also, thanks for the updated report Brad (Thomas). Useful as always. Hope the smoke wasn't too bad for you.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2021, 7:53 am 
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Looked up the FMP maps on NRIP (https://nrip.mnr.gov.on.ca/s/fmp-online?language=en_US) and Moose Lake and Kiwi roads off of HWY 516 get close. Primary roads but have no idea of their condition. Just emailed the plan author at Resolute on the Caribou Forest. Will report back if I hear but welcome any input in the meantime.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2021, 8:20 am 
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Heard back immediately from Resolute.

"The vast majority of those road systems have been decommissioned for quite a few years. I have been told that the first few kilometers of the main roads (Kiwi and Moose Lake) were at one time still drivable (3-4 years ago) but I haven’t heard anything about either recently."

Looks like that's out. Only alternative I see is via Fairchild Lake.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2021, 8:26 am 
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Hmm, big lakes and big winds are a bad combination.

When I paddled the area I spoke with the trapper who has a cabin on Vincent Lake. He accesses it from Sioux Lookout via logging roads then bush road and then ATV to get on water south of Hooker Lake - so not an option for paddlers.

Friends of Wabakimi Canoe Route Volume 2, has a route from Fitchie Lake south and then east across Hwy 599 to Wertheim Lake which can be paddle north to Minchin lake and then the portage to De Lessups. Heck, you could then loop the trip with a return to Minchin Lake and then north to the Pashkokogan river and take that south to Fitchie. Only the unnamed lake just north of Fitchie along the Paskokogan has a long carry, 1200m or so but a near bushwack from the last report I've read.

Good luck and stay safe.


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