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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2019, 7:58 am 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2008, 1:16 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Hi,

I'm looking for about a 9 to 12 day-ish route that finishes in Pikangikum... traveling from a direction other then Little Grand Rapids (cause will be going that way next).

Something from south could work, off the rail line perhaps (Sioux Lookout, Red Lake??) - but suspect there would be a lot of roads and such on route from there.

But looking at the map, it seems the native community of North Spirit Lake, is an appropriate distance. Does anyone know if these 2 communities can be connected by a canoe route? Ie. North Spirit Lake to Pikangikum? The idea would be to fly into North Spirit Lake from Winnipeg, with Perimeter, and a pakcanoe. And finish in Pikangikum. Sandy Lake looks a bit too far north... but open to other fly in communities too.

Thank you,
j.


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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2019, 9:56 am 
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Joined: August 19th, 2007, 5:40 pm
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Location: Timmins
That might be covered in the Canoe Atlas of the little North.... I can check tonight.

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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2019, 2:56 pm 
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Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
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Being retired, I am able to scoop Stajanleafs.

The Canoe Atlas does show a number of routes out of North Spirit Lake. Most direct for your purposes is one which goes from the SW end of the lake up the Flanagan R to Margot Lake. South of Margot it leaves the Flanagan and goes SE via Harling creek and another small stream to reach Monypenny Lake. Upstream from Monypenny is a portage into MacDowell Lake.

From the SE corner of MacDowell, the route goes south and then southwest to reach the Throat River, which flows into the Berens a bit above Pikangikum Lake.

In the Atlas, the route is marked in red - meaning that it had been followed either by the authors, or by people they trusted to report accurately. But they make no promises about its current state.

If you can't access the Atlas, let me know and I will see if I can scan or copy the relevant section. Another possible lead would be to contact the authors - Jon Berger is a long time Symposium attendee and Aleks would likely have contact information.

jmc


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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2019, 4:07 pm 
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Joined: July 9th, 2003, 11:48 am
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Location: Back to Winnipeg
Interesting. On Google maps, south from MacDowell L looks like a bit of dead end to get into the Throat, some 8-10km away.

Years ago I came down the Throat and finished in Pikangikum. The Throat was a great river and love to get back to it with more time than I had then. Now if I could just remember where we came from and how we got in?! I do recall it was not for the faint of heart - I believe whatever route we took involved a few day-long bushwacks over a height of land to access the Throat. More compass than paddle. Not what I'd consider well travelled, or even travelled! I'll see what I can remember or find.

Goldseekers Outfitters mentions it, with reference to Whitelaw Lake:

https://www.goldseekers.net/pigeon-poplar-throat/

P.

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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2019, 4:16 pm 
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Location: Back to Winnipeg
Here's the thread I recall of discussing access to the Throat from the Cat River system...

http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... er#p365020

P.

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Learning to paddle is like learning a language:
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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2019, 6:35 pm 
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Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
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The Atlas shows 6 portages, the longest 1300 m and a total of 2760 m, between MacDowell and the Throat. Another 4 s/w (shallow/wade) sections are shown. Google Earth resolution is quite good for this stretch, in fact for the whole North Spirit - Throat traverse.

The Atlas also shows a couple of routes linking the Throat and Cat systems - yarnellboat's memories would seem to be accurate.

jmc


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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2019, 10:10 pm 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2008, 1:16 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Hey, thanks everyone for the responses so far. This sounds good, interesting and possible. I haven't really looked over the topo maps - but that book is a big tip, I hadn't heard of it... or I had heard of it, but didn't know it covered routes like this one.

I will have to order a copy of it. I may end up with more questions in May, which is when I'm gonna be back home and will really go over the topo maps.

Thanks John for naming the lakes and portage lengths - it sounds reasonable, we can bring a saw and axe in case the trails aren't great.

This is to be a later June trip by the way, finishing before the end of June.


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 5:22 pm 
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Joined: January 8th, 2007, 9:56 pm
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Another route you could consider would be to paddle upstream on the Shabumini river and then downstream on the Serpent and Berens Rivers to Pikangikum.

We did the Shabumini/Serpent/Berens route ending at Berens Lake in 2008. It took us 9 days (which felt rushed). You could continue on to Pikangikum and that would put you in the 12-day range. We had Albert from Goldseekers shuttle us in to the Shabumini River.

It was a scenic route, but many of the portages were in bad shape due to blowdowns from a storm a couple years earlier. I don't know what condition the portages are in now, but this isn't a heavily used route, so they could still be rough.

There is a route description here: http://www.myccr.com/canoeroutes/serpen ... rens-river
There is a trip report here (not my trip report): http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... nt#p297861


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PostPosted: April 10th, 2019, 3:45 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario
See http://canoecouple.com/Adventures/65%20Days/65%20Days.html

This is the story of our 65 day trip in 2005 that ended by traversing from North Spirit to Pikangikum.
The site contains maps, videos and our logs from that trip.

The long and short of it ....
North Spirit to Margot and up to Loree ... then to Warwick and work your way to McInnes.
Over to Dolphin ... and now it gets difficult ... Dolphin to Barton is not easy but once you're there the rest is straight sailing.

Questions?

Scott


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PostPosted: May 23rd, 2019, 6:44 am 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2008, 1:16 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Hi, thanks for the additional responses, I was slow to notice them.

Scott - thanks for your info, we have decided to paddle from Deer Lake to Pikangikum, which looks more manageable. So that route includes the latter part of your description from North Spirit, we would end up on Warwick Lake heading towards McInnes and Dolphin.

So question for you about Dolphin to Barton not being easy... was it hard cause the trails are in bad shape? or that the trail basically don't exist anymore? Just curious if we should expect to find signs of the portage trails listed in the Canoe Atlas... for example heading from Dolphin Lake towards Barton, I have on my info a 300m portage, a 1020m, followed by a 420 and then a 60. All of these appear to be along a creek, and I assume bypass some sort of drop or rapid along the creek, or logjam.

Just curious if in 2005 you were finding trail heads or if it was more of a bushwhack?


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PostPosted: May 28th, 2019, 12:09 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Jim

Gosh ... it's been fourteen years ... I was 65 at the time.

More of a case of nonexistant trails ...
You can camp right at the end of Dolphin Lake and take some time to look for the portage ... it's on the right.

Start by just carrying a pack.

We were able to find a few blazes which gave us a direction ... then put down the pack and search for the next blaze ... you can't get too lost here because you can always angle to the creek.

We're two carry people so we doubled back every once in a while to keep our gear within a reasonable distance.

If you look at the topo you'll find that there is quite a drop from Dolphin to "Bullrush" (That's what the native trapper called it.)
The bush was not hard to navigate ... mostly mature forest ... it took us the better part of a day to get through from Dolphin to the second pond ... from there out to Barton is easy going.

On that second pond there was a log structure with enough space around it for your tent ... see our pictures.

If you want some more detail I'd suggest calling Poplar Hill and tell them what you're up to and ask for the name and number of the trapper for that area. That's what I did.

Do yourself a favour and write to each of the communities you'll be passing through and ask their permission to travel across their traditional territory ... tell them when you expect to be there.
Don't expect a reply ... but they'll know you're coming ... Looks like Deer, Poplar Hill and Pikangikum.

Bring a small gift to leave at the band office ... we brought loose tobacco and maple syrup.
When you arrive at the community ask for the band office and present yourselves ... tell them who you are and remind them that you wrote.
Just leave your gifts at the counter ... don't give them to anyone personnaly ... in native culture they'd be wanting to give you something in return ... remember this is like a toll for using their land.

Call the Deer Lake band office and see if they will help you to get from the airport to the put in point.
Just go to the band office on your way.

Any more questions ... just ask.

Scott


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