Canadian Canoe Routes

Black River-Big Creek, Mordolphin
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Author:  WaterHunter [ June 8th, 2017, 6:51 am ]
Post subject:  Black River-Big Creek, Mordolphin

Wednesday dawned sunny and warm. It appeared the temperature might actually approach the mid-twenties. I might even have to use the “hot” word!

I was meeting Harold today, down by the Black River and Kitchen Road, just east of Upper Big Chute Road. We would take a loop through the many wetlands in the area, paddling on the Black River for part of the route. I arrived a bit early, as did Harold, so no waiting needed.


We squeezed our cars off the road as best we could, and were soon portaging down to the rivers edge. The water was still high, but well below the level back in early May. I hoped we would take a route which would cover most of the remaining ponds in the area that we had not been in yet. There were stretches of the river downstream that would be new to us as well, and of course there would be parts of our day where we would retrace portions of previous routes.

I was amazed at the lack of bugs, compared to the trip Markus and I did on Friday. Harold reminded me that we were not completely bug free, as he seemed to have a bunch flying around him. I commented that the best canoeing partner to have is someone the bugs love. I had some around me, but no where near as many as there were flying around Harold’s headnet. haha

We continued down the river riding a nice gentle current. There were a few small rapids we glided down, avoiding the few rocks now coming close to the surface. We reached one rapid, however that was longer, and dropped somewhat. We were tempted, but I chickened out, seeing numerous rocks we would have to avoid. The river was quite narrow as well. I haven’t done whitewater in years, and when I did, it was mostly solo. We portaged a short distance around them and put back into the river below.

A short distance further downstream, a small creek entering the river became the spot where we left the Black … for now anyways. The next ponds were filled with water, but now were beginning to get choked with lily pads, which slowed down our progress somewhat. Some had shallow bushy ends which required some gruntwork and short drags. A blandings turtle was up in the bushes far from the water. Not sure if it was trying to nest or just lost. A few more ponds, and short portages and we were back on the Black River, just below the falls.


Then we cruised downstream, running a short, and shallow rapids. There were a few trees to squeeze under, and soon another rapids and falls which required a short portage.

We reached the point where the river turned towards the south. Another creek entered the river at this point from the north. We turned and now began to head upstream. The water was shallow and there were a number of spots blocked with trees. We decided it would be easier to just portage around the mess. There was a beaverdam a short distance upstream, holding lots of water.

The next stretch was a nice paddle, but soon we came to an ATV road and large culvert. We also saw a line of fencing, almost 8 feet high. it stopped at each side of the river. We continued on wondering why it was there, but not being too concerned about it. Half a kilometer later, however we came across it again. This time it completely crossed the river, and seemed to go off into the woods on both sides of the river. We were now basically blocked in, no way to get under it on the river. Hmmm. We stopped and walked up the rocky area and east for about 100 feet where we saw a short portion where someone had opened it up. Good, we could get through. Back to the canoe and a short portage up and back got us into the stream on the other side. Looking closer at the satellite images I could now make out a faint circular shape about a half kilometre in diameter. We wondered what used to be in this compound. I’ll have to do some internet searching.

We continued upstream, with another challenge, getting under a wire bridge, but were soon past this, and portaging up into a broad wetland where we found a nice rocky area to stop for lunch. We had a nice view of the grassy marsh and stream following down the middle. A sandhill crane, startled by us suddenly took off, making its erie call. It was a great spot to see some large wildlife, but none appeared. We did watch a red wing blackbird in the bushes trying to stop a hawk from raiding its nest. It appeared the hawk was successful in getting its meal and flew off with the blackbird in hot persuit.

We enjoyed our lunch, along with, of course, a cold beer. Today we needed the shade as it was actually getting hot … and the bugs didn’t bother us through lunch. Maybe summer is actually coming! As usual, lunch was short, and we were soon off portaging again. We crossed our previous route taken in May, and now continued further south, and then east. A large broad wetland ahead of us was missing its water, requiring an extended portage. The grassy terrain around the edge was fairly dry, and easy to walk through fortunately. Soon we saw a canoeable channel out in the middle and managed to get the canoe out into it. It was a nice route through the marsh, eventually becoming more of a pond. A pair of swans could be seen swimming ahead of us. Soon after they sensed us they took flight and were gone. A few more portages, and a new pond brought us into the pond group to the south. These were all familiar to us, as we had been in them a few times.

We were both still full of energy, and decided to try a new route further east, south of Dumbell Lake. This next stretch ended up being a challenge, squeezing through narrow bushy areas and braided channels. We had to grunt our way, and often get out and drag the canoe over dense floating vegetation, but soon made it to the end of the mess, and back into canoeable water. After a bit more clogged water we finally made it to the next bushcrash into the last pond. This pond bought us out to the extension of Kitchen Road, and now all we had left was a 5 minute carry back to the car.

Another great day of exploring, and we now have covered all but a few of the ponds in this area.

A link to pictures, videos, and a map of the route

Author:  wotrock [ June 8th, 2017, 7:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Black River-Big Creek, Mordolphin

Wow! You 2 must have been exhausted after that trip in yesterday's heat :D !

Author:  WaterHunter [ June 8th, 2017, 9:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Black River-Big Creek, Mordolphin

I don't think we were :wink:
were you ?

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