It is currently December 3rd, 2020, 9:10 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: August 27th, 2017, 5:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: July 16th, 2006, 8:59 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Now in Sudbury
Just got back last night from a trip to Quetico, and thought I had better write down something before my memory fades.
The vacation started Friday August 19, 2017 when my friend arrived at my door in North Bay. He wanted to see the sites of North Bay, so I took him out. I'm not much of a going out person, so I had to google the sites in order to show him them (most memorable were Ling Ling and Deseree). Afterwards I wanted to sample some local brew at a local bar, but my friend was driving so we ended up calling it an early night.

We left North Bay the next morning at around 8:30 and took HW 11 to Nipigon and then on 17/11 to Kakabeka Falls Provincial park, where I had reserved a site. We got there a few minutes before they closed the gates, set up his tent and my tarp. Due to an unusual car loading procedure, I had left my tent behind; I'm used to carrying ALL my stuff to the car myself, and thought he had taken it, as it was hiding behind a cardboard box used to store my ski tuning equipment. Hey, at least I had a tarp. It would make portaging easier, and I have the set up of a tarp sleeping shelter down pat (yes I have forgotten the tent before). I bought some extra cans of DEET the next Day.

The next day we picked up the canoe, a 17' Souris River Quetico from Camp Quetico, AN EXCELLENT OUTFITTER.
Drove into Atikokan for the essential post-paddling muscle relaxant. The LCBO there was closed on Sundays! Fortunately the folks in the restaurant where we had lunch, The Outdoorsman, had a very understanding wait staff, and they told us of an LCBO store on the way to our entry point. I phoned the store and verified that they were open. They were open, but did not know what Scotch was! Upon arrival, I discovered no Lagavulin! Not even The Glenlivet! Just J.W. RED (I might have tried the Blue). I bought a couple of Mickey's of Wiser's Special Blend Canadian Whisky, because it came in plastic bottles.

Went and registered in the Park office at the Dawson Trail station. Our entry point was pickeral Lake, but the staff at the park told us about the Stanton Bay Parking lot which would save us some paddling time; we were getting off to a late start after all, what with not being able to find Scotch, etc.

The 13 km dirt road was not too bad. A few wash outs had made it a bit tricky to travel with a fully weighted low-slung Mazda 3, but at the one critical point my friend and I had exited to car for a better look at the best path, and only I re-entered. I had to turn the traction control off to climb up the loose gravel, but had angled the car across the road, so didn't end up high-centered. I wish I had remembered that process on the way out; we did touch down a little on the way out.

The portage from the parking lot to Stanton Bay of Pickerel Lake, like all the portages we came across on this trip was very well maintained. All dead falls cut out, good footing, they even had a boardwalk through the swampy bits! Such a treat for somebody used to the more wild Temagami portages. We had an uneventful trip to our first night's camping spot, on the southern point of an island, just north of the Dam where the Pickerel River makes its way down to Bisk Lake, uneventful except that we did a little exploring in a few little interconnected bays east of our route. The camp was actually on the narrow strip of land between the island and the point. It had a nice fire place, lots of room for two tents (or one tent and on tarp), and was just south of a hill that had to be climbed for wood or to use the facilities. The rock on the south point was better for swimming, but not really worth the walk there, for a short swim. It being late and the weather not particularly warm, a short swim was all we had.

The next day, somewhere between mid and late afternoon, found us at Fern Lake, after a 450 m portage into Bisk, a 180 m portage into Beg, a 180 portage out of Bud, and a very short portage into Fern, and a little paddling. The sky was threatening to rain, and I didn't relish the idea of setting up my sleeping tarp in the rain, nor eating supper in the rain, nor doing the 990 m portage into Olifaunt in the rain. So we set up camp at the end of the portage on the north shore of Fern Lake. It's a nice camp.

The following day, we did the 990 m portage into Olifaunt. This portage I think of as the portage that never ends (cue Lamb Chop - the song that never ends...). Not so much because it is long, I've done a 2-mile portage without thinking it overly long. No, I think of it as such because just when you think you have arrived at a put in, the trail continues on. I actually set down my canoe and pack at one point, thinking I was done, before the last set of rapids. I was strongly tempted to paddle that last set, but inspection revealed a very strong flow and a strainer right across it. Maybe I was a little dehydrated - On my second trip with my food barrel and a few bags, I found myself attempting to climb a cliff, thinking, "Why is it so hard? I couldn't possibly have done this with a pack and a canoe." There was one spot where a long step required a bit of leg strength, but nowhere that required using hands to get up a rock face. I realized that that fact as I was disassembling my load into two loads. I took a second look. The trail did not go up this cliff. I was subconsciously trying to take a short cut. Short cuts make for long delays!

The coordinates I had saved for the Olifaunt Lake camp site lead me to a clearing in the woods, where there might have been two tent pads thirty years ago. It was heavily overgrown, and the pads had about 8 inches of moss covering them. Nothing that vaguely resembled a fire pit. We stayed on a point just north of the 410 m portage into Sturgeon. This campsite was fine, except for the fact that it was already occupied by mosquitoes and slugs who fiercely defended it. During a break in the rain I decided to hang up my sleeping bag to air it out a bit, instead of leaving it zipped up on my pad in my tarp shelter. There was a slug in it. More slugs found there way in during the night as I was sleeping. The slugs inspired a short story that I posted on facebook:
"A Short Story:
The intrepid canoeist set him set himself up for disaster when he forgot his tent at home AGAIN! The last time was no problem, but this time he crossed paths with the deadly heat thieving slugs of Olifaunt Lake in the deepest darkest heart of Quetico on the night of no moon.
These heat thieving slugs are a highly advanced species of thermo-dynamic creatures. They can sense and are drawn to body heat. Once their victim is detected, the hone in on the infra red body heat signal and attach themselves to the victims back and suck out the victim's energy.
A number of circumstances came together on this fateful night. The canoe tripper had (wisely) decided not to tackle the 990 metre portage into Olifaunt Lake the night before, in the rain, at the end of a long day of paddling and portaging; his tripping partner was showing signs of fatigue. Had he continued through to Olifaunt Lake that day, he surely would have been fatigued too, and would surely have fallen into a deep motionless sleep when he retired for the night. While sitting around the camp fire after supper, the canoeist had only his customary two fluid ounces of whisky as a post-paddling muscle relaxant (decent Scotch was unavailable at the local liquor store), and not six. Had he consumed six his slumber would have also been deep. Finally, and perhaps most crucially, he forgot to tighten the valves on his self-inflating sleeping pad before getting into his sleeping bag and sleeping on the pad.
He had set up his tarp so that a quarter of it lay on the ground, another quarter or so rose straight up to rope stretched between two trees (lower at the foot end than the head end) and half of it tied to other trees to form a sloping roof a comfortable distance above. In his mummy sleeping bag, only his face, or should the weather prove too warm (it didn't), his face shoulders and arms would be exposed to bugs. A liberal spraying of DEET would take care of the bugs.
The DEET, however, while doing an admirable job of deterring insects, arachnids, ticks, and almost all manner of pests, did not deter the deadly slugs, who immediately honed in on their victim and settled themselves onto his back and began draining his victim of warmth on this very cold, for late August, night.
These slugs, despite being at the very height of thermodynamic evolution, had still not evolved structurally any more than ordinary slugs. Their victim, not being overly fatigued, being sober, and being uncomfortable on his now deflated sleeping pad tossed and turned in his sleep. He rolled over and squashed all the slugs. The only negative impact they had were the stains on the fleece undershirt that he was wearing as pyjamas on the cold night.
The End."

We portaged and paddled along the Pickerel River north out of Olifaunt, into Twin Lakes, finding an abandoned ripped life jacket and half-full can of Deep Woods 30% DEET along the way. The DEET was much appreciated. We turned in the PFD at the park office, but I'm still curious. Would a ripped and then patched up with Duck tape meet the legal requirement for a PFD in a canoe?

The turn off to Two Rivers was a little tricky to find as the channel was very weedy and meandered quite a bit. We crossed four beaver dams on our way to Dore Lake. The portage into Dore Lake was also well maintained and fairly easy to do. We camped on a good campsite on the north shore of Dore Lake, almost due north of the portage trail to the south.

The portage out of Dore Lake, despite the name, "Portage des Mortes", was the easiest portage I've been on in recent memory. We opted to take the long paddle rather than the short portage out of Pine Portage Bay, which was fortunate for it allowed us to see (and have lunch at) an excellent campsite with many flat grassy tent sites, a great fire place and excellent swimming on a small island at the mouth of the bay, within site of Emerald Island. We didn't use the site for camping or for fire, but it's good to know for future trips.

We stayed the last night on the point at the west end of Stanton Bay. The pads are further up the hill with a fire place, but there is another fire place on the exposed point. Since the weather wasn't bad, we made use of the lower part of the site for cooking and camp fire. Thus we saved having to carry some gear up the trail. This site did not look like a site from the water, except for the small fire place.

On the next morning (Friday) we observed a mother moose and her calf on the west side of Stanton bay on our way out.

We stopped at the Agawa campground of Superior Provincial Park on our way home for one night, but the weather was too cold to enjoy swimming in the early morning, so we didn't. We did stop for a swim and a late lunch at Chutes Provincial park, using our one-night permit though. The camping permit for a night at a provincial park good as a day use permit at any provincial park the next day.

Got back to North Bay Saturday evening and treated ourselves to excellent pasta dishes at Greco's Pizza on Algonquin. They make the best Cannalloni Gerabaldi.

All in all a very enjoyable trip.


Last edited by Ghost on August 27th, 2017, 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: August 27th, 2017, 7:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 910
OMG they didn't know what Scotch was! :-)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: August 28th, 2017, 6:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 910
This just came up in my facebook feed

"A Week Long Canoeing Trip In Quetico Provincial Park"

https://www.hikebiketravel.com/49096/a- ... cial-park/


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: August 28th, 2017, 9:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: July 16th, 2006, 8:59 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Now in Sudbury
Here's an interactive map...
http://www.paddleplanner.com/tools/maps ... comap.aspx


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: September 2nd, 2017, 5:26 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: February 17th, 2014, 11:51 am
Posts: 291
Great trip report. Wiser's whiskey as a substitute for Lagavulin...Oh My! We bought our boose in the Sault en route. Were also overlapping in our time with you there but a different route. We do share Sturgeon lake in our experience. Yes, the slugs loved climbing up the walls of our cuban fiber/single wall floorless tent. My wife Becky asked me many times if they could be fried up and added to our chilli :) Tempting, but who knew they were blood sucking fiends?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: September 4th, 2017, 6:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: July 16th, 2006, 8:59 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Now in Sudbury
kgd wrote:
Great trip report. Wiser's whiskey as a substitute for Lagavulin...Oh My! We bought our boose in the Sault en route. Were also overlapping in our time with you there but a different route. We do share Sturgeon lake in our experience. Yes, the slugs loved climbing up the walls of our cuban fiber/single wall floorless tent. My wife Becky asked me many times if they could be fried up and added to our chilli :) Tempting, but who knew they were blood sucking fiends?

Yes, times were hard! :wink:
The only other alternative was Johnie Walker Red (not Black, not Blue). I recalled drinking a double shot of that Red in a bar once and not liking it at all; it tasted oily instead of smoky. Of course IIRC (and barely) that was one of the two times I suspect I was roofied, so maybe it was whatever someone spiked my drink with that I didn't like. :lol:

EDIT: heat sucking slugs, not blood sucking ones :wink:


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group