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 Post subject: Sakatawi - 2018
PostPosted: September 9th, 2018, 6:37 pm 
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Joined: July 2nd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 248
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
This year we decided to try another approach to Rice Lake … we bought a canoe cart thinking that a trip to Little Rice and out to the road which gets to Rice would be a better option than the two 1000 meter portages from Little Rice or the 5 portages up the Rice river from Rush lake which total about 1300 meters.

Remember that I’m 78 this year … portaging isn’t as easy anymore.

The overview.

This year’s trip was 40 days and involved three legs.

The first was 19 days from the bridge over the Opeepeesway river to the east end of Opeepeesway lake then up through Little Rice and out to a gravel pit where we assemble the canoe cart and haul our gear the three kilometers to the trail leading down to Rice lake.

The ATV trail to Rice lake is about 600 meters and we remembered it as being pretty easy going for at least half of its length before it degraded into a boggy mess.

The second was 12 days on Kenogaming lake with a side trip to Kaneki lake.

We met the owners of Thunderstock Outfitters a couple of years ago at the Hamilton Outdoor Show and got their brochure. Kenogaming lake was easy to find on Google Earth and it looked like we could access the lake at its midpoint, so we thought we’d see what it was like.

The third was a trip back to Pebonishewi lake … not an easy place to get to but the fishing was great and we’d established some nice campsites.

The detail.

We began the first leg on July 17 by driving to the bridge over the Opeepeesway river and paddling south to enter the main part of Opeepeesway lake and camping for the night on one of our favorite spots. Unfortunately, this spot gets used by spring fishermen and they’ve manicured it with chainsaws over the years so that its getting too open for our liking.

Our jumping off point was to be the east end of Opeepeesway so we moved there and rested for the push to Rice.

The trip to Rice begins with a paddle, a lift over at a beaver dam, a 100 meter portage into Little Rice, and a 200 meter portage out to a gravel bank.

Here we assemble the canoe cart, load it up, and haul it 3 km to the ATV trail into Rice lake.
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It’s a really hot day … we get to the gravel bank at 11am … the fully loaded cart weighs about 250 pounds so its not that easy to move over the slight rises in the gravel road … then we arrive at the ATV trail and realize that its rutted up enough so that we’ll have to carry the 600 meters into Rice lake.


The portion of the trail near Rice lake is still a mess … it hasn’t been used recently but its still a mud hole requiring some careful routing and foot placement.

We completed our two carries and were on the lake at 2:30 pm.
There was no breeze, so we put our backs into it and paddled the two hours to get to our favorite campsite.
We go for a swim and purify a couple of liters of water to begin our rehydration as we setup camp.

Dinner is a couple of sandwiches and lots of water … no energy to build a fire and cook dinner.

Over the next fourteen days we changed campsites three times and at one point we ate fish six days in a row … only stopped because we realized that we had to carry our leftover food back to Opeepeesway.
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The trip back to Opeepeesway was a little easier … a cooler day … still a slog up the ATV trail but a lighter load … slightly downhill with the canoe cart.

Here’s me on the last portage of the day … the 100 meter out of Little Rice.
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The second leg involved moving the truck back out to 144 and north to the road to Kenogaming lake … about 42 km north of Gogama.

We stopped in Gogama for lunch and explored the Gogama Unit road before heading north and into Kenogaming lake.
We arrived late so we had a sandwich and slept in the back of the truck.

Headed out on the lake at about 8 am and began to look for a place to camp … we found a spot that needed a bunch of clearing but was otherwise ideal. Three hours later we were ensconced in our new home … fireplace built … tarp up.
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We had high hopes for this place … there was a nice place for swimming … the water got deep quickly just off the site … but fishing was a disappointment … only a couple of small walleye and pike.
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We paddled around the lake on a calm day and located a nice spot to camp at the north end of the lake so we moved up there.
Scenery was great here again as was the swimming … but the fishing was still poor.
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We had intended to move over to Kanecki lake but with the poor fishing we decided to cut our visit short.
By the way we had an observer … this young bear appeared on the opposite shore and watched us for a while before moving on.
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The third leg started by an overnight stop at Peach lake … just south of the Sultan Road … to get our stuff dried out and do the resupply before the slog into Pebonishewi.

Pebonishewi was all we remembered … our old campsites were still in good shape (nobody comes here to camp) … fishing was still phenomenal … once again we ate fish until we realized how much we had to carry out.
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The biggest smallmouth I ever caught ... he still swims there.

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We came home with enough food to stock our first two weeks in 2019.

The happy couple drying out after the trip.
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So come on guys ... we can't keep these routes open forever. We've been doing these routes since 2008 and its about time for someone else to pitch in.


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 Post subject: Re: Sakatawi - 2018
PostPosted: September 10th, 2018, 10:15 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm
Posts: 3002
Location: Milton
Outstanding report all around!
:thumbup:
:clap: :clap: :clap:
Very happy and inspirational that you are getting out!
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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 Post subject: Re: Sakatawi - 2018
PostPosted: September 10th, 2018, 2:39 pm 
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Joined: December 21st, 2016, 2:10 pm
Posts: 85
Location: Courtice Ont
Thanks for the post... I enjoyed the read a lot. I've never been in that area and contemplated visiting that region this year. However; between fires, fire bans and just too damn hot I've not done a solo canoe trip at all this year.

I also see that you are as fortunate as I am, In that your daughter still likes camping with you :wink: :)


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 Post subject: Re: Sakatawi - 2018
PostPosted: March 5th, 2019, 5:01 pm 
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Joined: August 19th, 2007, 5:40 pm
Posts: 534
Location: Timmins
I'm considering the circle route for May Long, or alternatively Labour Day if my knee is still buggered for the portages. Have you been in the spring?
Wondering, A: what the flows would be like on the Opeepeesway and Woman Rivers? We'd like to run some whitewater, but I can't tell from the orthos if those short plunges are ledges, falls or runnable water.

and B: if the currents upstream on the Rice and Rush Rivers are strong, summer or spring.

If we go we'll saw, sign, map etc. Looks like a nice area, unfortunately it may come under attack from resource development with all the gold exploration in the area. That's one of the reasons we went through and signed/cleared the adjacent 4M Circle route last summer... IAM Gold, which has thankfully been put on hold.

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 Post subject: Re: Sakatawi - 2018
PostPosted: March 9th, 2019, 12:01 pm 
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Joined: July 2nd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 248
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Stajanleafs

The earliest we've attempted the rivers would be early July.

I can tell you that even after sustained heavy rains that the rivers are paddleable in either direction.

We've never tried running anything on the Opeepeesway River ... with only one canoe ... and initially with kids along ... we've always chosen to line or portage.

From Rush to Rice there are a couple of areas of fast water that we've always managed to paddle up or drift down.
We used to line or wade most of the rapids from Rush to Rice but now there are trees down across the river that make this more difficult than portaging ... in the past the local trapper kept the river open.

To see our maps and route descriptions use this link ...
http://www.canoecouple.com/Adventures/Sakatawi/Background/Background.html

That'll give you a good perspective.

You can continue to ...
http://www.canoecouple.com/Adventures/Sakatawi/Project/Project.html
which will bring you up to date with what we've been trying to accomplish.

Every year I think it might be my last to do these routes but somehow we keep going back.

I still think that the river trip from Rush to Rice is the easiest and fastest access.
It might require some maintenance since we've not been that way for a couple of years now.


Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Sakatawi - 2018
PostPosted: April 10th, 2019, 6:10 pm 
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Joined: September 7th, 2017, 4:57 am
Posts: 33
That's a quality time! Great catch and wonderful moment


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