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PostPosted: April 9th, 2020, 7:54 am 
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Back in August of 2019, Leah and I headed off to the Wabakimi region to paddle a +200km loop. I've just finished editing the film of our journey. This one run 1hr 12mins. Hope you enjoy!



While our route would take us through Wabakimi Provincial Park, our main goal was to paddle the Kopka River. The logistics of paddling the Kopka can get tricky; often involving a lengthy shuttle via vehicle, train or float plane.

Eyeing the topo, I roughed out a loop route that could see us depart and arrive at the same point with our personal vehicle. Simple! The only catch? Elevation.

From our river access point, the Kopka would descend over 165m. Being a loop trip, this meant we would have to travel upstream and over several sub-watershed divides to reach the river proper. The plan called for an ascent of the Collins, Boiling Sands and Lookout rivers as well as Aldridge Creek. Paddle, portage, line and wade. Simple, right?!

The first obstacle enroute to the Kopka was the Collins River. Flowing through crown land southeast of Wabakimi PP, it was the biggest unknown going into our trip. I had planned for an extra buffer day of travel, just in case the Collins and its supposed 14 portages were arduous or non-existent.

Find out more in the film!

Trip Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEqvmDgrAA0


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The landscape at times was straight out of Lord of the Rings; canyons, cliffs, thundering waterfalls, ancient forests and more. The landscape diversity of Ontario never ceases to amaze me.


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Last edited by Stajanleafs on April 9th, 2020, 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2020, 7:54 am 
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Extra pics!

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2020, 10:34 am 
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I watched your new video last night after work and loved it! You really made a beautiful video! Thanks for sharing!!

Sam

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PostPosted: April 10th, 2020, 8:59 am 
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Thanks for posting here! I'm one of your subscribers on Youtube, but I don't always notice alerts there. Great video.


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PostPosted: April 10th, 2020, 11:57 am 
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Thanks for the great video! I see the Wabakimi Project had mapped and (at one time) cleared that route on the Collins. I was with the project for a number of years but did not work in that area, though I did hear appreciative comments about the scenery on the Collins. Good to know some folks are using the route... they tend to disappear on the Crown Land stretches if no traffic... Again, thanks for the vicarious trip in a time of some cabin fever.


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PostPosted: April 10th, 2020, 10:01 pm 
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Location: Thunder Bay
Enjoyed your video Leah and Brad. Some of your footage appears to be shot using a drone. I’ve been told by park staff that it is illegal to fly drones in Ontario Provincial Parks. Just wondering if you are aware of that restriction and if anyone else can confirm that.


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PostPosted: April 11th, 2020, 7:43 am 
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Interesting point about the drones. The Ontario Parks website says forbidden unless arrangements are made in advance:


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PostPosted: April 11th, 2020, 11:18 am 
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We're well aware of Drone regulations (I work for the Ministry). We often work with park staff to gather route information with permissions, but on this occasion the drone was only flown over crown land (Rushbay-Collins) and then interspersed throughout the video with a bit of editing magic. A few other shots were from crown land near me (I live in the boreal). Sometimes, we'll just paddle a nearby crown access lake and fly the drone to get the shot and insert it in day xx. I employ this editing 'trick' often. E.g the aerial shots of the Kopka were actually snippets of another boreal river altogether :wink:

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PostPosted: April 11th, 2020, 11:24 am 
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rtallent wrote:
Thanks for the great video! I see the Wabakimi Project had mapped and (at one time) cleared that route on the Collins. I was with the project for a number of years but did not work in that area, though I did hear appreciative comments about the scenery on the Collins. Good to know some folks are using the route... they tend to disappear on the Crown Land stretches if no traffic... Again, thanks for the vicarious trip in a time of some cabin fever.



From what I gathered, the project only went through and did an inventory with a cursory clearing, and I'm not sure if their route crossed the watershed divide. Portages south of Rushbay were in good condition, albeit a bit demanding and steep in parts. They quite literally scale the cliffs beside waterfalls! It's quite the scenic spot!! The crossings north of Rushbay were practically non-existent and require a crew to go through.

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PostPosted: April 16th, 2020, 10:11 am 
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Stajanleafs-My wife and I really enjoyed viewing your video, thank you! I would like to make a few comments to detail when The Wabakimi Project and Friends of Wabakimi actually worked and documented parts of your route. The parts of your route that I'm familiar with are from Bukemiga Lake to Tamarack Lake via the Collins River and Rushbay Lake.

Phil Cotton was leading our crew of four on a two week reconnaissance trip starting on May 21, 2011 and ending on June 4, 2011. The first week was spent working on routes from Tunnel Lake through Rocky Island Lake to Tamarack Lake. However, the second week, May 29 to June 4, 2011 was spent moving from Tamarack to Rushbay Lakes via Canon Lake. Bad weather prevented execution of Phil's plan to move down the Collins River during that week, and it wasn't until 2017 that the project accomplished that. We were extracted from Rushbay Lake with the help and hard work of Clem Quenville and his son!!

We all were astonished at the large concentration of Beaver and their engineering feats along the creek/headwaters of the Boiling Sand River. You mentioned the "two story high" Beaver Dam in your video, and that is not an exaggeration! We were traveling in the springtime compared to your Aug. timeframe. Also, maybe the Beaver activity had decreased over the interim eight years? Phil's trip report has many comments related to the Beaver: "Outflow of Canon Lake N to Tamarack Lake blocked by a Beaver dam creating large pond"
"Height of Land S of Canon Lake not apparent due to extensive Beaver activity"
"High Beaver dam @ N end of 3rd portage--at least 30' vertical drop"
We did find and clean the historic portages in 2011! Just shows how fast they deteriorate, if not used! Sorry you had to hike and bushwack!

From June 3-10, 2017 a four member crew of The Friends of Wabakimi traveled from Rushbay Lake to Bukemiga Lake via The Collins River. We, too, were impressed by the scenic beauty of the sheer rock cliffs along the route! Our work was composed of mainly just trimming the trails and improving the portage landings. Somebody had been through with a chainsaw the previous winter or fall, perhaps, snowmobilers. Your video showed the huge boulders that had to be negotiated at the downriver end of one of the portages on river right. The end of that portage is one of the worst that I have seen in the Wabakimi area; however, I have not been on the Kopka River! I would not attempt it in wet weather!

I have camped at the same campsite that you used and photographed, on the west side of Rushbay, three different years. Rushbay is a nice lake but I have never seen a Walleye caught there. I don't claim to be a good fisherman, but I have been with some avid ones; and still haven't seen anything caught but Northerns.

Checking my old version(v.1.0) of The Wabakimi Planning Map, no route is shown west from Gnome Lake to Spring Lake. So, I don't think that The Wabakimi Project ever went through the route you used. The planning map shows a route out of Tamarack northwest down the Boiling Sand River to the extreme south end of Smoothrock, then south up the Lookout River to Spring Lake. Your route sure is shorter and if there is a portage there, that would be great! However, I think that you and Leah bushwacked almost 2 km between Gnome and Spring lakes!

I hope this gives you and others a little insight as to previous efforts to explore parts of your energetic trip. Again, thanks for sharing your scenic trip with all of us through your canoeing and video talents!

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