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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2008, 2:24 pm 
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Joined: October 5th, 2005, 11:52 pm
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Location: Perth, ON
My girlfriend and I are hoping to hike in to my mums cottage, which is on Geogian Bay, just west of McCrae lake, over reading week near the end of February. There is a marked trail that circumnavigates McCrae Lake, begining at an exit just off highway 69 (can't remember which one at the moment, but just north of exit 156 for Honey Harbour). I hiked this trail in the fall, and it is all up-and-down over canadian sheild, and I don't think it's do-able with snowshoes and tobagan, so I was hoping to cross the lake.

Anyone know the current thickness of the ice, and if so, any guesses as to whether it might be possible to hike across it by the end of February? Also, the cottage is not exactly adjacent to McCrae lake- by canoe it's about a 5 minute paddle, after the portage into Georgian Bay- and any information on Georgian Bay ice would be really appreciated.

I'm not commited to the trip- I imagine it may not be possible. The ice up here near Sudbury seems to be more than 12 inches for the most part, but last weekend in Killarney they told me the lake ice wasn't safe and I ended up hiking in along a cross country ski trail. But I would love to be able to go- it strikes me as a more gentle way to introduce my girlfriend to winter camping:)

Thanks,

Dale


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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2008, 4:29 pm 
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Joined: February 8th, 2005, 10:34 pm
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The first piece of advice I can offer is that you should ignore anything a provincial park tells you about ice safety. Policy developed by senior management is skewed towards keeping people off the lakes. It could be thick enough to take the weight of a ski-equipped Twin Otter landing on it, and they'll still tell you it isn't safe.

I don't know about McCrae Lake. But so far this season, I've been out on several lakes not far west of there (Huntsville area, and also in Algonquin) and I can tell you the ice is over a foot thick in most places. It's white ice, not clear, but it's still more than thick enough to walk on.

That being said, I can also say there are thin spots. These are typically found where the water is flowing, for example near lake outlets. Take a look at Hoop's ice photo essay elsewhere in this forum, and use your own discretion.

You're right about lake travel vs hill country, especially if introducing your girlfriend to winter camping. Nobody with any sense would haul a toboggan load of gear up and down hills and through bush if they can travel where it's flat and open.


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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2008, 4:46 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
Good advice, by LP. To be specific about McCrae, be aware that a river drains through the lake and thus there will be currents in some places. Let's just acknowledge we don't know where all the weak spots will be. Also, that river drains Muskoka lakes and thus is under the whim of human dam control, adding another uncertainty factor.

If I was going to make the trip, I'd be equipped to get the feet wet or even worse (complete change of clothing), have something that allows me to test the ice for thickness (a long pole) and something that allows me to pull myself back onto the ice if I should fall in (pegs with nails in it). And I'd stay close to shore and avoid the various narrows etc where I could be sure the current flows underneath the ice and weakens it.

Did you watch the video of what it's like when you fall in? Someone posted it here recently.


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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2008, 6:58 pm 
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Joined: February 7th, 2004, 12:37 pm
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Location: Guelph, ON
Dale:
Why don't you call up the Marina in Honey Harbour and ask them about ice conditions on the Bay. They cater to all the cottagers up there and a number of them snowmobile out to their islands for the weekends when ice conditions permit.

Do keep an eye on the weather, as they have been forecasting a warm spell for the middle of February and this may cause some unexpected ice travel problems.


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PostPosted: February 5th, 2008, 3:20 pm 
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Joined: October 5th, 2005, 11:52 pm
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Location: Perth, ON
Thanks for all the information-

I admit, even though I carried an ice chisel into Killarney, I never thought to test ice thickness myself after the staff told me it was too thin to travel on :oops:

Great to hear there is indeed ice out on those lakes, at least for now- still hoping for cold weather, even though it's above 0 today in Sudbury...

And I certainly will give the marina a call, I never thought of that and I'm sure it could save me from the dissapointment of having to turn around and go home once we got there.

Dale


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 10:49 pm 
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Joined: February 7th, 2012, 10:07 pm
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I'm planning on heading to my parents cottage just west of McCrae at the end of February during my reading break as well. Myself and a few friends were going to walk across McCrae and cross the path into Ganyon Bay to avoid any thin ice. I heard near Beausoliel Island and Tomohawk Island it is open water still and it is worrying my friends to the point of wanting to cancel the trip. I was even considering compassing through the woods from Buck Lake but I know how disorienting those woods can be. I'm confident in myself and all those going on the trip but I don't have confidence in the ice yet. If anyone has any further reports on the ice before then I'd love to hear them. Can't be too cautious with ice.

and Dale, if were being too loud, then let us know. I'm assuming we might be in roughly the same area and I didn't want to ruin peaceful weekend of winter camping with your girlfriend. We are on our reading week as well and may party a bit. Feel free to come over and say hi!
Brian


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 3:59 pm 
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Joined: February 7th, 2004, 12:37 pm
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Location: Guelph, ON
Try this for most recent ice conditions on Georgian Bay:

http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/NAIS25 ... 277317.pdf


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