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PostPosted: October 1st, 2013, 2:27 pm 
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Every September for the past 5 years a group of us have traveled to Missinipe and, with advice from Ric Driediger, have cleared some portage trails. The following report was written by a friend then slightly edited by me.

PORTAGE TRAIL CLEARING REPORT
For September 2013
Our trip was in two parts: North out of Bartlett Lake towards the Churchill River, and from MacKay Lake to Missinipe via Contact, Hebden, Freestone, Sim, McNichol and Otter Lakes. The grid references in the following report refer to NTS 1:50,000 maps 73P07, 73P10 and 73P11.

Sept. 8: MacKay Lake to Bartlett Lake
Portage to Bartlett Lake, 500 meters long, in excellent shape. It is incorrectly located on the topo map – the MacKay landing is actually on the east side of the skinny peninsula in Urton Bay (025472 on 73P07).
Camped on a small island in the north end of Bartlett Lake (010546 on 73P10). Pretty campsite with room for four tents.
There are other potential campsites in the north end of Bartlett Lake.

Sept. 9: we broke into two parties:
Party #1: followed Dan’s (Ric Driediger’s son) trail through Rithaler Lake and on down the outlet creek towards the Churchill River. Dan had cleared and flagged the trails, and we improved slightly on his work. All grid references are for 73 P11.
Portage Bartlett to Rithaler Lake, on the south side of the creek (995524 – 992522). 460 meters, good shape but rough footing and up and down.
Campsite for two tents noted on east side of Rithaler Lake (983536).
Drag over three short shallow rocky stretches between navigable stretches.
Portage on west side of creek between two small nameless lakes (974554 – 974555), 55 meters, good shape but rough.
Portage on east side of creek from last small nameless lake (978563) to navigable stretch, 126 meters, good but rough. Camping would be possible at the lake (south) landing. The creek is then navigable for ½ kilometer.
Portage on east side of creek to just above a waterfall (972565), 64 meters, good, rough and winding, camping possible halfway along.
Then paddle 50 meters to the falls. This is a 5 meter high waterfall, where the creek bends sharply east around a high rocky hill and drops into a deep, narrow valley. The forest is thick and brushy in the valley, and the creek is shallow, rapid and rocky for at least 200 meters (neither navigable nor drag-able. We found no sign of a portage trail, either on or over the rocky hill to the east or down the valley on the west.
To extend this route through to the Churchill, I think you would have to camp along it for a few days and explore to find the best way.
Returned to camp on Bartlett Lake, as it was getting late.

Party #2 went straight north out of Bartlett Lake to Thornton Lake. Grid references are for 73P10.
Portage Bartlett to Thornton Lake, starts in the head of the bay at the north end of Bartlett (012557). The trail ascends the valley, then after 250 meters it branches right (east). It then follows the east side of the valley, below the high ground, to its landing at Thornton Lake (008576). This trail is mainly good and level, but wet at the Thornton end. There was quite a bit of deadfall to remove at the north end. The blueberries were thick along this route. The trail is about 2 km long.


Sept. 10: Bartlett – MacKay – Cote – Baldhead – Contact Lakes (73P07)
Paddle back through MacKay Lake, portage across the highway, walk 200 meters north to an unmarked trail to Cote Lake.
Portage highway to Cote (072451). Short, wet and rough. Could easily be improved by re-routing the highway end a few meters north around the boggy bit.
Portage Cote – Baldhead, on the north side of the creek (077446 – 079444), wet and rough.
Portage Baldhead – Contact. Paddle down the outlet stream from Baldhead, dragging over a short rocky shallows, paddle on until blocked by a rock wall. Landing is on the south side of the stream. It is steep and narrow, up over a rock ridge and then down (rough) to a wet landing on Contact Lake (085435 – 088435).
Campsite inspected for 2 tents on small island in Contact Lake (089433).
Paddle through Contact Narrows (094426), which are 15 meters wide.
Camped on SW end of island (093422) – a grassy site for 5 tents, very sheltered.
There is an old cabin with a dock on the mainland to the west (091422). The sign says it was built in 1942 by Peter Studer, whose family still owns it.

Sept.11: Contact Lake – small nameless lake – small nameless lake – Hebden Lake (73P07)
Portage Contact to small unnamed lake (101422 – 101424), c.250 meters, rough, wet in places, steep at the east end. Cleared of deadfall.
Drag/Portage through wet muskeg between two small unnamed lakes (107427), c.50 meters.
Portage small unnamed to Hebden Lake (107429 – 117434), c.1200 meters, flat, good footing, wet at Hebden end. We removed 10 fallen trees across the trail.
Camped on small island in Hebden (136446). After we removed a lot of deadfall and brush (therefore it became known as Destruction Island), it was a nice campsite for 4 tents.

Sept.12: Hebden – Freestone – Sim Lakes (73P07)
Portage Hebden to Freestone. We found a cleared an old portage trail through a small pond (130436 – 131432). The Hebden landing is beside 3 dead birches up a short, narrow beaver channel to the small pond, c.30 meters long, we carried the gear and dragged the canoes. Paddle SE across the small pond (c.100 meters) to the landing for a good portage trail which gradually descends south through an old burn c.100 meters to a grassy landing on Freestone Lake (132434). We cleared and widened these trails.
Portage Freestone – Hebden (153459 – 155457). We stopped on Freestone to clear this trail. It was choked with deadfall in places, c.250 meters long, steep at both ends, rough and wet in the middle.
Portage Freestone – Sim Lake (188466 – 187459), c.600 meters, nice trail with good footing and gentle grades through a mature forest. There was 50 meters of tangled deadfall at the Freestone end of the trail, completely obscuring it. We removed it, and the trail is now nice and straight throughout. There is a pretty waterfall by the Freestone landing, with a small campsite beside it.
Camped at a big campsite on a pretty island in Sim Lake (183454). Much cleaner than it has been in the past, though there is still trash in the bush. Room for more than 6 tents.

Sept.13: Sim – McNichol (73P07) – Otter Lakes (73P10)
Portage Sim – Zunti Lake (182438), c.50 meters along east side of creek, rough, Zunti landing is on a beaver dam. We located and cleared this trail of deadfall for the fun of it.
Portage Sim – McNichol Lake (198465 – 200467), c.250 meters, on east side of creek, rough, wet in places. Removed some deadfall and pulled a ruined canoe out of the way of the Sim landing.
Camped on SE end of “T” island in Otter Lake (209596 on 73P10). Beautiful landing/lounge area on big rock shelf, 5 tent sites, trash and toilet paper in the bush.


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PostPosted: October 1st, 2013, 7:42 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
Posts: 1076
Location: Burns Lake, BC
Good for you Ralph! :clap:

Good for us too... keep it up.


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PostPosted: October 1st, 2013, 8:46 pm 
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Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
Posts: 598
Good work, Edson!

-jmc


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2013, 12:43 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1885
Location: Manitoba
Thank you for your efforts.

Maintaining portages is important.

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Brian
http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2013, 1:14 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2005, 2:27 pm
Posts: 1640
Location: Saskatoon
Indeed, your efforts in my neck of the woods is greatly appreciated!
The other Bryan.

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Bryan's website - http://pawistik.net
ColdspringPaddling.com
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