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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2010, 12:30 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
QEIIWPP May 20-24.2010.

Day 1 – Thursday, May 20.

The four of us (two cars two canoes) left Toronto around 7:40AM up the 400 ands stopped at Husky’s off 88 for breakfast, then up Hwy 11/12 to Orillia and over to road 45 which passes by Head Lake (Jedi Jeffi’s favourite starting spot) and up Hwy 35 to 2 and then the dirt road to Devil’s Lake put in. Got on the water at noon. There was lots of goose poop on the grass and on the dock there. Quite a mess. The weather was sunny and very hot.
Many cottages on the lake here. Not having the exact information about the portage location to Sheldon Lake, we asked a guy at a cottage about 2/3 up the lake and he told it was in the next bay and that we would see a truck there.

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Sure enough there it was with an ancient truck there (Later we found our it was a 1947 truck used by the cottage owners on Sheldon Lake).
We started portaging (the portage is actually like an old road with tracks of trucks and the Argo) in the mid-day heat and the portage goes through a wide open sparsely forested area with small trees and is mostly in the sun and we baked all the way, sweated worse than Vinny Babarino’s Sweathogs!
About the third of the way across there was a beaver pond with half a log bridge gone so we had to load up and paddle across.
Ganaraska side trail crosses the portage just before Sheldon Lake and goes behind the campsite we camped on.
All in all, we arrived at Sheldon Lake totally hot and with low water left in our water bottles. There were about a dozen cached boats there plus some old canoes. The portage is about 1000m long.
We then paddled onto the lake to look for a campsite and selected one on a high cliff just down from the portage but out of sight of the boats (we were looking for a space for 3 tents and a bug shelter since two of us were solo-tenting). The site is well exposed to all day sun and our tents ended up in the sun all day long (no real shade anywhere due to scarcity of large trees or any dense growth).

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We were all set up by 4:00 PM. A little later we heard a plane coming and a float plane and then a helicopter landed at the northwest bay where we saw a “cabin” from the end of the portage. We figured folks were coming for the weekend (these were the only people we would see for the 5 days).
After dinner we sat around in the bug shelter. There were mosquitos and black flies but not as many as I expected.

Day 2 – Friday, May 21.

Today after breakfast we went for a day outing to Victoria and Wolf Lakes. On the way we stopped at the cottage in the northwest bay and asked where the portage was and were told that it is the road starting right at their place! They asked us about the bridge at Sheldon Lake portage and when they found out it was out they said they would go out today with the Argo (amphibious and land travelling 8-wheeler) to fix it since they use it to go back and forth.
The portage to Cooney Lake (from Sheldon) was wet in places and full of mosquitos, We also paddled Peter’s Pond to get to Victoria Lake (the portage is also the Ganaraska Trail in places and you have to pay attention when it leaves the trail). Pulled down over one 2 foot beaver dam just before Victoria.
There are cottages (one each, plus a cabin on north side on Victoria) on both lakes. It is very open and the forest consists of smaller trees, so there’s not much shade at all. Portage to Wolf is a mere 20m long over a sliver of land. Ganaraska trail crosses there north to south.

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We had a bucketful of mosquitos on the way back on the portage (we wore bug shirts and nets, but our hands got about 12 mosquitos on each one- I refuse to apply bug dope unless absolutely needed).

Day 3 – Saturday, May 22.

Today we decided to paddle completely around Sheldon Lake starting down the east side and returning on the west. The lake has high cliffs on both sides with the east side being somewhat higher. We stopped for lunch about halfway down the east side at a campsite where we found a pile of garbage left by the fishing crowd no doubt.

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Near the south end of the lake we saw about a dozen turkey vultures gliding on the thermals and a few swooped down to check if we were still alive!!
At the end of the lake we explored the narrow gorge where Black Creek exits the Lake down to Black Lake (there were a few old canoes cached there). There is a lot of loose rock and big boulders and later we found out that this is also the portage.

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Back at the campsite we found a painted turtle laying eggs on the path from the landing to our tents. We watched her and took pictures. In the evening when she was finished she tumbled and rolled down the cliff to get back to the water (this was quite high and very steep and I don’t know how she climbed all this way).

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It was an art form to take a dump with the mosquitos waiting in the wood and one had to be very quick!!
As I said before it was a very hot and dry weekend except for a tiny sprinkle Friday evening and early Saturday morning (just a few drops).

Day 4 – Sunday, May 23.

Today we went down the lake to check out a cabin on the east shore (cottage owners told us that this cabin was built by a couple who went on their honeymoon there in 1952 and have been coming ever since) and to climb some high cliffs on the east side. It was easy climbing through the woods and all the vegetation was very dry to touch. The views are impressive from the top!

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After dinner we went for an evening paddle and also over to the cottage for the hockey scores!!

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We saw no one the whole weekend (not counting the seven people at the cottage).

Day 5 – Monday, May 24.

Out today at noon over the portage in the stultifying heat and merciless sun and back to the cars. Stopped for dinner in Orillia.
Overall a very enjoyable trip, great scenery, saw mostly birds, no four legged creatures.
We had noisy nights with whip-poor-wills singing loudly away, sometimes right by the tent and into our ears!!



There are more pictures in the Gallery. It takes too much time to do this!!!!

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2010, 1:58 pm 
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Location: Milton
Nice pics!
Gets a little busier once bass season opens.
But the effort it takes to get there keeps people away,
That or the bugs......
That is why I try and go before and after bug season.
I bet it was the mosi's that chased those other campers away.
and the heat from the rock, even in cool weather out of the wind it can get pretty warm.
It is pretty country though. And the Black creek canyon looks impressive.
How far down wolf did you go?
Jeff

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2010, 11:39 am 
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We went as far as the Wolf's Den cabin (had lunch around there).

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2010, 8:35 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hey Otter Mel,

it must have been boiling trying to sleep in that heat.

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PostPosted: June 5th, 2010, 9:21 am 
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Location: Burlington, Ontario
Nice pictures.

Take care,
Cousin Pete

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PostPosted: October 15th, 2018, 5:04 am 
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just a funny story about the " bag of garbage" you found my family built on devils lake in 53 and was the 3rd building on the lake and we have been hiking over to Sheldon since late 50's early 60's I didn't come around til 72 but wasn't long til I was heading over to fish and camp as well way before it all became a park nor the ganaraska trail was put it that actually starts in my old back yard but back to the stuff you found it was actually left at our campsite in around 1982 so we didn't have to carry all that stuff everytime we went camping over there the coffee cups most bring back memories as they where the same set we used in our cottage and always remember my grandmother with coffee in one I first saw your pic a few years ago and almost crapped my pants I hadn't been back in years since dad died im only one left cottage was sold in 97 but as of the past few years im back all the time hunting hiking etc we moved to minden in 86 so its nice to have access all year I did canoe over through devils of course a few years ago with my girlfriend at the time to see if you had left the bag of stuff to retrieve it but no luck lol did stay for lunch and swim its clearly still the best site on the lake lol since we did make it ha ha


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PostPosted: October 15th, 2018, 5:16 am 
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Joined: October 14th, 2018, 11:31 am
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oh and a tid bit about the old red truck it actually used by the hunters on Sheldon my grand parents watched them float it up the lake on a raft witch is actually the first wood bridge you cross on the portage they used the wood from the raft to build the bridge ive actually had rides in that old truck when I was a kid my dad was friends with the guys that have the hunt camp over in the first bay almost directly across from the dock on Sheldon at the launch area the second cabin almost beside the old camp site was a birdwatchers cabin I think its changed hands since then looks more like a primitive cottage now all the boats at the black lake end where not there years ago only been put it in since the atv are and the trail was put in along the old hydro line coming from devils as well hiked it a few times more just to see where it went lol and it hooks around back side to the hunt camp and branches off towards scrabble mountain haven't made it that far as of yet but soon lol anyway hope to hear back from you I know this post is 8 years old now but decide to become a member


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PostPosted: October 16th, 2018, 11:56 am 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Hey,
Nice to hear some "history" of the area from someone who knows!
Welcome to our little paddling heaven!!

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When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had one before.
H. L. Mencken


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