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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 10:35 am 
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Hi,

Myself and a 3 friends had a trip planned to little Little Missinaibi lake leaving from Barclay Bay starting next weekend (Fri - until the following Sunday). Unfortunately last minute, one our friends had to back out for work. I am a little concerned paddling solo in the potential wind on Big and Little Miss. Also, we had planned to rent our canoes from the camp ground and if paddling solo I would want a solo boat. So couple of questions:

1. Should we change plans to somewhere else? Any recommendations? Walleye fishing and the pictographs were the biggest draws to little Miss, so if we were to change our plans, very good walleye fishing would be a must. Ease to have at least one of the canoes delivered to the access would also be preferred. We are driving from Toronto and want to limit the drive at around 10ish hours
2. Are my concerns valid about solo paddling Big and Little Miss? We have I have paddled solo several times, but mostly river travel and medium sized lakes.
3. If we stick with our plan, any suggestions on where I could rent a solo boat on the way to Chapleau?

Any help would be very appreciated. Really looking forward to getting out and enjoying the north despite this last minute kink.

-Liam


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 12:09 pm 
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Joined: August 29th, 2006, 7:57 pm
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Liam, given your previous experience with solo paddling, you should do fine. You do have a couple of stretches of potential drama -

    the 12.5 km from Barclay Bay to Whitefish Bay on Missinaibi Lake
    a couple of open spots on Little Missinaibi Lake.

Weather conditions next week may be such that the wind won’t be an issue at all. An early morning start before the winds pick up is never a bad idea.

You will have a few portages to do on the Little Missinaibi. Paul Hudson’s trip report from July 2016 has some up-to-date info that will be helpful. Unlike his crew, you will be going up and down!

https://www.myccr.com/canoeroutes/shumka-missanabie

A post I put together on the pictographs of Little Missinaibi Lake should help you find them. The sites are all concentrated in the middle of the sprawling lake. (Note: save yourself some time and paddling and do not bother trying to locate Hap Wilson Picto site #4!)

https://wp.me/p25mXk-5Ev

You will want to check out the rock paintings at Fairy Point too. If the conditions are good on your way to Whitefish Bay, grab the chance to visit Fairy Point right way. If not, you can always hope for better conditions on the way out.

https://albinger.me/2017/07/05/the-anis ... aibi-lake/


To be honest, the thing I'd be more concerned about is the rental canoes. I did not know that Barclay Bay had rental canoes but you can imagine they will not be the lightest! It might be worth your while to consider renting the canoes at the Swift outlet at Waubaushene on your way up.

https://www.swiftoutside.com/georgian-bay

The only hassle there is you have to transport them all the way to Barclay Bay and back!

There may be other places closer to Chapleau were you could also pick up a better - and lighter! - tripping canoe. MHO Outfitters may have canoes other than Royalex or T-Formex available. You don't want to be carrying a 70 lb. canoe on the Little Miss portages coming and going!

https://mhoadventures.com/outfitting/

Good luck with the fishing!

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 12:17 pm 
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to quote Packfiend "Fairy Point is infamous for drowning boats and people. Yours wouldn't be the first boat resting at the bottom, and you wouldn't be the first person to sleep with the fishes down there. The water is 300 feet deep, and they'll likely never even find a body to bring home. It doesn't matter which way the wind blows, at Fairy Point all the waves interfere. 6-foot waves are not unheard of there. On my second trip I made the stupid decision to revisit Fairy Point in high winds. When I was in a wave trough, the peaks were at head level, 10 feet (okay, 50) from shore. I was barely able to beach the boat. I got fully and properly afraid, and I got lucky. And I had a very stable boat. If you get the chance though, see it, absolutely. It's quite a sight. On my first trip through the park, the water was glass."
Big lake, big water, big winds. Being windbound is not uncommon
However, you are going down the "South" side of the lake, with lots of dipsy doodles (I estimate 15 km doing that). Is it worth a shot? depends on your comfort level and experience paddling solo. Why not call the park and talk to the superintendent about your options. You can also check out the boats they have. Many of the parks up there have Colemans, and you would NOT want to solos that. It will cost you more to rent a solo (i.e as it will be out for the travel time on the road), but you have a better chance of having a good ride.
I just got off the phone with the Superintendant at another park that wants me to go in a teach a course to staff from a few parks. He recommended amalgamating them and doing it in the Bays of Wakami rather than Missiabi (though as he said they can both delay a course for days).

To bad, I just loaned out my Bob Special for the summer to help a friend out, or I would let you try it out, as someone once did for us. You can solo it ins almost any conditions (although sometimes with a double blade). I had a quick look for rentals in the area and came up with nothing. You might try giving Missinaibi Headwaters Outfillers a call (MHO) EDIT: True North and I posted a the same time and has laid it out well.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 12:30 pm 
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Cheryl, I've been at Fairy Point a half-dozen times over the past forty years. Yes, it can sometimes get pretty choppy at the point, given the prevailing winds from the SW or NW. I do remember reading Packfiend's comment and thinking it was a bit over-the-top dramatic. While no one is suggesting that you should pay Fairy Point a visit in high winds (as he did), the spot can also be calm and quite hospitable. As Packfiend points out -
Quote:
On my first trip through the park, the water was glass
. Use your good judgement and you'll be fine.

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Last edited by true_north on July 8th, 2020, 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 1:43 pm 
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Yup, agreed. And it sounds like Lcorrigan is not going up to Fairy Point, and should be fairly safe on the "S" shore.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 2:12 pm 
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Thank you both! I feel more comfortable about the paddle and we do have 9 days on the water, so being wind for sometime on Big Missinaibi isnt a deal breaker.

Unfortunately I have reached out to both the park and MHO. The park rents 16 foot royalex boats that are about 58 pounds, so not really an option as a solo boat. MHO no longer rents canoes. It seems like the only option is to go with Swift (a long way to haul the canoe) or some other place along the way.

We'll play Fairy Point by ear.

True_north - your pictograph and Little Missinaibi reports are awesome. I've read both several times and pictures really give you a flavor of the area, which was part of the reason I ended up choosing Little Missinaibi.

-Liam


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 3:08 pm 
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Lots of people solo 16 boats and 58 pounds is not that heavy. As long as the boat is symmetrical you can paddle from the bow seat.

If you are looking for a lighter dedicated solo I doubt you will have much luck renting one anywhere at any price.

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2020, 11:59 pm 
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Well, just as I'm about to post my opinions, it appears my experiences precede me. I'm flattered and humbled.

Yes, I had two very different experiences in subsequent years on the Miss. In hindsight I think the first year (it was glass) gave me too much confidence for the next year. The second year - to be fair, it was a near galeforce wind. An east wind, and I was travelling east. I had been fighting wind and sideways rain for the better part of a week. I was exhausted, and I had a very strong feeling the weather would be even worse the next day (it was). I was solo, and quite desperate to reach the campground (I did!). My judgement was impaired. It was a poor decision.

Yes, that post was a bit overdramatic. I think what should be taken from it is this - it is entirely possible in that location, in even a moderate wind, to put yourself into a position where turning around is more dangerous than forging ahead, and you may not realize you've put yourself in that position until it's too late. Also, don't forget that better paddlers than you have drowned there.

Last I was up to Missinaibi PP (2017 I think), the winds were about 15kmh, and even that kicked up two foot swells and whitecaps. I could have handled that in a 17' canoe solo, but I had my flat-bottomed 14 foot jon boat with me at the time, and I nearly swamped it. One day on that trip, a search party was organized for a late boat that departed downwind that had quite the time returning upwind. It wasn't needed, they returned safely, but the call went out. In a 10 knot wind.

The other thing to bear in mind is - there is a large section of the lake between Whitefish Falls and the campground, about 5km or so if memory serves, where there are very few bays or other spots to shelter from the wind.

As other posters have said - use your judgement, and you'll be fine. Getting to Little Miss does not require travel past Fairy Point, and between Whitefish Falls and the campground, a north or south wind isn't too much of a concern (an east or west wind is, though). Just, please, for the love of all things, don't do what I did and risk a Fairy Point visit in high winds. It's been there for tens of thousands of years, the pictographs for thousands, and they'll be waiting for you if and when you return.

[edit]The wave tops being at head level is not an exaggeration. They really truly honestly and for true were that high. 'twas scary.[/edit]

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