View topic - Just Back from Dunlop - Flack Lake Trip

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2004, 5:46 am 
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Just back from a five day trip up in the Elliot Lake area.

(on an unrelated note - if you're one of the million people who emailed or PM'd me during that time, I'm working my way through the backlog and will get back to you as soon as possible)

We paddled through Dunlop, Claim, Lower Mace, Lilypad, Lake Five, Upper Mace, Swamp, Ezma, Astonish, Olympus, Bruce and finished on Flack Lake.

Paddled on only four of the five days - one was a layover. It was a wonderful trip, in a great area. Good campsites, scenic lakes and perfect weather. Paid for the privelege with a bit of portaging - 6200 metres in total. Since we double-carry these portages, we ended up walking almost 19 km. Since we spread the travelling (and portaging) up over four travel days, it was still worthwhile.

Arrived at Elliot Lake Wed morning to find a brisk wind from the east. Immediately changed our plans to paddle from Flack to Dunlop to the reverse order (Dunlop to Flack). Thought that we may as well take advantage of that wind to paddle the 15 km length of Dunlop with the wind at our back. In retrospect, it was a very good decision. We camped that night on Claim Lake at a four-star campsite.

Thursday - paddled from Claim through Lower Mace, Lilypad, Lake Five and into Upper Mace Lake. Three portages of 650m, 370m and 220m. Although it's not marked on the Chrismar map, there is a good campsite on one of the Islands in the middle. Good 'common area' and OK tent sites.

Friday - We spent and extra day at this site, lazing around, swimming, playing Euchre and exploring the lake. The other campsite down at the west end of the lake is OK, but not as nice as the island. Moose tracks on the beach at that location.

Saturday - Left Upper Mace and paddled through Swamp Lake, Ezma Lake and into Astonish Lake. Three portages of 265m, 200m and 650m. There's a small site on the west side at the entrance as shown on the Chrismar map, but it does't have a campsite sign. There's an 'official' campsite with signage and the only thunderbox we saw on the route on the narrow finger peninsula on the north side of the lake. We stayed there. Long and narrow, with tent sites dotted along the entire length - we were really strung out from one end to the other. Brief thunderstorm that night, but cleared overnight.

Sunday - time to go home. Our hiking (rather than paddling) day. Three portages in quick succession - 1100m, 850m, 490m. Very short (less than 1 km) paddling between each of these portages. More of a pain to load and unload than it would have been to walk the whole 2.5 km. The portages weren't simple, but they weren't the most rugged we've done, either. Main problem was with footing - lots of mud, and lots of round rock 'ankle breaker' sections. Paddled out on Flack with the lake as flat as a millpond. Very unusual for Flack in the middle of the day.

All in all, the concensus was that the rest of the trip was worth the walking. The trip was only 40 to 50 km long, so we had very short paddling days. On two of the four days, we were off the water in time to have a late lunch at our next campsite.

We saw a single fishing boat on Dunlop on our first day, then nothing until we arrived at Ezma on Saturday. There were two small fishing boats on that lake, presumably dragged in from Ten Mile Lake (fishing lodge close to Ezma). We never found the old logging road that skirts the north shore of Astonish, but in the evening we heard an ATV driving along it (sigh). One more fishing boat on Flack on the way out. No other canoeists in five days.

The route appears to be used enough to keep the trails and campsites open; but not so heavily that it's getting ruined. Everything was nice and clean when we got arrived, with the exception of a bunch of toilet paper back in the bush on the island campsite on Upper Mace.

Supposed to be trout in these lakes. Only two of the six in our group are fishers, and they got skunked. Probably more a reflection of their skill than the lakes themselves (sorry, guys).


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2004, 10:07 am 
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The Fish camp at Ten Mile has about 4 boats cached at the end of the portage and a pontoon boat..when I woke up one morning on Ezma that pontoon boat was about 20 feet from my site while three fisherman tried to unhook snags.

I kept my back to them . I also picked up some garbage the camp left on the portage and returned it to their boat.

I'm surprised you didnt stay on the "official" site on upper Mace, its got a great sandy beach, but I guess if there was easterlies it would have been exposed.

You must have also passed the dead moose when you journeyed from Claim to Mace..

How did you get back to Dunlop from Flack ( thats one helluva walk )


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2004, 10:40 am 
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gunnelbob wrote:
The Fish camp at Ten Mile has about 4 boats cached at the end of the portage and a pontoon boat..when I woke up one morning on Ezma that pontoon boat was about 20 feet from my site while three fisherman tried to unhook snags.
Didn't see the pontoon boat, only the two small fishing boats.

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I'm surprised you didnt stay on the "official" site on upper Mace, its got a great sandy beach, but I guess if there was easterlies it would have been exposed.

The island site came to us highly recommended, and was obviously well used. I wouldn't rate it as four-star, but it was certainly a nice place to spend an extra day. Also a personal bias against beach sites - the sand just seems to get into everything, even though the tent sites were back a bit from the beach. Had the beach been really conducive to swimming we may have considered it, but it was pretty weedy.

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You must have also passed the dead moose when you journeyed from Claim to Mace..
Didn't see (or smell) any dead moose ... where was it?

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How did you get back to Dunlop from Flack ( thats one helluva walk )
Two vehicles, van down at the Dunlop end and truck with canoe trailer at the Flack Lake end. Dropped off the truck before we left on Wed. Some major confusion about how and where to register at the park at the Flack Lake end, so they decided to do it at the end of the trip. Didn't work. We had a $25 ticket on the truck for "failure to properly display park permit." Guess we essentially paid $5 / day parking because of that.


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2004, 11:24 am 
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The sandy site also was littered with dead tadpoles ( On Mace) and it doesnt make for great swimming...but fabulous views.

We had a $25 ticket on the truck for "failure to properly display park permit." Guess we essentially paid $5 / day parking because of that.

The irony is the park wants about $7 a day for parking there and yet the fine is only $25...so essentially you saved...you are right it isnt that clear about the parking fee.

If you do it again I recommend the Laurentian Lodge to stay for one night , they let me park there for free and it is a gorgeous spot and very reasonable $$$.

The dead moose is I believe near Lilypad Lake.


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 Post subject: 8-10 people?
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2005, 3:26 pm 
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Hi Richard (or anyone else for that matter), did a search for Dunlop lake, found your post. Planning a trip, second week of Aug. with between 8-10 guys. Means obviously 4-5 canoes, probably 4 tents....can these sites handle that many bodies?

Anyone's input appreciated.

Thanks,

Geoff


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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2005, 10:13 pm 
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Location: jacksons point, Ontario Canada
I second the suggestion about Laurentian Lodge. A great place at a good price.
Anyone that does stay there should try heading down the Boland to the second Lake below Laurentian Lodge. Beautiful waterfall there.

Richard, what did you think of all the pink granit on Upper Mace. I've never seen a spot with that much pink rock. And about the fishing; I think these lakes get a lot of pressure so its no surprise that your party didn't catch any.


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2005, 10:30 pm 
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Hi Geoff. I can't speak 1st hand about the route but I've been researching it best I can given that I'm also doing this route the secong week of August as a group of six. From what I've read I think you should be o.k. however travelling with 10 is a challenge anywhere when it comes to campsites. Out of curiosity are you starting at Dunlop or Flack???

Rob


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2005, 10:08 am 
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Hey Rob, were thinking about starting at Dunlop. Basically doing the route outlined by Kevin Callan...Probably starting on the Monday morning, off the water Friday afternoon...you? Its probably not a bad idea if we know who's where, when to avoid any traffic jams eh? We are probably planning to spend a layover day on Upper Mace just to chill etc...

G


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2005, 10:09 pm 
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Hey Greg. We're going a little slower than you. (Are you doing the full loop up to flack, or crossing over at 10 mile?) Put in Saturday afternoon and take out Friday. We're thinking of putting in on Marsh and finishing at dunlop lake lodge. We're also planning a layover on Upper Mace, probably Tues/Wed. From what I've read ( you as well it seems) it looks like the place to be. I'm all for avoiding traffic jams, ( sometimes I obsess about it) but who knows we could plan to avoid each other only to have two other trips roll in. I hope this isn't the case but given the time of year and the route's easy access it is a lot to hope for......

Rob


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2005, 10:11 pm 
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:oops: I did not mean to rename you.............. Geoff


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PostPosted: June 13th, 2005, 1:17 pm 
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Since I have done this route ( actually looping from Flack) and I re-read Kevins account, I wouldnt recommend looping from Dunlop unless someone gives you a boat ride to the portage..(the local marina has done it ) its a very long lake with cottages, marina and your hitting prevailing westerlies, once on the next lake it will be another long slog before you'll be able to camp. Also there is something strangely beautiful that happens on the road when you drive past Dunlop, its as if you have entered a completely different region, the roads get very hilly and you truly get a sense of leaving it all behind.

Kevin and crew had to bushwack on a non-existent campsite their first night.
There is a great campsite on the north shore of Flack, near two of the portages.
There is also a great hiking trail to an abandoned fire tower on Flack...from atop you'll get to see almost half your route.


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2005, 8:41 am 
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Anyone have any idea about campsite sizes?


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2005, 2:01 pm 
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The campsites all vary in size but overall they are quite small and most of the ones I saw could accomodate one tent..the only lake that I can recall having larger sites was Ezma..I did encounter a group of 8 who made a week of it and didnt complain, but they also pitched their tents on spots I would think twice about.. On average only one tent will get the level pad and everyone else its a scramble or being somewhere on the lake. Other than Ezma most lake only support one campsite, so if ones taken , you are usually off to the next lake.

At one point I pondered sleeping in the portage, but the lodge was nearby and I opted for their icy cold brews and a bed.


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2005, 2:01 pm 
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The campsites all vary in size but overall they are quite small and most of the ones I saw could accomodate one tent..the only lake that I can recall having larger sites was Ezma..I did encounter a group of 8 who made a week of it and didnt complain, but they also pitched their tents on spots I would think twice about.. On average only one tent will get the level pad and everyone else its a scramble or being somewhere on the lake. Other than Ezma most lake only support one campsite, so if ones taken , you are usually off to the next lake.

At one point I pondered sleeping in the portage, but the lodge was nearby and I opted for their icy cold brews and a bed.


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2005, 3:54 pm 
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I would definitely concur regarding the campsite sizes. Even with just one large tent you may find it difficult to find a spot to accommodate it neatly. I would not suggest much of this area for a large camping group.

That being said, it is still a great place to camp.


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