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Wallace Lake options
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Author:  rustbucket [ July 11th, 2018, 8:15 am ]
Post subject:  Wallace Lake options

I am planning my first trip out of Wallace Lake for the second week of August. Since my paddle partner had to bow out, I am currently considering just exploring the area around Wallace either down the Wanipigow and Broadleaf, or upstream into Woodland Caribou a bit. My original plan was a loop through Artery Lake either by going east through WCCP or west using the Teapail Portage route, and back through the Obukowin portages. I still may should i find a new partner in time.

With it being a very low water year and not having explored that area of the province prior, I am wondering which direction will likely cause me less grief at that time of year in terms of having enough water to float a boat out of Wallace. I am also wondering how the 2016 fire has affected both the Wanipigow east into Woodland Caribou and potentially the Obukowin portages, as the fire map shows it having straddled at least Obukowin Lake. I spoke to Clare at the WCPP office and the route is clear on the Ontario side, just not sure about the stretch out of Siderock.

Finally, not sure this is the right sub-forum for this, but if any of you have experience with that route on the Ontario side, it seems I have three options (other than through Craven and Ford Lakes) to complete the loop to Artery, through Simeon Creek, Larus Creek or up the Royd-Murdock chain. Once again, I am wondering what would cause the least grief, should I be able to do the full loop this year.

Hoping for feedback from those of you familiar with the area so I can finalize my plans. Thanks in advance!


Author:  Neil Fitzpatrick [ July 11th, 2018, 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

I'm assuming any travel on the Wanipigow will be rough. I would avoid it unless you have experience dragging through low rivers, a tough boat and a light load.

Last year, my wife and I tried to make it to Artery via Wanipigow and Broadleaf. We had three weeks worth of food/gear and 130lbs of dog in our boat so we had a fairly large draw but still the rivers were horrible. There were sections where we would bottom out but it was just muck underneath. To get the boat forward we had to place our paddles in the muck, stand on them, slide the boat forward jump back in, grab our paddles and repeat.

We ended up turning around though mostly because of a sick dog.

This year water levels are even lower. If we get a good rain before you go, you may have an easy time but I wouldn't bank on it. The Obukowin portages are tough but will be fine to travel. If you were to attempt getting to Aikens via Broadleaf and make it, you will be able to return via Obukowin to Siderock.

I'm not familiar with the WCPP routes though lake travel is probably fine and small river travel is probably bad like everywhere else in the area.

Clare sent me a map of the burn area. Ask her for it. I don't believe the fire made it to Siderock but very close.

Another similar trip is upstream on the Bird and into WCPP. May have similar water level problems but you'd probably have a great chance of success.

Author:  rustbucket [ July 11th, 2018, 9:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

Thanks Neil.

Figured the Broadleaf was likely not an option this year. I do have the fire map as well as the latest portage updates from Clare. It was the area closer to Obukowin I was concerned about as the map seems to indicate the fire at least reached the east shore. According to Clare, travel up the Wanipigow into WCPP should be possible as they had travellers come through earlier this year, but i assumed there may be some dragging involved in addition to the portages.

I attempted the route up the Bird a couple years ago and the portages after Snowshoe were in fairly rough shape. The last portage into Eagle was non-existent due to a major blowdown, so we decided to turn around then, especially after my wife stepped into a wasps nest and everyone including the dog got their share of welts. Looks like that way may also mean more time spent in the burn area than I like, we were in WCPP in 2016 just after the fire and had a fairly sooty experience.

While it is probably one of the better years to travel the Obukowins, not sure I want to do them both ways, so I may just see how far I can get upstream on the Wanipigow, considering your downstream experience in low water sounds less than appealing. Do you have any experience going that way?

Author:  Neil Fitzpatrick [ July 11th, 2018, 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

I haven't paddled upstream on the Wanipigow into WCPP. The low water this year is ruining a lot of plans.

Author:  Marten [ July 11th, 2018, 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

I have done all the options out of Wallace and if waters are lower than last year head over the Obukowin portages and come back the same way.we did that last year and have an Atikaki trip report here on ccr. Boats could not get up the Wanipigow to Siderock but we paddled with plenty of water until 100 meters before the lake. No burn on Obukowin portages but you pass some on the channel to Carroll Lake. If low water I would avoid Larus creek as remnants of the 2012 snowdown could be a problem. Avoid the old Gammon channel if you head for the Tea Pail portage to the Bloodvein in low water years.

Author:  rustbucket [ July 11th, 2018, 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

Thanks Marten, that is very useful information. I had hoped to avoid two trips over the Obukowin portages, but i guess this is probably one of the better years to do that. I believe on the official WCPP map, Simeon Creek is indicated as seasonally low in a few areas. Do you believe it would still be doable in mid-August in low water or would I have to brace myself for the long way around through Royd and Murdock?


Author:  Marten [ July 11th, 2018, 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

In low water some rock gardens need to be walk ed on Simeon Creek. Dunstan to Wanda may need some walking too. If you have time I think using the Tea Pail portage and Ford, Craven would be best in a dry year.

Author:  rustbucket [ July 12th, 2018, 12:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

Happy to hear the Simeon Creek route could still be travelled with some walking, as this would shave a fair number of kilometres off compared to paddling all the way to Murdock and back to Artery.

Author:  rustbucket [ July 23rd, 2018, 8:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

I guess with travel bans now in place for the Bloodvein and parts of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park I was planning to paddle through, it is officially time for a rain dance. If anyone has suggestions for an alternative route that would keep me busy for 9 days and is easily accessible from Winnipeg, I will be all ears.

Author:  Marten [ July 23rd, 2018, 10:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

A trip down the Wanipigow and up the Broadleaf may work if enough rain falls. It is a nice area.

Author:  chris randall [ July 23rd, 2018, 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

If things continue I suspect they may be closing everything down to travel or as much as they can. Maybe you want to consider something south of the Transcanada, start at Rushing River and head east then loop back round?
Alternatively we just spent a few days exploring off the Jones Road north east of Kenora, cutting portages where there were none. You could lose yourself in there for weeks.

Author:  rustbucket [ July 23rd, 2018, 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wallace Lake options

Thanks. A trip from Rushing River into ELA and possibly beyond is one of the options I am considering as a fallback, however would involve very familiar terrain. I have not explored up Jones Road and it looks like a route could be made with minimal portaging going Northeast, but I am always hesitant to leave my car for an extended period in the middle of nowhere. Will look into this further and hope for rain in the meantime.

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