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Rice River. Quest for the Lake.
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Author:  Mihun09 [ July 2nd, 2012, 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

Finally managed to get up to the Rice River when there was adequate water in it. We had grand plans for our time up there but the paddle in Saturday was a grind at best. 7 hours to go 9 kilometers. No marked portages, at the best very faint, overgrown trails or none at all.

The actual topo map only shows 3 rapids upstream from the road. Prior to the trip I used google sat maps to look at the river and transfer potential other problem spots onto the maps. Turned out that 6 out of 7 question marks I had put down were indeed rapids and one partial beaver dam.

Maps for now, more later.

Author:  Mihun09 [ July 3rd, 2012, 7:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

The actual Quest for the Lake was to get upstream to Shallow Lake. It didn't seem too daunting until we only managed to get to the falls the first day, but bushwhacking to find portages and the heat factored into that.

We did make it up to the lake on Sunday, having only one rapid to get around and less flow once getting closer to the lake proper.

The lake is heavily grassed, rice is rampant in there and I imagine in a month it will be quite plugged up. We didn't go out into the lake, only observed from the river mouth looking over the first bay towards the narrows that lead to the main lake. Further exploration will have to come with more time later in the year.

Again, heat was a factor, we headed upstream from camp at the falls in the morning and by the time we got back at 2, the heat was oppressive and we couldn't be in the sun until much later. It stayed hot until 7pm or when the sun sank lower in the sky.

The bugs were horrendous. Mosquito's, black flies, deer and horse flies all day long. The black flies lessened considerably by monday but I was surprised they were still around in July.

We aren't experienced at all with moving water so tend to just portage everything but we did run the two little ones on sunday coming back from the lake. Likely not even class 0's.

Next set of pics are the rapids as seen moving upstream from the road.

Author:  Mihun09 [ July 3rd, 2012, 7:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

going upriver with good current

Author:  Mihun09 [ July 3rd, 2012, 7:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.


Author:  Mihun09 [ July 3rd, 2012, 7:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

the falls

Author:  Mihun09 [ July 3rd, 2012, 8:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

Shallow Lake is only 14km upstream. Taking a straight line from the road to where we camped is only 3km, but it is quiet and isolated.

There are beaver lodges all over the place but no beaver. We think that with the river drying up last year they moved elsewhere. There are dams on incoming creeks that seem solid. We didn't see any turtles or hear any frogs.

I have the obligatory fuzzy moose picture. It came out into the river downstream of camp on monday morning and walked/swam down the middle of the river and out of sight.

We did encounter 5 otters, a half dozen eagles, chipmunk in camp, numerous songbirds, bear poop on port 2, the fishing was good, got one meal of pickerel.

We really couldn't explore much due to the heat but that allowed time in camp to fight with stoves. The Coleman Model 500 was having technical issues, meaning catching on fire, which left us to fiddle with the Biolite which was backup stove.

The Model 500 is from 1949, the Biolate, state of the art wood stove. The Biolite would not charge my camera. I will have to look into why at some point. If you have plenty of time on your hands, a large supply of wood and are doing something simple like boiling water, making coffee or making meals from dehydrated stuff, then the Biolite works quite well for that. However, if you are making a complete meal, as we did sunday night with coffee, potatoes and fish, that took about 2 hours. It needs constant attention and eats wood.

We still intend to take the Biolite on our big trip in 3 weeks, but I am disappointed and somewhat wish I hadn't spent the $180 on it. I think the throat is too small, you always need to remove the pot/pan to feed it, which is often and we never had the fan on high. It incinerated rock hard pine cones on sunday morning in minutes. It is a blast furnance. Perhaps others will have better luck with it but at this point I don't recommend it.

Author:  segosih [ July 3rd, 2012, 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

A cook's eye view of the two stoves. I am a die hard two burner coleman fan and had another Coleman 500 in my youth. I had put a new generator in ours and tried it out at home before the trip and was very surprised when it flooded on me. Pools of fuel in the burner cup which simply burned and flared. I was unable to meter the flow. Turns out it was way over pressured and once I released the filler cap it sent a stream of naptha for about three feet. Worked fine after that.
The biolite is very small and as karin said it can be a chore to cook with. I cook. Real food. I took potatoes which I cut up for pan fries and cooked several slabs of pickerel as well as made a pot of coffee, all for supper. Which took me about two hours. The big issue was keeping it burning as it goes through wood like crazy. When it is in light or relight mode it smokes a lot. When it is burning it is clean though and as with all rocket stoves it is either on or off. Not a lot of finesse. Once you realise the limitations though and get used to the idea that you have to sit and tend to it, it can work ok.

As a backup or emergency stove you cannot beat it for size, weight, and availability of fuel. I would take one on a snowmobile or in an airplane any day. Backpackers will love it as they mostly boil stuff. Me though, I cook. And I want a stove that I can light and walk away from while the coffee is brewing or turn down to simmer to finesse something. The larger grill surface area on my old coleman is a lot nicer too. I did lose the frying pan off the top of the biolite once. Like I said though, as a personal use stove, for one person, or two, with those tiny little pot sets that the ultra light folks use, it will shine.

Personally I think Coleman should bring back the old 500 sportsman, they would sell a ton of them to old people like


Author:  segosih [ July 3rd, 2012, 7:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

As for the rest of the adventure...Wow. What a nice surprise this river turned out to be. Although there was a lot of water coming down it, creating some work to paddle against, it was a really nice trip with lots of quiet and beautiful rock faces in amongst the trees. Good fishing helped. Easy access was a real bonus.

We scooted through some of the rapids, which we never do, so I would think that most of them are runnable on the way out. Strictly portages on the way in though. There is a nice camp site where we stopped at number 7 I think? You will know it when you see it. There is a nice spot right at the place where the river enters the lake too.

This river has been nagging me for a while now, ever since one of the guys at work said he did it back in the 70's. I was not disappointed. I am tentatively planning a week up there in September, before moose season, as it will be busy then.

We have never done as much swimming as we did on this trip. Or been as badly bitten by flies and bugs.


Author:  Mihun09 [ July 7th, 2012, 6:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

Monday morning brought us the moose, which came out of the woods south of us, walked and swam down the middle of the river and out of sight. Even at 7am we could feel the heat of the day beginning so it was pack up and hit the water early.

We did take a couple hours less coming out due to knowing where the ports were, but after the 4th one we needed a twenty minute swim to reduce core body temperatures. Luckily we escaped the water without any leeches, unlike the boats which had a dozen each at the end of each day.

Overall, although it was a tough trip in, it was very nice for such a short paddle and there is so much more to explore up there. Hopefully in the future we can get in and go much deeper into the river system here.

A highlight is the pictograph about one kilometer from the lake on the north shore. I did not take a photo of it as I did not wish to upset the Grandfathers.

One thing to note is there are plenty of places to camp along the river. Just about Every rock outcrop with any type of flattish spot had a fire ring and possibly a structure of some type. We had seen moose hunters in there last year and it is very moosey country although we did only see the one animal.

I imagine with how easy it is to access now that within years the area will get trashed and quad trails will be everywhere.

Author:  segosih [ September 20th, 2012, 9:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

OK....Quest for the lake round two. I took 4 days and headed up river last thursday morning after a nice drive up from the Peg.I got on the water around 11 am amidst a pretty steady rain that lasted off and on for the next few hours. No matter. I was happy to be there and looking forward to the trip. I had a new pair of hip waders from Cabela's and they were simply awesome. My feet and legs stayed warm and dry the entire trip. I did get a pair of the stocking foot ones and used them with some oversized water socks. One of the better ideas I have had for some time.

There was sufficient water in the river this fall, unlike last year when it was a dry creek bed. I didn't bother to stop and fish on the way up as I wanted to make it to the lake the first day. I kept moving and in no time I was at the long portage, after wading and lining two of the previous ones. This was a trend that I continued over the rest of the trip. Having the waders made this a snap and I saved a lot of time not having to unload and portage as much. After a long days paddle, I ran into some grassed in spots near the mouth. It got tougher. I did scare up hundreds of geese and ducks at this point though so it was cool to watch the big flocks take off. And hear them. Wow!! This was only a short section though, about 100 metres and then once again I had open river to paddle and came upon the mouth minutes later. Here was my home for the next three days.

I got set up and made supper then settled in for the night after my first night time fire all summer. There are no bugs at this time of year and it makes for a pleasant evening by the fire.I had come equipped with karin's new Tarn 2 tent and my army surplus down sleeping made for a comfy night. I tried a few new things this trip, like soloing with my cedar strip boat, using waders, and taking a pail with a screw on lid to hold my stove, pots etc. It has been a while since I was out on my own and I had forgotten how relaxing it can be.

The next morning was calm and warm so after eating and doing the things I needed to around camp I decided to head out across the lake for some exploring. One of the things that I did have to do was oil my rifle before leaving ( camp gun for bears). I had left it outside overnight and it had gotten very wet. I ended up having to dry it and wipe it down with bacon grease. It is now like a bear lollipop.

Author:  segosih [ September 20th, 2012, 10:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

Anyways, I ploughed my way through the rice and found open water. There is a cabin directly across the lake from the river mouth so I went there first to snoop a bit. It is open and can be used in an emergency. It is quite well maintained and rather cozy. There is another older one also that is in a state of disrepair, with a headstone out front for whom I take it to be the owner. I thanked him for the hospitality before leaving.
At this point I decided to try fishing and after a short spell I hooked into what turned out to be a 32 " Pike. That was 20 minutes of fun tiring him out until I could beach him. I fished around some more but had no luck. I tried some of the pools in the river after supper though and got some small pickerel there. That was fun. No wind. Super quiet. Otters hissing at and just some lovely paddling. Another night. Another fire under the stars with a pot of tea. So awesome.
Saturday was across the lake again in the morning to explore, looking for rivers out to the south but they were clogged with rice. So I went to the far part of shallow lake and found and abandoned cabin with the roof caved in. More river fishing after supper and that got me some better pickerel but too late in the day to bother keeping them.

Sunday was my last day on the lake and while it dawned sunny, it had turned cooler. I made good time though by running or wading most of the rapids where I could and after a small fishing break of an hour or so closer to the road, I was out and loading up the truck again. I cleaned some pickerel to take home with me and turned up the stereo and pointed the nose of the truck towards home. Me and my scratched up canoe.


Author:  Robin [ September 21st, 2012, 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

Sounds like a great little trip. I repeat, it's pretty neat to be able to do a weekend trip in an area that would take me a 3 day weekend of hard driving just to reach.
I gotta ask. You bring a gun for bear protection, yet leave it out at night? Sounds like someone was dipping into the cooking sherry a little...
Then you rub it down with bacon grease? Haha- sounds like your one of those canvas covered canoe guys-not smart enough to bring a lite plastic canoe!

"and just some lovely paddling"

I bet it was. Thanks for sharing a nice trip.

Author:  segosih [ September 23rd, 2012, 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

And if it was up to me Robin, I would move a couple of hours closer to the park even. It is pretty great though
The whole rifle thing...I was tired and left it on my pack right outside of the tent as it is a really small tent...Tarn 2. Of course there was a heavy dew overnight and wellllll, you just make the best of things. Sometimes it takes a day or so for the mind to shift out of city mode and remember where it is.
The evening paddles to go fishing in the river were very special. I could have just sat there for hours watching and listening.


Author:  Paddle Power [ September 24th, 2012, 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

I know the rice river is often used by a small number of people.

Mihun09 provided wonderful photographs. Surprisingly I've never been on the Rice. Mihun09 also mentioned that they do not have whitewater skills. If you are ever interested in learning a bit, I usually teach an intro course every spring in the area.

Thanks for the update. I enjoyed the text and photos.

Author:  Mihun09 [ September 24th, 2012, 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rice River. Quest for the Lake.

Hey Brian. I've been to your website in regards to a WW course but of course we would need the flatwater course first if I read it all correctly. I might actually have to learn how to paddle properly too! I never had the advantage of camp or any canoe instruction so I just do a J stroke all the time although I try to odd pry and such despite having no clue how to really do it.

I would like to learn at least some basics, not that I really have a canoe for WW, no plastic boats here.

I keep prodding Christine that it couldn't hurt if she and I got a few fast water skills, I'll keep bugging her about it.


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