View topic - Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

Canadian Canoe Routes

Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?
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Author:  Derek123 [ February 28th, 2019, 12:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

In Dave Demello's picture, I was standing in the upper right (west side) on my first time through there, just out of view. I was past the ridge, and wanted to see the falls. There had been a bunch of minor rapids between the start of the portage and there, one long stretch I wandered thigh deep through the flooded woods There was some trail tape on a couple of trees I saw, fairly recent, no more than two years old. I couldn't see the end of it, nor anything but the start of this white wall with ugly sharp rocks, and I said "eff that", and followed the easy route along the west side of that ridge (it was miserable portaging with a single carry). I think I've been through there four more times (that was 2009), and the portage was much nicer. TBH, I don't think I believe Mowat. Maybe, since I only know my own experience, and rivers can change, but I would be surprised to know he was being truthful.

(Sorry, I'm not sure how to share pics, but I hope this suffices...)

kasmere falls.png
kasmere falls.png [ 441.37 KiB | Viewed 575 times ]

I portaged A, stupidly. I now know the real prtage is much easier than my first time through.

B was the slog through the bush in thigh deep water.

C was fun. just roiling water and a few rocks.

D was starting to stress me, and was getting wild, and since I couldn't see what was coming up, and the water noise was getting noticably worrisome, I portaged through E.

2009 was a weird year, though, and there was ice everywhere. I had to portage part of Kasmere lake since it was partially ice bound, and Nueltin was still ice bound completely, except a narrow shore lead on July 7, when I crossed from the government station to the crossing to the North Seal via Booth Lake.

Author:  david demello [ February 28th, 2019, 8:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

Derek123 - excellent. thank you. answers my question. must have been a trial of a trail! I have also been off established portages too. Can be tough. Nothing worst than busting trail with a canoe! How much worst knee deep in water. That's one memory that will stick!

Author:  Alan Gage [ February 28th, 2019, 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

That's good information, Derek. I never saw the actual falls and took the portage out of the pond when I crossed it both times. It was a long but easy portage.

For those that don't know I added that portage, in blue, to your image. I was able to paddle through a small channel from the river into that small pond. The landing was pretty obvious and so was the trail up the hill but once on top of the hill there were multiple caribou trails going off into the bush and I began by following one of those rather than actual the portage trail but figured it out quickly.

Imagekasmere portage by Alan, on Flickr

It's worth spending a little time wandering around on top of the hill after climbing up from the pond. It's an old Revillon Freres trading post and the remains of the cabins are still there, kind of. The walls are all collapsed and rotting but you can see the outline of a couple cabins and remains of old wood stoves and other 'junk'. I found the old cabin sites but had no idea it was an old trading post until re-reading Sleeping Island after my trip.

Here is Sadie inside one of the old cabins:

Image20160813_212 by Alan, on Flickr


Author:  Alan Gage [ February 28th, 2019, 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

david demello wrote:
Alan Gage, you have been to that neck of the woods and have done the portage, so I would ask you to examine the photo. Notice that at least two of the canoeists are on the left side of the chute facing upstream thus requiring them to cross the river for the photo shoot. Do you find something odd in that?

Did the text say they were actually portaging when the picture was taken? I assumed they had just walked down the river to get a look at the falls rather than actually portaging their gear on that side.


Author:  Paddle Power [ February 28th, 2019, 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

I’ve used that blue line portage.

Author:  true_north [ February 28th, 2019, 3:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

Sometimes Microsoft's Bing Aerial image is more clear than the corresponding one at Google Earth. Click on the following link to see Bing's Kasmere Falls area image - it's better.

Author:  Derek123 [ February 28th, 2019, 5:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

img_1114.jpg [ 213.52 KiB | Viewed 509 times ]
Thanks, True North. I had no idea Bing even had such a thing. You can actually see some of the portage on their map!

My first time, I was a bit worried about the portage. I can't remember if it was Oberholzer and Magee or Downes (or even Tyrell?), but one of them described the portage as hideously difficult. It's actually a pretty easy portage.

It's easy to find. For anyone who's interested, it's a few dozen yards along a swampy path, which then climbs sandy banks and a long bit of twisting through a bramble of willows etc.. Pretty easy to keep to the trail, I found. Then there is a shorter part of muskeggy boulder fields still through scrub bush. It then veers of through some larger trees, and then a thick bramble with a lot of rocks which descends reasonably steepy to come out on a thin sandy spit at the bottom. There is an old tread from a snowmobile in the sand at the end.

I never actually looked for the Revillon Freres post any time I was through there. MY first time, I followed the river, as I showed, and I think I went through four other times, but it may have been five. Two of those times, I had moose charging at me in the water between Fort Hall and the portage, so I was more focused on just moving. AFter the Underwhelming remains at the Fort Hall post, I expected the Revillon Freres post to be nonexistent. I'm going to have to take a closer look next time I'm through there.

As an aside, The first time a moose started to charge me, I was about half a mile upstream from the start of the portage. The moose was standing in the water, grazing, and I pulled out my camera to take a picture. As soon as he started to charge, I instinctively lowered the camera (which is why the picture sucks, but the moose can be seen just starting to charge at the top of the picture). The water was only about three feet deep there, and I was prepared to kick out of my boat and hopefully have him attack it instead of me. That would have been a disaster too, I suppose.) Instead, I called out "Hey!", and he turned and sauntered into the bush.... Anyhow, there's the pretty terrible picture above...

Author:  david demello [ February 28th, 2019, 10:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Who else has run Kasmere Falls besides Farley Mowat?

Alan Gage on Mowat's No Man's River pg 145 "Having refueled , we made the fifteen mile traverse of Kasmere Lake. Entering it had been easy, departing was considerably more difficult, requiring a mile-and-a-half portage around the impassable Kasmere Gorge"

Then on pg. 191: "A fierce current gripped us as we swung heavily into the slick water at the head of the first chute. Man-high waves backing up behind submerged boulders awaited us at its foot. The rock Charles had indicated as our leading mark flashed past, leaving us in a deep trough blocked by a great, curling wave. Charles whooped a warning then we were heeling over between two granite obelisks surrounded by spouting water. I thrust my paddle between the nearest one and the canoe; pulled back for all I was worth; and felt the paddle snap. The engine roared at full throttle and then, the chute was behind us.

Moments later the second chute raced past, and then the third.


To add some drama, I return to pg. 145 "My mind dwelt bleakly on the prospects for out return journey, when the canoe would be deep laden with freight"

Some tough dudes! an open wooden canoe, filled with freight heading into the abyss powered with a 4 horse kicker!

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