View topic - Kelsie Lake portages - connecting Island L to Noganosh area

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PostPosted: May 9th, 2009, 7:47 am 
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We just came back from the Island Lake area near Parry Sound. We camped two nights on Kelsie and took details of the portages between Island L to Kelsie, and Kelsie to John Lake. It is a key link between two major Conservation Reserves: Noganosh CR and Island Lake CR, and thus connects the MAgnetawan with the French River watershed.

Island to Kelsie: about 1000m with well-defined trail and a few ups and downs. A number new ATV trails cross and thus one may want to walk the trail first before humping the gear across.

Camping on Kelsie: No particularly good spot there as the north shore is mostly jack pine with no apparent good camp spot. The landing at the portage to Island L makes for a mediocre small site and landing on th eopposite end of the lake is similarly limited. We stayed at the second last southern bay of the western end of Kelsie and it was quite nice, a B+ for three small tents.

Kelsie to Johnny Lake: not quite 2,000m on the north side of the valley that extends between the two lakes. It's over rocky and grassy knolls with stone cairns marking the trail, and someone recently re-blazed it with spray paint - quite an easy walk even though one might occasionally lose the trail and has to search for it again. On its western end, the trail bends away from its straight line to avoid a low spot, and near the eastern end, it crosses over a beaver dam to allow passage between the valley and a large swamp. There is a lake about half-way that would allow for pleasant camping, at least for a single night.

By the way, we had pleasant weather and even cooled off in the lake with a swim. Black flies were out but not biting yet. Farm Creek was high and we only needed to get out on one of the beaver dams as we paddled back. Yup, we collected a stash of discarded beer cans left behind by our motorized friends...

I'll add some pics later.


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PostPosted: May 10th, 2009, 6:19 pm 
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Here's the map - the trail is drawn onto it using the mouse; it is not a GPS recording:

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The start of the trail at John: take the uphill trail rather than the one that starts on the swampy shore:

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Typical scenery along the trail:

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About half-way across the portage, the trail crosses the outflow from a large swamp via the ancient beaver dam

Image


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PostPosted: May 15th, 2009, 11:39 am 
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Nice work. It should be noted that this is hardcore bear country, I'm not sure I'd want to spend the night by beaver ponds as they frequent the area. I've always seen or heard them along that portage every time I've travelled it.

Did you spend any time looking for the portage to Rabbit L.?


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PostPosted: May 15th, 2009, 10:42 pm 
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Bears -schmears.....
Yeah, I have seen the damage done to the cabin at the west-end of Island, and go-through-the-wall entry created at the hunt camp on Farm Creek. But I trust that because of the hunting presence in the area, the bears will high-tail it if they come face-to-face with you. We saw none but am sure they saw us. Food was out of reach overnight and the bear spray handy by the tent entrance.

We did not explore any other portages this time - we were a much laid-back group and the only "work" we did was to collect a dozen or so beer cans at the place where the snowmobile trail crosses the 400m portage at Farm Creek.


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PostPosted: May 17th, 2009, 6:47 pm 
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Portages into Rabbit lake shown in red...
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PostPosted: May 21st, 2009, 2:15 pm 
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Steve Galehouse wrote:
Portages into Rabbit lake shown in red...


Mr. Galehouse!
I was wondering more on conditions, is it the same shape as Kelsie-John or is it really rough from disuse?


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PostPosted: May 21st, 2009, 9:20 pm 
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I'm not sure why the image of the portage trails to Rabbit Lake doesn't show, but if anything, the trails to Rabbit from either Kelsie or Island are more clearly marked and easily followed than from Kelsie to John.

Steve


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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2020, 12:36 pm 
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Anyone have any current information on this portage? I'd like to try it this summer but the last posting on this was 11 years ago! Any new info. on conditions would be greatly appreciated!


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2020, 1:23 pm 
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Can't help you much, the last time I was there was in 2015 and we tried to get to Kelsie from John side and were not able to find the trail after about 300m of a fairly obvious portage. We searched for an hour, but no luck.

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PostPosted: June 5th, 2020, 3:27 pm 
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Otter Mel wrote:
Can't help you much, the last time I was there was in 2015 and we tried to get to Kelsie from John side and were not able to find the trail after about 300m of a fairly obvious portage. We searched for an hour, but no luck.


This is funny. I was thinking of posting a reply to your question a couple days ago saying that in around 2013 the portage from Island Lake to Kelsie was easily walkable (walked it with no canoe), but we didn't try to continue from Kelsie to John.

So it appears there's a gap in the trail from Kelsie to John of a few hundred metres...


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2020, 7:18 pm 
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Thanks for your replies. Hmmm, maybe better have a back-up route. It seems no one has done it in a long time.


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PostPosted: June 14th, 2020, 2:06 am 
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I'll be doing a route through there next week so I'll post an update when I'm back


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PostPosted: June 15th, 2020, 10:40 am 
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Thanks cbert! Would love to get the update. I'm planning for it in early July.
Steve


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2020, 7:07 pm 
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We tried to find the portage starting from Kelsie over to John but had no luck. We couldn't find any portage on the right side of the creek as shown on the map, but we did manage to find a bit of a trail and some cairns on the left. They let to nowhere and after awhile we were forced to call it quits.


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2020, 8:27 pm 
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Thanks for the update cbert. Alas, it looks like my plan to spend a week from Wahwashkesh to Island Lake to Noganosh to the Magnetawan Loop and back to Wahwashkesh may not happen unless I plan to bushwack through 2km of, apparently from what I read in other posts, a forest thick with bears.

I appreciate your efforts to check it out and provide the update. You may have saved me a lot of trouble. How was your trip otherwise on Island? Did you manage to head up Farm Creek, and if so, how were the water levels?

I spent the weekend on the Upper Petawawa loop in Algonquin. Sure was a hot one! I found the water levels surprisingly low for June.

Steve


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