View topic - Eastsand River: Headwaters of the Spanish

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PostPosted: January 6th, 2019, 10:37 am 
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Joined: August 19th, 2007, 5:40 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Timmins
I met up with Cam after responding to a tripper wanted posting from the Wanted Ontario Backcountry Campers group on Facebook and a great adventure off the beaten path ensued. We paddled 49km of the Eastsand River, headwaters of the famed Spanish River, from Sand to Duke Lake. This isn't a 'known' route and as such, we encountered a few short bushwhacks and over 50 logjams. An excellent adventure with equally excellent company. It's totally worth the struggles for an awesome weekend adventure!

Night 1 on the Eastsand River.

We fully expected to carve out a bushcamp on this seldom traveled route, so we were pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon the remains of an old logging camp. All that survived were the overgrown foundations of the bunkhouse and rusting refuse scattered throughout the bush. Thankfully, the ground was perfectly flat from years of use and only required a slight brushing to open up the site. We quickly set about establishing camp and then unwound around the fire as the night crept in.

For our 2nd day of paddling the Eastsand River, we set our sights on Threecorner Lake. From the topos, I could discern that there was a lengthy esker in the middle of the lake. I had a hunch this sinuous ridge of sand would hide a prime campsite.


As the esker came into view, we were greeted with a wall of sandy cliffs that seemingly marched skyward from the waters. Paddling the length of this glacial remenant revealed one perfect backcounty site, etched out of the easternmost finger. Good hunch, great site


On our third day, we continued downstream towards Duke Lake and the beginnings of the Spanish River proper. The dam holding back the waters of Threecorner Lake towers 15m over the riverbed and, unluckily for us, had all stoplogs in place to retain waters for the summer. This meant the Eastsand was nearly 1.5ft lower than the regular waterlines would allude. As we neared our first rapid, it was quickly evident we would likely not be running any whitewater on the lower reaches.... .

Below the Threecorner dam, the Eastsand River snakes its way 16km to the beginnings of the Spanish River proper. In times of low waters, the paddler can expect upwards of 50 logjams and 5 sets of rapids/falls that need to be lined or portaged. Unfortunately for us, the Eastsand was extremely low and we seemingly did more walking, dragging, lining and lifting-over than paddling... average pace for this stretch was a blistering 2.5kph... Needless to say it took longer than expected to reach the deepers waters downstream of Alligator Lake .

Cameron Nawalaniec 3 (1 of 1).jpg

The Eastsand River is appropriately named! As you paddle the lower stretches, one is greeted by towering cliffs of sand and numerous beaches. While there are no established campsites, countless opportunities to set your tent up on a sandy spit or nestled amongst the towering Jackpine exist.


Photos & Map

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My Backcountry Website:

PostPosted: January 8th, 2019, 12:33 pm 

Joined: March 21st, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Thxs for taking the time and effort to make and post this TR. Viewing it at this time of year (hard water season) really brightens my day.


PostPosted: January 8th, 2019, 3:05 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1948
Location: Manitoba
Likewise, I’m with Ron—thanks. Most enjoyable.



PostPosted: January 8th, 2019, 4:56 pm 

Joined: December 9th, 2012, 9:57 am
Posts: 360
Another awesome trip, thanks for sharing this.

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