Sunday, December 27, 2009

21 Day Canoe Trip to the “Little North”

Dates: August 16, 2009 to September 9, 2009

Paddlers: Chuck Ryan

Dave Phillips


Pashkokogan Lake
East Pashkokogan Lake
Greenbush Lake
Little Metig Lake
Metig Lake
Rockcliff Lake
Misehkow River
Albany River
Albany River / Mininiska Lake
Albany River / Petawanga Lake
Petawa Creek
Auger Lake

Quartz Lake
Vertente Bay (Attwood Lake / Attwood River)
Hurst Lake
Felsie Lake
Witchwood River

Witchwood Lake
Whiteclay Lake
Raymond River

Pickett Lake

Raymond River
North Annette Lake
South Annette Lake
Butland Lake
Cliff Lake
Bad Medicine Lake

Ratte Lake
Pikitigushi River

Gort Lake

Wash Lake

Derraugh Lake

Pikitigushi River

Pikitigushi Lake

Pikitigushi River

Travel Method: Souris River 18.5’ Quetico Canoe

Total Distance: 257.4 miles / 414.25 km

Total Travel Time: 166:01

Average Travel Time: 1.55 miles/hour ; 2.5 km/hour

Last year was my first time to the area of Wabakimi Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. I went with three other guys that I met over the internet from one of the canoe forums. That trip was planned as a 14 day trip that ended up being one day longer because our flight out was delayed because of bad weather. These delays are to be expect if flying into or out of an area.

We had never paddled together before so it would be another experience.

A few times during this trip Dave Phillips and another member had mentioned they wanted to keep going further north, eventually paddling to Hudson Bay / James Bay. A couple of the rivers mentioned were the Albany River, which I have heard of before, and another one that I wasn’t familiar with, the Misehkow.

The area of Wabakimi is a boreal forest and a very unique area to paddle. The boreal forest is constantly changing.

Last year I got back into canoe racing which I enjoyed. Early in the season I planned what races I would do, and I was able to do the Wabakimi trip in 2008. This year I couldn’t get any commitments for any of the early races so I decided not to race. Instead, I decided to do a wilderness canoe trip to the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in June.

In the spring of 2009 I hadn’t seen any postings of any trips that last years group were planning on doing. It was getting to the point where I almost expressed my interest in a couple of other trips. One trip was the Seal River.

Well, on 04-09-09, Dave Phillips posted that he was looking for some paddlers for an August trip. Here is part of his posting, “August 8th, 21 days, up to the Albany and back down the east side. Option to fly in, train in, paddle in. Four max, fit and experienced only. Swifts, lining, rugged portages including crossing the height of land and ass deep bogs. Great canoe country and lightly travelled. This trip is open for 4 weeks.”

I saw his posting later that day and expressed my interest. If the trip could start one week later it would would work out better for me because of my work schedule. I put in my request for the time off at work while the planning went forward.

I know Dave had posted this trip information on at least one other canoe site.

Well, the four weeks came to a close and there weren’t any other takers to do this trip. It was only going to be Dave and I. Dave had the route he wanted to do. He had been looking at this route for a couple years. There really isn’t all that much information on this route except for the Albany River. And what ever information available is sketchy at best.

This trip would take us to the Caribou Forest, Wabakimi Provincial Park, Albany River Provincial Park and the Ogoki Forest. All of this area is within the “Little North”. The “Little North” is an area north of Lake Superior and south of the Hudson Bay. The eastern boundary is James Bay and the western boundary is Lake Winnipeg. In the early days the fur traders called it, “Le Petit Nord”.

Last year we took the train out of Armstrong and got dropped off at Flindt Landing to begin our trip. We flew out of Whitewater Lake 15 days later. Now the train schedule for this year ran in the reverse so we decided to fly from Armstrong to Pashkokogan Lake, then paddled out to Boucher’s, The Bear Camp, along the Pikitigushi River. We would have Dave’s truck shuttled over to the Bear Camp before we arrived so we could leave on our own time.

Dave sent me the route information early on, but I didn’t have all the topo maps to really look at the route that closely. All I had at the time was the overview map of Wabakimi. I mentioned to Dave that I wanted to do more paddling than walking after looking at the route off this overview map.

On August 1, 2009 I posted on my blog information about this trip.

Also, on

and a thread on

These threads have some comments made about this trip from other people who have done portions or knew of someone who had done different portions of our planned route.

By the time I had posted the route information on my blog I had received the itinerary from Dave. I had some concerns about the time allotted for the trip. I felt the trip would be more enjoyable with a few extra days, but it appeared doable. It definitely wasn’t gong to be a leisurely trip through the bush.

Preliminary Information:

We have all our own gear for these trips. The only thing we needed to rent was a satellite phone. I rented an Iridium satellite phone through Mobal. This was the second time I’ve rented from them. My earlier solo trip in June to the Woodland Caribou was the first time.

Dave would put together the food for the trip. Dave likes to eat well, so do I, but we have more variety when I travel with Dave. We also cook over wood fires, but we do bring some fuel when it’s not possible to cook with wood. When I travel solo I usually cook over a stove. This trip I would bring my Coleman Peak One for those times when we couldn’t cook over an open fire. Dave would also bring plenty of coffee after seeing how much I like my coffee after last years trip.

We would each bring our own MSR Hubba Hubba tent, 21” Corona Professional pruning saw, gravity water filter with one extra cartridge and our personal gear. Dave would bring his canoe, one paddle, axe, personal items and his two packs.

Besides my personal gear, I brought two Whiskeyjack wooden canoe paddles. I brought the “Whiskey Chaser” that I had from last year. This year I decided to buy another wood paddle so I would have two, one for a spare for either one of us. I bought the “Whiskey River” about one week before the trip. I brought my two Granite Gear portage packs, the Superior One and the Quetico. Last year I watched Pete carry one helleva large, oversized, heavy food pack across the portages. It was in my best interest and health not to carry such a heavy pack across any portage. This years portages were going to be more rugged and longer than anything we tackled last year. We were planning on doing double portages, but with 21 days of food I thought there was the real possibility we would end up triple portaging. I wouldn’t know until we started putting our gear together in Armstrong. Inside the packs I have an Ostrom’s water proof liner and I have two new Granite Gear AirVent Reduction pack liners to keep my gear dry. I also have a large, thick plastic bag that I use with one of the Granite Gear liners.

We would each drive to Armstrong, Ontario, Canada. Dave would be driving from the State of Virginia and I would drive from Champlin, Minnesota. We would spend the night at one of Mattice Lake Outfitter’s guest cabin before flying to Pashkokogan Lake.

Canoe travel would be through the boreal forest where the route could be passable one day and be completely blocked the next day. We had some limited information on different sections of this trip. The trip was planned as a 21 day trip with only one layover day to take in the numerous pictographs on Cliff Lake. This layover day would be on our 19th day. Known campsites were few and far between.

We would travel across big lakes, rivers, rapids, fast water, lining and tracking; and walk, crawl and cut our way across portages.

Travel Day: Friday, 08-14-09

I woke up before my alarm this morning at 05:50 am. It seems like I do that often. The alarm went off ten minutes later. Once up I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. It was a warm morning. Temperature was 70 degrees F. It was very calm and still outside.

When I left my driveway a couple minutes before 8 am the temperature had gone up to 77 degrees F. It was going to be a nice day for a drive to Thunder Bay where I would spent the night before driving to Armstrong tomorrow morning, but first to the Holiday gas station. Afterwards, I stopped at Walgreens for a couple items.

While traveling up 35W north of the Twin Cities I passed a van from Wilderness Inquiry.They had three canoes with them. Probably headed to the BWCA.

The road trip so far was uneventful. There was a fog over Lake Superior when I got to Duluth. The temperature was down to 70 degrees. I decided to stop at the Duluth Pack Store before continuing up the north shore. I didn’t stay long since I didn’t need anything.

Next stop up the road was in Two Harbor’s where I stopped at one of my favorite eating places...Subway! I ordered a 12” chicken sub. I ate half and put the other half in the cooler for later on. There was quite a bit of traffic in Two Harbors. The temperature here was down to 65 degrees.

Just north of Two Harbors I almost hit a deer.The deer was running from the right side of the roadway. I slammed on my brakes as the deer kept getting closer and closer. Finally at the last second with my Suburban slowed down sufficiently enough I swerved to the right just missing the rear end of the deer. That was close! I couldn’t have come any closer without actually hitting it.

It was now 1:15 pm when I decided to stop in at the US Forest Service office in Grand Marais. There are two people there that I know from when I worked for the US Forest Service out of Isabella, MN. Donna H. was off and Tom M. had pulled a Boundary Waters canoe permit and he was out paddling.

I talked to the two people behind the counter for a while. The guy told me he just moved to the area and it was his first year working for the Forest Service. The girl told me she was from the area and this was her third year. They both told me they liked what they were doing.

When I got close to the border I stopped at Ryden’s Border Store to get some gas. The owner is a friend of my father. I didn’t see Larry or his daughter Sam or her husband, Boomer, so I was back on the road heading for the border.

There was a line of vehicles at the border. I pulled behind the vehicle that was in front of me. It was 2:23 pm (Central) (3:23 pm Eastern). I got to the window just shy of 15 minutes of waiting. I was asked the same basic questions. Once I answered all the questions the guy handed me back my driver license and passport. Then he wished me a Happy Birthday! Yesterday was actually my birthday, but it was kind of him to mention it.

The further north I drove the temperature began to rise. I noticed it was 79 degrees about 19 miles north of the border then 82 degrees, then I stopped paying attention.

It was 4:30 pm (eastern) when I stopped at Ostrom’s to browse. Never did buy anything here either, but I picked up a free copy of the 2009 August/September issue of “Northern Wilds”. It’s a outdoor newspaper out of Grand Marais.

When I saw a sign for Tim Horton’s I had to stop. I picked up four muffins. Two blueberry and two fruit explosions. Why??? I had coffee in my thermos! I wasn’t hungry! Must be a habit to stop at Tim Horton’s when I’m in Canada.

I arrived at the Econolodge in Thunder Bay at 4:50 pm. When I told the clerk who I was, she said, Oh, this is for you! She handed me a note that was written 20 minutes earlier by Dave. The note said he was continuing on to Armstrong and he was going to stay at Wildwater’s B & B. He would see me at Elliott’s (Mattice Lake Outfitter’s) tomorrow.

I was all checked in and had my stuff in my room by 5 pm. Eventually, I turned on the TV and turned to the Canadian Weather Channel. I didn’t catch the weather lady’s name, but she kept saying that summer was finally here. Oh, I said to myself, it’s the middle of August.

Now there’s another lady, Nadine Powell, on the weather channel saying the same thing. Before I left Champlin I bought a heavy duty needle at Walgreens. I sewed a hole in one of my pockets while listening to Nadine Powell tell me about their summer here in Ontario.

This is the same motel where Pete and I stayed before our trip last year. Dick, the 4th paddler, stayed in another room here, also.

There was no Fox News on the TV so I watched the weather channel and parts of some other shows. Finally settling in to watch KARE 11 News out of Minneapolis. Well, TV was very boring, since I usually don’t watch that much TV.

Finally, I shut the TV off and did some reading at 10:45 pm. I’m not sure when I fell asleep, but at 11:50 pm I jumped out of bed after hearing a noise. I didn’t know what the noise was at first, but when I looked outside I saw fireworks shooting horizontally across my window behind my Suburban. There was someone who I couldn’t see very well down by one of the doors to the office of the motel shooting them off.

Went back to bed and about 10 minutes later the fireworks started up again. I looked out the window again to see if they were hitting my Suburban or not. It took some time for me to get back to sleep. While lying in bed I heard some talking and some footsteps in the parking lot.

Sometime during the night I heard, “it’s locked!” hopefully they were talking about some other vehicle and not mine. By the time I got up and looked out the window I didn’t see anyone.

In the morning at 04:30 am I heard thunder.

Another Travel Day: Saturday, 08-15-09

Once again I was up before my 6 am alarm waiting for it to go off. Once it went off I turned it off. About 10 minutes later I heard the seagulls making loud noises while they were flying around the parking lot. I eventually got out of bed at 06:36 am. I wasn’t in a big hurry.

There was a coffee machine in the room so I made a small pot, but it looked awfully weak. Luckily, I still had some coffee in my thermos so I poured a cup from it.

Listening to the news this morning they were saying there were some large storms to the west last night. There was a chance of more severe storms in the area today and to the north of here.

I took a shower before checking out. There was a different lady behind the counter. She asked how my night was. I told her about the fireworks and that they kept me up awhile. She told me she asked the night person if anything happened over night and she wasn’t told about any fireworks. I told her they were coming from this area of the building.

There’s another Tim Horton’s up the road from the motel where we stopped last year prior to heading to Armstrong. I decided to stop and have my thermos filled with coffee. Next, I wanted to stop at a gas station before leaving Thunder Bay. I wanted to fill up my tank so I didn’t need to buy any gas in Armstrong. It’s about 150 miles between Thunder Bay and Armstrong without any gas stations or anything else as far as that goes. So that’s a 300 mile round trip.

The temperature was 67 degrees with a fog over the city. It appeared there had been a lot of rain last night with all the water standing on the road.

Well, I’m on the long stretch of road to Armstrong. I began driving the road to Armstrong, Hwy. 527, at 08:30 am. As I continued up the road the temperature slowly rose to 70 degrees. It looked like the sky was going to clear, then about 60 miles south of Armstrong the sky became foggy and gray. The temperature dropped to 59 degrees.

Finally, I pulled into the parking lot at Mattice Lake Outfitter’s at 11:20 am. It was 149 miles from the gas station where I stopped in the northern part of Thunder Bay to Mattice Lake.

There were some other vehicles in the parking lot where I parked. I saw Dave standing on the dock with some other people who were casting a line in the water. As soon as I got down there a young boy caught a walleye.

Dave and I exchanged our hellos before heading up to the office to see Yolanda. The weather wasn’t cooperating. The guys with the kid on the dock were supposed to fly to Whitewater Lake today, but with the strong NE wind there were 4 foot rollers coming over the dock at the outpost. No one was flying.

Yolanda told us everything was backed up. She suggested we go to lunch and come back later.

Dave and I went to E & J’s Cafe in Armstrong. There were a lot of people inside. Dave commented that this was the most people he has ever seen in the cafe. It must be because everyone else is grounded.

I only had a hamburger and fries.

We drove back to Mattice Lake Outfitter’s and spoke to Yolanda. She gave us our game plan, since they couldn’t fly any of their guest to any of their outpost.

Since the cabin that we were going to stay in tonight was still being used by the group that was down on the dock earlier and their other cabin was rented to a group of five that Mattice Lake Outfitter’s was going to set us up at Wildwater’s B & B.

We stayed at Wildwater’s last year and Dave spent last night there. Yolanda told us we couldn’t check in at Wildwater’s until 5 pm, so we could use their larger cabin to sort our gear until then.

Yolanda also told us that she was moving to Thunder Bay. She was leaving in a half hour. We both didn’t believe her when she said it, but she said she was leaving the business and she’s going to do some social work in Thunder Bay. She said her husband already had a job as a firefighter. This was unsuspected for us. I shook her hand and wished her good luck. Many of you know Yolanda and know how much of an integral part of the family business she was.

Dave and I headed to the cabin to sort our gear. My pack was pretty much ready to go, but I took some stuff out because it was way too heavy at 67 pounds.

There was a lady who was cleaning the cabin when we got there. She mentioned that she wasn’t aware that Yolanda was leaving until today, either.

Dave and I sorted through our 21 days worth of food. The original plan was to take one food pack and to put the remainder of the food in each of our personal packs. After throwing another 15 pounds in my pack I knew I didn’t want to take a chance in carrying it. That’s the reason I brought along my Granite Gear Quetico pack. Now with the extra bag I took some additional items such the stove, fuel and some smaller items from my other pack and placed them in this pack. My personal pack was now down to 57 pounds while the other ones were around 55 pounds.

We are using a 60 liter blue barrel as one of our food packs. I’ve never travel with a barrel before.

It was now a quarter to five and we were done sorting our gear. We walked back up to the office and spoke with Don Elliott. He showed us the weather radar on his computer. It showed a large storm over us and it extended all the way to Iowa.

Earlier he told us to check in around noon tomorrow, but now he changed it to 9 am. Henry, one of Don’s pilots, said last Saturday’s groups were finally flown in to their outpost destinations on Monday.

We drove over to Wildwater’s B & B and spoke to Bert and Brenda. We checked in and got our room.

Before heading to E & J’s for dinner we went over some other trip reports that covered some of our route.

E & J’s had a few people inside when we arrived, but it quickly filled up. We had the Roast Pork special with mash potatoes, gravy and vegetables. I also had the soup and the dessert.

While back at Wildwater’s a group of four came inside. They were planning to paddle the Kopka River. With all the flights backed up they decided to get a shuttle from Bert and put in at a different spot. Dave planted the seed of paddling the Winisk River. He said we could access it from the Pickle Lake Road.

Dave was looking at some of the canoeing books on a cart in the main room while I finish up writing for the night. Time 09:31 pm.

Lay Over Day: Sunday, 08-16-09

Dave and I shared a room last night. Dave snored on and off.

Last night I heard Brenda say she was going to get up at 5 am. She would put out breakfast then get the guys up that Bert was going to drive to their put-in on the Kopka River. I got up shortly before I heard Brenda getting the other guys up. I laid in bed for another 1 1/2 hours. I never fell back to sleep.

The coffee was made and Brenda had put some fruit out. I went to my Suburban and got a protein drink and some yogurt.

It was around 08:00 am when we went over to Mattice Lake to see if Don was flying. Nope!

Dave and I took the opportunity to drive to the end of the Caribou Lake Road. We met Mary Jo, from Wisconsin, her and her husband own the Forrest Lodge, We spoke to her before deciding to drive a ways on the Airport Road for a few kilometers. This is a dirt/gravel road and travel is fairly slow. This is the road we will travel coming from Boucher’s Bear Camp back to Armstrong after we complete our canoe trip.

We drove back to Mattice Lake to see if anyone was flying, yet. It was 10:45 am when the Beaver floatplane at a neighboring dock took off with some people. Don Elliott was just taking off in his Otter. Don’s Beaver stayed tied up at his dock.

The Beaver next door took about 4 to 5 trips. Don’s Beaver on another lake took one group of two to a lake nearby, but that was it. These two guys stayed at Wildwater’s last night that went in Don’s Beaver, but they weren’t going far.

Everyone was watching the skies. Sometimes the sky appeared it was going to clear then the fog would roll in. Don’s outposts on the different lakes were calling in every 15 minutes giving updates on their local weather. They were wondering when Don would be coming. Other guys at the outpost were calling in to have someone call their wives to let them know they weren’t coming out. Some of these people were supposed to be out two days earlier. Other groups have been trying to get into the outpost the last two days. Things were getting severely backed up and the weather wasn’t getting any better.

Several of us just sat around and talked. Eventually the rain really started to fall. Just before it did Don took off in the Otter with the group that was staying in the cabin that we were supposed to stay in last night. This group was trying to get to Whitewater Lake. Don returned shortly with this group. Don said he got only to Caribou Lake and had to turn around because of the very heavy fog.

Before all that took place Dave went into town to eat. I stayed behind and ate some chicken, protein drink and a bagel with some peanut butter. I wanted to finish off some of the food I brought from home.

There were groups of fishermen from New York, Wisconsin, Iowa and other places. Most of the people were taking the delays in stride others not so well.

Finally about 5 pm Don came out and told everyone that they weren’t going to try and fly anymore today. They were trying to find accommodations for everyone that was stranded who were flying to one of their outpost. That left Dave and I to find our own lodging tonight. Well, we hoped Wildwater’s had room.

There was one group of four that was going to sleep on cots in the office of Mattice Lake. They were going to be joined by a father and his adult son. Other people were going to Elliott’s private cabin on MacKenzie Lake. Don made the offer for us to stay on the floor or a cot in the office, if there was room.

We decided to spend the money and stay at Wildwater’s if they had room. We talked to Brenda who said they didn’t have room even though there wasn’t anyone there other than the three of us. We checked in after Brenda was done pulling our leg.

Dave and I went back to E & J’s in Armstrong for another wonderful special.This time it was roast chicken breast, mash potatoes with gravy, piece of bread and dessert.

When we arrived there was another father and son who were being flown by another outfitter and they were grounded. More groups started arriving to the restaurant. I also saw a couple with their two teenage children come in to eat dinner.

Back at Wildwater’s we talked to Brenda. We kept watching the weather while I wrote in my journal.The closest town on the weather station was Thunder Bay and it’s 150 miles south.

Brenda told us the weather has been like this all summer long. The jet stream had pretty much stalled over the area all summer long. The past week-end was the nicest days of the summer. I guess Nadine Powell of the weather station wasn’t kidding when she said summer finally arrived, but it now has settled back into this system.

Bert told us last night he hasn’t seen this much water in the rivers at this time of the year in the past 10 years. He told us the water level was spring time levels.

The couple with the two teenage children that I saw earlier at E & J’s came walking in. After they got settled in we began to talk about their trip. They were from Toronto, Canada and they have been taking a yearly family canoe trip.

They had decided to do about a week long trip as I recall maybe 10 days. They were going to fly into Burntrock Lake then paddle out of the park. They planned to do some of the same route that we travelled last year. They had some topo maps of the area, but they didn’t have any portages or other information marked on them. I tried to help them the best I could with what I remembered. They mentioned last year they went to Quetico with their maps and did the same type of planning. Very little, if any! I have a different personality and wouldn’t think of just grabbing a map, a canoe, then leave without being some what better prepared.

Now that I’m sitting here at my computer writing this trip report after we have experienced the extremely high water I hope they made it without any mishaps. I gave them my blog address while at Wildwater’s and I asked them to e-mail me to let me know how their trip went, but I have never heard from them.

Day 1: Monday, 08-17-09

Lakes / Rivers Traveled:

Pashkokogan Lake

East Pashkokogan Lake
Greenbush Lake

Travel Time: 7:53

Distance: 21 miles / 33.8 km

I slept pretty good last night. I woke to the sounds of the Beavers flying at 06:21 am. Two beavers took off, then I heard the distinct sound of the Otter. When I got up out of bed and walked into the common area there was no one else up. I went to my Suburban and grabbed a protein drink and a plum. When I walked back inside Brenda was up putting out the continental breakfast. The coffee was ready.

The family of four from Toronto got up and had breakfast. Before Dave and I left from Mattice Lake we took some photos of the family then Brenda took pictures of all of us together. The temperature was in the 50’s with blue skies.

We left the B & B at 08:30 am. When we got to Mattice Lake we took care of all the paperwork, then paid our money for the flight; camping fees on crown land, Albany Provincial Park and Wabakimi Provincial Park land; fishing license and truck shuttle. After the paperwork was done I grabbed one pack and my pelican case with camera gear and placed it near the dock. I went back to my Suburban to move it where it would be parked for the next three weeks.

I was up at my Suburban organizing the last of my gear and making sure I had everything. I carried my second pack down to the other one. My pack was there, but my bright orange pelican case was missing. I couldn’t believe someone could have mistakingly took my pelican case with my camera gear. We were close to leaving and the last thing I wanted to do was leave without my camera. I asked some others who were standing around if they saw anyone take it. I asked Renita, who took over Yolanda’s position, if she had seen it. I followed her inside to talk to Annette Elliott who said she told Dave to take our gear to the end of the dock. Annette carried my pelican case to the end of the dock where we could place our packs. When I looked at the end of the dock there it was. What a relief!

Henry, the pilot of the Beaver, touched down at 10:08 am to prepare for our flight. Henry and the other helper, I never got his name, tied the canoe to the struts. While this was going on I talked to Tom Hurtte from Indiana.

We were finally going to be flying to Pashkokogan Lake shortly. At 10:36 am we were on our way. This was Henry’s first year at Mattice Lake. Dave showed him on the map where we were going since Henry hadn’t been there before and didn’t know where it was located.

The beaver wasn’t as smooth as the otter with the canoe tied to the struts.

While flying in a NW direction outside the park I could see all the logging that has taken place with numerous logging roads. When we got to Pashkokogan Lake Henry made a big circle before dropping down and landing on the lake at 11:22 am. He told us it was 63 nautical miles from Mattice Lake. (UTM # 1) (15U 0681239 5646755)

The wind was beginning to build and it sure was a good thing we left when we did. Henry got out of the beaver first and untied the canoe. We then got out and we kept the canoe next to the float while we loaded the canoe. Henry wished us good luck just before we paddled away from the beaver so he could get back into the air. I took a GPS reading where we started from.

We paddled to land where we secured the packs into the canoe. We noticed that the water level was up significantly. The water level was up into the trees on shore. We paddled pretty much our intended route on Pashkokogan Lake along the south shore. This is a big lake. The wind was kicking up the waves and they were piling up on the east end of the lake where we were looking for our first portage. We were surfing the 2 foot waves going to the east shore, but then we needed to follow the shore to the north while looking for the portage. Now the waves were hitting us broadside.

We missed the portage the first time. We paddled almost to the end of the bay along the east shore just so we could rule out that we didn’t go far enough. When we came back down we found the portage tucked underneath the shrubs. The actual portage was under water at the start for about 40 meters. We dragged the canoe up to the point where we couldn’t drag it anymore then we unloaded the canoe. I was going to take another GPS reading here, but I never did since we were in the bush aways. We portage the 150 meter portage where I took a GPS reading (UTM # 2) at the put-in on East Pashkokogan Lake. This portage was very wet, under water in many places, lots of mosquitos, but it was flat.

We ate lunch before moving on. We had peanut butter, pita bread, gorp and a energy bar.

The wind on East Pashkokogan didn’t bother us since it was coming out of the west.

We made it to our second portage. This was the “boardwalk” portage. There were logs that were placed lengthwise and crosswise. This was probably used to drag boats across it. The portage was under water at the beginning. The middle section of the portage had leveled rocks, mud and roots.

Once we got across this portage we were now on Greenbush Lake. Another big lake. Once we got to the main body of water we hugged the north shore. While traveling this shore we came across a shore lunch site that I marked on my topo map. We also saw in another area where an outfitter had a tent camp behind one of the islands. This was about 5 km from the beginning of the main body of water. Dave was told there were a lot of campsites on this lake. Well, there wasn’t any on the side we travelled and there wasn’t anything obvious when looking at the surrounding areas of the lake. We probably couldn’t have safely crossed the lake anyways with the size of the waves.

It was 07:03 pm when Dave thought he spotted a potential area to camp on a larger island, but after he walked over all the deadfall there wasn’t any good areas for one tent let alone two.

We checked another spot on a high outcropping on a point. At one time this was an excellent campsite, but now there are many deadfalls taking up most of all the good sites for tents. It’s pretty limited now, but it’ll work for us. (UTM # 3). There hadn’t been any recent activity. Enough room for two 2-man tents (2 x 2).

Dark clouds have been following us for most of the day so we put up our tents right away. It began to sprinkle while putting them up, but the real dark clouds were moving off to the west.

Dave found some more rocks and added them to an old fire ring to cook over. We had plenty of wood, but it was all very wet. It was hard to light the fire even harder to keep it lit. The other bad thing was it took a long time to cook dinner that consisted of steaks, mushrooms and coffee.

I’m in my tent at 10:05 pm. This was a long day. I’m too tired and it’s too dark to write in my journal tonight.