Saturday, December 3, 2016

Arcly and Elo do Donald Lake

Arcly and Elo, 2016.

I think this was rice lake.

I think it was August when Elo and I had our annual trip. This year we were back in Ontario for a canoe/portage trip. We went up to the Chiniguchi Waterway. This was about a 3-4 hour drive from my parents house (near Barrie). About 1.5 hour farther north of the French River (where we went a few years ago).


To the right is a map of the waterway. It was taken from www.ottertooth.com, a great resource for ON maps. We relied heavily on a GPS as well. Some of the portages were very hard to see from the lake, and it was not uncommon for one of us to have to pop out of the canoe and explore the shoreline to find the trail.

I've annotated the ottertooth map with a black line marking our path. We started at the sportsman lodge. I can not say enough bad things about the human scum that runs the lodge. I used to go there as a child, boy things have changed! It cost $50 to store my car, half in a bush. Got told off and frankly, felt unsafe with the man running the place. But, moving on...

On the first day we did two portages, and paddled to Donald lake. Donald and Colin Scott were the clearest lakes. Almost every lake was amazing to swim in, but Donald and Colin Scott stood out as the top two. Donald was so clear. It had fish (bass?) and the occasional floating blob of goo. What are those goo blobs? They were suspended in the water, like alien invaders aimlessly floating about. Our second camp site was also on Donald and it was one of the nicest spots we saw.

On the third day we did what felt like 1,000,000 portages (actually 7) all the way to Rice lake. After that day we were determined to do as few portages as possible. I would not exactly say that we packed lightly. We took 2L or wine and a cast iron pan to bake a cake in. We also did not have a proper portage pack. We just had our hiking bags. So each portage we actually had to to three times (two trips of junk for a total of three lengths.. sigh). Day three was when I was finally able to catch a fish. It was a fairly undignified catch. The tiny fish got off the hook and I crawled along the ground like Gollum trying to catch it, which I finally did.

On day four and five we decided to paddle all the way down Maskinonge lake. We were hit with a serious headwind and decided to cut day four short and camp on an island on Maskinoge lake. There is nothing quite like having your own island to swim on. Also, Maskinonge is surprisingly quiet. I were expecting a lot of motor boats, but saw very few.

On the final day we went through Carafel Creek, which required another ~5 portages/carry overs, and back down Kukagami lake. Again we were faced with quite the headwind on Kukagami, but the thought of fast food got us through it, and a storm.

Elo and I were very excited to find the natural water slide in Carafel Creek. BE WARNED. This is a LEECH SLIDE. After sliding down a disappointing "slide" you will find yourself covered in leeches! not worth it!

Carafel Creek, feeling a little lost?
I totally know what I am doing. Swatting flies and failing to reel in fish. 
World's largest hands holding the worlds smallest fish. Small mouth bass? Or just a small fish?
ribbit.  Saw this little fellow on day three. Karl Lake, very pretty, shallow in spots with some small falls you will need to portage around. 
Some cool cat on Karl lake. 
Donald Lake

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