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DancesWithTrees
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09/27/2017 08:01AM
I've posted about Zephira before. No one had been there. I've talked with Rangers, who have not heard of anyone going there either. I've seen a few posters here try, and not get there. One got there, but didn't put a boat on the water. It appears to be the largest named lake in Quetico with no route to it. Googling reveals no stories of anyone paddling it. History books and docs appear to say that logging occurred just west and north of it, but probably not on it's shores, at least not documented or recent. How long has it been since people have camped on it or been on it's waters? Years? Decades?

In 2018, I'm going.

I haven't been to the Q in about 8-9 years (not coincidentally, just after the first kid arrived), and I miss it something fierce. But I'm putting together a crew of experienced folk to take on the challenge - to paddle Zephira. I've been to Cache a few times and am quite familiar with the route to and from there. I've got a routing plan in mind for Cache to Zephira (unnamed creek from east shore of Cache, north as far as we can go up to the old logging road cut, then walk east to the lake from wherever we make it - a sort of fan of possible routes).

I'll update this thread as we approach the trip, and I'm happy to take any advice any of you all may have. I know some things have changed in the last decade - GPS use is now common, people seem to be moving from 4-man tents to 1-man tented hammocks, etc. We plan to go ultra-light, like a backpacking trip, and will take any ideas from the crowd on ways you have lightened your loads over the years. We may also go to Cache 2-per-canoe, then hike to Zephira 3-per-canoe (would leave a boat or two cached on Cache along with the last couple days of food or anything else we won't need on Zephira hung from a tree). It will be bad enough carrying a 17' beast on our shoulders through that backcountry, so the more we can lighten the packs, the better off we'll be.

Also, if you were going, what would be your goals while on the lake? Looking for pictos or other signs of history? Fishing? Finding an ideal campsite? Depth checking the lake? Photography? Exploring the creeks in and out of it?
 
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09/27/2017 09:40PM
quote DancesWithTrees: "I've posted about Zephira before. No one had been there. I've talked with Rangers, who have not heard of anyone going there either. I've seen a few posters here try, and not get there. One got there, but didn't put a boat on the water. It appears to be the largest named lake in Quetico with no route to it. Googling reveals no stories of anyone paddling it. History books and docs appear to say that logging occurred just west and north of it, but probably not on it's shores, at least not documented or recent. How long has it been since people have camped on it or been on it's waters? Years? Decades?

In 2018, I'm going.

I haven't been to the Q in about 8-9 years (not coincidentally, just after the first kid arrived), and I miss it something fierce. But I'm putting together a crew of experienced folk to take on the challenge - to paddle Zephira. I've been to Cache a few times and am quite familiar with the route to and from there. I've got a routing plan in mind for Cache to Zephira (unnamed creek from east shore of Cache, north as far as we can go up to the old logging road cut, then walk east to the lake from wherever we make it - a sort of fan of possible routes).

I'll update this thread as we approach the trip, and I'm happy to take any advice any of you all may have. I know some things have changed in the last decade - GPS use is now common, people seem to be moving from 4-man tents to 1-man tented hammocks, etc. We plan to go ultra-light, like a backpacking trip, and will take any ideas from the crowd on ways you have lightened your loads over the years. We may also go to Cache 2-per-canoe, then hike to Zephira 3-per-canoe (would leave a boat or two cached on Cache along with the last couple days of food or anything else we won't need on Zephira hung from a tree). It will be bad enough carrying a 17' beast on our shoulders through that backcountry, so the more we can lighten the packs, the better off we'll be.

Also, if you were going, what would be your goals while on the lake? Looking for pictos or other signs of history? Fishing? Finding an ideal campsite? Depth checking the lake? Photography? Exploring the creeks in and out of it?
"
I can send you the coordinates on the route I took to get there if you would like to check them out. I took the Creek north, and then bushwhacked almost straight east . Very doable, although it was a pretty steep drop down to the lake where I ended up. The undergrowth was not near as bad as I thought it would be. There are some very large old growth trees between the river and Zephira, some of the biggest I've encountered in Quetico.good luck, and hope the fishing is awesome!!
DancesWithTrees
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09/28/2017 07:57AM

I can send you the coordinates on the route I took to get there if you would like to check them out. I took the Creek north, and then bushwhacked almost straight east . Very doable, although it was a pretty steep drop down to the lake where I ended up. The undergrowth was not near as bad as I thought it would be. There are some very large old growth trees between the river and Zephira, some of the biggest I've encountered in Quetico.good luck, and hope the fishing is awesome!!"


From the man who reached the shore!

When I dug through a few images I found in books of old logging maps, as I noted earlier it looks like the areas around Zephira itself hadn't been logged (or at least not in the later periods). So the old growth makes sense - and tends to be better for walking through too. So that's good news.

I am sure we will fish, though fishing has always been a side order for me on Quetico trips. I'll make sure we bring a couple rods/reels and a variety of lures though, just to cast a few here and there and see what's in the lake. I'm sure people will be very curious to know what's in there, fish-wise.

And yes please, feel free to message me and you can pass along whatever data points you have!
MagicPaddler
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09/28/2017 10:10AM
From what I remember the creek is narrow, shallow and winding. If you go when the water is high the creek would be easier to paddle.
DancesWithTrees
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09/28/2017 01:12PM
quote MagicPaddler: "From what I remember the creek is narrow, shallow and winding. If you go when the water is high the creek would be easier to paddle. "
Had a similar thought. Water is typically (but not always) higher early in the season, so we might shoot for late May or early June for that reason. Also then you get the benefit of less undergrowth at that stage, and fewer mosquitos.
mr.barley
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09/28/2017 04:49PM
If you bother putting a canoe in you HAVE to fish it. If not for yourself, for everyone else. ;-)
DancesWithTrees
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09/29/2017 08:10AM
quote mr.barley: "If you bother putting a canoe in you HAVE to fish it. If not for yourself, for everyone else. ;-)"
Oh we will certainly do some fishing. I'm not an expert but I've caught plenty of fish in the Q before, and I'll make sure we try for a few different species and see what we get.
mapsguy1955
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10/24/2017 01:33PM
I was talking to an Atikokan local recently who had been there several years ago. He told me the illusion was much better than the reality and had no desire to return, however he enjoyed the online hype about it. He didn't fish it so maybe it is good. For sure, it is the least traveled lake with a name in the Q! Seeing untrampled old growth forest would be cool!

Good luck!
Stumpy
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11/02/2017 01:53PM
quote mapsguy1955: " For sure, it is the least traveled lake with a name in the Q! "

I'm not sure about that. Try and find somebody else, who's camped and canoed Dettbarn Lake.
mapsguy1955
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11/02/2017 02:22PM
Dettbarn Lake... hmmm.. Where the heck is it?
Stumpy
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11/02/2017 03:07PM
quote mapsguy1955: "Dettbarn Lake... hmmm.. Where the heck is it?"
East of Agnes, North of Fauquier.
Eyedocron
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11/03/2017 11:16AM
Hmmm - PP shows a 2 star campsite on Dettbarn, but no portage to get there.
Stumpy
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11/03/2017 11:43AM
quote Eyedocron: "Hmmm - PP shows a 2 star campsite on Dettbarn, but no portage to get there."

It's probably listed because of someone I told...
 
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