Day 1 of 4
Monday, June 07, 2021............ I am submitting this report from Team One perspective starting from EP 25 traveling clockwise on the loop towards Thomas Lake. My team would pass through 12 portages for a total of 415 rods with the longest at 112. Goal on Day 1 was to camp at Ashigan Lake on site #1205 located on NE corner of the lake. We paddled for approximately 9 miles which was long and grueling. Departure from EP25 around 8:40 am we arrived roughly 4pm. My son used a Kayak of which he admits to NEVER do again. From the start point to the first portage (#P439) it was a lot of paddling whereby other parties used the motor boat ferry. We opted out of the ferry due to the cost. BUT, we did have to endure the extra waves created from the wakes of speeding boats. After several hours of paddling we opted to stop at Campsite #1229 located on Ensign Lake for what we thought would be our camp for the night, but after doing a quick map recon we decided to continue on to Ashigan
~Moose Lake, Newfound Lake, Splash Lake, Ensign Lake, Ashigan Lake
Arriving to Ashigan Lake we found campsite #1205 which was close to the portage point. The decision to get to Ashigan Lake was solely on getting through the portage of 112 rods on Monday night instead of doing it the next day. The portage was tougher than the others mainly due to the length and we were happy to have it behind us. The campsite was awesome! Three casts from the fishing rod bagged two fish. Had steaks for dinner and fell asleep around 9pm.
Day 2 of 4
Tuesday, June 08, 2021.............Day two's mission was to link up with Team Two at Thomas Lake (somewhere!). Kicked off the day of paddling around 930am arriving Thomas Lake at 430pm. This trek paddled/hiked through eight portages with a total of 198 rods and seven lakes. ~Ashigan Lake, Gibson Lake, Cattyman Lake, Jordan Lake, Ima Lake, Hatchet Lake, Thomas Lake Day 2 had two scenic points worth stopping for: one was the Cattyman Falls on portage #477 and the rocky cliffs in the passageway between Jordan and Ima. By the way we jumped off of two cliffs into the water. One was a lot higher and created plenty of anxiety.
We finally arrived Thomas Lake and began making radio checks with Team Two and unfortunately for us we found them on the south side of the lake at campsite #1183
Day 3 of 4
Wednesday, June 09, 2021........... After discussion and comparing notes with Team Two's travel to Thomas Lake from EP30 it was decided that the 164 rod portage #570 was not worth killing my 16 year old daughter. Team Two compared that portage to walking in Vietnam due to the bugs, distance and having to do it twice from all the bags. Recommend ANY canoe trip to limit one large bag per person, thus negotiating each portage only once. Ok, so since it was decided to just go back in the same direction my team (Team One) went it omitted the grueling Portage #570. Although Team One had 12 portages to Team Two's 8 and we had more rods to travel we still opted to turn around and head back to EP25 at Moose Lake. Also, we enjoyed the fellowship with the four members of Team Two. Soooo, the beginning of Day 3 on Thomas Lake was extremely windy with large waves. It was important to hit the waves straight on versus rocking back and forth. The new plan was to go back to campsite #1205 due to how good it was.
Day three was excellent as we had the chance to cliff dive again and ultimately we traveled another 8 miles.
Day 4 of 4
Thursday, June 10, 2021 ............. Originally we figured our trip would be 5 days with the last day only 4 hours of paddling, BUT, due to the difficulty of the first three days we opted to kick butt and finish our trip on Thursday. Again, 10 miles of portaging and paddling, mostly open water and a good breeze. The portages were fairly simple after the first one of the day and the FINAL portage was a walk through the stream. Overall, the toughest part of the trip was the portaging and because we packed too much we had to do each portage twice. STRONGLY recommend one large pack per person and a good pair of shoes. I really had to take care of my daughter and her health, although she is one tough cookie I did not want her to be brutalized during the entire four days. I was extremely proud of her as I did not see another female in ANY other group of paddlers. In the end we did not have too much time for fishing due to the requirement to get to each way point by the end of day. The cedar strip canoe I built held up very well with exception to many scratches.
Lastly, I used a GPS and the map I bought from the outfitter. GPS helped to ensure we didn't need to paddle any extra strokes. Very helpful. Do a good map recon and plan your route, have one pack per person and a good pair of shoes that will drain. Take care, good luck.