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      Wicksteed/Darky River Loop anyone??     
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BassmasterP
member (9)member
 
01/24/2019 10:51AM
Hey all,
In 2017 we did a 10 day trip to Quetico and we are headed that way again this September. We spent an entire day on Wicksteed and it was amazing - plan to do it again this time around. But...instead of just hanging out and fishing that lake we plan to do a day trip in to Darky then North up the Darky River and back in to Wicksteed. It seems there is a seldom used portage about 1.25 miles up the river that leads back to the North end of Wicksteed. There is also a small creek that runs about 2 miles from Wicksteed in to the Darky River.

Has anyone every traveled either of these - the portage or the creek?

My guess is that the creek may be dry as a bone in September or it may to shallow or narrow to navigate. Or...we may be hopping beaver dams all day long.

Either of these routes will make for an excellent day trip - but the creek option would certainly be the more adventurous . We're a couple of 48 year old guys but in excellent shape - the rigors of the creek option don't scare me, but it behooves us to find out if anyone can provide insight before we pass the portage, start in on the creek,and find that is was a really bad idea!



Thanks!
 
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dentondoc
distinguished member(1023)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2019 05:00PM
I ran into a group of guys on the portage into the Darkwater River in 2016. They had come over the portage you referenced (Wicksteed to Darkwater) and mentioned that the trail was coming close to being bushwhack conditions. I took a look in the area where the portage was supposed to be when I passed by, but didn't spot it. I passed this way again last season and scanned the shoreline again with the same result. That said, if you want to try it, you might consider crossing from the Wicksteed side and going south to the main Wicksteed/Darkwater portage.

You might also want to check out a campsite on Wicksteed. In your satellite image, the campsite is on the southwest end of what is likely the largest island in your image. The island is in the bottom left corner and only about 1/3 of it shows. I've checked out several campsites on Wicksteed. I believe this is the largest. Not a great put-in/take-out, but serviceable. The south end of the island is elevated and provides nice (270 degree) panoramic views of the lake. There is also a smaller island to the west that helps provide a little wind break from westerly winds. I don't believe this campsite is referenced on any map or campsite database that I've seen.

dd
Eyedocron
distinguished member (441)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2019 07:45PM
I like Wicksteed. Been there twice, once by mistake.
First time was as a Boy Scout, out of Moose Lake. We camped on Darky Lake and went west down the river. There are several small portages, and on one of them, the guide led us south and finally realized we were at Wicksteed, instead of downstream. We went back to Darky River, and on downstream as desired.

Years later, went up the Malign River from Twin Falls to Tanner Lake, took the Eat em Up portage to the Darky River and went east up the river. Carefully looked for the portage into the north end of Wicksteed and did not find it, so paddled on into Darky Lake and took the portage into the east end of Wicksteed. Caught a bunch of big northerns, which I like, and camped on an island overrun with ants in the east central part of the lake.
Eyedocron
distinguished member (441)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2019 08:05PM
The ant infested island is listed as 9K on PP in Wicksteed.
Eyedocron
distinguished member (441)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2019 08:08PM
By the way, some of the best Indian drawings in the Quetico are on a paddle-up-to rock wall towards the south east part of Darky Lake.
dentondoc
distinguished member(1023)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2019 10:01PM
Eyedocron: "By the way, some of the best Indian drawings in the Quetico are on a paddle-up-to rock wall towards the south east part of Darky Lake."
There is also another, less dramatic picto site further south on the west side.

dd
AmarilloJim
distinguished member(1987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/25/2019 07:53AM
dentondoc: "Eyedocron: "By the way, some of the best Indian drawings in the Quetico are on a paddle-up-to rock wall towards the south east part of Darky Lake."
There is also another, less dramatic picto site further south on the west side.


dd"

How close to the portage is this set?
dentondoc
distinguished member(1023)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/25/2019 09:00AM
AmarilloJim: "dentondoc: "Eyedocron: "By the way, some of the best Indian drawings in the Quetico are on a paddle-up-to rock wall towards the south east part of Darky Lake."
There is also another, less dramatic picto site further south on the west side.

dd"

How close to the portage is this set?"

The "Thunderbird" icons on this map segment mark the approximate locations of the Darkwater pictographs. The pictographs on the east side are quite vivid and are visible from some distance away. (These locations are from memory. It is possible that the east side pictos are in the back of the bay just south of where it is marked.)

dd
AmarilloJim
distinguished member(1987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/25/2019 09:40AM
dentondoc: "AmarilloJim: "dentondoc: "Eyedocron: "By the way, some of the best Indian drawings in the Quetico are on a paddle-up-to rock wall towards the south east part of Darky Lake."
There is also another, less dramatic picto site further south on the west side.


dd"

How close to the portage is this set?"

The "Thunderbird" icons on this map segment mark the approximate locations of the Darkwater pictographs. The pictographs on the east side are quite vivid and are visible from some distance away. (These locations are from memory. It is possible that the east side pictos are in the back of the bay just south of where it is marked.)


dd
"

Gracias
01/25/2019 07:44PM
dentondoc: "Eyedocron: "By the way, some of the best Indian drawings in the Quetico are on a paddle-up-to rock wall towards the south east part of Darky Lake."
There is also another, less dramatic picto site further south on the west side.


dd"


I need to get in to see these.
jphares44
member (49)member
 
01/26/2019 09:29PM
We took that Wicksteed portage in Sep 2016, and it was a little brushy but not too bad. Sorry, can't give any insight on the creek route, as I've never gone through there.
jdddl8
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/27/2019 09:44PM
I did the north end portage over ten years ago and don’t recall any trouble finding it. You might consider doing the loop from Wicksteed to Ballard to Darky and then back to Wicksteed. I did that as a day trip about three years ago and it gives you a nice day with still plenty of time to fish.
jphares44
member (49)member
 
01/28/2019 11:52AM
jdddl8: "I did the north end portage over ten years ago and don’t recall any trouble finding it. You might consider doing the loop from Wicksteed to Ballard to Darky and then back to Wicksteed. I did that as a day trip about three years ago and it gives you a nice day with still plenty of time to fish. "

I agree 100% . Ballard deserves at least a day trip. The largemouth bass and walleye fishing make it worth it!
JuanCarlos
member (12)member
 
02/07/2019 01:15PM
We took that portage last summer in June. We stayed on Darky for three days and day-tripped one day on Wicksteed, though we were rained out by torrential rains and lightning. We headed up Darky river to the portage - it was a bit hard to find, but not bad. A bit overgrown as others have mentioned, but very passable. Not a bad portage. We saw big moose tracks and some wolf tracks too on that portage, if I remember correctly. A bit boggy at the darky river side in June.
oth
Guest Paddler
 
02/18/2019 07:55PM
+1 on Ballaed
 
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