BWCA Putting in the end of next week! Boundary Waters Group Forum: Wabakimi
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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Wabakimi
      Putting in the end of next week!     

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joewildlife
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08/30/2021 08:45PM  
I've been tripping with my daughter and a couple friends for the last ten years but never planned a trip to Wabakimi. Just haven't gotten Quetico and Woodland Caribou out of my system yet. I had nothing more than a vague awareness of Wabakimi and a paper planning map from Ontario Parks up until last week. When BWCA closed, I decided it was time. I immediately joined Friends of Wabakimi and ordered a route book and their planning map, but needed some help on where to start. I have to say, Bruce Hyer at Wabakimi Canoe Outfitters is taking care of us with a fly-in, truck shuttle out from Burnt Rock to Little Caribou. He provided me a set of maps to laminate and the route suggestion. Perhaps it is a "newbie" route, I dunno. Next year I'll take what I have learned and decide on my own route. Looking forward to getting my first Wabakimi trip under my belt! Hopefully it will be like my first trips to Woodland Caribou. First trip I had some planning assistance from Harlen and it was good. Second trip I figured out on my own and it was even better!

Joe

 
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08/30/2021 09:08PM  
Enjoy your trip, Joe. I hope you'll report back afterwards for those of us considering a trip there.
 
jcavenagh
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09/01/2021 07:16PM  
I don't think that is a newb route at all.
Are you paddling through Whitewater Lake or Wabakimi Lake?
The portages should be in decent shape on either route.

Please let us know how many other canoes you see. 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5...
Enjoy!
 
straighthairedcurly
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09/01/2021 09:03PM  
Enjoy your trip. Not sure I will ever get back that way, but I paddled through that area in the '80s (1981 before it was even officially Wabakimi Provintial Park and again in 1987 and 1988). Loved it!
 
joewildlife
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09/02/2021 01:02AM  
jcavenagh: "I don't think that is a newb route at all.
Are you paddling through Whitewater Lake or Wabakimi Lake?
The portages should be in decent shape on either route.

Please let us know how many other canoes you see. 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5...
Enjoy!"


We are going through Whitewater. I like your optimism as far as how few other canoes we see. With WCPP all burned up, who know? Wab might become our favored destination!

Joe
 
09/03/2021 05:17PM  
This may be your route. Burnt Rock to Little Caribou
 
joewildlife
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09/03/2021 09:31PM  
Looks like it!
thanks for sharing!
Their trip looks similar to our WCPP trip...rugged and beautiful and great fishing!
Joe
 
joewildlife
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09/03/2021 09:31PM  
Looks like it!
thanks for sharing!
Their trip looks similar to our WCPP trip...rugged and beautiful and great fishing!
Joe
 
09/05/2021 03:10PM  
That's a good route. I've only entered on the west side of the park, but I'm thinking that I might go out of Armstrong and head for Whitewater, exiting at Little Caribou. Maybe taking the train in to Schultz' landing?
 
wyopaddler
senior member (62)senior membersenior member
 
09/05/2021 05:29PM  
Ha! A similar thing happened to us. We were evicted from the Quetico due to fires and still had a 10 day ration of food packed. Called up Bruce and Margaret at the Wabakimi Lodge and they set us up with a 10 trip on the Kopka River. Waterfalls-Walleye-Blueberries, etc. and didn't see one other boat! We just drove over from the Quetico and after a scrumptious dinner at the lodge flew in the next morning. Just got back yesterday. Have a great trip!

 
jcavenagh
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09/24/2021 02:04PM  
So, Joe...it seems like this has been a particularly big year for Wab.
I really am wondering how many other canoeists you saw.
 
joewildlife
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09/26/2021 08:06PM  
I will write up a trip report at some point.

We saw exactly ZERO canoeists. We saw one fishing boat with three guys in it on Smoothrock lake one afternoon, heading into serious whitecaps and rollers. We were flying downwind in the same conditions in our catted-up Kruger Sea Wind canoes. I think we were safer than them!

We saw NO ONE else in the entire trip inside Park Borders. We saw NO footprints on the portages. Never saw an occupied campsite. It was only on day 9 that we saw two fishing boats on Caribou lake, which is on Crown Land and outside the Park Boundaries. The portages were in excellent shape, we had a 100 mile trip and there was ONE blowdown that the canoes had to go over and I had to go under. Bruce had some guests that did chainsaw work on some of them this year and they had been tended to last year as well. Of course some were brushy but they were all in excellent shape. Except for one that was totally impassible and has been that way for years...Bruce had our route NOT go that way but other sources indicated it was a usable route. Again, more details later.

If you like Woodland Caribou but perhaps the amount of fire there is getting to be too much, then Wabakimi is the place. It does have burns, but they are limited to certain areas. We saw everything there...lots of swampy lowlands, sandy beaches, but lots of granite shield, rocks, cliffs, as well as some incredible river sections. It became apparent to us that Wabakimi is now our next go-to trip. I won't say it is a great place to "freelance"...but it was totally worth it and wonderfully worth it to use Bruce's services with the fly in paddle out truck shuttle we did. Especially with the short planning timeframe we faced...I was in no way prepared to plan a route and pull off a trip but Bruce made it all happen without a hitch. We never have done a fly-in trip and it was never a cost effective option before but Bruce made a proposal we couldn't refuse. I had a lot of misconceptions about Wabakimi that were all destroyed. The place was awesome awesome awesome!

Joe
 
09/26/2021 08:57PM  
wyopaddler: "Ha! A similar thing happened to us. We were evicted from the Quetico due to fires and still had a 10 day ration of food packed. Called up Bruce and Margaret at the Wabakimi Lodge and they set us up with a 10 trip on the Kopka River. Waterfalls-Walleye-Blueberries, etc. and didn't see one other boat! We just drove over from the Quetico and after a scrumptious dinner at the lodge flew in the next morning. Just got back yesterday. Have a great trip!


"


You were on the Kopka at a good time. A buddy and I went from Allanwater Bridge to Lake Nipigon during the last 3 weeks of July 2017. We saw our first fishing boat on Uneven Lake and our first canoe party on the Kopka River where the portage from Aldridge Creek comes down from the railroad. From that day on we encountered other canoeists each day until Bukemiga Lake where most parties takeout. Summer trips in this area are numerous, with outfitters putting many groups on the Kopka here. The group we met from the railroad drop off said the park staff told them a park crew cleared the route from the railroad all the way to Hwy 527 in June 2017. We found this to be the case, fresh chainsaw work all the way to 527.
 
joewildlife
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10/13/2021 12:46AM  
I posted a factual but not very eloquent or artistic trip report on the Friends of Wabakimi trip report forum, at Wabakimi.org website, if you want to read about it.

Joe
 
10/14/2021 09:27PM  
joewildlife: "I posted a factual but not very eloquent or artistic trip report on the Friends of Wabakimi trip report forum, at Wabakimi.org website, if you want to read about it.

Joe
"

I loved reading your report, and you don’t give yourself enough literary credit. You may have seen very few people, but you came very close to seeing me. That campsite you liked at the bottom of the Grayson River - the day you paddled out I paddled in and camped there the next two nights. If the rain had let up earlier the day before, I might have paddled over the same day instead of sitting in camp and napping all day. I then followed you out, but at a slower pace. You are much better about packing up in the rain and paddling in the wind than I am.
 
joewildlife
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10/15/2021 12:20AM  
I think it is so cool to hear about your trip overlapping mine, while we never saw each other. I am now addicted to the place and can't wait to go back. I hope to learn a lot about the place before my next trip, because my second trip to WCPP was even more excellent than my first...but my first trip to Wab was so excellent to begin with, it is just exciting to go again. I need to do it cheaper tho...I'm thinking a train in and paddle out. Or a different truck in entry point. I just saw a trip report/video of going in on Tamarack lake. who knows I got a while to figure it out.

Joe
 
mkdixon
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10/15/2021 12:03PM  
I just read through your trip report Joe. Very nice. My 2017 trip overlapped a fair amount of your route. I started and ended at Little Caribou. Good to hear the portages were well cared for. Fishing was quite predictable on my trip too where water flowed into any still water. I did count on catching fish for some dinners, but you know something went right when a 15-day trip ends and you still have half a dozen dinners. Sounds like having those Kruger boats was the ticket on the big water, but they're a little heavy for me for a portage type trip. Good that you're willing and able to carry those. I was lucky and only had a couple days of iffy weather, but I was on smaller water bodies for those and didn't have a problem with my open canoe.

Mark
 
10/15/2021 02:42PM  
joewildlife: "I think it is so cool to hear about your trip overlapping mine, while we never saw each other. I am now addicted to the place and can't wait to go back. I hope to learn a lot about the place before my next trip, because my second trip to WCPP was even more excellent than my first...but my first trip to Wab was so excellent to begin with, it is just exciting to go again. I need to do it cheaper tho...I'm thinking a train in and paddle out. Or a different truck in entry point. I just saw a trip report/video of going in on Tamarack lake. who knows I got a while to figure it out.

Joe
"

Yep, like you I am already thinking about my next trip there, which I hope will be next year and possibly even a bit longer. Spent much of last week making extensive notes reviewing my food and gear choices, looking for ways to drop 8-10 lbs without sacrificing safety or comfort, ways to be better about breaking camp and paddling in the rain (like JoeWildlife!), and especially looking at route options. I watch Youtube vids and read trip reports with my FoW route books in front of me and capture every detail I can.
 
jillpine
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10/17/2021 05:01AM  
Thanks for these notes, Joe. Sounded like a trip of a lifetime!
Planning first trip there in 2022.

Like Jaywalker, have spent a lot of free time pouring over YouTube video, FoW maps and trip reports, and saving $USD. Trying to fine-tune the weight game as well.

Did you guys return with a sense that a person could use a hammock 100%?

FoW will be at Canoecopia, fwiw.

 
10/18/2021 04:38PM  
jillpine: "Did you guys return with a sense that a person could use a hammock 100%? "

As a ground-dweller I can't say I looked for it, but in hindsight I'd say it's usually possible but you may have to walk back from camp a ways or hang over bushes, rocks, logs, or other stuff. I can only think of one site I stayed at (that really isn't a site anymore thanks to fire and blowdown) it it would not have been possible there - but if one were to walk down the shore 100 yards there were likely options there.

I just finished watching a new video from Lost Lakes from their recent trip to St Raphael PP which is just 20 miles west of Wabakimi which is arguably the same forest. Jon used a hammock for his 12 day trip (I think he almost always does). Sometimes it was a bit further back though.

Hopefully others who have actually tried it can weigh in.
 
jcavenagh
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10/31/2021 07:24PM  
I am a hammock camper.
In 2011 in Wab I had two nights I slept on the ground.
In 2015 and 16 I did hammock every night.
The issue is that the black spruce, the dominant species, can be pretty spindly.
There are likely going to be nights when you will have to tie 2-3 trees together to support your hammock.
And site prep is almost always needed.
 
OregonDave
senior member (76)senior membersenior member
 
12/03/2021 12:19AM  
Hear Joe talk about his father/daughter trip this Sunday night, via Zoom (or phone). This is our first Friends of Wabakimi 2021 webinar (we're a non-profit advocating for this wilderness and canoe routes)
More info here about this and future webinars.

Joe's Trip Report
 
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