Hi all, Just came out after a wonderful 7 day/6 night trip along the Chatterton falls route. When we arrived in Russell Lake, we were dismayed to discover an incredibly loud generator and water pump running for multiple hours on the western island in the center of the lake (Friday evening Sept 8th). It went from disruptive to overwhelming as we approached, and could barely yell over the noise once within visual range. It was audible for miles around and we fled the lake as fast as possible to escape it.
There appeared to be many tents set up on the island but we couldn’t, for the life of us, think of something that would require such extensive use of a water pump and generator. We didn’t see anyone, but didn’t go onto the island to investigate further.
Anyone have any insight as to what we encountered? Park maintenance crew? Wildcat mining outfit?
There was a forest fire on that island. I camped with my son on the Russell lake campsite that leads to the rapids into Sturgeon on Sunday, 9/3. After having to walk the Deux Rivieres in 90 degree heat (not recommended!), we chose not to go out fishing. Instead, I fished from shore at the campsite. I noticed some rising smoke on the far side of that island late in the day but it wasn't an obvious fire. By the time we reached the Russell/Chatterton portage the next morning, there was obvious billowing smoke and a helicopter circled the island several times to check it out.
Our planned route through Alice to Fern was scrapped due to lack of campsites on Alice, so we backtracked back through Russell on Tuesday. The pump was loud enough that I thought it was a plane involved in the fire suppression. A fire fighting crew had been flown in and there were small but visible fires on the south side of the island as we paddled by. We talked briefly to one of the fire fighters that walked out to the shore to ask us about the weather forecast. I guess the Park decided not to let the fire burn even though the fire fighter said they didn't see evidence of it being man made.
I'd prefer the absence of more fires in Quetico but it was an interesting part of the trip to witness it.
Mystery solved and an interesting story from both of you!
As for no campsites on Alice. Yeah I found that out too. I had always wanted to visit Alice and when I got there I was disappointed. It's mostly burned out and the only actual campsite I saw was just as you get on the lake on the west side. I ended up camping on a little island not far from the portages that lead into Fern.
The portages are not well used and they too are partially burned out so it makes for tough travel at times. I bet more moose walk the portages than humans.
Here's what the burned out lake looks like between the two savauge portages Tom
Small carrot big paddle: "...Russell Lake, we were dismayed to discover an incredibly loud generator and water pump running for multiple hours on the western island in the center of the lake (Friday evening Sept 8th)....."
I met you guys on the portage between Chatterton and Russell and I recall you telling me about the generator and pump noise. Interesting to hear about the work of crews to knock down a fire there.
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