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      Cache Lake portages     

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kanoes
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11/18/2011 08:14PM
...those two monsters.

anyone done them?
 
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arctic
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11/18/2011 08:55PM
I've done them both back in the 80s. Tough portages, and in my opinion, about as tough as Quetico portages get. Trousers to Cache is muskeg almost the entire way, and you must cross the Cache River near mid-point.

Cache to Lindsay is pretty wet in parts, but when I was through there it hadn't been maintained in years, so I often had to put down the canoe to find the trail. I would suspect that with a Kevlar canoe and recent trail maintenance, this trail wouldn't be nearly as bad.
Pb52
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11/19/2011 10:29PM
I had to pull out the map to see when I did the Trousers to Cache portage. September 2001. Then took the Cache River to Kawnipi. The river was high enough that September to allow this trip. Solo trip. I double portaged and I think it took 3 to 4 hours to complete the portage.

Interesting trip in that this just after 911. Made the border crossing into Canada a different experience.
Maverick
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11/20/2011 11:45AM
We did them both last summer. They were tough, but not as bad as expected - I think my crew may debate the part about not as bad as expected, but I was expecting worse and fully expected to break these two portages into two days. We did them both in one day, it took us 1.5 hours for the first one and 1.75 hours for the second (single portaging). We went from Trousers to McKenzie and the second one was tougher as it had some knee deep mud, plus we were probably getting tired and it was getting hot. We would basically portage as far as we could then would take a couple minute blow, then continue. Maybe took 2 breaks on the first portage, and 4-5 on the second.

Trail was only difficult to follow on one part of the Cache to Lindsey as it crossed a swampy open area, but we could see tape tied to brush along this quarter mile opening. The cache river on the first portage was pretty low when we went through - we waded/jumped across.

One thing to keep in mind is that major storms can drastically alter these portages as a guy from QJ has a trip report on these being a Herculean effort as he had to go through serious blowdown and he went through maybe a week later than we did last summer. So things can change. I'd make sure they had these cleared out and try to get up to date info if I could.
Naguethey
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12/11/2011 11:02AM
Did it back in 99 was one loooooooooooooooooooooong muddy portage.(after a 16 hour drive to get there from illinois) Don't think I've ever been so tired in my life as I was after the longest roughest one. lol.. It was a good trip. Fishing that year sucked though. And the weather was rough. Rained the whole week and temps in the 50's. Here's a video I shout of our trip. Showing a bit of how muddy the portage was. If I remember correct it was about 2 miles long and really took most of the day

Video Link
Bushwacker
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12/12/2011 06:56PM
Good stuff.
kanoes
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12/12/2011 07:32PM
very good stuff. thanks for posting it. near the end of the video you guys paddled down a narrow little rapids under a low tree canopy...do you remember where that was?
Naguethey
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12/12/2011 07:35PM
I"m really glad I made the journey to that section of the park. but after paddling from nym up by atikokan down to ely. I've seen that there's so many hidden away beautiful spots without people. We usually head for keats lake and camp near the falls. Nice area and feels like home. But the shear effort it takes to get to cache was a hill I wanted to cross. I'm not afraid of portaging, rather sort of like it. But dang those are long ones lol.
kanoes
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12/12/2011 09:06PM
quote Naguethey: "But the shear effort it takes to get to cache was a hill I wanted to cross."
that what intrigues me. that challenge. were the portage trails pretty obvious....to follow? id be solo...ok, its a dream i have. :)
Naguethey
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12/12/2011 09:20PM
Yes as I remember it and look back at what footage I have. (have more locked away on digital hi8, but no old fashioned camera to play it on)

But when we were planning that trip. And reading stories and looking at maps. (this was way before I have ever gotten a computer and joined the net) was books back then and maps. But anyway we had thought it may be all grown over and hard to follow. It was for the most party easy. Just study map and keep it at hand... Now has it been traveled as much the past 12 years and is it grown over more? That I can't answer. That video was shot in 1999.. But I'm sure it's still in use by moose and bear... A solo trip to that area, I'd definately be bringing a emergency call device or spot device. I've heard it's the best part of the park to view wolves, moose and bear. Being more remote swampy and less traveled.
tumblehome
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12/12/2011 09:58PM
That was a great, great video!

I've done a LOT of portages but I've never done one like you guys. Either I'm real smart, or real lucky to have not found a swamp like that. Probably the latter :)

Really, thanks for sharing. The older you get, the better that video will be. Best of all, you did it in wood boats.

Tom
AdamXChicago
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12/12/2011 10:09PM
In 1995 we did these during a nine day trip (double portaged both). Put in at French Lake, then via Baptism Creek and Baptism Lake to Trousers. The first long portage was bad - very muddy and buggy. Even crossing the Cache River was a joke - up to my waist in muck and water - yeeesh, still gives me the shivers. Then the portage ups and downs seemed to go on forever. Ended up camping at the very end of the portage at Cach Lake, as we lacked the energy to go on any further. While fishing in the middle of Cache Lake, we couldn't believe our eyes when we saw another canoe approaching us. We had counted on not seeing a soul for the first half of our trip! They paddled up to us and we were blown away that these two guys were in their mid-60's. After a brief chat they went on their way - man, were we impressed!

Second portage was not as memorable (though equally as mushy), but I recall it took several hours to complete. Only large animal we saw on these portages was a bear cub up a tree - needless to say we cleared out in a hurry! In hindsight, the best part of completing the second portage was ultimately gaining access to the northern reaches of Mackenzie Lake - found a fabulous island site for two days of needed rest and great fishing. Aside from being able to brag that we did this stretch, I don't think this particular segment of our trip was actually worth the effort - there's way too much in the Q to explore without expending this much energy. But if you're looking for remoteness, I don't think it gets any better than this... YMMV.
Bushwacker
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12/13/2011 10:41AM
quote AdamXChicago: "In hindsight, the best part of completing the second portage was ultimately gaining access to the northern reaches of Mackenzie Lake - found a fabulous island site for two days of needed rest and great fishing."

Can you elaborate on the McKenzie Lake fishing?
AdamXChicago
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12/13/2011 08:44PM
quote Bushwacker: "quote AdamXChicago: "In hindsight, the best part of completing the second portage was ultimately gaining access to the northern reaches of Mackenzie Lake - found a fabulous island site for two days of needed rest and great fishing."


Can you elaborate on the McKenzie Lake fishing?"


Sure. There are a clustered group of islands (half dozen or so) at the north end of Mackenzie, a little bit south of Lindsay. Set up camp and stayed two nights. I recall smallies hitting hot (maybe we caught and released a dozen or so within 20 minutes) then nothing - until we netted the hungry northern that apparently spooked them. Downwind a bit and the smallies started again. We were just drifting among this area of small islands - lots of interesting structure / rock piles, so I imagine the fishing there is usually good. No walleye, but the smallies and northern were hitting crankbait and spinners (especially pearl/white color bodies). Only got to fish one day there, but all these years later I still remember the action. I'd guess that this part of Mackenzie does not get a lot of visitors / fishing activity.

Forgot to mention that we were there the last week of August 1995 - not ideal fishing time, but any day in the Q is better than one at the office...
Bushwacker
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12/13/2011 10:07PM
Thanks for the intel.

I bet there are a few 50" nortons in McKenzie. I thought I read somebody caught some eye's but I can't remember who or where.

MagicPaddler
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12/14/2011 06:34PM
One of the things to watch for on those portages is they were blazed many years ago and the blaze marks are still visible in many places.
Here is a link to my trip report from last summer which ended by going North through those portages. Trip report
kanoes
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12/14/2011 06:37PM
quote MagicPaddler: "One of the things to watch for on those portages is they were blazed many years ago and the blaze marks are still visible in many places.
Here is a link to my trip report from last summer which ended by going North through those portages. Trip report "

i dont belong to QJ anymore. it wont open unless i pay to play.
MagicPaddler
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12/15/2011 07:33PM
I have reposted the report Here
tumblehome
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12/15/2011 09:32PM
magicpaddler,

I sure loved that trip report. The storms bring back a lot of quetico memories for me. I've lived through some very dangerous storms up there. It's exciting and very scary.

I looked up your saw that you brought. the link is broken but I found the saw just by searching for the name. I'm going to put that on my list.

Something else that serious campers might be interested in are some gloves that I use at work.


gloves

There are about $10 a pair from what I see online. They are thin and cut resistant. The building trades use them all the time. I use them when camping too and find them indispensable. The link shows a lot of 6 pair but I sure you can find one pair at a time. I have average sized hands and wear a size 10

Tom
MagicPaddler
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12/16/2011 06:26PM
Tumblehome Tom
Check out Menards they had a saw that was exactly the same except it had a different name on it and was cheaper.
kanoes
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12/25/2011 09:19PM
back to the topic...whats the best approach to those portages? from the south or from the north?
Naguethey
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12/25/2011 10:43PM
Been too long ago for me to remember honestly. I did them both from both directions as I paddled in and out the same way via french lake I believe it was. (haven't seen a map in year)... Definately still a cool fun trip. But it's definately also an endurance and mind over matter thing.
MagicPaddler
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12/26/2011 06:41AM
If it is late in your trip most of your food would be gone so your packs would be lighter. A good place to end a trip is at French lake at the North end of the portages. The creek flows to the north and it is easier to paddle downstream. The creek was flowing hard when I did it and upstream would have been tough. So I would suggest to go with the flow.
arctic
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12/26/2011 10:03AM
quote kanoes: "back to the topic...whats the best approach to those portages? from the south or from the north?"


Obviously, it would be way easier finishing a Quetico trip with the Cache Lake portages than starting, as you would be far lighter and stronger. That would mean approaching from the south.

However, when I went through there it was on day 2 of a 14 day loop, and we were pretty heavy.
deckle
 
08/28/2019 09:23PM
We did the Trousers-Cache this summer, on day 3 of a ten day A to E. I did it in 1.5 hours with a whale, next was 1.75 hours, with Greg the interpreter, carrying a Kevlar canoe and personal ruck. Next was, somehow, Hannes and Matt, with laden food packs. They took about 2.2 hours. The others trickled in, none more than 3 hours.
Jackfish
Moderator
 
08/28/2019 10:15PM
Wow... a thread started in 2011 by the late Kanoes. His posts live on.
 
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