Snowbank/Ima/Thomas
by GSP

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/22/2008
Entry & Exit Point: Snowbank Lake (EP 27)
Number of Days: 10
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Second trip of the year with a new canoe and area new to my paddling partner.
Day 2 of 10
Saturday, August 23, 2008 Getting up and 5:30 we headed over to the office and got coffee and then next door to the gas station for breakfast. Ohh, someone in the other group left their shoes out over night so I filled the toes with toilet paper. We took a leisurely pace to Snowbank Lake and arrived about 6:15am and started to unload the new canoe and heading across the lake. The wind was starting to blow from the SSW and we were taking the 140rd portage into Disappointment Lake. It had been almost 15 yrs since the last time I had done the portage and remembered why quickly. The portage seems to go up and up and up then down and up and down and up, but is mostly open and rocky. We were trying to make it in 1 1/2 trips but this quickly changed to 2 trips. CG did more than his fair share and I was following him as he headed across with a pack and canoe. I had all my gear in one pack or on one pack, which I regreted within 60 rods. I was doing ok, huffing and puffing up the hills, knee feeling ok after surgery this spring when it happened. I slipped and fell on my side, didn't hurt my knee but was turtled. I was on my back legs sticking straight out and unable to rollover. My chest strap was on tight and there was no way I could roll over. It took me several minutes to get the strap loose and get out of the shoulder straps. I was glad no one showed up with a camera. I stripped weight off the pack and continued on my way and would come back for the second load. Getting to the other side CG was patiently waiting and I explained my predictament and we headed back to get the final pack and my pack. The high humidity made it difficult for me to get my breath, since I have scarring on my lungs from medical treatments during the first year I tripped with CG. One portage down and 5 to go for the day.

There was a stronger wind on Disappointment as we headed up the lake. The sky was cloudy with no sun showing at all. This would come back to haunt me for a short while. We literally began surfing across the lake, noticing most of the campsites on the south end were open. When we got to the middle of the lake we went straight to far and had to double back to the northwest. We noticed then the Borealis definitely was a better canoe in waves, sliding over the water and we liked how it handled. We were the only canoe moving up Disappointment and felt blessed the wind was to our backs. We didn't have time to stop and take pictures at least until the smaller lakes. We arrived at the 25rd portage to Ahsub Lake quickly did the short up and over with no difficulty. There was a young couple headed north on the portage having stayed overnight at the campsite just to the east of the portage. We meet a group of 3 aluminum canoes and 6 young guys headed into Disappointment.  We shared what campsites were open and the fact that the lake was really building up waves.

CG was impressed with the difference in terrain compared to the west side where he has always gone. Ahsub was a clear and clean as I remember and definely much colder than Disappointment. The wind was still behind us and blowing strong down the lake as we headed to the next portage. The east end is in complete contrast to the main part of Ahsub, very shallow and a bog bottom. In a foot of water you could push the paddle all the way down without hitting a firm bottom. The landing has room for 2 canoes at the most and there are many rocks to avoid. Next was the 15rd portage into Jitterbug Lake which I remembered as being shallow and filled with waterlillys. We pushed our way into Jitterbug using the small log dock that existed on the east side. The wind behind us we quickly covered the lake to next portage. The wind had shifted slightly and was blowing straight north. We were shortly to the 40rd portage into Adventure Lake. After the 140rd portage starting the day out 40rds was hardly a warm up for CG. I was still struggling getting my breath. I was sweating and getting eaten by mosquitos and he was dry and hardly a mosquito bite. He sends me first as bait. The east side of the portage has a good landing and the portage itself is a gentle up and down. Adventure Lake was rolling with waves white capping most of the distance. We meet the young couple again and they were headed toward Ashigan, Ensign and Boot. We informed them of the bear activity and wished them good luck with the wind. The portage into Cattyman was less than 5 rods down a dry creek bed with a rocky shallow landing on Cattyman side. We had meet two groups on the trip so far and recieved compliments on the MR.

Given the low water levels I didn't think we could walk the short rapids on our way to Jordan Lake. We ended up taking the 58rd portage into Jordan the skies had cleared and temps were in the 80's with high humidity.  CG started across with the canoe and I followed with a pack and rods. I was out of breath and not feeling well on the other side. I finished my water and CG gave me what he had left. He headed back and I took a few minutes to catch my breath and recover from the walk. I don't like struggling with catching my breath but humid air makes it much harder. I shortly joined Eldon on the other side and we finished the last long portage for the day. The portage is slightly up hill and drops off to a rock face which can be treacherous on the other end. We moved the canoe to the side and had a short snack of cheese and jerky. I decided to have a cigar, since we had a nice paddle coming up and into an area where CG would like to take photos. I tried to smoke one on Disappointment but had trouble keeping it lit. We headed cross-ways with the wind and headed to the narrow stretch of Jordan Lake. At least 2 sites on Jordan were taken and no one was paddling, don't know why! Maybe it was the white caps. Just entering the narrows of Jordan we meet a canoe with 2 older gentlemen and 2 youngsters. They were out for a day trip and trying to stay out of the wind. 

We drifted down the narrows to the final portage of the day. The 5rd into Ima Lake. The landings are rocky at both ends and the east side is very rocky out into the lake. We looked over the map and I laid out the plan for looking for a site on Ima. We would hug the south/southwest shoreline and look at campsites available. We didn't check the first one in the big bay at the portage, wanting a site on the main lake. Wind and waves were picking up and no problems with bugs. White caps were readily available on the main lake. We hugged the shore heading for the west and south sites. The first one had a high rock face with crappy landing and no trees for hanging a bag. We worked our way south hoping the site by Alworth Lake portage would be open, but getting close we could see it was taken. We either had to go back or move on with the wind and down the pensuila towards the island on the east side. We surfed down the lake and cut the corner to take a break from the wind. The west site on the island was open, but waves were pounding on shore with winds in the 30's and higher gusts. We cut the waves at 45 degrees and worked around the backside of the island. The east side site was taken, which didn't break my heart since it ways grassy and weedy. One word, Mosquitos. I decided we would sneak up the backside or north side of the island and see if we could land. We found a shallow rock face to land and a short walk to the site. We we were home for the next couple days. The wind was really gusting and being on the water was not a good choice for the rest of the day. 

We spent the afternoon setting up the bear bag, tarp and tent. The filter bag was filled and we sat down to lunch of jerky, cheese and crackers. I was tired and ready to rest. I had promised to make CG a crispy cheese casadea for supper and it kept him busy wondering what I was talking about. After trying several areas to cook we finally decided to cook behind the boulder near the firegrate. The quiet spots in the woods were not acceptable to me. CG could stand there and be fine, I was getting eaten alive by mosquitos. While cooking supper we a close encounter of the bird kind, grouse. We eventually counted a total of 8 during our stay. We headed to bed shortly after dark due to being tired and mosquitos.