EP 14 to EP 16 Northern Loop
We got off at 8:00 a.m. and warmed up with the 168 rod difficult portage from Little Loon to Slim. Once into Slim Lake, we easily found the beginning point of the Slim to Fat portage. We had decided to just carry packs the first trip in case we ended up abandoning our efforts. We started off on the trail (yes, there is a trail) and found the early split to the right up a hill. About one-fourth of the way from Slim to Fat, the trail became obliterated by a large area of downed trees and we got off of the trail. We bushwacked through the woods for about 20 minutes and finally ran into the trail again and made it to Fat Lake with just the normal issues of downed trees in the trail. There were no big elevation changes and in most places the trail was plain to see, albeit not wide or maintained. At some points there was not sufficient clearance in the trees, so you had to drag the canoes through on the ground. I actually did see some saw-cut trees along the trail near the Fat end, so somebody has done some maintenance on it. The animals have used the trail a lot as there were many species’ scat along the way. Our measurement of the portage was around 300 rods, but that included some extra distance due to getting off the trail. On the deadhead trip we were able to mark the way better so we would not get lost the second trip. On the second trip, my son and I each carried one of the canoes and two persons carried the third. We all had our difficulties. My son and I both got off the trail at different points because we could not see where we were going, with the canoes over our heads obstructing our vision. We both had to backtrack and drag the canoes some. We thankfully made it to the Fat side and collapsed for some rest and water. A big rain shower came for about an hour and we ate lunch under a canoe at the portage trailhead. We did three smaller portages and made it to a very nice campsite (#93) on the north side of Bear Track Lake by 5 p.m. We only covered nine miles that day, but did lots of portaging.