Return to Badwater, the long way, 2017
Day 2(8/19): Moved down Quetico Lake, fishing by the portage to Conk Lake, then paddling and a second portage to Jean Lake. Lunched on Jean, then paddled to the "narrows," where we set up camp and fished. Great day.
Day 3(8/20): Leaving Jean we paddled/portaged to Burntside Lake. *From mid-Burntside we're in "new" territory for 2 days.* Navigating, finding portages, lifting over beaver dams and enjoying a little-travelled route fill our day on Burntside, Clair, a little "no-name" and Bent Pine Lake. We camp on Bent Pine with hungry mosquitoes at a tree-fallen "5*" site...
Day 4(8/21): From Bent Pine, we head West into more new territory. March, Trail, Little Pine, Snow Lakes then camp on Your Lake. After 2 short portages we paddle to the end of Trail and a beaver dam. Behind it there is not enough water to float a canoe carrying over 400 pounds! So...I scout ahead a couple hundred yards through weeds on a floating bog where others have made a faint "path" while Joe waits at the dam. At one spot I fall into thigh deep water--Joe said later I just "disappeared." Bottom line here was we had a "fun," sweaty time moving our gear about 500m. to a muddy access to (barely) paddleable water in Little Pine. A short flat portage to Snow Lake. The 790m. portage from Snow to Your Lake was a killer! That's all I have to say about that... Gray had taken over the sky now and as we found a campsite and got the tent up it started to rain. Supper was cooked and eaten under some pines in our raingear. Long, long, grueling day but we heard wolves after dark! (We learned later that "John from Calgary"/jdddl8 was on March when we were.)
Day 5(8/22): Lying awake in the tent on Your Lake, wondering what today will bring, much appreciated sun strikes the tent. Hot coffee and tea, then oatmeal "plus" and we're ready for whatever. Beautiful sky and water make for a too short paddle to our next portage. Map note says "don't go up the creek." Hmmm... Portage is very short. (Fair Lake.) Another marsh paddle, then open water and it's snack time. Two easy(30r.) portages and a "no name" bring us to familiar water--Badwater Lake. Wind picking up. Snack at island camp. Obvious rain squalls all around us now. Paddling again into stiff winds, we hug the right shore. Rain coming. Paddle to shore, don raingear, hangout there for 20 minutes. Rain lets up. Paddling again... Reach the popular rocky campsite and claim it. Phew! Get tent up before it rains again and relax!
Day 6(8/23): Badwater Lake LAYOVER DAY! Fish, rest, hydrate, eat, and just enjoy life in the wild. Saw no one all day yesterday and no one today until late, when a tandem canoe goes by. Joe catches a couple walleye, including one huge one. We fished around near camp and I hook an estimated 36" pike, my all time best. All our wet stuff dries out and we get cleaned up a little. After supper the loons sing as we watch the sun set and have a nice fire, cigars and honey. A day to remember!
Day 7(8/24): AM very chilly. Down vest. Small fire. Breakfast. Pack up and paddle, a familiar routine by now. Next up, the infamous Badwater portage we did in 2 stages and took 2 hours years ago. Today we knock it out in 1 1/2 hours without stopping!!! (1420m.X3 trips, 2 loaded and one empty) After 2 more portages and some easy paddling we are back in our start lake, Beaverhouse. First campsite taken so we take the sandy beach site for our last night. (I was worried it would be buggy, but it was great!) Last supper is our favorite--beef stroganoff over mashed potatoes. We have a last fire, cigar and toast our success at sundown, then sit by the fire until dark.
Day 8(8/25): LAST DAY. Same as yesterday...AM very chilly. Down vest. Small fire for warmth only. (Thank God for birch bark, nature's kerosene!) Sky is blue with puffy clouds and lake is like glass. Messy egg breakfast from powder. (Need a stove with less concentrated flame for this.) Hate to leave but can't stay. Leisurely pack up. Head for the parking lot. I "guide" Joe fishing a few rocky points on the way. No luck. (Probably just as well, since it'
s hard enough to leave without leaving biting fish.) See strange "arrow" and possibly "question mark" in the lichens near the old road/trestle. WTF? At the take-out we meet a group of 4 young guys from Chicago starting their trip. (Complete with Go-Pro camera, lol.) After the 600m. flat as a pancake walk back to the lot, we meet a 70-something couple starting out. Wish I could go along... Another awesome trip with Joe is in the books, as we head to Atikokan for a shower and bacon cheeseburgers.
20 trip pics here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JrVjcFKisxZgAT4n2