EP 62 Clearwater Lake
We arrived the night before at Clearwater Lodge. I had made a reservation for a Bunkhouse for the four of us. We got to Clearwater at around 11:30pm but the folks at Clearwater were nice enough to leave a map pinned to the main lodge so we could find the bunkhouses and set up there for the night. Just make sure you call and let them know you will be arriving after 10pm. I would highly recommend doing this if you can. The Bunkhouses are about $20.00 a person and they allow you to get a head start on your trip.
We decided to eat breakfast at the lodge. Breakfast included fresh fruit, a generous portion of bacon, and french toast. Again, highly recommend getting breakfast there too.
After we finished breakfast, we went back to the bunk houses to finish packing. We didn't have all the time in the world to pack everything up before we got up there so we took an hour or so to do that in the bunkhouse.
Once we got our permits, watched the video, and loaded up the canoes, we were away on Clearwater. The paddle was a little difficult because of the headwind but nothing we could not handle. The views from Clearwater are great. There are about three or four big bluffs to look at. It took us about two and a half hours to get from Clearwater Lodge to the portage to West Pike Lake.
The portage from Clearwater to West Pike was pretty easy - thanks to another group we met there. Originally, we were going to be ambitious enough to single portage our full packs/gear with the Kevlar canoes. However, when we told the other group that we ran into at the landing that that was our plan, they told us we were nuts. Turns out they were probably right. We took their advice and double portaged.
Once we were on West Pike, we took the first site on the north side of the lake. We arrived there around 3:30pm (I think) and set up camp there for the night. Pros for this site include enough trees to block wind, decent but not great landing for canoes, and places for both tents. Only con was it wasn't super easy to shore fish. I think all of us got our lines stuck in a tree at one point. But, on the plus side, each of us caught a fish.
We enjoyed the fire, star watching, freeze dried chili (yum), and each other's company. Most of the evening, loons were busy calling each other from different lakes.
Overall, great first day. Weather was perfect with a mix of sun and clouds with light wind. Easier paddling on Clearwater than we anticipated and we all caught some fish.