Island Hopping

Last time I went out in the kayak, I went on a smaller part of Esten Lake.  This time I decided to go in search of islands suitable for camping on, on the main part of Esten Lake.  Here’s a map showing where I went;

This was about a twelve kilometer round trip and it took me around four hours, including the time I was stopped on the islands.  It turned out to be a very productive trip, so I’ll take you along with me to see what I saw.  Here we go;

The route looked pretty straight forward on the map, so I didn’t take my GPS along.  I would later regret that decision.  Once you get on the lake, it’s very difficult to navigate by sight alone.  Passages just blend into the forested background, making it seem like there’s no way through, when there is.

One thing I didn’t mention in any of the videos is that the black flies have arrived.  You will see them later, flying around the lens of the camera, but they didn’t bother me all that much, except when I arrived back at the dock and was trying to deflate and fold up the kayak.  They swarmed me then.

The kayak performed flawlessly on this trip.  It was very comfortable the whole way.  Kayaks are always a little tricky to get in and out of, and even more so for an old goat like me, but I didn’t fall in anywhere, although the jacket I brought with me did fall in and you will see it draped on the front of the kayak as I’m paddling in a effort to dry it out a bit.  However, I never needed my jacket since the temperature was around 18 degrees today.

Since this was a Sunday, there were a couple of boats out on the lake fishing.  During the week this lake will be mostly empty of boaters.  All the campsites I visited today showed no signs of anyone being there since at least last summer.

The only thing that concerns me about coming into a place like this to camp is that I will have to leave my truck parked back at the launching area overnight.  A certain segment of the youth in Elliot Lake seem to delight in destruction and they tend to prowl the streets and pathways at night.  I don’t know that they would come out as far as a place like the Esten boat launch but some of them do have ATV’s.

Anyway, I did eventually find the first island and I dismounted from the kayak to check it out.

I’ve given the islands the names first, second, third and fourth island just so I can talk about each individual one.  This first island is a fairly good size so I will do a little exploring around it.

Here’s the zoom of the far shoreline;

I continued to explore around the island a bit.

From the first island, I could see there was another island not too far away, so I proceeded over to investigate.  Keep in mind, it’s not always easy to tell if there are islands in the vicinity because they tend to blend into the forested background and become invisible.

As I explored the second island I made some interesting discoveries;

I didn’t really expect to find an outhouse at the end of that trail, but this is what I found.  Someone went to a lot of trouble to build this yet, when I checked underneath, there wasn’t even a hole, it was just level ground.  However, it didn’t seem to be used too much since there was not much of anything in it.

Anyway, I continued exploring and found this;

I would say that the second island is probably the best of them all, although all the islands are prime locations for camping.

I continued on to the smaller island beside another larger island.

Now I continue on to what I originally called the third island but now, since the smaller island also has a campsite, I’ll call this the fourth island.

So, that was my adventure for the day and I really enjoyed it.  One thing I didn’t mention in any of the videos is that the black flies have arrived.  You will see them flying around the camera lens in some of the videos.  They didn’t bother me all the much until I got back to the launch area and I was trying to deflate and pack up the kayak.  They were all over me then.  I think I’m going to try making some garlic spray and see if that will keep them at bay.  I hate using DEET!

Anyway, at some point, I’ll be back this way with my camping gear and a few days supply of food.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paul E.Boy on May 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    That looks awesome! Any sign that “The Man” might be patrolling out there? Seems pretty secluded. I’m trying to find a cheap canoe so I can start paddling again. As soon as I do, I’ll be joining you!

    Btw, can u send me Dan’s email. I wanted to ask a scuba question.


    • Hey Wally;

      Good to hear from you again. Well, this lake does have an official boat launch on it, so I imagine the MNR does check on the place now and then, probably mostly for fishing purposes. Ya, that would be great if you had a canoe to bring up, we could both go out to an island for a few nights.
      Ok, I’ll send you Dan’s email.


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