Scouting McCarthy

Above you can see the route I took while scouting out the possibilities on the McCarthy Lake route. You can click on the balloons to see the details about that particular spot.

Lets start from the beginning. First of all, the bush road going into the boat launch at McCarthy lake is really, really rough. I can’t imagine the Smith family driving their every day car, with a boat trailer attached 3.5kms. over this sorry excuse for a road. Not only that, but it’s a very narrow road, and I would love to be there should two vehicles hauling trailers come face to face with each other.

That being said, I had my own problems on that road this morning. Since the road faces almost directly east, and the sun was blazing over the horizon just as I was going in, I couldn’t see a damn thing on a road I have never driven on. So it was very difficult for me to see how rough it was on the way in but, believe me, I sure felt how rough it was.

Anyway, I made it in and there was no one there, so I just parked, set up the kayak, and away I went. Unfortunately, I was also paddling directly east, so that same blazing sun made it nearly impossible to get any pictures or see much of anything as I was paddling. There was still a lot of mist on the surface of the water too, since it had been quite cool last night.

Take a look;

The sunshine was great, it was just at the wrong angle. I saw a number of animals I would have liked to get a picture of, but couldn’t, like beavers, a fox, a snapping turtle, ducks and loons. Here’s what I mean about the glare;

I could take some pictures when I found a shady spot beside the shore;

I like to paddle the shoreline as much as possible because that’s where you see the most interesting stuff.

The McCarthy lake system is quite large and it wasn’t my intention to cover all of it today. I just wanted to get an idea of what was out here and, again, I was particularly interested in islands for camping on. As I made my way eastward, I came across my first obstacle.

Just as I was about to cross the beaver dam, I saw some movement in the bush. If you look closely at this next picture, you will see some curious eyes and ears checking me out there.

After I crossed the beaver dam, there was a bit of a river and then a wider area of water, and then it narrowed to a river again. After that, it opened back up into a lake. All these waters are part of McCarthy Lake.
I continued on straight ahead until I came to this;

So, this first island was a bust. You could use it in a pinch, but I prefer nicer digs if possible. However, like I said, the view was quite acceptable;

There was another smaller island right beside this island, so I went over to check that one out also;

But, if we stayed on this island, we would have to put up with this;

Anyway, I continued my trip, past those two islands, towards another section of river. Just at the mouth of this river, in a large reed area, I came across this;

The Sandhill Cranes went in behind some bushes and started making a lot of noise. I had never heard Sandhill Cranes before and I imagine a lot of people haven’t, so here’s what they sounded like;

I took a lot of pictures of the cranes, but I only posted a few here. After the crane encounter, I continued down the river to the next larger body of water.

I paddled along the shoreline of this next lake area for a while.

I notice a beach across the other side of the lake. It didn’t look all that far so I headed for it.

Well, it turned out to be farther than I thought, but it was worth the effort. I now had a nice quiet place to sit down and have something to eat.

After I rested up and had something to eat, I got my ipod/GPS out to check my location and see if there were any more islands within this area that I could investigate. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s really hard to just look and see the islands on any particular lake because they tend to blend into the background of the forested shores.
After checking my location I found that there was indeed an island within paddling distance from where I was. In fact, now that I knew where it was, I could see it from the beach. Funny thing was, it looked to me like there was some kind of structure on it. As far as I knew, this was all Crown Land and there were no cottages on any of the lakes in this area. So, I headed over to investigate.

Well, I may need glasses to read now, but my eyes are still pretty good over distances. This is the cabin that I had seen from the beach. It was named The Red Cap Cabin by whoever built it. I did check when I got home and this island is indeed Crown Land, so I’m not sure why someone would build a cabin on it. The cabin looks like it’s been there for some time too. It was locked up good, with bars on all the windows.
There was also a small beach area on this island in front of where the cabin was built.

The beach you can see in the distance, just close to the right hand side there, is where I saw the island from.

This was an interesting looking rock they had placed beside the cabin. Looks like it had veins of quartz running through it.

It certainly was a scenic island to build a cabin on, but taking over Crown Land as your own seems to be an all too common occurrence around here.
Anyway, from this island I saw another, much larger beach area that I wanted to check out, so off I went in that direction.

I had another nice, long break from paddling on this fantastic beach and I walked up and down the beach checking out all the different animal tracks.

Farther down, the sand beach turned into a rocky beach, but it was still easy to walk on and it went for a long way.

At this point I started my trip back to where I had parked the truck. Here’s some pictures I took on the way back;

Someone had put up a makeshift outhouse here and someone else didn’t like it I guess.

So that completed about 18kms of paddling for the day. It was a great day.


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