Depot/Trout/Grandeur/Marshland Trip

Another fine trip is now in the books and you can see the route that me and my brother took above. The balloons mark the areas where we camped for the night and also some other places where we went ashore.

The weather couldn’t have been better throughout the whole trip, even though we did get one day with a few odd showers which were a welcome respite from the blazing sun. I took a bit of sun damage on the first day out, so I had to limit my exposure for the duration of the trip but the mornings and evenings are the best times to paddle anyways.

We started our trip from the Depot Lake boat launch, which I noted previously as a relatively safe place to leave a vehicle parked for a few days. On that day the wind had picked up a bit and the paddle in, through the long portion of Depot Lake, was a bit iffy. We stopped at about the midpoint to assess the whitecaps and decided to wait it out a bit until the wind died down somewhat.

The wind did die down and we continued in to the first island that I had thought would make a decent campsite. Here it is;

We picked out spots for our tents, mine is the one you can see in that first picture, and my brothers tent is farther back on the island;

Here you can see both tents set up on our first island campsite. My tent is the cheapy blue one, which I’ve had for quite some time, and my brother had just gotten a new North Face tent which turned out to be quite nice indeed.

Of course, one of the first duties when setting up camp is to make sure we have enough firewood. So, off we went to find some firewood. In the process, we had to cross over a relatively shallow section of water between the island and the mainland. I decided that it would easily be done with our boots on, so away I went. This is where our boots ended up for the rest of the day;

On the last trip we went on my brother had caught two nice sized smallmouth bass, so we were all prepared this time to take advantage of the fishing.

Here you can see our rods propped up against and old dead tree stump.

After everything was set up and ready to go, there was time to check in with the outside world, and we did have cell coverage throughout the whole trip, although it was a bit sketchy in some places.

Unlike last time, this time we came prepared with a few brews for sitting around the campfire, so we kept them somewhat chilled by hanging a rope over the rocks and into the water.

Since we didn’t want to be lugging the beer around any further than necessary, we made the very difficult decision to get rid of it all in one night, and I can assure you that none of it was wasted. Now that I think of it, this was the only night that we weren’t inundated with mosquitoes. I wonder if there’s a connection?

We hadn’t brought any bait with us, so we would have to use local bait if we wanted to fish. There are swamps all around here so it was no problem to catch some frogs. This is what we did on this first island;

After fishing for a while, without any luck, we decided to pack it in and get a fire going. Last time we went on a trip there was a fire ban in place, so it was nice to be able to have a campfire this time. We also fired off a couple of bear bangers to see what they were like and also just for a laugh. They are really loud and I think if there were any bears around, they would be heading for the hills after that barrage.

On most evenings and mornings of the trip, the water was just like glass. These times make for the best paddling experience and we did do some short trips from our campsites to explore the surrounding areas.

The dog seemed to enjoy the great outdoors too, and in every campsite we made she would dig holes to lie in. I guess it was cooler or gave some protection from the bugs.

You won’t see a lot of me or my kayak in these pictures and videos because I’m taking them, but here’s the kayak parked on shore.

Here are my two paddling companions exploring around the first island we camped on, which you can see in the background.

I had brought this little rocket stove that I made out of two tin cans, so we decided to give it a try. Here you can see the tea pot sitting on top of it. Actually, it worked quite well, although we did most of our cooking on the campfire, it was nice to know that this setup could be used for a quick shore lunch.

The rocket stove doesn’t use very much wood, just a few small sticks, and the fire is contained inside the large tin can, so this setup could probably be used safely, even when there is a fire ban in place.

This is our view from the campsite on the first island. As you can see, we left the flies off our tents so that we could see through the tops to the stars at night.

The next day, on our way to the second island campsite, we decided to stop at a sandy area along the shoreline to pick up some fresh water clams to cook. I’ve never had them before and they looked big and possibly tasty. We got quite a few and continued on our way. When we arrived at the second island campsite, we wasted no time in getting those clams onto the fire.

I was eager to try them but I was also a bit skeptical, because clams are somewhat like mushrooms in that you really have to know your stuff so that you don’t end up sick, or worse.

When my brother had finished the cooking, I said “You go first”. He scraped the first one out of the shell and gave it a good looking over before the taste test. After a bit of questioning as to whether this was a good idea or not, he did eventually give it a try. His reaction was not exactly encouraging, so he did some searching on google and found that, although these clams were fine to eat, they were not known for being tasty and were very chewy. So, that was the end of our clam eating experience. The live ones went back into the water and the cooked ones into the fire.

This is my brothers North Face tent set up on the second island, this time with the fly on it. The fly is a bit more intricate on this tent than on mine, and it would be a real job to have to get up in the middle of the night, if it started raining, to put it on.

However, we never got any rain at night on this trip, and only some short showers during the day, so the flies on our tents were never really needed.

The green pad you see leaning up against the tent is an inflatable sleeping pad. My brother bought one for himself and one for me, which I greatly appreciated, since the older you get, the harder the ground feels.

The second island we camped on was a bigger island and it had another campsite on the far side of the island, but that campsite didn’t seem too comfortable, since the ground was sloping quite a bit towards the shoreline. The site we chose was very sheltered and had some relatively level spots for our tents.

Again, we tried to fish for our dinner and we didn’t come up with any fish, but we were rewarded with the rise of a beautiful moon in the late evening.

The moon was almost full and the sky was clear, so moon shadows were everywhere.

The next day we continued on our way into Marshland Lake, which is farther than I went when I was scouting this area, so I was now in unfamiliar territory. There are a few cottages around the entrance to Marshland Lake and, since it was the long weekend, we did see a number of people in the area as we passed by. However, it was once again quiet wilderness as we paddled on into Marshland Lake.

We paddled around, looking for a likely spot for camping and we eventually settled on a spot at the far end of the lake, away from any possible noise from the distant cottages. Here’s the landing spot on our third campsite, which was not really an island because, as you can see in the picture, just past where my kayak is, there was a low piece of land connecting the island to the mainland.

My brother decided to continue on and do a little bit of exploring before coming into the site. Here they are returning from that paddle.

This campsite had not been used in some time and there was a lot of cleanup work to do in order to clear spots for our tents.

This is the setup at our third campsite.

From this campsite, we would do some exploring into the Marshland River, which connects to Esten Lake. We wanted to see how far up the river we could paddle without having to portage. My brother did some exploratory paddling on the river by himself on the day of our arrival at this spot, since I was still recovering from too much sun. Later in the evening, when the sun was very low, we headed back into the river to do some fishing and to see exactly how far we could paddle up the river.
Here’s a spot on the river that we stopped for some fishing.

After no luck, we continued paddling up the river and eventually came to the spot where I expected that was as far as we could paddle. It was the junction of an ATV trail, which had a bridge across the river and past this bridge was very shallow rapids which could not be paddled.
We did, however, park the boats and explore the area a bit on foot.

These are some of the rapids at the bridge.

And here’s the bridge.

This is what the river looked like after the bridge, and this goes on for about 1 kilometer, so we weren’t about to attempt this portage today.

We walked up as far as the bridge and then we headed back down to where we had parked the boats. On the way back down, we ran into a pickup truck coming along one of the ATV trails. This was very unexpected since we were quite a long way from any roads. This guy must have driven on the ATV trail for a long time to get in this far. He got out of the truck and went into the high grass on the hills along the ATV trail and picked up a few things and put them in the back of his truck. At that point we were right up to him so we just said our hello’s and continued on our way. It was just kind of a strange situation, and we weren’t about to get into any discussions about why this guy was out in the middle of nowhere, driving a pickup truck on an ATV trail. It all looked a bit on the shady side and we decided the less said, the better.

It was getting late now, so we started our paddle back to the third campsite. I really wanted to see if I could get some pictures of that full moon on the way back, but I wasn’t really sure if they would turn out, since I had never taken pictures at night with this camera before.

The problem with taking pictures at night is, not only the available light, but holding the camera steady enough, since the shutter speed is so slow.

Of course, the pictures come nowhere close to actually being there to experience this incredible feeling.

Anyway, that was a great paddling experience but the mosquitoes were ravenous and we were sent quickly back to our campsite where we couldn’t even enjoy a campfire because the blood-suckers were about to carry us off into the bush.

When we woke up the next morning, the clouds looked ominous, so we quickly had breakfast and packed up our things to head off to the next campsite, which would be in the direction of returning to the boat launch, where we started from.

We weren’t on the water too long when it started to rain. At first it was just light rain and then it got a bit heavier but there were no complaints from me, since I had taken all I could of that blazing sun we had since the trip began. The rain didn’t last all that long, and it actually started to clear up later in the afternoon.

As we approached the area where we had camped on the first island, we decided to check out a couple of areas across the lake that might offer a nice campsite, since we would rather not camp on the same island twice in one trip. We did find a nice site on a sort of point, not really an island, so we settled in for our last night.

The dog seemed to think that the canoe was a better sleeping spot at this site.

We got our tents set up in our chosen spots.

The campfire at this site was situated in front of some nice natural rock seats, something we didn’t have at most of the other campsites.

However, all the campsites we stayed at were excellent sites and, of course, best of all, they were free.

My brother tried a bit of fishing again, but it was to no avail, we were skunked on the fishing front.

The dog seemed eager to get the campfire going.

In a last ditch effort to catch the big one, my brother hit the high seas in search of a monster. Unfortunately, he found a monster, a monster wave, which washed him ashore. He didn’t even have time to reel in his line.

With a smile on his face, he said,”This is not the first time I’ve been blown ashore”. I’m not really sure what he meant?

The sun was setting for our last night in the bush and it was time to start thinking about getting the campfire going.

On one side the sun was going down and on the other side the moon was coming up.

What more could we ask for, except maybe a fish or two.

We got the fire going with the intentions of enjoying a long night sitting there.

Everything seemed perfect. The moon…..

and the fire.

Even the dog seemed content.

Alas, but it was not to be. Once again, out of nowhere, the hordes of mosquitoes appeared. Even DEET was not enough to dissuade the ferocious attack. I wasn’t using any repellent, so I was the first one to hit the tent. My brother hung in there for a while longer, and even declared victory over the mosquitoes but, in the end, nature always wins.

We got up early the next morning for the paddle back to the boat launch.

As usual, it was another beautiful morning and the water was like glass on the lake.

It was a very easy and enjoyable paddle back to our starting point and a great time was had by all of us on this trip.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: