McCarthy/Hackford Roundtrip


I’m back into the McCarthy Lake system today to continue exploring areas that I didn’t reach the last time I was here. I will be going all the way down the lake on this trip, and crossing over a short portage into, what I now know is, Hackford Lake.

First of all, getting into the launch point was no easy task. The road into the official McCarthy Lake launch point is bad enough, but I decided to continue on to another launch point that I had discovered on my last trip to McCarthy and this proved to be quite adventurous, to say the least.

It had rained recently, so there were some, quite large, muddy ponds along the road, if you can even call it a road. The problem with these ponds is, you don’t really know how deep they are, or if the bottom is hard or soft. On one of these ponds, I’m sure I went down right to my trucks axles, and the bottom was soft so getting stuck was a real possibility. However, I was able to keep two of my wheels on solid ground so, even though the truck listed seriously, I made it through.

It’s not like you can call the CAA to come get you out of these places should you get stuck, and these bush roads are so lightly travelled that it could be days, or even longer, before anyone else came along. Besides that, damaging the truck in some way is always a consideration since I have limited resources for anything, and truck repairs are not at the top of the list.

Anyway, I always carefully weigh the possibilities and probabilities before I tackle these things and, even though chances must be taken in order to have the desired amount of adventure in life, they can be mitigated by reasonable common sense.

The map above shows the route I took for this trip. The total distance was around 19kms and I was out paddling for about seven hours. This doesn’t mean that it takes seven hours to do 19kms. I was in explore mode, which means that I was in no hurry.

I was up at 4:30am this morning because I wanted to get on the water as soon as dawn broke, but that turned out to be a bit on the early side, since it didn’t start to get light until about 6am. I certainly didn’t want to be driving on that bush road in the dark. It was difficult enough in daylight.

Anyway, I did get out shortly after first light and the weather forecast had predicted a cloudy day, which suited me fine, since paddling into McCarthy in the morning meant facing directly into the rising sun. However, as is often the case, the forecast was somewhat lacking in accuracy. The sun did rise, and very visibly so. There was some cloud cover around though, so it wasn’t as blazing as it usually is.

Still, with so much light on the horizon, a lot of the pictures and video’s will be somewhat dark in areas. This is unavoidable under these circumstances. So, here we go;




I will still have to come back again to the McCarthy system so that I can explore another arm of the lake, which goes off in a southeast direction. Down at the end of that side, I believe there is a nice beach with a waterfall close by, so that will be interesting to see.



I passed a number of beach areas early on in my exploration but I only stopped on the big beach that I stopped on last time I was out here, so that I could check for animal tracks.




After the big beach, I continued on down the same shoreline. From this point on, I’m in unexplored territory.






In this next video, I mention that I’m at the end of the other side of McCarthy Lake, which I later found out was not true. This lake, in fact, has a different name, even though it’s connected to the McCarthy system. It’s called Hackford Lake.

As I crossed over to the other side of Hackford Lake, I found a couple of aluminum boats lying onshore. There was a trail leading up into the bushes and, at the time, I wasn’t sure what kind of a trail it was, or how far it went. I checked when I got home and, as it turns out, it was leading to an ATV trail, which was a long way into the bush. This is why they left the boats here. There is no other access to this lake other than by the ATV trail, and I guess they don’t want to be hauling a boat in here every time they come in to do some fishing. Further on, I found out that you can’t get into this lake by motorboat because there is a beaver dam which separates this lake from the McCarthy system.







What I saw in that last video was, in fact, a floating boat dock, with a cabin up farther in the bush. Again, this whole area is Crown Land, so I’m not sure why these cabins would be allowed. The boat dock has been built very recently, as you can see by the new wood. Someone is putting a lot of effort and money into these cabins and they could be forced to take it all down, if the authorities ask them to. Of course, no one will hear a thing from me, because I’m not one to go running to any type of authorities. But, I know for a fact, there are many people who will.

Of course, it could be that the MNR, who are the caretakers of all the Crown Land in Ontario, do know about these cabins and are, for some reason, looking the other way, for the moment anyways.
I continued on;


After I had lunch, I continued down the shoreline until I came across an island, which looked like it could be a decent camping island.


At this point, I did something that I very rarely do. I took a picture of myself. The opportunity presented itself so here it is;

It was quite the struggle to get up on top of that rock and get into a suitable position for a picture in the 12 seconds I had with the camera timer.
I left this island and continued on down the shoreline a short ways when I came across this;



Anyway, I continued back to where I had parked the truck and I hadn’t seen another soul all day until I was just coming into the launch point, where a boat load of rowdies were just on thier way out into the lake. Perfect timing.

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