Exploring Beyond

To this point, I’ve only been exploring the local area, for the most part. Part of the reason for that is the cost of gas and the available resources for said gas. Due to an unforeseen and unexpected vehicle repair earlier this summer, I’ve had to play catch-up a bit with my finances.

With the fall season fast approaching, and the main thrust of summer vacationers easing up a bit, I would like to start expanding my explorations to some further points from home. Of course, there are thousands of lakes in all directions up here, but 90% of them do not have any kind of access, which makes it hard to get into them, and also many of them are very small.

I’m always checking out the maps of the area to see where the interesting spots are and I have a few areas in mind to get to when the opportunity arises. Google Maps comes in very handy for searching out places that might be worth exploring.

One of the places I have my sights on is called Aubrey Falls Provincial Park. Aubrey Falls is known as a non-operating provincial park, which means that there are no organized campgrounds there. It’s basically just a wilderness area that is protected under the provincial parks system.

Here’s the general area I’m talking about;

When you get this far north, the satellite maps are not high resolution, so it’s a bit more difficult to see details that might help in locating areas that could be used for camping or launching the kayak. I did mark some areas on the map that appear to be possibilities but there’s no way of knowing for sure until I get there.

My intention would be to find a suitable area to park the truck and to go on day trips into the parks waterways, coming back in the evening to camp out of the truck. This way I wouldn’t have to carry too much equipment with me in the kayak.

Even though I’m already quite far north where I am, this trip to Aubrey Falls Provincial Park would be an almost 400km round trip, so it will take close to a full tank of gas, which means about $150. at today’s gas prices. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one to make ‘plans’ but when it comes to practical things, like having enough money for a trip like this, there is no way around it. Still, I won’t be setting any kind of date for this trip. I may just fill up the tank one day and then wait for some likely looking weather to make my move.

The driving route to Aubrey Falls from Elliot Lake is not exactly as the crow flies. In fact, it’s downright inefficient due to the fact that there aren’t all that many roads up here. On the brighter side, the route will be most enjoyable, since it will cover a large part of what is known as The Deer Trail route, which is shown below;

This trip would be two trips in one, because I also wanted to do the Deer Trail too. So, exploring along the Deer Trail on the way up and on the way back would definitely be on the agenda, although I won’t be doing the complete Deer Trail the way it is shown above.

The route that I will be taking is a return trip route, which is to say that I will be going back the same way that I came.

The lower part of the Deer Trail Route is mostly Hwy 17 anyways, so I won’t be missing all that much. I’d rather stay on less travelled roads anyways.

Another closer area that I have on my radar is Quirke Lake, which is only a short drive north of Elliot Lake. Surrounding parts of the Quirke Lake area are mining properties, but there are also private cottage properties around Quirke Lake. These types of lakes are not my usual haunts because cottages mean people and motorboats and noise. However, Quirke Lake is a bigger lake than most lakes around here, and there are parts of the lake that look quite remote, so I think that it’s worth a look.

I will be mostly interested in exploring the eastern side of the lake, since the west side has cottages on it. Since this is a much bigger lake than I normally paddle on, I will have to be sure to choose a calm day because big lakes will get very choppy on windy days.

There are a few smaller lakes within portaging distance of Quirke Lake also, so they might make for some interesting explorations, since motorboats will not be able to access these lakes. There are islands on Quirke Lake but I’m not sure that I’m all that interested in camping on these islands. Like I said, the lake is really too big, which makes getting wind-bound on an island a real possibility and, with so many cottages around, it just doesn’t appeal to me all that much.

The city of Elliot Lake did construct an official boat launch on Quirke Lake and I have marked that location on the map with a balloon. This is where I will be parking while kayaking on Quirke Lake. I expect that these trips will be mostly day trips.

Anyway, these two areas are possible trips for the upcoming fall season. No set dates, just whenever. As usual I’ll continue searching my maps for more accessible kayaking areas to explore.

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