T-Minus 22 Days

In just 22 days from today, me, my son, and my brother will embark on a five day paddling/portaging trip into unknown territory. The map above shows the tentative route we will be taking. This route will lead us through a total of 14 different lakes, and a total of 21 portages, which will equal 3.57kms when added together. The total distance for the trip will be around 50kms. We will have less than five days to complete it, although ‘rushing’ is not an option.  If we need to adjust our route on the fly, we will do so, and I will update the route when we return.

This is not an official paddling route, I just marked it out myself, while consulting a number of mapping programs I have available to me. Since it is not, as far as I know, a used route, the portages will be an unknown factor until we actually arrive at the location of each portage. It’s more than likely that a lot of these portages will be rough going, since there won’t be any trails to follow.

Today I went for a drive to the location where we will be launching this trip. I had been to this launch point last summer, but I didn’t really get a good look at it then, so I wanted to scout out the area today to see if adequate parking for our vehicles could be had.


I found that there is a nice parking area across the road from the boat launch. The boat launch itself is quite steep with very limited area for parking, so we will be using the parking lot shown above. It’s also encouraging that there happens to be a cottage within sight of this parking area, so that’s just a bit of extra security, since we will be leaving our vehicles, unattended, in this parking area for about five days.

I quite often have to leave my truck parked in remote areas, and I’ve been struggling with how best to deal with this, since this area is no stranger to vandalism. I’ve been lucky so far, but I’ve seen enough to make me wary of where I leave my truck, especially overnight.

There was a suggestion of something like a trail/game camera, that would take pictures of anyone in the vicinity of my truck but, after considering all the variables, I’ve decided that this just wouldn’t be adequate. If someone decides to mess with my truck while I’m out on a trip, then there’s not really too much I can do about it, except to have insurance that would cover any damage, and I have added that now. For an extra $16. per six months, I have added comprehensive insurance, which will cover any vandalism damage, fire damage or theft.

Of course, that kind of insurance won’t help me get out of the bush, if I do happen to come back and find my truck with four slashed tires. Still, it is of some consolation. I’ve looked at getting one of those SPOT devices, which would allow me to send messages through the satellite system, since most of the areas I go to have no cell service. After doing a fair amount of research on these devices, I’ve decided that they are just not dependable enough.  Keep in mind, some would say that anything is better than nothing, but I have to consider cost against effectiveness.   If money wasn’t a factor, I’d certainly have every option available to me but, alas, money is most certainly a factor in my case.

There are other devices that are only meant for use if there is a life threatening situation, the same as calling 911, but I don’t think that they’d appreciate me calling them for a tow truck.

Another alternative would be a satellite phone, but have you ever looked at the prices of those things? They can be rented, but I don’t think I would want to be going to the trouble of renting one every time I go out, which is pretty often.

Anyway, it is what it is, and I feel that I’ve done all I can, so it’s time to let that go and let the chips fall where they may.

Back to the upcoming trip. This boat launch that we will be leaving from is 10kms into the bush. There is no cell service and there probably won’t be any cell service for the duration of the trip. This means that we will be on our own all the way through.

The boat launch road is steep, and the boat launch itself is even steeper. I couldn’t drive down to it today because there’s still snow and ice on it.


I walked down the boat launch road to check out the launch area.


It’s a nice, quiet, scenic area to begin our adventure, and I don’t expect that many people will be using this launch so early in the season.


Snowmobiles have been using this launch area to get out onto Dunlop Lake during the winter months. Just off the shore you can see a small island, and on shore, to the right, you can see the floating docks stacked up for winter. I don’t know if these will be in the water by the time we’re casting off. It would make things a bit easier if they were.


Looking down Dunlop Lake in the direction that we will be headed, it’s hard to believe that all this ice will be gone in just 22 days. In fact, I won’t be surprised to see some ice and snow in the bush during this trip. I’ve been on similar trips in May and know that this is not unheard of.


Anyway, I’ll be watching the ice conditions very carefully in the coming weeks, but I’m confident that we won’t have to add ice-breakers to the fronts of our boats.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Avril Frame on April 26, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Have a wonderful trip with the boys …………It will be nice for you to have some company for a while!

    Luv Avril


    • Yes it will. It’s been a long time since all of us were together for this kind of a trip. All we need now is to get that long lost Kenny back on the trail with us. Don’t know if he’s up to that kind of thing yet, but I’m sure I’ll hear about it if he is.


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