Marsh/Summers Lake Exploration

As an after thought, I decided to put a picture of the Recreational Map in here too, for reference purposes.

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Another fine exploration mission in the books today. However, it did not give up it’s secrets easily. Portages are always an unknown, until you actually get there and see the situation. Also, at this time of year, bugs are bound to be a problem, and this year was no different.

I got off to an early start, just before 6am, on a nice clear, but quite cold June morning. My hands were near frozen in the first kilometer of paddling, so I, reluctantly, put my gloves on, even though I can’t take pictures with them on.

Sometimes a certain amount of determination is helpful in fulfilling ones enjoyment of the chase, so to speak. Still, I was quite willing to call it quits, if I felt that my chosen path for the day was unattainable within a certain amount of comfort. After all, breaking ones ass in pursuit of enjoyment does not seem to be all that fulfilling now does it?

So, with that in mind, I set off with the intention of exploring both Marsh Lake, and Summers Lake, in one fell swoop.

As I started off, there was quite a bit of mist on the lake, probably because it had been a very cold night. I don’t expect to be seeing near freezing temperatures into June, but that’s what it’s like this year.

Not long after I got into the water, I saw this big rocky slope, so I went over to check it out. At this point, probably because of the cold temperatures, there were no bugs to be seen.

I continued paddling along Marsh Lake, which is not a very big lake, but I wanted to check out any interesting areas along the way, including the one official campsite that is shown on my Recreational Map.

You many notice some anomalies in the videos and pictures from this camera today, since I didn’t notice that I had the settings in the wrong place, but I did take most of the pictures with my smaller Canon camera, so most of those should be acceptable.

So, I did discover that one official campsite on Marsh Lake, although there was another unofficial site too. The sun was now fully risen, and things did start to warm up a bit, but I was sure glad that I had dressed warmer than usual for today’s paddle.

After this video, I reached the end of Marsh Lake, and this is where things got a bit tricky. The map shows a 210m portage at this point, but I figured that, with the high water levels we presently have, I might be able to shorten that length a bit.

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Coming in to the end of Marsh Lake

I pulled in just below a portage sign, and got out to investigate. However, it appeared that the portage sign had just been put up in the middle of a forest, because there was no evidence of a trail ever being here. I searched around a bit, but came to the conclusion that, if I was going to make it over to Summers Lake, I would have to bushwhack it.

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I decided to give it a shot, since I hadn’t come all this way to turn back without a decent effort. I just stayed close to the rivers edge, and made my way to a point where I felt that I could get the kayak back in the water.

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This was a lot of work, so I wasn’t taking pictures as I struggled through the bush with my kayak and the rest of my gear. This shot was taken after I had gotten to a point where I felt I could get back into the river. It wasn’t the easiest place to launch a kayak from, and I had to balance on some logs to get myself and my gear back into paddling status again. No I didn’t fall in 🙂

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Back in the water again, I was able to paddle right down to the end there, and then I had to, once again, take the kayak out, and bushwhack my way through another section along the river. This was the end, of what the map had referred to as a 210m portage, so I had cut a lot off of that by paddling some of it. Now I only had one portage ahead of me, which I knew was only 50m so I was quite sure, at this point, that Summers Lake was attainable.

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The 50m portage turned out to be well marked and it had a good trail, so it was relatively easy. I had my little music player on during the portages. I usually don’t use it when I’m paddling but, in this next video, I hadn’t turned it off yet, so just bear with me.

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Summers Lake, dead ahead.

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I started paddling the shoreline of Summers Lake and it wasn’t long until I came across the first official campsite.

There are six official campsites on Summers Lake, but I didn’t get out at them all because the bugs were picking up by now and, anytime I got close to shore, they would swarm me.

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View from the campsite.

Brace yourselves folks, you are about to witness a very rare appearance by the traveller himself. I got a complaint recently that there were no pictures of me in the trip, so I wanted to rectify that situation a bit on this trip.

Yep, I know it wasn’t much but, when you’re wanted dead or alive, you can’t be going around posting pictures of yourself all over the internet. Of course, I say that in jest. I’m definitely not the ‘wanted’ type, neither dead or alive. I speak from experience 🙂

Anyway, I continued my paddle along the shoreline of Summers Lake.

I did decide not to stop at all the campsites, because the bugs were getting much worse now, and I could see a lot of the campsites from the water anyways. I did notice that a lot of the campsites had deep water right at the shore, so they would be nice campsites to fish from.

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As you can see, these campsite signs look decades old.

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Another, fairly nice, campsite location.

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Summers Lake is a fair sized lake, so I knew it would take me some time to get around it all. With the bug situation the way it was, I was kind of wondering where I might be able to stop for something to eat. Then I spotted a small, desolate looking island out in the lake. It only had one small clump of trees on it, so I figured that the bugs might not be as bad out there. I headed for it.

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My lunch spot in the distance.

That loon was out there for a reason, I was standing right beside it’s nest, and I didn’t even know it. Fortunately, I didn’t step in it.

I know one thing for sure, that loon must be going through misery sitting on those eggs with hordes of black flies all over it.

So, anyway, I did have lunch on the island, and the breeze helped to keep the bugs off me, for the most part.

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Still on the island.

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After having lunch, and taking a few pictures on the island, I figured I better let that loon back on it’s nest. There were a couple of seagulls, flying around, looking to have a little lunch of their own. I was only there for about fifteen minutes, so I was sure that the eggs didn’t suffer too much from my presence.

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Off I headed, for more exploring.

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I checked out many of the narrow bays, and interesting looking coves along the way.

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This big rock seems about ready to slide off into the water, but now would not be a good time. Of course, in reality, if it ever does slide off, it will slide off now, because now is the only reality there ever is.

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I guess a lot of these huge rocks just fall off the surrounding cliff, due to cracking, and the freeze/thaw cycles.

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I headed out of the cove, and down the opposite side of the lake that I had come in on.

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I like to paddle as close to shore as possible, because most of the interesting stuff is there but, today, the bugs would swarm me anytime I got too close, so I had to keep my distance. Even, so, I still paid I high price when I stopped to take pictures. It seemed like the price was set at a pint of blood for every picture 😦

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I never get tired of experiencing the rugged shorelines around most of these lakes.

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And the Great White Pines, that seem to spring right out of solid rock.

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I didn’t see any human activity on this whole trip, but I did come across 3 or 4 ice fishing huts left in the bushes along the lake. They bring these things in here in winter, on sleds, and just leave them here for next winter. There were no cabins or cottages on either of these lakes.

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The blue sky had some wispy, high, white clouds, and the water was relatively calm, so the paddling was very enjoyable.

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Another quiet cove to explore.

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You can see some of the blurry black flies in this picture, buzzing around me.

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This beauty, coupled with both the sounds, and the deafening quiet of nature, are what keeps me coming back for more.

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As I paddled along this section of the lake, I remembered that my Recreational Map had shown another boat launch somewhere in this area. I wanted to see if I could find it, so that next time I came here, I might be able to avoid the bushy portaging I had to do to get in here today.

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I did find it, and here is a beautiful campsite right beside that launch.

However, I would not have been able to access this boat launch in my truck. The map shows this as an official boat launch, but no one in their right mind would drive anything other than an ATV or at least a fully modified four-wheel drive vehicle in on the road for this boat launch.

I didn’t stop here for long because the bugs were horrendous. Forget about the bears eating you, these bugs will do the trick, only they’ll make your death a much slower one.

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What a perfect campsite this would make though, in the right season.

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I continued my journey, back towards those pesky portages, only this time, unlike in the cold of the morning, the blood-sucking insects would be there waiting for me.

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I can always feel when it’s time to start looking for the proverbial barn doors, and then I start paddling with a little more intention. This was not one of the longest one day paddling adventures I’d had, but when you throw in the effort on the portages, it more than made up for any shortcomings in distance.

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Another campsite, with some neatly stacked firewood ready to go.

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I knew this channel, because I had come in this way, so I was on track to reach the portages soon.

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As much as I love the outdoors, I can’t say that I was all that enthusiastic about going back through those portages, but it was the only way out.

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The last gap ahead.

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The first 50m portage should be just around this corner.

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Back into the thick of it.

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On the way back through the portages, I did find a few ways to make things a bit easier, but there’s no getting around the bugs, and they welcomed me with open wings, and mouths.

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Back into Marsh Lake I felt a bit rejuvenated, since the lake was fairly small, so it wouldn’t take a lot of effort to paddle back to where I had parked the truck.

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I arrived back at the launch site in one piece. I could hardly recognize it because it had been almost dark when I arrived this morning.

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One final shot of Marsh Lake as I leave.

On a strange side note, as I was packing up my stuff at the back of the truck, a guy on a red ATV came by and looked interested. He came over and said something like, “I’ve seen this kayak before, are you the guy that posts pictures on the internet?” I said, “ya, that’s me”. Then we started talking about the kayak and how his wife had a similar one, and also some other stuff about the area and such.

I mean, what are the chances of meeting someone way out here that knows about the pictures I post on the internet? Anyway, that was the end of my adventure for today. Total distance covered, just less than 20kms. Total time taken, around 7 1/2 hours.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Getting recognized in public now! You are the “Justin Bieber” of wilderness blogs! Soon we won’t be able to do any trips at all without bringing our posse. The paparazzi will outnumber the black flies!

    Reply

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