Spring Trip 2014 Part One

The destination for this year’s Spring Trip, with my son, and my brother, was Kindiogami Lake, pronounced Kindi-og-ami. This was a new route, which I had never been on before, so there was some doubt as to whether we could even get in there, since road conditions were unknown.

We had already been on the Kindiogami logging road before, so we did know that part of the road, but the road going into Kindiogami Lake was a 7km long bush road. These bush roads are notorious for being very rough, and sometimes impassable by road vehicles.

After we located the beginning of the road going into the lake, we started in, not knowing what we might find. Not long after we started in, we met a pickup truck coming out, so I stopped along side and ask the guy if we were on the right road, and what the road conditions were like. He replied that this, indeed, was the correct road, and that we should have no trouble with four wheel drive.

I also asked him if there was anyone down at the launch point, and he said that there were people camped down there, which threw a bit of a damper on our expectations. We would have liked that area to be unoccupied, so that we could basecamp the first night there, and then launch our expedition the next day.

After consulting with the other guys, we decided to go in and get a feeling for what the situation was like down there, so that we could decide whether to stay, or whether to do one of our alternative routes, since this was the only put in for Kindiogami Lake.

Remember, we would have to leave our vehicles at this put in for a whole week, so if we got the sense that the situation at the launch point was out of control, or rowdy, we might decide not to launch from there, and choose another location for our Spring Trip.

The road going in was quite rough in places, not the kind of road you would want to be driving your family car on. However, both me and my brother had full size four-wheel drive SUV’s, and my son was in my truck with me, so we were able to negotiate the steep, rough, and rocky road to the lake.

When the clearing at the end of that road came into view, we could see a number of people camping around the area. However, there was lots of room for parking, so we pulled in to a nice spot. When we got out of our vehicles, one of the local inhabitants came over to chat, and it didn’t take us long to determine that the out of control, rowdy factor was not going to be an issue here.

They all appeared to be friendly, and quiet people, just looking for some peaceful camping, as we were. One guy was a bit too friendly though, we couldn’t get rid of him and his dog, so we decided to hit the water as soon as possible.

We unloaded all our gear, me and my son inflated our boats, I had two to inflate, my brother unloaded his canoe, and we set off on our week-long expedition.

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Looking back, as we depart, you can’t really see anyone camped there, but there were a few people camping, including one couple who dragged a fifth-wheel trailer, and a boat trailer behind that, over that rough bush road. He said that he’d been coming to this location since 1975.

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And, they’re off!! My son, in his modified Dragonfly 2, and my brother in his custom cedar/canvas canoe, fully loaded, both of them.

I’ll just add a note in here that I really like my son’s setup, using the front cockpit for all his camping gear. In fact, this has worked out so well that I have now purchased a Dragonfly 2 myself, for using on these camping trips. However, mine is the XC version of the Dragonfly 2, which means that it does come with main tube covers, and it has a foam floor, rather than an inflatable floor, as well as inflatable seats, which my son’s Dragonfly 2 does not have. You will see this kayak in action next time we do a camping/paddling trip, which might be later this summer, when my brother comes back up with his son.

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Of course, I will be taking most of the pictures that you will see on this trip, however, I did get my son, and my brother to take some pics and videos of me, and my setup, as I was pulling the Packlite behind my AdvancedFrame kayak. This setup did work better than I had expected, in the beginning, however, a more lasting impression was made by the end of the trip.

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First, we were headed to the southeast end of the lake, where the Kindiogami dam was located.

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Paddling conditions were great, so we took our time, keeping an eye out for possible camping locations, since we had no idea where, or even if, there were any campsites available on this lake.

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Here you get a closer look at my son’s setup. My setup will be almost exactly the same on our next trip.

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We found a fairly nice campsite, on an island, down by the dam, and we made it home for the night.

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We have a certain process for who gets to choose their tent location first, and we rotate who chooses first at each different location. This is my son’s tent.

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My brother, getting to work on firewood, with his tent in the background.

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And my, comparatively, humble portable abode. Nice view!!

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My son, thinking about ending it all, before we’re hardly started. I guess he didn’t figure that the black flies were going to be quite that annoying.

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Now that’s more like it! The first campfire of the season is always so enjoyable. We all chip in to do the chores, like collecting that nice stack of firewood you see there. You can also see the Packlite in the background of this shot.

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Darkness sets in around the campfire confessional, where all secrets are unloaded, and relaxation begins.

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The next morning, I’m up early to get the coffee on. After all, these two guys with me are still working for a living, so they deserve to be able to sleep in a bit on their vacations.

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The sun rises over the calm waters surrounding the island.

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I took over 1200 pictures on this trip, so you won’t be seeing them all here. I’ll just have to pick and choose the ones that portray the trip, as a whole, the best.

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You can almost smell that campfire coffee.

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And, of course, the Captain is always on board to help out that campfire coffee, just a little bit.

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The sun rises.

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Nice view to wake up to.

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Since this was spring, we saw all kinds of waterfowl preparing for new families.

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We all took a vote, and decided to stay at this island campsite for a second night. We do vote on all decisions like this, and the vote is not always unanimous, which can result in some tense feelings at times but, in the end, we’re all here to enjoy, and any difficulties soon disappear in the vast, and overpowering wilderness.

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Ghost paddler? This was kinda funny. Somehow my kayak became dislodged from the shoreline, and drifted out to sea.

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Fortunately for me, I wasn’t alone, otherwise an impromptu cold water swim would have been in order. My son was already out in his kayak, and kindly retrieved my footloose steed for me.

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Back on dry land again, even if it is rugged, and rocky dry land.

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Once we set up camp, and get comfortable, we do explore the surrounding area in our unloaded boats.

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The guys, taking a break from paddling.

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The island we’re camping on, from the water.

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My brother lands the first trout of the trip. He’s more of a fisherman than I am, but I did get my fishing license this year, intending to catch some food for the table.

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Another nice sunset on our second night at the first island campsite. After doing some exploring in the area, we discovered that the, so called, Kindiogami dam was non-existent. It seems that they had removed the dam some time ago, and there were just some rapids at the dam location. This makes sense now, after the fact, because it was somewhat difficult to read the maps due to the lower water levels since the dam was removed. The older maps showed a lot of islands that were no longer islands.

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The guys relaxing after a day of exploring.

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Another day, another campfire.

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Hey Dad, do you think this will be a big enough stick to protect me from a bear?

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The next morning’s breakfast fire, before we head off, once again, into uncharted territory.

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And away we go, heading northwest on Kindiogami Lake, looking for new adventures.

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For most of the trip, we hugged the shoreline, because it’s more interesting. You never know what you might see.

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I never get tired of this rugged Northern Ontario wilderness, even though I’ve been out west to the mountains, been out east to the finest seafood, and been down south to the Florida beaches. Nothing feels quite as good to me as the vast wild spaces of the north.

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We push on, in search of a new campsite, enjoying the scenery along the way.

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The paddle count adds up, as we forge our way along the jagged edges of Kindiogami Lake, exploring inlets, and bays to see where they go.

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These trees that stick way up above all the rest of the trees, make good landmarks, because you’ll surely remember them, if you see them again.

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I’m usually always at the back of the pack, so that I can document our travels in pictures. However, my son does drop back at times, and I’m always trying to keep him in front, so that I can get him in the pictures too.

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Here’s a good example of getting him in the right place, at the right time.

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We found this official campsite right beside a remote cabin, which had been built on the lake. There was no one at the cabin, so I was okay with staying here for the night, however, I was vetoed by the other guys, and we moved on to greener pastures.

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My brother is usually at the front of the pack, and there is a good reason for this. He is an experienced paddler, but being in an open canoe sometimes means that he needs to take wave action into account when choosing his route. In the kayaks, me and my son can go in any direction, regardless of wave action, so it makes more sense to keep my brother in front, in case he needs to choose a safer route for his canoe.

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Another landmark tree. We have maps and GPS’s but it’s always good to take note of these kinds of landmarks. You never know when you might need them.

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The terrain is quite variable up here in Northern Ontario. It can be high rocky cliffs in one moment, and low lying swamps in the next.

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What’s this? I believe we’ve found another campsite. And, it looks like a good one!

Stay tuned for the continuing story of Spring Trip 2014.

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