Paddle - BWCA, Quetico, Sylvania, and other paddling places

16 Day Figure 8 rout

By MagicPaddler Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (0)
Dates:June 11-26, 2019
Entry Point:75 - Cache Bay fly-in (Quetico)
Lakes:Bell, Cullen, Emerald, Kawnipi, Kenny, Mack, Munro, Ottertrack, Ross, Saganaga, Saganagons, This Man

I spent the night and had breakfast at the casino before driving to the outfitters. I had the outfitter drop me near Rocky Point. For a late start the wind was not bad and after checking in at the ranger station I headed for the 4 portages into Saganagons rather than going by the way of Silver Falls. The little lakes were very pleasant to paddle and the portages were not bad although the last one had a high and low water landing. Water was high enough to use the high water one but I had already gotten out when I found the other landing. I set up camp on a west facing camp near boundary point on Saganagons. It has been a pleasant day with no rain but cloud cover to keep the sun off of me.

Day 2 After breakfast I head north for Mack. As I approached the portage out of Ross I heard voices. It was a family of 5 in 2 canoes. They had come from McKenzie down the Wawiag and through Mack. I waited in my canoe for them to load and take off then tackled the first long portage of the day. Things went well and I was soon on the last portage of the day. I did this portage about 18 years ago. I remember a floating bog at the end and a way to get around it but when I got to that point I did not recognize where I was and proceeded out into the mud. On my second load I decided to triple the last 100 yards so as to not have such a heavy load. On the first of the last 2 loads my foot slipped off of some corduroy and I fell getting my right side muddy to my shoulder. As I was near the end with that load I stepped into a hole and used my hands to stop from falling into some bushes. As I was starting to get back on 2 feet I moved my hand and a bush slapped me in the right eye. I knew there was dirt in my eye but with muddy hands I decided to deal with it later. All I needed to do was retrieve my canoe which was only about 100 yds back. I finished the portage and loaded the canoe while it was setting on the bog. I laid a large stick beside the canoe and stepped on the stick the bog started to sink. When my foot was about 6 inches below water I stepped into the canoe and paddled away. With my eye bothering me and stinking like I had wallowed in a swamp I stopped at the first campsite I found. It was a ½ star camp. I set up my hammock and proceeded to take a bath and wash my clothes. Then I got out some eye drops and managed to wash a larger piece of dirt into my eye. Running my finger around in my eye did not get anything out. I ate supper and went to bed. The next morning my eye was still sore bud did not seem to bother me as much as it had the day before. I knew that the North end of the lake was where most people stay and there were nice camp sites there. Surely there would be someone there that could help get the dirt out of my eye. I packed up and headed north. I found that as I moved my eye around it got much worse. I could not use my left eye without moving my right eye. So with both eyes closed I would paddle for a while and then blink my left eye open and make a course correction. I found a nice camp and just sat in camp for a couple of hours thinking someone would come along. No one did. Around 4 in the afternoon I set up camp and ate my lunch. My eyes were tearing and my nose was running to where I was running out of snot rags. I noticed my water filter bag could be used as a squirt bottle. I use it to flush out my eye a couple of times. It felt much better. I had developed a sinus headache and was concerned that I may have an infection behind the eye. My eye and nose were still running. I decided that if things did not improve by tomorrow I would use the emergency button on my SPOT. Although I had done very little all day I was exhausted. And went to bed early. When I got up during the night for natures call my right eye was stuck shut. As I was getting back in the hammock my eye came open but was so filled with goop everything was blurry. When I got up in the morning it was stuck shut again. I had slept well and longer than I normally do. The sinus headache was almost gone. My nose had stopped running. After washing some of the crud off my face my right eye opened. I could see! There was almost no tenderness and my vision was clear. Things that I knew were wrong with my eyes but never bothered me now were an annoyance. Things that doctors had ask me about but I had never noticed were now obvious. I kept turning my head to the left to see that bird flying by to realize it was a floater far left in my left eye. My eyes were not working together all the time. Sometimes I would need to shut one for a while. I noticed I have better far vision in my right eye than my left eye. I had to laugh when I saw a by wing bald eagle flying toward me. Now I knew what the doc meant when he ask if I ever had double vision in either eye. As long as my left eye was open that bald eagle had 4 wings. By the time breakfast was over the sinus headache was gone and I felt well.

Time to get back to the fun stuff. I spent the day exploring the north east section of Mack. I found the end of the first portage heading toward Home Lake. It is far to the south west of where it is marked on maps. Someone had done maintenance on it within the last couple of years. I wonder how hard it would be to go from Ross to Mack that way. I also found the outfitters dock just outside the park. I enjoy paddling the creek but I’m not impressed with the north east end of the lake because most of it is shallow. As I get back to the main part of the lake I start trolling a deep diver and soon pick up a walleye which I keep. Back in camp I add walleye to my supper and enjoy a little fire and the solitude. Tomorrow I will head for the Wawiag.

The next morning there is some crust stuff on my eye lashes but no runny nose and I feel well. I still notice things with my eyes that most times I would not notice and I kind of play with watching the floater in my left eye chasing the floater in my right eye and those by winger eagle are a neat thing to see. I only remember two beaver dams and 2 portages on Mack Creek and was soon on the Wawiag. For a river I thought the water was very clear. I had been down the Wawiag from the edge of the park about 3 years ago. We had tried to fish it but weather had the fish not biting. I was eager to see what the fishing was like now. I tried several of my plastics on a couple of jigs. If there is fish there they were not interested in what I had. My fish detector did not mark any fish.

When I got to the portage the landing was in fast water. I had fallen in there 3 years ago and now the water was higher and if I made a mistake at that landing it would be down the rapids. I went up stream and by pulling on alder I was able to get the canoe up against shore. I tramped down a path from my new landing into the old camp site. I had a much nicer place for a landing. After the portage I only fished for a little while then gave up. The river has a berm built up on both sides as if a levy ran along side of the river. Every couple hundred yards there would be a hole in the berm where a stream ran into the river. I think the berms are caused by ice that builds up on the river then the current pushes it into the bank until the bank are pushed back. I paddled through many of the openings to explorer what was behind the berm. The area behind the berm was either a shallow lake or marsh wetland. Some had narrow creeks winding through the marsh. This looked like good moose area so I continued checking them out with no luck. Finally I am checking out the last one before the river enters Kawnipi. I see a swan then another and another. There were 6 all white and 2 smaller tan swans. They were behind some reeds making the pictures I got not very clear. I noticed that the river had gone from very cleat to dark tea stained during my days travel. As I paddled out on to Kawa Bay thunder began to rumble. I made a dash for a camp site and was just on shore when winds picked up. My tarp was barely up when it began to rain kind of hard. Supper was cooked and eaten from under the tarp. When I turned my canoe over for the night there were over a dozen leaches stuck to the bottom.

It rained all night and quit as I was packing up. As I paddled through one of the pinch points I could see fish on my detector and was able to catch one. I took a camp site near the mouth of Kawa Bay. I ate lunch on top of a tall rock point overlooking Kawa Bay.

The water is still quite tea stained. I spent the next day exploring the area and caught and released several walleye. As evening set in threatening storm clouds were moving in but never produced any rain. The next morning at first light the fog was thick but soon dissipated where the sun could shine on it. The far shores of Kawnipi looked like they were covered with cobwebs. I moved up Kawnipi near Kennebas Falls. There are many campsites marked on the islands on the north side of the lake but I could not find any. I found one on the south side of Kawnipi just east of a bay I want to explorer. After setting up camp on a 2 star camp it was time to do some exploring. I headed up the bay that has the creek running into it that comes from near McEwen Lake. The only thing I found interesting about this bay was there were many will used game trails. I moved back out into the main part of Kawnipi and started looking of some fish with no luck. I ran on to a few people fishing around a small island. That is the first people I have been close enough to talk to since Ross Lake. Giving up on fishing I head back to camp. My hammock is hanging from one solid tree and a small tree braced by 2 other trees. I am hanging low and loose to keep the stress down on the small trees. My hammock rests on my pack to give it a little more support. The next day I head for Devine Creek. A short distance up the creek there are 2 beaver dams. The second one is a fairly tall dam just around a corner in the creek. I see what looks like a clear channel leading up the left side of the dam and I head for it only to be stopped by a underwater log. So now the other end of the dam looks like a better place to cross and I paddle over there. I find a grassy spot to step out on. As I stand up and my head gets higher than the beaver dam I see a cow moose and two calfs standing near where I had first attempted to cross the dam. When I got stopped by the underwater log I was less than 50 foot from her. They turn and head off into the woods. After the dam I am treated to a paddle in a wide valley with a open 30 foot wide creek for over a miles. There were several large beaver hutches on the valley. The valley came to a end at a rocky creek and I would need to bushwhack about 100 yard up to get to water that could be paddled. Part of the creek is a 8 foot deep cut through rock. The brush was a little thicker than I wanted to tackle so I headed back. Once back at camp I pack up and head for Kennebas Falls. I get a nice camp site on the first island on Kenny Lake and take it easy and do some repacking for tomorrow’s trip up Kenny creek. Wanting to keep my camera dry it gets double bagged and put in my hand carry pack. A short distance up Kenny Creek I see a swan with 7 little fuss ball following it. My camera was buried too deep to get it out. They were real cute. The first rocky creek I got out on the right side and bushwhacked through to water that could be paddled just upstream of a beaver dam. I crossed the creek on the beaver dam and found a portage leading most of the way back to my canoe and a rocky creek that went the rest of the way. I used the portage for the second load and was soon on my way. The next place where the stream got too shallow and rocky to paddle I got out on the left side and there was a grassy marsh I followed the woods line up to a beaver dam and back to water that could be paddled. These two portages were only about 30 to 50 yards long so they were no big deal. The longer portages near Munro Lake were well maintain and easy to find. It took me 5&1/2 hours from when I entered the creek till I my canoe was loaded on Munro. I moved on to Cullen Lake and took a camp near the pinch point on the north east arm and Cullen. The next morning was spent exploring the south west and north east arms of Cullen. Then it was on to Ross and down to Saganagons. I took a campsite near where the lake narrows. The next morning I moved on to Other Man Lake going through several lakes with high rock walls. It rained off and on all day so it was nice to get a nice camp on an island with great views. The next day was spent exploring and trying to fish. The fish gods were not with me. There was a large group of chatty people took a camp in the south west part of the lake. The next morning I left the lake to the chatty group and moved on the Emerald Lake and took an island site. Shortly after I got set up a storm came through but the site was well protected so the wind was not a problem for me. The lake has some high bluffs making the thunder rumble longer and louder. I like being on these lakes with high bluffs and listening to the thunder and feeling it shake my hammock. The next morning moved on the Ottertrack Lake. On the 143 Rod portage into Ottertrack there were lots of ladyslipper plants. In one 20 foot patch there were about 20 blooms. After finishing the portage I was beat and took the first camp I came to that was not occupied. After I had set up and done a few camp chores and talked to some other campers I realized I was in the wrong park. I had crossed the border without thinking about it. Exploring more of the camp I found a fire grate and thunder box. At this point I was too tired to move. The next morning I got back on the correct side of the border at the other end of Ottertrack. I spent 2 nights on the north end of Ottertrack and then paddled up to my pickup point.

It is the year of the swan. This is what I have seen so far this year.

Two swans on Stanton Bay.

Two swans on Deux just downstream of Twin Lakes.

Two swans on northern end of Steurgeon.

Two swans on Nan Lake

Six adult and 2 Juvenile on back waters of the Wawiag River near Kawa Bay

One swan on Kenny Creek with about 7 goslings following it.

The only moose I saw was a cow and calf about 2km up Devine Creek.

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