Saturday, July 7, 2012

White Otter Lake Trip

So this was supposed to be the big trip that was planned for almost a year. We were supposed to drive up to Ignace (leaving Wasaga on Thursday June 28 and arriving Saturday June 30) The trip up went rather well. We stayed in campsites where I could put up my hammock, the boys could put up their tent, and dad could put up his. We got to Ignace and stayed at Agimac Lake Resort run by a man named Claude. (If anyone is headed up there, look up Claude, he is amazing. He made the trip worthwhile, he was really friendly, really knowledgeable and went above and beyond as a host) I set up my hammock, but a huge thunderstorm rolled in and dad did not want me sleeping in a treed area with the lightning so I ended up with the boys around midnight. We set off around 9 am Sunday July 1. Bryan and Don met us Saturday afternoon and then they took the vehicles to the take out area. The original plan was to leave the Santa fe with the trailer at the take out and drive Don's truck back. This plan was changed as Bryan's wife did not think she could drive that far up to get him, so both vehicles went to the take out and Claude drove them back (for a fee). Don and Bryan then spent the night in a hotel in town (Bryan is in his 60's and Don turned 70 on the trip). We headed out and the water was not that rough, but we did canoe through a seaplane zone, so we had to be on the lookout for them. We had a lot of gear so the canoes were heavy, but we were still making ok time. The boys were being a little silly (paddling with two paddles, pretending the were tourists...) We did the first portage (with a little grumbling as it took a few trips) We decided we would try the longer portage instead of two shorter ones, but we could not find it, and concluded that it had been flooded. So we went to do the two shorter ones (One was 240m and one was 750m) we made the first one no problem and after some debate decided to do the next one before camping so we did not have as much to portage the next day (there was supposed to be 15 portages between our put in and the castle). The first 15 feet or so were ok, but then the trail turned into bog. We were struggling through knee deep mud. We were all carrying at least 60-80 lbs (Don was carrying a canoe and the rest of us had a front pack and a back pack). After at least 700m we came to a fork so we stopped to see what trail we needed to take. The boys headed straight, and went at least a km and came to an underground river and swamp. Dad went up a hill. That was apparently the way, but it was mostly uphill with a hug tree blocking the path. We all talked, and it would take at least 3 hours to portage everything over, and by then it would be dark, and we would be exhausted from multiple trips through knee high mud, up hills and around trees... and we did not know how the portages after that were. If they were as bad and we had to turn around and come back through all the mud again...We decided to turn around. We went to the beginning of the third portage were there was a camp site and set up camp. We were all exhausted. My back was bothering me a bit from the portaging so I ended up going in with the boys around 2 am. We headed back to Claude's. The waves were a little bigger and canoeing back was not as easy as the way there. When we got back we discussed (along with a few locals) on what to do next. We decided that trying to canoe in another way probably would not work. It would be a two hour or so drive there, then 6 portages with no guarantee that they were not bog as well. We talked about motor boating in, and in the end we decided to Zodiac in. Claude once again took Dad, Bryan and Don to the "Take out" to get the vehicles. On Tuesday Claude came over and said it would be about the same price to fly in, and the airline could take us in that afternoon. The plane had 8 seats and if we found 2 more people to go with us, it would be cheaper. Bryan found 2 more people. So we flew in. It was Dalton's first plane ride so we got a real kick out of watching him. It was pretty cool to see all the lakes below us, and it only took 10-15 minutes (which was way better than portaging all the gear) We had about half an hour to look around the "Castle" which was really neat. The "Castle" was bigger than our house. The boys had fun running from room to room and jumping over the window sills. We saw why Jimmy had picked that spot. The beach was gorgeous and the view was amazing. The only bad part about seeing the "Castle" was all the graffiti. It was all over the whole structure which was really sad to see. We flew back, and then headed to Sandbar provincial park for the night. The next morning we headed out. Don was headed to Alberta and Dad, Bryan, Connor, Dalton and I were headed to Sault St Marie. We were dropping Bryan off there to meet his wife. We stayed the next night in Rainbow falls and did a little hike to see the falls. We stayed the next night in Pancake bay provincial park (which was really nice) Connor, Dalton, Bryan and I went swimming in Lake Superior, and the water was not that cold. We headed to Sault, dropped off Bryan and went to the bush plane museum, then headed home. We arrived home just after 9 pm and we are not unpacking and cleaning. All in all the trip was pretty good. I will post pictures later (or you can see them on my facebook)