Friday, January 23, 2009

Obabika River Loop - Day 3

Packing up for the day at our unnamed lake campsite

We got up much earlier today as our bodies were slowly getting use to the physical activity. The masses of mosquitoes that clung to our mesh door made it tempting to stay in, but our bladders won out. It was overcast and grey outside again, - did I mention that it rained at night?!

Yesterday, Marylou screamed when she scared a grouse on the way to the box. Today she got to stretch her lungs and vocal chords again when she scared a bird off its nest! (lol!) I don't know what it is with her and birds, especially with a full bladder, but its a good thing she didn't wet herself! See the bird yourself below!

After breakfast, we decided to do some exploring before heading back to the Obabika river. We first checked out a not-so-pretty 20 foot falls across our campsite that was obscured by vegetation. We then headed northwest to Lahay lake to check out another set of falls which entailed 2 portages, (595m, 360m) through another unnamed lake. Wonder how I can get them to name one after myself? (Lake David, Davey Lake, Davey Crochet Lake,....yeah,....nope!)

The first portage was the hardest to find, but the trails were in fairly good condition with a few downed trees. At the end of the second portage there was a unfinished dilapidated log cabin with junk strewn about. Always make you wonder what the story is behind it, but nonetheless it was disheartening to see the mess all over the place.

The unfinished log cabin along the trail to Lahay Lake

We paddled south on Lahay to where it flushed into Nasmith Creek. The falls were nice, but nothing spectacular. The only downside was that it started to rain, (surprising?!) - and we didn't have our rain gear. So we headed back into the forest and huddled by a large rock, which kept us fairly dry. Once it stopped, we headed back.

The falls below Lahay Lake that flushes into Nasmith Creek

After we picked up our packs at the campsite and began heading back, we stopped at what looked like a portage trail. (it was hard to see yesterday in the fading light) Curious, we got out and followed what looked like the actual portage trail. Except it ended abruptly due to several large trees that had come down due to a beaver. I tried to relocate the trail, but it was nowhere to be found - obviously. We then headed back the same way, down the narrow creek, eventually finding ourselves back on the Obabika river paddling south.

Within an hour of paddling we had come to a large chute and had to portage around it. The trail itself passed a nice campsite where I'm sure most paddlers have stayed. (note for next time) The weather even began improving at this point with the sun coming out. I soon found myself too warm as I doffed off my wet footwear and shirt.

Portaging around a large chute where a log camp used to be

We also got to see some wildlife - muskrat, baby beavers, otters and small turtles the size of loonies. All the initial excitement was soon replaced by the painful repetitive manoeuvring around endless oxbows. It took 5 long hours to finally reach the turnoff to Wawiagama Lake, which was well marked. What a relief! Although the strong current of Wawiagama river due to all the rain was no laughing matter. It was even more exhausting to paddle the 30mins upriver fighting current, logs, and sandbars to get to the lake!

A baby painted turtle we found hanging onto some flotsam
in the river. Turtle soup anyone?!!

Wawiagama lake is beautiful. It is lined with towering cliffs on the west side topped by large pines. It was exhilarating to have the wind in our faces as well as the stunning scenery before us. Staring in awe at the massive cliffs, we slowly paddled to the west end to look for a campsite. Unfortunately, one campsite was not much to look at, and the other was beside a cabin, so we made the decision to head back east despite the setting sun. Our efforts paid off as we found a really nice site just as the sun was setting below the horizon. It was good day, long and tiring, but satisfying as we experienced and saw a lot.

Happy to finish the day on Wawiagama Lake

Next: Day 4 - "You want me to go up where?!!"

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