Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obabika River Loop Jun 21-25 08 - Day 1

This trip was no exception to the endless display of immense
cloud formations, - as well as rain!!!

Its been quite a while since I've written a trip report. Almost 9 months in fact, so I'm due! (get it!, okay bad joke) Anyhow, lets go back to June of last year where we find ourselves on the shores of lake Temagami. Last year, on our big loop trip to various surrounding areas around Temagami, we ended up finishing the trip a few days early and not completing the last section of the intended route. Therefore I thought it would be nice to head back and paddle this section in the next 5 days. The intention was to head out from the Central Lake Temagami Access Road, head west to Obabika Lake, then turn south and paddle the length of the Obaibika river before turning north into to Wawiagama lake. Then it was back to Lake Obabika where we would head back the same way we came.

As most of you know, 2008 was infamous for record levels of precipitation; and this trip was no exception. It had already down poured just before we got to the put-in and the huge cumulonimbus clouds that hung around was a precursor of things to come. We got to a very late start because we had to stop at several places along the way up, so it was almost four o'clock by the time we were on the water!

It looked like it was turning out to be a great day, but the scorching sun that reappeared after the downpour made the air thick with humidity and made any effort a struggle. We stopped after a good long hour of steady paddling to rehydrate and get some reprieve from the sun on a campsite before continuing in a northeasterly direction. As we were paddling up the Northwest Arm of Lake Temagami we couldn't help notice the landscape on the east side where there was a large forest fire in 1972. Despite more than 30 years later, we could still see a distinct delineation of new growth verses the old! It was incredible that the effects from the conflagration was still evident!

Look carefully on the left and you can see the clear line of
old growth vs the new from the 1972 fire, - still!

Continuing north, we decided to break up the long paddle by portaging through a chain of lakes on the west side that would get us to Obabika Inlet. The change of pace was good except for all the bugs we stirred up along the trail. We now had to deal with clouds of mosquitoes and black flies over our heads looking for blood. (bad idea!) Otherwise, other than the interesting names (Jumpingcat Lake, Banana Lake - who thinks up these names?!!) the solitude and scenery through this area was nice.

Let me guess, "Banana Lake!", that's the first thought that came
to mind when I saw this lake! (okay, its shaped like it)

Once back on Obabika Inlet, we started to hear the all familiar grumble in the distance. Huge voluminous clouds draped the heavens and our first priorities at this point was to look for a campsite. The only problem was all the marked campsites were non-existent or totally overgrown. Hungry and annoyed, we then made the decision to push hard to Obabika Lake by portaging in near darkness along the 870m trail.

Annoyed and frustrated that we couldn't find a campsite on
Obabika Inlet. The thunder wasn't helping!

Once we made it to the lake, we quickly paddled northward, scanning the shoreline for a campsite with the help of the occasional lightning that lit up the sky. (Marylou was getting antsy) Of course the first marked campsite didn't exist, (like why would they?!!) but to our relief the next one appeared on a point further ahead. We paddled now with urgency, quickly unloaded on shore and set up the tent and bug shelter just in time as the rain started. It was past ten at this point. Supper was prepared quickly and downed voraciously as we watched the light show and rain. We were very happy to end the day crawling into our tent, as sleep that night came as fast as our heads hit the sack.

Next: Day 2 - "Storm?!, what storm?!
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