2014 Aylen - Wilkins - Hidden - North Branch - Greenleaf - Wenda Cabin - Grand

Friday, May 30 – Day 1
I got away just after 9:30am and arrived at the East Gate a little over an hour later.  I obtained my permit and continued on to Aylen Lake.  I didn’t start from the official access point at the south end of the lake but instead started from an alternate access point on the west side of Dennison Bay at the north end of the lake.  This would save me about 7km of paddling.

I pulled into the access point just before noon.  Dad and I got the canoe off the truck then I organized a few small things.  With everything ready I was set to go just after noon.  I said goodbye to Mom and Dad as they were just dropping me off and taking the truck back home.

Heading out from Aylen Lake.
A twenty minute paddle across the bay had me at the 1425m portage to O’Neill Lake.  It was a good portage and with a brief rest stop I was over in about 25 minutes.  I paddled down O’Neill to the 1235m portage to Robitaille Lake.  I was now officially in the Park.  The first part of the trail was good but in the middle of the trail a beaver dam flooded it.  I could have walked over the beaver dam but it was narrow and with the load I was carrying I didn’t want to risk it.  So I dropped the canoe, loaded it up and maneuvered it around and over the numerous trees that had fallen in the pond. 
Beaver pond in middle of portage.
Back on the trail I loaded up and headed off.  The trail made a steep ascent right after the pond which was taxing.  Less than 15 minutes later I was at Robitaille Lake.  There was a head wind that was coming down the lake but it didn’t hinder me on my way to the 695m portage to Breezy Lake.

The portage to Breezy felt longer than the posted 695m but maybe that was due to the fact that it was pretty much an uphill climb the entire way and the bugs were the worst I had experienced that day.

Thankful to be on Breezy my joy was short lived as I was soon at the 1475m portage to Wilkins Lake, my destination for the day.  The first part of the trail was pretty good then it hit an old bush road.  Not seeing any signage I took a break to check out the area.  Instinct wanted me to go right but looking at the Canoe Route Map it showed to go left and then take a right which would lead down to the lake.  There was also a small portage marker on a tree so if you were coming from the left you would see it and head into the forest and not continue down the road.  Deciding then to head left I loaded up and was on my way.

The old road went uphill for a good way.  It finally started to descend just before the trail cut to the right, back into the forest.  It was at this point I took a brief rest.  On my way again I was at the lake in another five minutes.  The portage sign though at the end of the trail said ‘Cart Trail’ but it didn’t list the portage at all.  Thinking that odd I loaded up the canoe and headed off on Wilkins to find a campsite.

There were three sites on the eastern shore and I was hoping one would be good so I could enjoy the evening sun.  The first one looked good and right beside it was the portage sign for the trail to Breezy Lake.  Rather than stop right away I decided to head up the lake a bit to see what the next site was like. 

The wind was quite strong now so I felt that if the next site wasn’t suitable then I would head back and take the first site rather than fight the wind to get to the top of the lake.

The site wasn’t the greatest but I stopped there briefly to scavenge some wood then I headed back to the first site.

I arrived at camp a little after 4 o’clock and went about setting things up.  Once camp was established I headed off down the portage to see where on the old road it came out.  It turned out that if I had followed my instinct and gone right 40 feet down the road I would have seen the trail heading back into the bush.  But the map said to go left and there was no signage whatsoever to indicate that was the correct way.

Wilkins Lake Campsite.
I headed back to camp and cut up the wood for tonight’s fire.  I then headed down to the lake to relax for a while before supper.  It was great to sit by the lake enjoying the day and having a couple of Scotch and waters after a few hard portages.

Around 7:30 I got dinner ready which consisted of Buffalo Chicken wraps and a freeze dried ice cream sandwich for dessert.  I don’t think I’ll buy one of those again.

I relaxed for a bit more after dinner.  The bugs began to make an appearance around 8:30 with the setting sun and the lessening of the wind.  Around 8:45 I got a fire going.  I enjoyed it for about half an hour then turned in and read for a while before calling it a night just before 10 o’clock.

Setting sun, Wilkins Lake.
Saturday, May 31 – Day 2

I slept fairly well last night until just after 5am when a chill seemed to creep in.  I was up around 7:15am.  I put water on for coffee and breakfast while I started to break camp.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the lake was like glass.

The kettle was soon ready and I poured a coffee and continued to break camp while breakfast cooked.  It was soon ready and I quickly ate a couple of breakfast burritos.  Camp was then packed up and I was on the water by 8:40.  I fished as I paddled across the lake and after ten minutes I hooked into a nice little Lake Trout about 15 inches long.  I released it and continued on and after another five minutes I had another trout slightly smaller than the first.

One of two Lake Trout, Wilkins Lake.
A few minutes later and I was at the 970m portage to the Aylen River.  It was a good trail, downhill most of the way and a little rocky.
After 15 minutes I was at the river.  I started upstream battling low water and a current for a little bit until I hit a beaver dam and after that the river deepened enough to get a full paddle blade in.  It was a good river with only four beaver dams I had to pull over.  
Paddling up the Aylen River.
After almost an hour paddling I came to the 780m portage to a pond.  The portage was fairly good but I was swarmed by mosquitoes by the end.

Portage from Aylen River to pond.
A short paddle across the pond brought me to the 670m portage to Alsever Lake.  Another good portage except for the mosquitoes.

I arrived at Alsever around 11:30.  I fished while I paddled up the lake but with no luck.  Alsever has some wonderful high cliffs on the eastern shore that must be beautiful to see at sunset.

Cliffs on Alsever
I noticed another party on the lake camped on a site on the peninsula on the south west side.  If I hadn’t taken a look at the site through binoculars I wouldn’t have noticed them.

I was soon at the end of the lake and had to pull over a beaver dam to access the small river that would take me into Roundbush Lake.  Once onto the lake I headed toward the portage.  The sign was down but having done it last year I knew where it was located.

Being around 12:15 when I arrived I decided to have lunch before tackling the 2445m portage to another section of the Aylen River.  While I ate I searched out the trail as there was a jumble of trees down all over the place obscuring the path.  Once located I loaded up and was on my way at 12:40, hoping to be done by 1:30.

The first 20 minutes of the trail was chocked with downed trees which I had to go either under, over or around and had to dump the canoe a few times to do so.

After 20 minutes I took a break.  Besides the trees the bugs were also terrible.  After a five minute break I headed off to face more downed trees.  This portage was definitely a lot worse than it was last spring.

I stopped for a break 15 minutes later at a little stream and soaked my feet and splashed water on my head.  After 5 minutes I was back on my way.  The last part of the trail was much better for trees and most I could easily step over.

Fifteen minutes from my last break I was finally at the end.  The time was now 1:40, the trees having made my progress slower than expected.

I was preparing to load up when I noticed I didn’t have my life jacket!  It must have come undone with all the maneuvering under and over trees and fallen off at some point.  I searched my memory and know I had it at the point of my first break.  I just hoped I didn’t have to go that far back
I ran back along the trail.  After five minutes I came to the spot of my last break by the little stream.  Still no life jacket.  I continued on and after almost another five minutes there it was lying in the middle of the path.  Grabbing it I ran back to the canoe, stopping briefly at the little stream to splash water over myself.  I was back at the canoe just before 2 o’clock.  Almost 20 minutes I lost but it could have been worse.

The water level in the Aylen River was a lot lower than it was in early May when I did it last year.  At that time it only took 15 minutes to go from this portage to the one into McKaskill.  Looking at the jumble of alders ahead of me I had a feeling it would take me longer.  With my giant swarm of mosquitoes in tow I headed off up the river to face the mass of alders that awaited me.

I had to get into the bow of the canoe and pull my way through as there was no way to paddle through the entanglement of branches.  After a bit of a struggle I was through, then over a beaver dam and things became easier.

Having done this section last year I knew where to look for the portage to McKaskill Lake.  There is no sign by the water’s edge at what looks like an animal trail through the marsh leading to the forest.  Only at the forest’s edge is there a small, plastic portage sign but you have to walk down the trail a bit in order to see it.

Water levels Aylen River end of May.

Water levels Aylen River early May after ice out.
I was quickly loaded up and off on my way.  The first part of the portage was wet and had some trees down, then things dried out and before I knew it I was at the hydro cut.  A little while later I was at McKaskill Lake with the 1140m portage behind me and a nice paddle to the top of the lake ahead of me.

I was away on McKaskill around 3:50.  I trolled as I paddled up the lake and right where the lake narrows I hooked into a nice Speckle Trout about 16-18 inches in length.  After a couple of pictures I released it and was on my way again.

Speckled Trout, McKaskill Lake.
An hour after I started out on McKaskill I was at the 435m portage to Hidden Lake, my destination for the day.  Loading p for the last time I headed off and was at Hidden just after 4 o’clock.

With only two sites on the lake I checked them both out and settled on the southernmost one.  I quickly went about setting up camp.  Once that was completed I went for a much needed swim to cool off and south the myriad of cuts, scrapes and bug bites.

Hidden Lake Campsite.
After the swim I relaxed for a while by the lake then decided to get dinner going around 7 o’clock. After dinner of beef stew and freeze dried ice cream for dessert I cleaned up, hung the food and went out for a paddle and to do some fishing.  On my third pass up the lake I caught a nice little Speckled Trout.  A couple of more passes, no luck and with a swarm of black flies around me I decided to head back to camp.  The black flies abandoned me when I got back to camp but waiting for me was a hungry mob of mosquitoes.

Evening on Hidden Lake.
I got a fire going around 8:45 and enjoyed it for about a half hour.  I then headed to the tent and read until around 10 o’clock.  I was hoping for a good sleep as I was to be up early tomorrow and had a long day ahead of myself.

Sunday, June 1 – Day 3

I didn’t get the good sleep I was hoping for last night.  I tossed and turned for a while and around 2:30am the wind woke me up.

I was up at 5am and got breakfast going while I started to break camp.  I had just over 12Km in portages today and I figured my travel time would be around 8 hours.

After a quick breakfast I packed up the rest of camp and was on the water by 6:10am.  A short paddle brought me to the 1550m portage to Fairy Lake.  It’s a fairly good trail and I was over it in about 25 minutes, including a five minute rest stop.  A spooked a young moose at Fairy Lake as I arrived.

A short paddle across Fairy and I was at the 2825m portage to Animoosh Lake.  I knew this was a good trail and I figured it would take me about an hour including breaks.  I was done the portage in under an hour, better than yesterday’s big one.

Heading across Fairy Lake.

Rest stop, Fairy to Animoosh portage.
 I fished while I paddled up Animoosh but with no luck.  After a leisurely paddle up the lake I was soon on my way over the 1220m portage to Dickson Lake.  The bugs were terrible on this portage and I was glad to finally be out on the lake.  I fished the 40 minute paddle to the Little Dickson portage but had no luck.  I passed another solo canoeist who was heading towards the Animoosh portage.

The 890m portage to Little Dickson felt longer than it should have and I was glad to leave it behind.  I fished as I paddled across the lake.  I hooked into a nice Speckled Trout around the middle of the lake.  A few moments later and I hooked into another one.  Two fish in 25 minutes, not bad!

Speckled Trout, Little Dickson Lake.
I was soon at the 2685m portage to Sundassa Lake.  I had a snack before loading up and heading off.  I figured this one should take me around an hour as well.  At this point I was just past four hours of travel time for the day.

The first third of the portage wasn’t bad but the last two thirds had a lot of downed trees and the bugs were brutal.  I often had to bushwhack around blow downs or through them.  Fortunately someone had flagged trails around some of the worse sections.  With two breaks it took me a little over an hour to complete.

I was glad to be on Sundassa which is a lovely lake.  It’s too bad there are no sites on it. 
Finally at Sundassa Lake.
Sooner than expected I was at the 915m portage to White Partridge Lake.  It was a great trail and largely downhill and with no downed trees.

I reached White Partridge around 12:30.  I had lunch at the portage as there was a good breeze blowing up the lake and the mosquitoes were pretty good.

I was soon on my way again with only two portages until my final destination.  A nice 30 minute paddle across White Partridge had me at the 485m portage to May Lake.  This was going to be a piece of cake compared to what I’d done already.  Boy was I ever wrong.  That portage is 95% all uphill at a very steep incline.  At least there were no trees down to deal with.  Finally at the end I had to deal with getting the canoe beyond the mud flats and into paddleable water.

I took some photos of Pyramid Rock and was ready to tackle my last portage of the day, an 1135m into North Branch, and my home for the night.  The portage undulated and had a good uphill near the centre.  It seemed taxing but that was probably because I had been traveling already for eight hours.

Pyramid Rock, May Lake.
Close to 2:30pm I arrived at North Branch Lake.  I could see the campsite at the top end of the lake from the portage so I paddled over to check it out.  It wasn’t very appealing so I headed down the lake to check out the two on the eastern shore of the lake.  Despite what the Canoe Route Map says there is only one at the top of the lake and two on the eastern shore.

The first one I came to looked good but I paddled over to check out the other one as it was close by.  Not impressed I paddled back to the one on the point.  I unloaded the canoe thankfully for the last time that day and went about setting up camp.  Once camp was established I went for a much needed swim to relieve pretty much everything.  I then sat down by the water for a while and enjoyed the sunshine and great breeze coming up the lake which kept the bugs away.

North Branch Lake Campsite.
It was good to finally be at my destination for the day.  When I stepped foot onto the site at North Branch it had been close to nine hours since I left Hidden Lake.

I relaxed and read until around 6:30 then got a hearty dinner of chili macaroni and beef cooking.  Once dinner was done, things cleaned up and the food hung I went out for a paddle and did a little fishing but with no luck.  There had been a strong wind blowing from the south all day and clouds were now moving in.  I hope I’m not in for rain tomorrow.

Evening North Branch Lake.
I was back at camp around 8 o’clock and read for a while down by the water.  Just after 8:30 I got a small fire going then headed off to bed to read just after 9.  I was to be up early tomorrow as I had another big day ahead.  I read for a while before calling it a night just before 10 o’clock.

Monday, June 2 – Day 4

I was up at 5am again and quickly set to breaking camp and preparing breakfast.  I was on the water by 6:20.  I figured today would be about a six hour day. 

A five minute paddle had me at the first of only three portages today, a 4775m into Loonskin Lake.  I figured this would take me just under two hours to do and prayed it wasn’t a good trail with not too many downed trees.  The first quarter to third of the trail was a steady uphill climb.  After that it was largely downhill with a few undulations.  I only encountered two trees that I had to either slide the canoe under or over, any others I was simply able to step over.  An hour and forty minutes had me at Loonskin Lake and that included 20 minutes in rest stops.

North Branch to Loonskin Lake Portage.
Rest stop, North Branch to Loonskin portage.
 Loonskin was calm and I had been hoping for a good breeze to rid me of the swarm of mosquitoes that plagued me, but with no such luck.  I fished while I paddled across the lake but didn’t have any success.  After a 25 minutes paddle I was at the 1550m portage into Barron Lake.  It was a good trail that slowly descended and in 25 minutes I was on the other side.

Arrival at Loonskin Lake.
Barron is a good sized lake.  I took my time paddling it, exploring all the campsites for future reference.  The only one I found suitable was the one on the point near the portage to Greenleaf Lake.

Before I did the portage into Greenleaf I took a detour and walked the 1745m portage out to the hydro line so I could add it to my route map.

It was a pretty good trail but you had to walk across the top of a beaver dam at one point which had some questionable footing.

Beaver dam part of portage trail to hydro line.

End of portage from Barron Lake to hydro line.
Fringed Polygala and Bunchberry on portage to hydro line.
 Less than an hour later I was back at the canoe and on my way to the Greenleaf portage.  It was now 11:15 and the day was very hot and humid.  I started the 1530m portage at 11:30 and was at Greenleaf Lake, my destination for the day, around noon.

Barron Lake from portage landing to Greenleaf Lake.
The southernmost site on the lake didn’t look appealing from what I could see from the lake so I didn’t bother to check it out.  I paddled up the lake and looked over the middle site from the canoe and kept on paddling up the lake to the last site.  After seeing all three I decided on the middle site and so headed back to my home for the next two nights.

Middle campsite, Greenleaf Lake.

Greenleaf Lake Campsite.
I went about setting up camp quickly then sat down by the lake to have lunch.  It had taken me just a little over six hours to get to today’s destination.  The long, hard days were behind me and I had a day of rest and two easy days after that before trips end.

Once lunch was over I hung the food and stowed away equipment as clouds in the west threatened rain.  Fortunately though nothing came to fruition.  So I then changed and went for a much needed swim and soaked for a few minutes.  I sat on a rock for a while soaking my aching feet and enjoying the slight breeze that had picked up but my enjoyment was cut short by the black flies that had appeared.  The mosquitoes were non-existent on the site so far but enough black flies were about for the need of repellent.  So I reluctantly changed and doped up again which, coupled with the humidity, took away from the refreshed feeling from my swim.

Looking north up Greenleaf from campsite.
I gathered up my book and headed down to the end of the site to sit on the little bluff to read and relax for a while. 

Around 3:15 I headed off in the canoe to fish a little and explore the cliffs at the north end of the lake.  After no luck I collected some firewood and leisurely paddled back to the site.

Cliffs on Greenleaf Lake.
Around 5:30 rumblings of thunder could be heard in the distance.  Soon it was all around me and above me but no rain.  Only when the thunder had moved on did the raindrops start to fall.  I retreated to the tent while I waited for the rain to pass.  It was a light rain and lasted less than half an hour.  Only really enough to make things damp.

I returned to the lake and read for the rest of the evening until dinner.  Around 7 o’clock I started dinner and soon afterwards had a hearty meal of sheppard’s pie with beef.

After dinner I headed out to fish a bit and explore the southern part of the lake.  Not having any luck fishing I returned to camp and got a fire going just after 8:30.

Evening paddle, Greenleaf Lake.
The evening was still incredibly humid and the air heavy and I felt sticky from the humidity of the day and the layers of bug dope.  In order to feel refreshed before bed I went for a swim just before 9:30.  Luckily the bugs had packed it in for the night and there was no mad scramble to get from the lake to the tent.

Feeling refreshed and after another long day I turned in, read for a while and called it a night just after 10 o’clock.

Tuesday, June 3 – Day 5

It had started to rain last night just after I went to bed but it didn’t last long.  I had a much needed good night’s sleep not waking until just after 8am.

I leisurely went about getting breakfast and enjoyed it and a coffee by the lake.  The sky was overcast but it was still humid.  I was glad for the cloud cover as today I was going to walk the 5630m portage to Grand Lake and I knew if the sun was out it would be terribly hot along the hydro line.

With breakfast done I cleaned up and packed the supplies I needed for my day outing.  I was on the water just before 10 o’clock and off on my way along the portage just after the top of the hour.  The portage to Grand is good following an old road along the hydro line of which about three quarters goes through the forest.  The first third from Greenleaf is a steady uphill climb with the last two thirds being a steady descent.  It took me an hour and a half to get to Grand Lake at a normal walking pace.

Geenleaf to hydro line junction.

Portage along hydro line to Grand Lake.
A brief snack at Grand Lake and I was back on my way to Greenleaf Lake.  The sun had made an appearance on the way back but a nice wind had also picked up keeping the temperature tolerable as well as the bugs.

When I got to the junction for the Greenleaf portage I continued on towards the portage to Carcajou Creek.  I stopped when the trail left the hydro line road and headed into the forest.  Darker clouds now started moving in and thunder could be heard in the distance.

I quickly made my way back to the canoe and quickly paddled up the lake as the thunder continued to rumble my way.  I arrived back at camp around 2:30 and quickly stored everything before the storm hit.  Being hot and sticky from the day’s trek I went for a quick swim just a few minutes before the first drops of rain began to fall.

The storm lasted for a half hour with some good thunder and lightning and a short downpour.  I read while the storm passed and emerged from the tent around 3:30 once the rain had stopped.  Thankfully the storm had broken the humidity.

I sat down by the water and had a snack and read for a while.  The sky still looked unsettled and from time to time there were rumblings of thunder in the distance and a couple of times a smattering of rain drops.

I read for the rest of the afternoon and early evening until just after 6:30 when I got dinner of Kung Pao Chicken going.  After dinner I read for a bit more but the black flies were driving me crazy.  I guess with the break in humidity that was their cue to make an appearance.  There was a strong breeze coming down the lake which would have been sufficient enough to keep away mosquitoes but it didn’t seem to hinder the black flies.

Finally a little after 8 o’clock I had enough and sought refuge out on the lake.  I paddled up the lake into the setting sun and enjoyed the brief freedom from the bugs.  Once the sun set behind the high hills I headed back to the site hoping that the setting sun had been a cue for the black flies to call it a day.  I was in luck, no black flies greeted me back at the site and the wind was keeping any mosquitoes at bay. 

I got a fire going just before 9 o’clock and enjoyed it until around 9:30.  I doused it and with the wind still blowing down the lake headed off to bed.

Wednesday, June 4 – Day 6

I had a restless night and the temperature dropped making it a little cool last night.  I awoke a couple of times in the night and early morning and both times the sky was clear.  However, when I awoke at 7am, the sky was overcast and the wind had picked up again.

I went about breaking camp and making breakfast at a leisurely pace as I was in no hurry today and figuring it would take me no longer than three hours to reach the Wenda Lake Cabin.

Cloudy, windy morning on Greenleaf Lake.
With breakfast eaten and camp packed up I was on my way around 8:25.  It was a good tail wind down the lake and in 15 minutes I was at the portage to Carcajou Creek.  Twenty-five minutes later me and my entourage of black flies and mosquitoes were at the other end of the trail.  A short paddle soon had me at the 285m portage to Carcajou Lake.  The bugs were driving me insane at this point but fortunately the strong tailwind down the lake kept them at bay until I reached the 220m portage out of the lake and into the creek.

Leaving Greenleaf lake behind.
Upper part of Carcajou Creek.
I fished Carcajou on my down it but with no luck.  It’s a nice lake but of the four sites only the one on the south east point looked appealing.

Over the portage and back into the creek I went.  A short paddle soon had me at the 145m portage which I bypassed by running and tracking down the short set of rapids.  Another short paddle had me at the 55m portage which I was also able to track down.

Carcajou Creek below 220m portage.

Carcajou Creek below 145m portage.
Coming out to a wide marshy area of the river I had an Osprey circling overhead hunting for fish in the river.  Another short paddle and I was at the 80m portage.  I was hoping to bypass this one as well but the river was too shallow and rocky.  After the short carry and another short paddle I was at my last portage of the day, a 215m into Wenda Lake.

Finishing the portage I headed right to the cabin and arrived just around 11:30.  To my dismay the lock on the cabin was a key lock and not a combination lock as I had been lead to believe by the staff at the East Gate when they gave me the combination to the cabin.  Looking closer at the lock I noticed the make of it which was similar to the rest of the locks that are used on gates throughout the Park.  Fortunately I had my keys with me and one of them was my set from work.  I tried my work key for the Park and sure enough it worked. 
Arriving at Wenda Lake from Carcajou Creek.
The cabin was quaint with one bunk, a single bed and a roll out bed located under the bunk.  I quickly unpacked my gear and got out of my sandals giving me feet some much needed relief.  I then had lunch, read for a bit, patched up my feet again and then headed off around 1:30 to walk the portage to Grand Lake.

Wenda Lake Cabin.  Despite the chimney there is no wood stove.

Inside the Wenda Lake Cabin.
The first part of the portage was crap being rough, wet, rocky and muddy for a bit as it followed a little stream that ran down the hillside.  Once I got away from the stream the trail became much better.  It was a gentle uphill climb for about 25 minutes before the trail leveled off as I reach Beech-drops Pond.  Past the pond the trail descended steeper than it had ascended.

A little over an hour from starting I was at the Grand Lake end of the 3470m portage.  After a snack and taking some pictures I headed back.  As I passed Poobah Lake I heard a noise behind me.  When I turned around I spotted a large bird flying through the trees.  I instinctively knew it was a bird of prey and it turned out to be a Barred Owl.  It perched up in a maple and proceeded to stare at me for the longest time.  I gave a few calls trying to entice it to call back or come closer.  It didn’t react and just kept staring at me with those big brown eyes.  After a couple of minutes I pushed on back to the cabin.  I arrived back around 4 o’clock and had a brief rest and read until dinner.

With the day being cool and windy I opted not to have a fire that evening.  Instead I read until close to 9 o’clock and then turned in for the night.  I was in no hurry to be up the next day as I knew it would take me no more than three hours to reach Achray and Jo and the boys wouldn’t be there until early afternoon at the best.

Thursday, June 5 – Day 7

I was up just before 8am.  After a quick breakfast of oatmeal I packed up and was on my way just after 9 o’clock.  The day was cool and cloudy again with a good wind coming from the northwest accompanied by sporadic misty rain.

Once packed up I secured the lock back onto the door and then headed off down the lake.  A short paddle had me at the 360m portage into Little Carcajou Lake.  At the portage landing I found a nice little buck knife that by the good condition it was in must have been lost recently.

Wenda Lake to Little Carcajou Lake Portage landing.
Paddling down Little Carcajou I passed the lone campsite which is mediocre at best.  As I passed by it three Turkey Vultures flew up from the ground and perched in a nearby dead tree.  I then noticed why they had been on the ground.  There was a fairly decomposed moose carcass by the shoreline.

Turkey Vultures and Moose carcass (bottom left), Little Carcajou Lake.
I paddled on leaving the vultures to their feast and a few minutes later I was at the 1795m portage to Upper Spectacle Lake.  The first part of the portage the terrain was quite rocky and it was hard to get up a quick pace.  Part way through the portage there is a little pond which can be paddled.  Being in no hurry today I opted for the more scenic route paddling across the pond.  A few minutes later I was back on my way and 20 minutes and one rest stop later I was at Upper Spectacle Lake.

An uneventful short paddle across the lake and I was at the 155m portage to Lower Spectacle Lake.  The portage was good but low water levels on Lower Spectacle made for a muddy landing.

Portage landing, Lower Spectacle Lake.
Paddling across the lake and into the narrows I heard a commotion near shore at the base of a rocky slope.  I had spooked a White-tailed Deer who tried to beat a hasty retreat up the steep slope and almost fell backward ass over tea kettle before it found and easier escape route.

Passing through the picturesque little canyon I was soon at the 220m portage that would lead me towards Carcajou Bay.  At the bottom of the portage I took some photos of the small falls.
Spectacle Creek.
Falls below McCarthy Creek on 220m portage.
A brief paddle to the other side of the river and I was at the 90m portage into Carcajou Bay.  I took some photos of the falls below the portage then pushed on towards Achray.  There was one party camped on Carcajou Bay, my first sign of other people since Dickson Lake a few days prior.
Above High Falls, Carcajou Bay.
 Below High Falls, Carcajou Bay.
Coming out of the bay I knew I wold be facing the wind but just how bad and from what direction was left to be seen.  Fortunately the wind wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be and it was coming down the lake at my side. 
A half hour after emerging onto Grand Lake proper I landed on the beach at Achray.  It had been a short but eventful day.  The entire trip was challenging and rewarding and I’m glad to have finally gotten around to doing that area of the Park.
Achray, Grand Lake.

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