2012 Tim River - Big Bob - Rosebary - Mubwayaka - Tim River

Thursday, May 24 – Day 1

Left the house in good time and arrived at the permit office in Kearney at 7:45am.  I arrived at the Tim River access point around 8:30am.  This was my first solo trip in 11 years!  The day was sunny and warm and was suppose to get hotter.  When I arrived at the access point there was another party in two canoes heading down the river.  To my dismay they started up two outboard motors.  There are not any motors allowed on the river or Tim Lake.  This really pissed me off!

With the gear loaded up I parked the truck and checked the four other cars in the parking lot as to where the motor boat party was headed.  To my chagrin they were headed to Mujekiwis Lake which is north of where I was headed for the day which meant that wouldn’t be the last I saw or heard of them.
Algonquin Provincial Park boundary marker on the Tim River.
 Heading off it took me 25 minutes to paddle the river out to Tim Lake.  Across the lake to the north shore I quickly found the 345m portage to Chibiabos Lake.  As I unloaded my gear the motorboat party was just returning for their second load.  Throwing on my pack I lifted the canoe up and off I went.  In no time I was at the end and the load felt pretty good. 

Chibiabos has two sites on it.  The one on the point across from the portage to Tim Lake looked pretty good.  Other than Chibiabos there are no other campsites along this stretch until Big Bob Lake.

A short paddle through Chibiabos brought me to the 320m portage to Indian Pipe Lake.  I was over again in no time.  So far both low maintenance portaged were in good shape.

A short paddle across Indian Pipe brought me to my longest portage of the day, a 820m into West Koko Pond.  It was a good portage and in no time I was back on the water, although briefly, before coming to my last portage of the day.  The 790m portage took me to Big Bob Lake, my camp for the night.

At 10:55am I arrived at my campsite, two hours after setting off.  I took the site near the 200m portage into the Nipissing River as I had stayed there before.  It’s a nice site with a long view westward down the lake.
I set up camp quickly then relaxed and read for a while.  There was a nice breeze coming down the lake which helped keep the bugs away and also made the day seem not so hot.

Looking down Big Bob Lake from the eastern campsite.
Eastern campsite on Big Bob Lake.
 Shortly after having a bite for lunch, and two hours after I arrived on the lake, the motor boat party showed up.  At least they weren’t staying on my lake.
Party illegally using motors coming across Big Bob Lake on their way to Mujekiwis.
 I spent the afternoon gathering some fire wood, reading, relaxing and going for a couple of swims.  Surprisingly for the end of May the water was pretty nice.  It definitely  was a lot warmer than Catfish was at the end of August last year.

Made supper and ate out on the point wondering if the wind would ever die down so I could go for a paddle.  I read after supper and waited for the wind to die down but it never did.  I started a small fire around dusk and continued to read until it got too dark to do so.  Extinguishing the fire I headed off to bed just after 9pm to read.  I turned in just before 10pm with the wind still blowing.  Hopefully I would get a good rest as tomorrow would be a long day.

Friday, May 25 – Day 2

Awoke around 2:30am and poked my head outside the tent.  The sky was clear and full of a million stars.  Back to sleep until I was awakened at 5am by the light of the new day.  I tried to get back to sleep but to no avail so at 5:30am I got up.  The sky was clear with some distant clouds and the sun hadn’t yet risen above the hills.

I went about breaking camp and getting breakfast.  By 6:45am I had broken camp and was on the water.  There were gray clouds to the south that looked like they might hold rain.  The forecast had called for a hot sunny day with no mention of rain.

I quickly did the 200m portage into the Nipissing River.  The sun shone from the east in a clear blue sky.  It looked like a completely different day than on Big Bob.
Looking east down the Nipissing River from the Big Bob portage.
 I headed off on the first stretch of the Nip which was wide and slowly wound through a fen.  Not 500m from the Big Bob portage I spotted a Sandhill Crane flying high above the river.  After about a 45 minute paddle I came to the first of three short portages.   I was hoping to bypass the 65m carry and be able to walk the canoe down the river but there were too many rocks and logs blocking the way.  The second short portage, 65m, I was able to track down.  The third one, 55m, was too shallow and dropped too steeply to track so I had to do the short lift over.

After a short paddle I came to a 200m portage and did that in good time.  So far the river was good and the water levels high enough to pose no problems.  I knew though that I would be getting into the alder section of the river shortly and have to deal with that until I reached Grass Lake.

After a short meander through some alders I came to my last portage for a while, 100m.  From this point on the river narrowed and the alders closed in from each bank.  There were some sections that could have been brushed back but there were no spots where they impeded my forward movement. 

Looking at the map I noticed there was suppose to be a campsite between my last portage and my next one.  I had been thus far 1 ½ hours since the last portage and I had yet to see this campsite.  This meant that I was not yet at the halfway point of this section of river, or I had missed the site or it didn’t exist.  I was hoping for the latter of the two options.  Fortunately the latter two proved right as an hour later I came to the 240m portage.  Halfway through the portage there was an early put in so I took advantage and walked the canoe down some rapids before paddling past the normal landing for the portage.

About 20 minutes later brought me to Grass Lake.  By now the sky had clouded over and a light rain had begun to fall.  I passed on putting my rain gear as I hoped it was just a brief shower.  Luckily I was correct.
I passed the campsite by Grass Lake and encountered a young bull Moose feeding in the river.  From there it was about a half hour paddle to the junction of the Nipissing River and Loontail Creek.  On my way there I came across another bull Moose with good sized antlers feeding in the river.  Seeing me he quickly left his feeding grounds and headed off into the forest.
Bull Moose, Nipissing River.
  As I headed up Loontail Creek it began to rain again.  I hoped it would be brief again but as it got heavier I decided to put on my rain gear.  I stopped at the campsite on the creek to do this.  The site is nice and open and flat.  I then realized that the site was built on a very old logging road and you could see the old remains of the bridge that once crossed the creek and the road on the other side.

From the campsite it was about a half hour to the 845m portage that would take me to Latour Creek.  The rain had stopped by this point so I removed my jacket so as not to overheat on the trail but left my pant on to protect my legs from mosquitoes.  Up to this point in the trip the bugs had been great!  The Blackflies were pretty much non-existent and this was the first portage where I really had any mosquitoes and they were bad.
Loontail Creek from the Latour Creek portage landing.
 Deciding against having lunch at the end of the portage amongst the swarm of mosquitoes I pushed on up Latour Creek.  Latour is a lovely creek that is good and wide and slowly winds through a fen that abound with Black Spruce and Tamarack.  Only the last 100m of the creek as you approach the Floating Heart Lake portage does the creek narrow significantly and winds a lot.

The 1370m portage from Latour to Floating Heart was my longest of the trip so far.  I figured 15-20 minutes should cover it easily.  The portage rose up, up and up with a few sharp downhills that were as equally as taxing on the legs as going up.  Twenty-five minutes later finally brought me to the end.  Despite the hills I think that portage is longer than is indicated.

A short paddle across Floating Heart Lake brought me to the 365m portage that would bring me to my destination for the day, Rosebary Lake.  My canoe touched the waters of Rosebary at 2:15pm, 7 ½ hours after leaving Big Bob Lake.
Rosebary Lake from the Floating Heart Lake portage landing.
 I was hoping to get the campsite just to the east of the portage but it was occupied.  I headed further east to check out the next site but I didn’t care for it.  Having no choice but to face the waves and strong headwind that still came out of the south, I headed across the lake to see if the site on the south eastern point of the lake was available.  I knew it was a good campsite as I had stayed there twice before.  Finally at 3:45pm I arrived at the site and after a long day began to slowly set up camp.
South eastern campsite on Rosebary Lake.
 Once camp was established I down to the shore and lay on the rocks for awhile.  The wind seemed to have picked up in intensity and howled across the lake and through the site.  After a while I headed back up to camp and read for a bit.

Despite coming from the south the force of the wind brought a chill to me so I donned some long pants and a fleece and headed back down to the lake to enjoy the early evening sun.  While sitting there reading I noticed a small movement out of the corner of my left eye.  Turning to see what it was there was a Garter Snake slowly making its way towards me.  It changed course and headed under the rock that was behind me where I suspected it was going to spend the night.  

I grabbed a bite to eat then headed down to the shore to watch the waves crash against the rocks.  Being well after 7pm I resigned to the fact that this wind wouldn’t be letting up soon and I wouldn’t be getting out for an evening paddle.  As such I started to gather firewood in the hopes that the wind would subside to allow me to have a fire.

Just before 9pm the wind died down enough to have a fire.  I enjoyed the fire for a while and doused it shortly before 9:30pm and retired to the tent to read until I called it a day around 10pm.  I was hopeful that the wind would subside overnight.

Saturday, May 26 – Day 3

The night was cooler than the last and I slept more soundly.  I was awakened again at 5am by the light of the day.  Tossing and turning in my bag I finally gave up trying to get back to sleep and got up at 5:30am.  I put on the water for breakfast and packed up camp.

I broke camp and was on the water by 6:30am.  A twenty minute paddle brought me to the 3375m portage that would take me to David Creek.  I took a few pictures of the lake as the sun rose above its smooth surface.  Loading up I was on my way by 6:55am.  The portage briefly went through the forest then turned left heading to the southwest following an old logging road.  After 20 minutes I came to where and old bridge use to be that crossed a small but deep stream.  The bridge was no longer there and to get across the 12-15 foot span I had to walk over an eight inch diameter spruce log that had been secured in place by a piece of 2x6 on either side of the span.  With canoe and pack this was a daunting challenge as a fall, not only would be wet, but may also cause serious injury.  Thankfully I made it across safely and was back on my way.  After another 15-20 minutes I came to a junction in the road.  Signs were posted for travelers in both directions and staying to the left I continued on.  Not long after the junction I came to a berm in the road and a short trail to the creek’s edge.  I had reached David Creek in 48 minutes in one carry.  The trail was a good one as it followed an old road and would be even easier going in the other direction as the trail is a steady uphill from the Rosebary end.
Heading towards the portage from Rosebary Lake to David Creek.
Sunrise over Rosebary Lake from the David Creek portage landing.
David Creek portage landing.
 I was back on the water before 8am after taking a few pictures.  The creek was a good width and didn’t wind too sharply.  I was going against the current and the shallowness of the water made it difficult to get a full paddle blade in for a normal stroke.

After a while the creek began to wind more, become narrower and shallower.  I was getting close to the lake and most creeks and rivers tend to wider and deeper the closer you get.  It got to the point in a couple of sections where the creek was just a little wider than the canoe.  In some spots I had to pull to canoe forward by grabbing onto vegetation on the banks as I had no room to put my paddle in to propel the canoe forward.  I finally came to a beaver dam and beyond that the creek ended.  To get to the dam I had to pull the canoe twenty feet upstream while up to my knees in muck.  With each step I took in the muck I hoped that I wasn’t going to leave my footwear behind.

Finally over the dam I headed off up the wide, shallow part of David Creek that opens up into Mubwayaka Lake.  In this section I came across a loon nesting and quietly took a photo of her before moving on so as not to disturb her.
Nesting Loon.
 I stayed on Mubwayaka once before on the southern of the two sites and that is where I was hoping to stay today, provided no one was there.  It was not quite 9am and most people are breaking camp by then, not pulling in and setting up.

Both sites on the lake were vacant so I took the southern one with its nice rock outcropping and the main part of the site nestles amongst the talk hemlocks.
Southern campsite on Mubwayaka Lake.
 I quickly set up camp and had a second breakfast.  I decided to do a day trip into Ralph Bice Lake and walk the portage to Daisy Lake and back.

A quick 80m portage took me into David Lake.  There are two sites there but neither is anything special.  The site on the island is the better of the two.  A quick paddle across the lake brought me to the 620m portage into Ralph Bice.  A party of fishermen were just coming over the portage as I was heading off.  Over the trail in short time I was soon paddling across the lake under clear blue skies with only a slight breeze at my back.

A half hour paddle brought me to the portage and a leisurely 20 minute walk brought me to the Daisy Lake end of the 1435m portage.  Taking a few photos I headed back to the canoe.  Back across Ralph Bice and David I was back at the site by 12:30pm.  
Ralph Bice Lake from the portage landing to Daisy Lake.
 I had lunch on the rocks and relaxed reading for a good part of the afternoon.  I thought about going for a swim but the wind out of the north made it feel cooler than it was.

I noticed that there was a big ring around the sun which wasn’t a good sign.  That meant I could expect rain in the next 24-48 hours.  I hoped it would hold off until I got back to the truck tomorrow.

Lat e afternoon I headed out to find some wood for tonight’s fire.  A little loop around my section of the lake and I was soon back at camp with a supply of firewood for this evening.

Sitting down on the rocks I read a bit more until 6pm then got dinner going.  There was still a bit of a wind on the lake so I hoped it died down so I could get out for a paddle after supper.

After dinner I read for a while and then the wind subsided a little bit.  Grabbing my rod and paddle I headed out onto the lake to explore and fish a bit.  After an hour, with no luck, I headed back to camp.  It was good to get out for an evening paddle.

Back at camp I read a bit more.  I lost the sun behind the hills around 8pm.  The Blackflies also started to make an appearance which was really the first time this whole trip that I noticed them in any number.
I started a fire just after 8:30pm.  A Barred Owl called from across the lake and the buzz of mosquitoes could be heard in the woods but once again never made an appearance.

I turned in just after 9:30pm, read for a bit and then turned in by 10pm.

Sunday, May 27 – Day 4

I awoke again just after 5am and out of bed after 5:30am.  Greeted to a gray day that looked like it threatened rain.

Had breakfast and broke camp and was on the water by 6:40am.  Had eight portages today, the longest being 1685m which I had qualms about as I dreaded it could be hilly.

The first portage of the day was a 470m into and unnamed pond.  It had a few steep hilly sections which seemed to take it out of me.  Across the pond took me to the 255m portage into Pugawagun Lake.  Shortly into the portage the trail skirted a small body of water and then seemed to terminate at it.  I then noticed that the trail continued on the other side of the small pond but to get there I had to cross a small beaver dam that was right in front of me.  Stepping onto the dam my right foot slid off and I was up to my knee in mud.  I then stepped onto the dam with my left foot but it too slipped of the dam to the left side.  The end result was that I was straddling the dam sitting right on top of it with my ass getting wet.

Somehow, with pack on and a canoe still on my shoulders, I was able to heave myself up and extract by legs from the mud and continue on.  The whole production cost me a lot of energy and I was dreading doing the 1685m portage even more.

Quickly across the lake I was at the 905m portage to Pezheki Lake.  I knew that the majority of this portage was on an old logging road but to get there I had to climb a short, but steep embankment.

Putting Pezheki Lake behind me I was at the 610m portage to Iagoo Lake.  The portage had more ups than downs and seemed very taxing.  To make the situation even more uncomfortable was the fact that the length of the portage was longer than indicated.  What should have taken me an easy ten minutes took me a little over fifteen.  I estimate the actually length of that portage somewhere in the 900m range.

Iagoo has one campsite on it and neither it nor the lake is very aesthetic.  I would only stay there if I had no other choice.

From Iagoo was the 1685m portage to Papukiwis Lake.  This was a great portage which was largely downhill with only a couple of short uphill sections.  The only difficult part of the portage was the last 50m which was a steep downhill which you had to pick your way around numerous rocks.  I definitely would not want to do that portage in the other direction.

Besides Iagoo the only other lake that has a campsite between Mubwayaka and Tim Lake is on Papukiwis right at the start of the portage to Mama Lake.  It is just as bad as the one on Iagoo.  

With my swarm of mosquitoes in tow I headed off down the 300m trail and five minutes later I was at Mama Lake, confirming that my 610m portage earlier should have taken me only ten minutes to do, not fifteen.
A short paddle across Mama Lake brought me to the 490m portage to Shawshaw Lake.  This portage was a steady uphill climb for most of the way but it was a good trail.

Shawshaw is a nice little lake and has the potential to have a couple of nice sites on it.  Shawshaw had my last portage of the day, a 295m into Tim Lake, which was largely all downhill.  I reached Tim around 9:30am.  It was calm and quiet and made for an enjoyable paddle.
Tim Lake from Shawshaw portage landing.
 Heading up the river back to the access point I spotted a Turkey Vulture on top of a beaver lodge.  I got within 20 feet of it and it didn’t seem to mind that I was there.  It did eventually fly off and land nearby on top of a dead tree but returned to the lodge as soon as I left.  There was nothing dead on or around the lodge so my only conclusion was that there was something dead in the lodge.
Turkey Vulture on Beaver lodge.
 Five minutes later and at 10:20am I arrived back at the access point.  I had been a great first solo trip in eleven years.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    thanks for your very precise description and the wonderful pictures, glad you enjoyed it. I'll head off soon as well, waiting for ice out, dodge the bugs hopefully. Chapeau for your 30 years of paddling!