We camped at Fox Lake Lodge and were shuttled up to our start at Duke Lake by the folks at Spanish River Outfitters (Fox Lake Lodge).
The lakes were aligned with the wind, and we took off. What a great start to the trip! We sailed approximately 20 km. on the first day, only paddling the channels between lakes. During the first couple of days we had relaxed lake travel with some walking through boulder fields. I remember remarking that this situation was too good to be true. (little did we know)
Petroglyphs can be seen on a cliff on the east side of Ninth Lake.
The water level was quite low this season. As a result, we had to negotiate a number of long stretches of boulder fields. This entailed wading in up to waist level water. If the light was right, we could see the way. If the light was at the wrong angle, any step could be either 6 inches deep or several feet deep.
There were sections which ran through narrow, sandy areas which allowed us to relax in the canoe for a time before the next boulder field.
Apparently this section was several feet under water in the spring run-off. What a difference!
This beautiful landscape was deceiving ...
... because, not 500 metres away from the river, loggers had clear cut the forest. Very few trees were left!
Despite the shallow water conditions, we rigged the sail in case we happened upon a bit of the river which could be sailed.
More often than not, we ended up "going walkies" through the shallows.
We were, at one point, accompanied by an otter who lead us downstream for several kilometres.
The falls at Pogamosing (at right) was a welcome relief from the flat water and boulders of the Spanish. If we had had the time, we would have portaged up to Lake Pogamosing and explored. Regrettably, we did not. We camped downsteam from Pog and observed a black bear during supper. It was across the river, about 150 metres from camp. The bear spray came out that night! The rail line follows the river along this stretch, so we were reminded (rather loudly) of "civilization" a few times during the evening.
A ways downstream, we came upon a fire crew dousing a bush blaze along the track. We had been wondering all morning why we could hear choppers close by!
Using water pumped from the river, the firefighters put out the fire in an hour or so. We suspect the cause was an errant cigarette butt from the train which passed through earlier that morning. The bush was so dry, that it would not take much to set it alight.
Misty mornings, in my experience, have meant excellent weather for the remainder of the day. This was no exception.
As the mist lifted, serenity enveloped us.
Despite the very dry conditions, the forest maintained its calming influence. I am comforted by the greenness around.
So much for serenity, back to walking the boulder fields and paddling the deeper water between them.
Of course, when an excellent campsite is found, the spirit soars, especially after the trials and tribulations of walking the river.
The fritillary on the Joe-Pie weed is a symbol of the fragility of this area's ecosystem. Logging has perhaps irrepairably changed (damaged) the area for generations to come.
The pull out at 'The Forks' was a fitting setting for the trip - bouldery and shallow!
It was a convenient hour's walk to Fox Lake Lodge to retrieve our vehicle.