Big Crow Re-supply Trip - Sept. 15th Part 1
This trip all started with Racoon bringing in supplies for Markus and Joan for their 23 day September trip. They had started the week before and were coming to Big Crow from Hogan Lake on Saturday. With all the postings on Algonquin Adventures forum about the trip, I decided that this would be a great trip to see Markus again and of coarse meet more AA regulars. Stainless and Dave H were going in for sure on the Friday morning taxi. Guncho joined Stainless the week before we left. Salvelinus was going solo to Redrock Lake a day earlier. Laurie decided to go with me. She loves it now after going to Pen Lake for 3 nights a few weeks earlier. Swedish Pimple was going, but not sure when. Racoon’s wife had intended to go, but couldn’t go after all.Friday September 15th
At 8:00am Laurie and I arrived at the Opeongo Store. We arrived early. We had time to relax and take our time. We got our permits first and paid for our taxi ride to and from Proulx portage. As it turns out, it is better to pay first. Mass confusion happened with others after our trip.
We'd never met Guncho, Stainless or Dave H before, but from seeing their pictures on AA, we were ready to pick them out. By 9:00 Guncho was the first I saw on the docks. Stainless drove up with his canoe and Dave H came right after with his sweet cedar strip canoe. With quick intro, they all set off to get the necessary permits and to deal with the taxi.
Laurie, Stainless, Dave H and Guncho getting acquainted
We had all our gear on the docks and by 10:00am we started to load the canoes. The taxi driver grabbed each canoe quickly and tied them down very, very tight. So tight in fact, another couple that joined our ride had their canoe buckle slightly by the rope! I did make note when they tightened the rope down on Dave’s ride, I could see the wood move slightly…made me nervous! I looked over to see Dave thinking the same thing. We had some rain showers down #60 on the way in, by the time we left on the taxi, only overcast skies with no wind to speak of.
Many rental canoes wait for customers
Our canoes getting loaded on our taxi
The temperature was in the 59f(15 c) range. Within 30 minutes we were at the Proulx portage in a little bay. The taxi driver had to raise the motor to miss the shallow water at the bay’s entrance. The ride in was fun indeed. I was in the back of the boat and I could see the speedometer. It read 36 mph (58 km) fast and smooth on Opeongo this morning.
Stainless and Guncho enjoying the ride
Our driver in action
The taxi driver pulled the boat as far as he could on shore. He unloaded some gear to lighten the front of the boat and pull it farther on shore, so people (like Laurie) did not get their feet wet.
On the Opeongo landing portage to Proulx
With the gear all on shore and organized, we loaded up and headed up the 1300-1400m portage. Dave laughed at all the gear some of us had. He only had a small pack that was 36lbs! He was gone with his pack and solo canoe. Stainless and Guncho were next to leave. Stainless carried the canoe up halfway and went back for his pack. I loaded the heavy barrel on Laurie. Must have been all that wine she had! I put on my canoe pack and carried my Kipawa. With our single carry, I was at the end of the portage on Proulx in 20 minutes. I put the canoe down and said ‘hi’ to Dave, I turned around to see if Laurie was coming………I was impressed that she was so close to me! The first part of the portage has a steep rock/root infested trail around the pond that all of us carried around. The rest of the portage is easy with a gentle slope down to Proulx.
I loaded up the canoe with our gear. Dave along with us, were in our canoes while Stainless and Guncho loaded up their canoe. We headed across Proulx with Stainless and Guncho in tow. Soon, all of us were side by side and talking and enjoying our paddle. Dave H was keeping up with us no problem in his handcrafted solo beauty he made.
Laurie looking good on Proulx
Before we entered the river Stainless asked who wants to lead. He mentioned that the 6 times or so he has traveled the river, he has never seen any moose, and offered us to try our luck. Laurie and I lead the way with Dave in the middle. The river had many twists and turns. We were at the Redrock portage and Laurie asked if we were almost done the river section. Redrock was only ¼ up the river! We passed a few herons along the way. A slight current helped us glide thru the river. No beaver lift-overs or shallow bottoms to slow us up. At one point on the river, my paddle partner pointed off in the distance, which she thought may be a moose. As we got closer, a large stump in the weeds perhaps looked like a moose? I laughed about that for a while. An hour later we entered Little Crow Lake. No moose seen. Stainless’s bad luck seeing no moose on this river continues.
Little Crow had 3 campsites. The one campsite near end of the lake that narrows to Big Crow looked bad. Most trees dead and little cover. A fire burnt this campsite about 5 years ago. A 10-15 minute paddle thru the narrows brought us into view of the fire tower and onto Big Crow Lake. The rock face that is on the east side near the fire tower welcomed us.
Stainless, Guncho and Dave H passing South-East rock face on Big Crow Lake.
A look at Big Crow from our beach camp site. Clouds are breaking up.
We made our way to the sand beach with 3 campsites by the river. The far campsite farthest from the river was taken by a group of men that had 2 motorboats. I did not like the idea of motorboats. Motors are allowed up to 6hp. The campsite in the middle was way to close to them and was a little primitive. We had 3 tents to put up. Not enough room at this site. The site we took was sweet. It had a nice fire area with some trees for west wind protection and many choice tent areas. Nice large open area off the water front that has a long, sandy beach. The water is very shallow for a long ways out from shore. The river entrance is also very close to us.
When we landed on this site, Stainless and I went for a walk along the shore/woods to check out that middle site. The trail leading to the site was along a steep bank that falls down to the lake. If we split our group up, this trail is to long and dangerous to travel back and forth. We all had our tents up and camp organized around 2:00pm. It was over a 3 hour travel from Opeongo/Proulx portage.
Guncho and Dave H at his tent, Stainless making use of a log
Dave H joining Stainless on the log
Laurie checking our site over….."Where is the thunder-box?"
Our tent and hammocks strung up
The clouds were breaking up and blue skies soon to come! Laurie and I had some lunch. She brought a cheese ball and crackers. I chewed down on some beef jerky as I organized our campsite some more.
Our beach landing….less clouds now!
Some firewood was left, but guys in our group started to look for more wood. I decided to join them in their quest. The forest was really wet and dry wood was hard to find. Even deep behind our site were mostly pine trees. No cedars near us and only a few birch trees. I found some dead pines and dragged them down to cut up. I stepped on a wasp nest. I heard the buzzing first and I ran away in a hurry with a handful of wood. We cut up enough firewood for our first night on Big Crow Lake.
End of Part 1 - Mike and Laurie Burns