Brent run via Tim, Nip and Big Crow

Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Glen Petersen
Trip Date : 
Additional Route Information
160 km
13 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
37700 m
Longest Portage: 
3750 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Access point 5- Canoe Lake
Day 1 Canoe to Misty
Day 2 Misty to Queer
Day 3 Queer to Shippagew
Day 4 Shippagew to Whiskeyjack
Day 5 Whiskeyjack to dam on Nipissing River
Day 6 Nip to Cedar
Day 7 Cedar to Catfish
Day 8 Catfish to Hogan
Day 9 Hogan to Big Crow
Day 10 Big Crow to Happy Isle
Day 11 Happy Isle to Little Otterslide
Day 12 Little Otterslide to Burnt island
Day 13 back to Canoe Lake

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

My buddy Ian and I wanted to challenge ourselves after a couple of years of short 2 or 3 night trips in Algonquin Park. (and a couple of week long trips)

Day 1

To get an earlier start to the trip, we stayed in Huntsville the Sunday night before our trip.
Getting to Access 5 just as it opened enabled us to hopefully get all the way up to Misty that day. Unfortunately, we were told Misty still had ice on it, so we were told to stop at Timberwolf. For some reason I don’t recall now, we decided to access Tim via Shah instead of going further to Queer and north from there.
Within 5 minutes of being on Canoe, we encountered a white-out snowstorm (good omen, ya?). We gave that a chance to pass, all of 20 minutes as we waited by a cottage along the shoreline. The usual 401 portage into Joe was empty at this time of year, but again another snowstorm passed as we made our way under the bridge into Joe. A less severe snowstorm came along as we did the lift over into Tom Thomson
The 2300m portage northwest into Ink was a pleasure in May. Ian and I had tried this one the previous June with horrific results (think marsh, and then lots of running!).
From there, clear paddling to the north campsite on the island on Timberwolf.

Day 2

Snow flurries were common throughout our day today, the 120m portage into Misty has a nice waterfall. Coming into Shah there is a steep decent (be careful when wet!)
The temperature never got above 4 degrees today. Chilly for the hands if there is wind, which thankfully there wasn’t today.

Day 3

Easy portage up to the Tim. Tried some fishing with little results there. 270m portage is another easy one. The 400m is a little trickier. The last portage, a 120m was easily runnable in May. Overall, I was unimpressed with the Tim river. Started out very scenic, but meandered endlessly throughout the afternoon and into Shippagew. (the next years trip along the early Nipissing would be much better).
The NW campsite proved very adequate.

Day 4

This was a great day for traveling north. With clear skies, a high of about 12 degrees and a SW wind who could ask for more! The journey up Burntroot was a pleasure. The two short portages from Longer are not runnable for us anyways, maybe for someone with more experience. The 1310m portage into Robinson is fine although it does seem longer than that. Tried fishing on Whiskeyjack to no avail.

Day 5

After our inauspicious start on Monday, Day 4 proved to be the start of many awesome weather days. Today- sunny, SW winds and at least 14 degrees. The three consecutive portages to the Nipissing River and along are relatively easy. Just put your head down and push. Finally had success fishing although they were simply too small to filet (catch and release). This half of the Nipissing River into Cedar will take us two days (we weren’t in any hurry). We got all the way beyond the 180m portage before Plumb creek. Nice rapids there, and a good campsite.

Day 6

Great day! We ran the 230m portage along the Nip but needed to traverse the 930m into the marsh at the mouth into Cedar. Got set up near the mouth of the Petawawa in the afternoon. I had heard horror stories from Kevin Callan’s books about the winds on Cedar, but this day – the lake was like glass!! We paddled over with our cash in hand hoping for a pop, chocolate bar and chips. We had only seen two other people in the previous 6 days. The Brent store had only just opened a few days earlier and hadn’t gotten any new supplies. Last years snacks would do. We did manage to procure some more fuel for our stove too. We chilled the rest of the day under the shade in our campsite.

Day 7

The journey home. Kinda depressing actually, but much new territory to cover. Absolutely gorgeous waterfalls at the 720m portage and especially the 260m portage.
Stop for a moment and take a pic.
The 2370m portage uphill into Narrowbag can be a brute. Once you’ve reached Unicorn point it gets much easier. The little 170m portage is straight up and straight down. The 80m portage avoids a mass of logs left from the old log chute. Making our way south down Catfish proved it wasn’t just Ian and myself in the park. We got the last campsite on a small island just before Sunfish. The ‘box’ was actually a full covered portabotty, unfortunately it was sinking into the ground. Cat hole here we come! That’s why the campsite was empty.

Day 8

Through Sunfish to a steep beginning at the 1130m portage with a tamer middle and ending. Newt and Manta are beautiful little lakes worth a viewing at least once in your life. Both the portages (780m and 1980m) are relatively easy but with rocks throughout.
Once on Hogan, we made our way round the island in the south end. All campsites were taken so we settled on the south point back towards the inlet midway through the lake. Great rock face viewable from our campsite. Something we hadn’t really seen much of in Algonquin, what with all the trees and everything!

Day 9

Knowing this portage would be a brute, it was planned to be our only portage today. Probably a good thing. Over the last couple of days it had gotten increasingly warmer and warmer. Sure, sounds great right?... we were weary of our food supplies ( and the worms). Starting this 3750m portage didn’t look promising either. There is a steep incline of at least 25m at the very beginning of the portage. After that, it evens out. The trail is clear, but with the sun pounding down on us and it being 25 degrees…hot and sweat… and what’s this, mosquitoes! Ahhh! Thought we would avoid them completely. The trail leads to a nice dock. We made our way down the west shoreline and set up camp. I was hoping to see the old growth pine across the lake, but it started to rain very soon after we got everything set up in camp. Next time, perhaps?

Day 10

A chill to the air greeted us this morning. Drizzle, fog all the good stuff!... We trucked on. Crow river is fairly straight forward. The 3080m portage is a well maintained, clear trail. Easy to traverse. We set up camp on the south side of the island on Happy Isle. We aired out our tent and supplies in the wind that was getting pretty serious at this point.

Day 11

Darn cold this morning (-6 degrees for sure). We noted this at 4 in the morning when nature called. Having started out early this morning (and with good weather again), we decided to continue further to Burnt Island instead of stopping at Little Otterslide. All 4 portages from Happy Isle through Otterslide, Little Otterslide and into Burnt Island are all well maintained with many bridges for travel. They have no steep inclines or declines to speak of. The 780m had many trees across the trail that have since been cleared I’m sure.

Day 12

A day of chilling out, especially with all the rain today. Chilly too, going up to only 8 degrees. Looking forward to returning tomorrow. The circling gull ate the rest of our dying worms.

Day 13

The race home. By now, we are in much better physical shape, but look like hell since we haven’t shaven this entire trip. Getting back to a burger and beer at the Portage store on Canoe is looking pretty good right about now. All the remaining potages are all well traveled throughout the season and pose no problems. Found a pool of trout, but they weren’t biting. Lack of worms or was it the Gray Jay that scared them off? The 20m can always be avoided by paddling around. We only took one portage twice! Not a bad loop.
To the girls in the restaurant, sorry about the possibly B.O.
Tired, but wanting to do the first half of the Nip next year!

Special Comments: 

This is a big trip that my friend Ian and I took in early May of 2005. It required doubling most portages. need a workout?. copy this trip.