East Porcupine Franklin Lake To Black Lake

Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Jackson Miller
Trip Date : 
August 22 2019
Additional Route Information
170 km
9 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
3 m
Longest Portage: 
1000 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Im sorry, I will try and get to this when I have more time and the maps in front of me

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Now for the record, I am by no means what I call an experienced Paddler, I have done the Everglades in Australia, some small rivers in southern Alberta. I paddled the Fond Du Lac the year before in a trailhead open canoe Solo. We were a party of 3 so my 2 friends took another. That is about the end of my paddling resume. With that being said the person that I did this trip with in a open Canoe is a good friend who has lots of experience in Northern Sask. If I did not have his expertise neither of these trips would have happened.

Day 1

We landed in Franklin Lake, right off of the the tip in the picture. We immediately caught Jack's the water levels were lower then we expected but, we were working off of topographical/google earth imagining. We did about 10 km of paddle a little pull and push a little and made camp.  We found a well treed area and hunkered down for the 3 days of rain we had coming. 

Day 2

We had now sat for 2 days total and after calling around and getting weather reports we decided that we had we had to press on. We had a visit by a black bear and her cub to our camp the day before but they left without incident. Covering about 17 k with a late start we encounter a small portage(25m) river left and some more push pull fun. We made camp that night about 4 km past Mukasew Lake(North of Scmidt Lake) . We had some wolves visit us at about 1 am which made for a little lighter sleep.

Day 3

Started late, noticing a theme here. We started the day with Sunshine!!! We went across an open body of water about a km long and instead of going north and around the tip we decided to aim for the narrow stretch of land and pull our canoe over it due to the tail wind. Once settled on the other side it was time for the black rapids!!! They sounded worse then they were. After careful scouting of each section,im pretty sure there were 3 intense areas for me we ran them all with taking on an inch or two of water throughout the canoe.  We went river left at the split at the end of them due to the waterfall on the right. Progress was slow due to all the scouting.  The River had now picked up considerable flow with a few more set of rapids to run and nightfall closing in we navigated around a few more sets of rapids going down the sides of the river. About 5:30 pm we had hit our first set of rapids that maybe with a more experience paddler in the front was runnable. We opted to a bushed covered in game trail up and over the rock faces and dropped into the bay afterwards on the RL. We were greeted by a family of beavers, we rounded the corner heading north.  We made camp somewhere near another beaver dam. Which I had stopped counting at this point.  We pulled in on a large rock shelf on the RR. Fishing had been good up till this point, catching just enough to eat whenever we really felt like it. We were sure there was grayling but we really hadnt stopped to fish for them.

Day 4

We started early for us 830 we were on the river.  Our goal was to get to Milton Lake or before it depending on the wind. This day was a blur of activity by the time we made camp we had done 27 km, we experienced everything we stopped and had lunch of Jackfish and beans on a sandbar. There was lots of little fishing holes at the end of the rapids that we hit up. The tailwind we had enjoyed for the majority of the day turned into a nightmare when we hit the open water of Milton Lake. We had made good time and decided to attempt to get around the top corner of the Lake and out of the wind. We were hoping for island camping that night but with the conditions the way they were we decided to seek a less open area. We camped about 2 km past Milton on the RR, it was well sheltered with lots of wood.

Day 5

Today started with a bear on the only real option for our portage through the deadfall, burnout,and rocks. Lined the canoe on RL till we could go any further it was about a 150m portage. The get out for this was horrible with no where to really scout we emptied our canoe a little further up and lined empty. We used the scout to carry our gear to the other side. This day was a lot of lining and sliding down the less aggressive sides of the river. Scouting was crucial today, there was some really bad shelves with lots of drop. There was a pretty technical line that could only be done RL which we found out after going down the RR. We had to line back up the river and come back at it to get the left. I will provide the proper notes later on.  The Mcintyre and the Porcupine river also joined us today as we made camp on the RL on the north side of Groove Lake. 

Day 6

Glassy water to cross Groove and a bit of overcast we started out early to get across before the rainstorm got to us. We stop at the water metering site on the RR there is a book to fill out inside. We stopped and had Jackfish for breakfast. The river volume was really high according to Harry who had been down the river in June. We ran a set of class 2+  that he had ran earlier in the year. We manage to get through them,but just by the smallest of margins. We took a huge hit off of the back of the canoe and,we were pretty much floating with our gear by the time we got to the end of them. Our canoe took some damage that was really ugly to look at on the outside but, left us with the smallest  pin hole leak on the inside which we patch. We managed to get to the eye caves just as the sun was setting which made for a real nice evening.

Day 7

This has to be one of my favorite days of the trip so far. Waterfalls and portages everywhere. There was a section that lasted quite some time where we rode the current at 11.5 km an hour without a paddle in the water. There was lots of scenery to take in. The Portage trails were easy to find and move on.

Every time I come to Northern Sask im amazed by how remote and pristine it is. The beauty that is in this hidden gem is something  I look forward to seeing now for the coming years.  I would like to give a shout out to Harry Rolles for basically being my guide on this trip.

I think this is where I will end my journal logs at because, there are lots of trips now on the porcupine to Black Lake. Im also in the middle of planning the next trip. I will provide maps and the geo tracking when I get the time and the patience to deal with them.



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