Lac Aux Sables: Bark Lake Loop

CanadaOntarioNorth Channel
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Bob Shiell
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Bob Shiell
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
48 km
Duration: 
4 days
Loop Trip: 
Yes
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
13
Total Portage Distance: 
4788 m
Longest Portage: 
1189 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Intermediate
Lake Travel: 
Novice
Portaging: 
Moderate
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Low
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

83 Km north of Massey ON on Hwy 553 & 810 ends
last 7 Km of road past Ritchie Falls Resort is rough
S/F at public access at southern end of Lac Aux Sables
enter River Aux Sables about half way up west side of Lac Aux Sables
P 360m into Little Trout Lake
P 120m into Big Trout Lake
P 100m into un-named lake
P 190m into un-named lake
P 80m into Long Lake
P 120 into Boumage Lake
P 320m un-named lake
P 1189m into Bark Lake
paddle south on Bark Lake
P 230m into Lake No. 32
P 500m into Lake No. 40
P 300m and L/O into Star Lake
P 500m into Lake No. 51
P 438m & P 220 into Poupore Lake
P 175m back into Lac Aux Sables
return to S/F on Lac Aux Sables

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Bark Lake / Lac Aux Sables Canoe trip August 2010

We used Kevin Callan's “Lost Canoe Routes” as our resource, along with appropriate topo maps. Since the book was published in 2002, the trip info is dated. We had no idea what “low water” would mean in August 2010. As with all lost canoe trips, the portages were usually hard to locate. There was either a small tag of hunter orange tape tied to a tree or a yellow or blue marker nailed to a tree.
Day 1
travel day
12 hour drive from London
last 2 hours were on interesting gravel roads
turned left when we should have turned right at the last split in road
put tents up and ate at dusk
started to rain during the night

Day 2 – trip day 1
we used our new propane stove and Peter's old BBQ to cook eggs, sausage and toast with tea, coffee and orange juice
used paper plates and cups so we did not have to wash anything
that was a good idea
from the put in at the southern end of Lac Aux Sables to the first portage we paddled in fog
it was interesting paddling, waiting for the islands and shore on the left to emerge from the fog
fog had cleared by the time we entered River Aux Sables
the river was narrow often with just enough water to paddle the canoes
there was some walking and dragging the canoes up river
lunch was on the first point on the right as we entered Big Trout Lake
our first camp was on a beach (as were most of our camps) at the south east end of the eastern bay at the top of Big Trout Lake
supper was Peter's last supper which includes smoked salmon and trout, kobasa, humus, pita bread with appropriate wine and maple cookies
by 10 PM we were all in bed
there was heavy cloud all day

Day 3 - trip day 2
was a very long day – left at 8:15 am and finished at 6:30 PM
we enjoy our food and carry extra gear to accommodate our menu wishes, so each portage is walked over, back and then over again.
we paddled, walked, pulled and portaged for a straight line distance of 12 km
that included 5 portages ( 100m, 190m, 80, 120m, and 1189m) – total waking distance 5.037km
we also paddled over, climbed over and lifted over 5 or 6 beaver dams
supper was gnocchi with sliced kobasa and tomato sauce, wine and chocolate pudding for dessert
we were in bed shortly after sun set
it was heavy cloud during the day again

Day 4 – trip day 3
lay over day
was up about 7:30 am
most of the group were up about 8 am (some were later)
built a fire and kept it going for the day
breakfast was apple pancakes and maple syrup, we forgot the bacon
about 11am we decided to have a layover day and not paddle the 16 km up and back to see Gray Owl's cabin
saw the moon for about 5 minutes and took some photos
went to bed after that
saw a small patch of blue sky
for most of the day it was heavy cloud

Day 5 – trip day 4
was up at 6:15 am in preparation for another long difficult day
breakfast was, as usual porridge with bacon bits, cranberries, raisins, brown sugar or maple syrup and teacoffee
we were late getting off at 9:15 am
still moving slow from our first long day
the paddle down the 4.5 km of Bark Lake was into a head wind
we ducked behind each little head land to avoid the wind
stopped at the narrows for a break
past the narrows, we were out of the wind
we pushed the canoes through the narrows with just enough water to float the canoes through the muck and lily pads
some how we missed counting the portage into Lake No. 32 and that missed up our location on the map
we finally pulled out the GPS to help locate us
from looking on the map and at the surrounding terrain, I thought we were on Lake No. 51 and we were actually on Star Lake
both lakes had streams entering from the north and south, I missed the 2 little islands/piles of rock that should have indicated Star Lake
we travelled 16 km today
with 6 portages (230m, 500m, 300m, 500m, 438m, 220m) for a total of 6.564 km walking
the last 3 portages were on fairly level ground and were not difficult
on this section of the trip the beaver dams were out
the long swamp section into Poupore Lake had enough water to paddle the canoes
we camped on a narrow sandy point half way down the south shore before the narrows
arrived about 5:30 pm
saw the sun for a couple of seconds today
mostly heavy cloud and some very heavy mist
the moon was out for about 10 minutes tonight
the day was not a difficult as I thought it was going to be

Day 6 – trip day 5
it rained during the night
awoke to the clouds breaking and had breakfast in bright sun shine
started paddling at 9:15 am
arrived at the finish at 11:4 am
paddled 9 km with one 175 m portage
as we were packing up, the sky clouded over
stayed the night in the Moonlight Inn in Sudbury
Bob Shiell August 2010.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
41 J/9 &amp; 41 J/16<br />

Comments

Post date: Sat, 08/10/2013 - 22:35

Comments: 

We ran this trip in July 2013. We took a leisurely 5.5 days to complete the loop and had mostly great weather. We only met one other group on the loop, seclusion was nice ! We used Kevin Callan's book and other reports to guide us. We began and ended at Ritchie Falls Resort, who were very accommodating.

There were many beautiful campsites, like north end of Lac Aux Sables (Kevin's book), east side of north end of Big Trout Lake (sandy beach), north end of Bark Lake before the narrows (sandy beach in bay on east side). The only viable campsite we found on Poupore Lake was on an island close to where Kevin's book identifies one.

Most portages were marked by yellow and/or blue markers, so fairly easy to locate. The tricky part was knowing when to take-out as there were often more than one marker for the same portage. Water levels must change a lot to make the take-out at different places at different times of the year. We didn't find the portages overly difficult and the logs have been cleared from the portage from Boumage Lake to Bark Lake. Although there were some wet sections. We had lots of rain the summer of 2013 !

It was a most enjoyable voyage with some lovely scenery and some wildlife.