View topic - Murtle lake canoe trip (solo) in Sept

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PostPosted: July 24th, 2018, 10:28 pm 
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I'm thinking of doing the Murtle lake canoe trip (solo) in Sept. Like the fact its relatively close to Vancouver. How many days should I plan for this trip?


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2018, 11:19 pm 
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PortageandMain,

I've been to Murtle Lake three times so for what it's worth...

If you want to shore cruise the whole lake you would need a week or more. If you add some hikes then you will need more time. If you want to fish much then it might be hard to see the whole lake or you would need lots of time. Obviously you can do a combination trip where you paddle some, hike some and fish some.

The road from Blue River is a narrow, winding, rocky road about 24 km long. We took our own canoe carts (but you can rent in Blue River) and took them with us on our canoes. From the parking lot to the put-in on Murtle Lagoon, the portage trail is about 2.4 km. That trail is up and down but generally down as you go toward the lake (and so, generally up as you return from your trip). The portage trail is in fair to good condition with some rocks and roots that make the trip interesting. If you leave your cart at the put-in then there are signs saying that there is a mandatory lock-up so you can leave your cart at the put-in but you should lock it up.

If you want to get at least a look at the lake without rushing you would need a week. That does not include any lengthy hikes. The put-in is on a lagoon at the far southeast end of Murtle Lake. It is about a 1 km paddle to the extreme south end of the main lake. There is a short channel connecting the lagoon with the main lake. It is 23 km to the extreme north end. If you are not interested in hiking, you will probably want to move every night. A person can explore the various campsites and/or do some short hikes but it is quite fiord-like so mostly it can be seen from the water. Some of the shorter hikes that go to lakes just go to one end of the lake and it is impossible to go any further. While the hike to Strait Lake was interesting in itself, the one to Anderson Lake was less interesting. We were not impressed with those very limited viewpoints and access at the end of these trails. If I were touring the lake, I would go from the dock to Strait Creek campsite (about 8 km), set up camp, tour around the area a little, have a coffee with medicinal fortifier and take it easy, The next day I would hike to Wavy Crest and back. The following day I would take my stuff and try to make it to near the extreme north end. If I felt it was worthwhile, I would plan on spending two nights there but I might just take my gear and continue down the west side of the north arm. Depending upon my speed that could take 1 to 2 days. I would then turn west and continue to shore cruise the north side of the west arm. It is about 14 km from the north arm to the extreme west end, therefore, 14 km back. Moving each day is a bit of a pain but I think you can see much of Murtle Lake from the water. Cruise around the west end, down to Diamond Lagoon, take the 5 km hike to McDougall Falls on the Murtle River (very buggy and fairly wet but quite a nice falls). I would then continue along the south side of the west arm and work my way back toward the take-out.

A note of caution - this is a mountain lake which is subject to strong winds and sudden storms. One of the things that I have found deceiving is when you look across the lake, it doesn't seem far but, because of the scale, it is far. Rely on your maps to check the distance before attempting a crossing.

Remember, that these are my thoughts so your wishes and results may vary.

If you have any questions, please ask.


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PostPosted: July 25th, 2018, 7:45 am 
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Joined: November 28th, 2016, 1:04 am
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Thanks for the detailed reply Frank. I'll spend some time with a map and come back to you if I have questions.


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