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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 1:36 pm 
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Thanks very much, Marten and Neil. This information is very helpful!


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 18th, 2017, 6:39 pm 
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On the brightside, with it being that dry up there the Mothers should be dry as well and not living up to their name. A walk in the park, as it were.

Karin


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 19th, 2017, 9:22 pm 
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Mihun09 wrote:
On the brightside, with it being that dry up there the Mothers should be dry as well and not living up to their name. A walk in the park, as it were.


Absolutely, Karin! Neil & I did the Mothers in 2014 (a very wet year) and it was miserable, but I would do it again in a heartbeat over our experience these past few days on the Wanipigow and Broadleaf rivers. We spent more time out of the boat, dragging it through knee-deep mud and over rocks from the river bed than we did paddling! The Mothers would be downright pleasant right now! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 19th, 2017, 10:00 pm 
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Really thought we'd have water. Erica didn't want to do the Obukowin portages again and I thought I'd have to break the bad news to her, until we had rain bringing rivers up. Just a week ago (or so) the Weather Network showed 64mm of rain in Bissett in one day! Charles Simard heard that Quesnel rose an inch that day.

Apparently the rainwater has come and gone. We started on the Wanipigow at Birch Falls rather than Wallace. The portages upstream of Birch were very difficult due to new growth coming in over downed trees since the fire.

This was our first big trip with the dogs so our plan was to do the the Berens if everything was going suberb, the Leyond if things were going as expected and straight to Bloodvein if things weren't going well.

We got to the area of the bypass at about 2:30pm on our third day but couldn't see any sign of the bypass. We had been waist deep (and stuck) in mud and had to stand on our paddles to drag the boat in many places. There was no more water to paddle and we were walking the boat up the river.

At this point I figured that even if we found the bypass, we may not have water on the other side and we're stuck; with the dogs. The dogs were miserable, the flies were bad enough there was always blood on their snouts from bites. We knew we could drag our way back to Leaf in time to camp so we did that.

We thought about heading for Obukowin but not only does one of our dogs need to see a vet about a mysterious swollen bug bite, we were running out of days. We spent five days trying to get to Aikens and the Obukowin route is slightly longer. We'd be down to paddling straight to Bloodvein Village via Gammon & Bloodvein with no shorter "out" route to take if the dogs were in rough shape.

On the plus side, our campsite on the island opposite the Leaf Lake cabin was superb and on our way back the other site (further north) on Leaf was even better.

By the way, having someone like Charles Simard on your side feels pretty good. He got Conservation to do a flyby for us, dropped a shuttle vehicle late list night in Bloodvein to be at Wallace at the time we told him in our InReach message, and gassed up the car.

If anyone is planning a Bloodvein trip you're best off giving him a call. He even keeps your car at his place before driving it to a friend's place in Bloodvein a day or two before you arrive. This was good for us since we didn't make it to Bloodvein!


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 4:39 am 
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Neil, I'm surprised to hear you had such difficulty on the portages up from Birch Falls. Christine went in last Autumn and cut them out up to and through the portage from hell, which is the long one with the 2 waterfalls that goes around the corner.

She did not get up to the other two above those though.

It is very early for those rivers to be out of water, that mostly happens in August. That will certainly ruin the plans for the US Bible camps that come up and access the Bloodvein that way. Hopefully they read this before leaving their home States.

Karin


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 9:08 am 
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Neil, thanks so much for that Inreach message saying there was no water on the Broadleaf. Watching the rains the area has received and the fire danger not being listed as extreme I was surprised about the water levels. The by-pass is marked wtih a two foot high cairn on the grassy bank so you probably did not quite get to it. If you had made it across the by-pass there would have been a few more trouble spots on the way to Kosteck. I remember marking one vegetation choked area with my gps on the way in knowing that later with more growth I had to hit the right spots to get back through the area.

With the low water we will use the Obukowin portages and go down the Gammon using the river left exit out of Aikens. I want to try the Tea Pail Portage across to the Bloodvein but will have to see if we can even get over to it with the waters so low. If we can't do that we will go on down the Gammon and up the Bloodvein. If the rains do not come during our trip we will just head all the way to Artery and then south through Ford and Craven Lakes to the Obukowin exit.

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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 12:10 pm 
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Karin, the problem was the brush. There's so much! It would've overgrown any cut trail. The long portage was the problem. There was a downed tree that was very easy to step over (not worth clearing) but it was so overgrown I didn't see it. I smacked my shin into it and did a somersault with a barrel and a pack.

Any idea of which US camps use the trail? Conservation is aware of the water levels so if they contact them in Bissett, they'll know to go the Obukowin route. I e-mailed camp Stephens to let them know.

Martin, we just watched your YouTube video from last year. Hard to believe it's the same river! I couldn't remember the date you were leaving but I had your e-mail address in my phone so I thought it'd be best to let you know. Thanks for updating this post after receiving the message!

After watching the video and re-reading Karin & Christy's By-Pass thread I realize we didn't make it to the by-pass because we didn't make it to an actual portage after Leaf Lake. I'm still not quite sure what happened. We got to a section the had a creek coming in from each side. Then upstream the river turned roughly 90 degrees. We gave up shortly after.

When the river turned 90 degrees there was still a large tree / rock cutaway continuing so it seem like the river should've kept on in the same direction. There was a spot where the water should flow but it was completely dry. I think this was the Broadleaf and we followed a creek instead. We only made it another 100-200m and we were dragging the boat.

We don't use GPS, just topos, and it was very hard to tell where we were because we were so much lower than the bank we couldn't see over the shoreline vegetation.


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 1:18 pm 
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Just heard back from Stephens. They'll forward the information to any camps they think might be in the area.


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 2:00 pm 
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Thanks Neil and Erica for your updates here. We've made arrangements with Charles Simard for car logistics. The low waters are concerning, though. What Marten wrote this morning about his concerns that the Tea-pail route to the Bloodvein may be problematic gives me further reason to reflect. Up to now, I've been assuming that once on the Gammon and beyond to the Bloodvein the route down to Lake Winnipeg should be fine. If our planned route was a poor choice given extremely low water I'd consider plan B: going into WCPP from Red Lake for our 16-18 days as it, too, is a destination we've never been and which looks excellent. Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 4:29 pm 
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Martin2007, my concern is getting to the Tea Pail Portage which is a portage from the north branch of the Gammon past Aikens to Stonehouse Lake on the Bloodvein . The portage starts from the north branch of the Gammon which can have water probems. I scouted it last year and know that with these water levels it might to difficult to get to solid ground to start the portage. I do not mind a litlle slopping in the mud but not for a kilometer. A report from last month mentioned having to get past a mud bar to get to the channel, and that person was able to use the Broadleaf!! Paddling the main Gammon to the Bloodvein will be no problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 4:41 pm 
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Neil, ifyou look at this map after opening with the overlay of my info on google images you may be able to see where you ended up. I remember there being an open channel in that area that I went up by mistake. You can see it on the image. I am just guessing at this point but maybe that beaver dam I was so happy to hear about has all the water on the Broadleaf River stopped. https://mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php? ... ects=0&d=1

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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 6:43 pm 
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For those still going that way I might suggest the portage from Wallace to Siderock in case the river entrance is dried up as well. It is about 1.4km and a nice long walk.

Neil, you said you were on Leaf Lake so you were on the Broadleaf to a point. I can think of that downed tree, we have tried to cut it out before. Did the river jog right at that point? The first portage isn't far up from that, would be a very large boulder mid river just down from it.


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 7:08 pm 
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I am sorry to hear of the trouble you had Neil. Sounds brutal. As Martin alludes, I suspect a beaver dam may be gumming up the works. We have waded the river but never had to slog through mud.

You know, that big port at Birch Falls, I used three tanks of gas in my saw on that one. It was a chore. The port does not follow the old route straight up any more, it cuts off towards the falls instead along the face of the hill and then turns uphill to connect with the old trail at that point. WE had our asses handed to us at that one once also so dont feel bad....lol. Perhaps I will take a run up there and cut up to the broadleaf junction then scuttle down to Wallace Lake.
I am kind of in the process of opening up the Maskwa river currently though and that looks to be a multiyear thing.

Christy


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 8:13 pm 
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martin2007, talk to Charles. He dropped off a car for some Bloodvein paddlers on Tuesday night. They'll probably be off the river today or tomorrow. They didn't paddle the Gammon but if they had good water levels, then you will too. Some take outs and put ins might be a little hard on the back (rocks will be further out of the water) but otherwise I can't imagine you'll have trouble on either the Gammon or the Bloodvein.

There will be rapids that you would normally be able to shoot that are unrunnable and some that are normally unrunnable that will be good to shoot. Most importantly, you'll see some more of that "blood" vein in the rock than normal.

We were about to head into WCPP tomorrow via Bird River but one of our dogs ended up on medication. We're homebound for three day minimum now.

Martin K, I'm very puzzled. Both Berard maps show one portage between Leaf L and the by-pass. The only thing we came across resembling a rapid was some bedrock we had to pull over. Everything there was still surrounded in long swamp grass. Berard has it marked as a 200 pace portage, hard to imagine from what we saw.

We also pulled over a beaver dam that was holding back 3-4 feet of water. We were so happy when we got to it, thinking we'd be fine above it. We were for a while but then crushing disappointment.

Karin, I don't remember a downed tree... I know water levels were very low but so much of what we saw doesn't jive with what I've read from your reports. There were no forks or places we could've gone the wrong way and we travelled quite far even considering our slow progress.

Christy, we definitely noticed your work but the brush was a little more than we bargained for. We didn't have anything to deal with it, just saws for downed trees.


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 Post subject: Re: Wallace Lake loop.
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 9:05 pm 
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Interesting info Neil, if you were still surrounded by swamp grass you were still short of the first portage above Leaf Lake. Rock walls close in at the portage. Going upstream the portage starts on river left ( your right as you go upstream.) The start of the portage can really vary with water levels and how many boulders you want to lift over to shorten it. Eventually a rock wall forces you across to the other side of the river or you can risk rock hopping up to deeper water. There is another portage before the by-pass. I include these details for future researchers on the route.

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