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PostPosted: February 16th, 2018, 9:52 pm 
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Hello! This is the first time I've posted here- what a great site, thanks for sharing all the information. I plan on paddling a loop next summer in Atikaki that incorporates the Obukowin portages from Siderock Lake. After reading trip reports, it seems there is some confusion in dealing with beaver dams, muskeg and other features at the end of the first portage from Siderock. I've attached a couple of pictures to hopefully clarify the best route. One pic 1, it appears the portage dumps out at the pool near the bottom of the picture and then one works their way over the two beaver dams and pushes, pulls and paddles when possible to the first lake beyond.

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File comment: Pic 1-end of 1st portage
Pic 1-1st Obukowin portage end.png
Pic 1-1st Obukowin portage end.png [ 789.37 KiB | Viewed 1972 times ]


However, on pic 2, Marten's GPS track shows he worked his way along the edges of the beaver meadow and avoided most of the water until the small first lake. Does anyone know which route is preferred?

Attachment:
File comment: Pic 2-Marten's GPS track
Pic 2-Marten's GPS track.PNG
Pic 2-Marten's GPS track.PNG [ 568.38 KiB | Viewed 1972 times ]


As a third option, pic 1 appears to show lots of bedrock that skirts the wet stuff by the dams entirely and could be used to access more reliable water closer to the lake. Perhaps this an option? Thanks for any advice.


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2018, 8:21 am 
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On the two occasions we have used that portage we found a fork in the trail and took the left one. It goes up over the rocks and stays up there until it drops you down to the lake beyond the creek and beaver dams.

First time up we took the right one and wound up knee deep in mud in no time. At that time we tried to hide the right trail so everyone would go left.

I'll see if I have pictures.

Karin


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2018, 10:27 am 
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The answer to the puzzle is that the beavers built a new dam downstream after my earlier trip through the area. Even with last summers drought the waters have covered those last sections of portage trail. We paddled across the first water in image #1 and lifted everything across the original beaver dam. We then worked our way across floating bog. When the channel narrowed we would step out and pull our canoes. Our weight on the floating bog pushed it down and allowed easily pulling the canoe ahead. Look at this video and the links in the description for more updated explanations: https://youtu.be/IkQwiIxoo7E

This shows other reports for travel in Atikaki in case you have not seen them:
http://www.myccr.com/canoeroutes/441/canoeroutes

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PostPosted: February 17th, 2018, 10:58 am 
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Yes..that is the thing about tripping in the Boreal. It is constantly evolving. Floods, droughts, beavers, storms all make their presence known by changing the landscape. In any event, I would stay left at the fork and work it out from there.
In a high water year you can sometimes paddle the creek right from the lake but I have never done it. In those conditions the rest of the trail would be horrible.
I have been pondering this trip again as well.

Christine


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2018, 3:25 pm 
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll look for the split, or if the beavers continue to be busy, try the waterway and floating bog section.

On another note, does anyone have information on the general condition of the portages on the Gammon River between Aikens Lake and the Bloodvein?


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2018, 4:42 pm 
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First I should point out that the "split" on the first Obukowin portage is now under water because of the new beaver dam. I saw no evidence of it on my last two trips.

The portages on the Gammon were clear on both the old and new channels in 2016. In 2017 I used the new channel to get to the Tea Pail portage across to the Bloodvein and the portages were fine. Northern Tier puts a lot of Boy Scouts through the Tea Pail portage and then down the Gammon to the Bloodvein assuring that the portages are kept open.

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PostPosted: February 17th, 2018, 11:38 pm 
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Great, thanks again.


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PostPosted: February 18th, 2018, 7:34 am 
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So, I don't have any pictures from our trip since I had a hard drive blow up and lost all of that.

I do have the GPS route which shows the location of the fork and where the high trail drops out to First Lake. Although it appears to go back to the creek, it is an open area just north of the big old beaver dam.


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Obukowin port 1.jpg
Obukowin port 1.jpg [ 84.84 KiB | Viewed 1881 times ]
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PostPosted: February 18th, 2018, 9:12 pm 
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Thanks for the info Karin.


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PostPosted: February 19th, 2018, 1:51 am 
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This past summer my son and I had some struggles at the place you mention. I referred to them in a trip report. Now, many months later, and with the inevitable softening that accompanies advancing age, I understand that our troubles came from over-thinking the portage route, expecting it to be more nightmarish than it really was. So we dutifully fulfilled the sacred prophecy and made the route more nightmarish by engaging in some good old panicky backtracking. We disregarded the obvious signs that we were, indeed, on the right track all along. I prefer to say "we" because "I" is just too lonesome a word when considering assigning responsibility for error. But yes, the two beaver dams were a conundrum because, to us, rank amateurs that we are (I still can't assert with manly confidence if the moose I encounter are men-moose or women-moose, and what the hell, they're just "moose", why all the retrograde obsession about gender!), the dams looked at least as old as me :)
Cool aerial shots, thanks for posting. As to your question about the Gammon down to the Bloodvein, the portages were all in good shape and I don't remember any real hardships there. Water levels were very low, which made the short carries often easier and allowed for some shortcuts. Wonderful country!


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PostPosted: February 20th, 2018, 11:10 pm 
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Thanks for the reply martin2007, your report was very entertaining to read. The top aerial photo is from arcgis.com (thanks Hobbydog for the tip) and Marten's GPS track is overlaid on Gaia gps that I downloaded on my phone.


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PostPosted: February 20th, 2018, 11:39 pm 
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Sometimes Bing has good satellite images but Here usually wins.

https://wego.here.com/?map=51.01113,-95.22627,17,satellite


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 6:56 pm 
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Borrowing Neil's map and adding where the high road drops you at First Lake.


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2018, 10:42 pm 
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That looks like a good way to avoid most of the bog. I hadn't heard of Here maps before. Bing maps used to have excellent resolution maps in northeastern Minnesota, but when they recently updated, they didn't include the better maps. I've often wondered how all of these various mapping services get their images.


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PostPosted: February 24th, 2018, 12:04 pm 
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I spent some time this morning going over the maps and my info for this section of the first Obukowin Portage. When I first did the portage 10 years ago there were more than two options as you neared the end of the portage. I used the GPS track shown in the photos but noted that there was a split near the end of the old portage. That portion is indeed under water now. Last summer I did see the split that Karin mentions but it looked to be impassable. If the beaver dams drain it could be reopened to avoid the mucky mess that will be left. For now there is only one open trail and it involves a 300 meter paddle to the old beaver dam, a lift over and then maneuvering the channel through floating bog which involves getting out and dragging a few times.

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