Quetico Provincial Park

Most pictures expand if clicked on


Jim Bailey Jeff Bailey
Mike Reilly   Bill Yacovissi
Bob Alspaugh Mike Alspaugh
Tom Kaminski Hans Krohn

The Route
Put in at Beaverhouse Lake on the left side of the map and exited at Nym Lake on the right side.

60 miles of paddling and 4 miles of portaging

Drove to Buffalo at 4 am for a flight to Minneapolis, then a 7 hour drive to Atikokan. Overnight at Canoe Canada Outfitters.

Next morning we shuttled to the Beaverhouse entry point.

At right we are loading up to begin the trip.
The traditional getting started picture.
Bob and  Buffalo Mike take to the waters.

We found this beach on a long peninsula for lunch.

The sandy beach was really unusual in that part of Quetico but very nice.
Jeff and Jim back on the lakes for an afternoon of paddling.
Baltimore Mike, happy to be back on the canoe trail for his 8th trip.
Not to long before we reached the next portage.

Jeff slogging through the woods with one of the canoes.
Our first night's camp.  The site was huge but with few good tent sites so we were spread out allover the place.

Jim provides a perfect illustration of why we enjoy these trips.
Buffalo Mike and Bob also enjoying the good waterfront this site had. 

We rate camp sites on four characteristics, camping, kitchen, waterfront, and scenery.
After play in the water time it's back to camp chores.

Click the picture for a short u-tube video showing life around the old campfire..
Sunrise the next morning.  The day was bright and clear with some morning mist.
Packing up and leaving the camp site the next morning.
The area we paddled in had several long marshy stretches before we reached to portages.

The marshes provide a contrast to the lakes but a slow going for paddling.
Sometimes you can't reach the portage by canoe.  Tom and Hans are slogging through the marshy grass to get to the portage.
On the other side of the portage, more grass and marsh. 

You can just spot Tom's white hat away up the channel.

The second nights camp.  This camp was nice but small.  We had to work to jam the tents in the space.

Tom is sitting on his new camp Barcalounger
complete with snack tray and beer holder.
Wasn't too long before we hit the marshes again.
Beaver dams are always fun.  You have to get out of the canoe, climb on the dam, then pull the canoe up and over the dam.  All the while trying to find some secure footing.
At the end of the marsh comes the portaging.
A parade of canoes through the woods. 

I wonder if the Laurel Festival parade would like a line of canoes.  The parade is only about 1.5 miles.  With no packs we could carry that.
Our camp the third night out.

We got some rain as we made camp the third night's camp so we put up the rain tarps. Fortunately it stopped raining as soon as we put them up.
On every trip I find a moment when I reflect on the lunacy of what it is we are doing.

Why exactly are 8 old men spending 6 days wandering aimlessly through the wilderness paddling canoes and carrying packs, then sleeping on the ground in small canvas structures. Not to mention dealing with flies and mosquitoes,  eating less than stellar meals, and having to dig a hole to go to the bathroom.

I had the lunacy moment in this marsh.
This marsh was alternately too shallow for the canoes then too deep for walking. You paddled for awhile, then got out and dragged the canoe through knee deep mud for awhile, then put your pack on and dragged the canoe through grass and shallow water for awhile, then loaded up the canoe again in deeper water.  Then repeated the process. Left, Tom and Hans are reloading the canoe as the water gets deeper.

So I'm standing in the water with my pack on and fall over backward into the water and mud.  I flounder around on my back in the muddy water like a turtle and think to myself, "THIS IS NUTS, BUT DAMN I'M HAVING FUN".
Tom gives out a sigh of relief to be out of the water and done with this marsh.
We found a nice place the camp the fourth night as well. 

Jim looks out over the lake standing in front of his tent.
Back on the lakes for another day of paddling and carrying.
The weather was great.
A common arrangement on portages from one lake to another is a .25 mile carry to a .5 mile beaver pond to another .25 mile carry to the next lake.

But, sometimes the beaver pond is no longer there. This results in a .25 mile carry into a .5 mile muddy waterlogged marsh.
Baltimore Mike carrying a heavy load through the marsh.
0ver the years I have not said much about navigation.  Navigating correctly through the wilderness is no small matter or feat. Typically we do not have navigation problems.  Our chief navigator Jim is vey good at this.

In Quetico portages are not signed or marked in any way.  You have to find a path through the woods that is somewhere up a small bay halfway up the lake and there are lots of bays up the lake and they all look the same.

This is the only time I can remember that we took the wrong path and got to the end of an inlet but found no portage.  We quickly recovered our bearings.
Our fifth nights camp was a lot like the first night, big but with few good tent sites. 

Hans, Jeff, and Jim have their tents set up on the rocks.  You use small rocks to hold up your tent.
That night we sat up trying to get a view of a satellite that was supposed to fly over but were driven into our tents by mosquitoes. 

I have always been able to tell people that bugs are no problem on these trips.  I can't say that anymore. 
The next day we finished the trip and got picked up by Canoe Canada. 

We had trouble finding the correct exit point and spent sometime padding around in some cabin and boat launch area before we found the right location
We visited the International Wolf Center in Ely.
Of course, there we saw and learned about wolves.
We stayed at the Black Bear Casino near Duluth. 

After 5 nights and 6 days in the wilderness civilization seems strange.  To sleep in a bed, have a shower, eat a balanced meal, and go to the bathroom indoors no longer seems normal.
The next morning we stopped at the waterfront in Duluth.  The Corps of Engineers museum there is worth a visit.
A big freighter left the harbor while we were there .  Ships go under the bridge in the picture above.  The road is raised up horizontally.  It's quite an engineering feat.

After lunch we drove to Minneapolis for a 4:30 flight back to Buffalo and the drive back to Wellsboro.  Got home around midnight.

The End