Island Lake – Magetawan River loop – part 3

Wolf Lake was difficult to leave the next morning. It had everything a canoe tripper could ever want. Morning mist shrouded the pine-glad shoreline, loons wailed off in the distance and a fish breakfast could easily be caught by simply casting a line from the campsite. But Mike and I had a lot of “unsolved” portages to search out and we were off before 8:00 am once again.

Boundary Lake, the next lake in the chain, was easily reached by an 80 meter portage located at the end of the first of two bays at the southeast end of Wolf Lake. Another ATV trail crosses the portage to confuse things once again, but it was more straightforward then what we had to deal with the previous day.

Boundary Lake was just as nice as Wolf Lake, and it had more bass to catch as well. Needless to say, it took Mike and I a while to start looking for a way out of the lake.

We first went to where the original portage was marked on Mike’s 1933 map, traveling south from the portage that took us into Boundary, then once through a narrow channel that linked us into a much broader section of the lake, we paddled to the top end of the first northern bay. It was here a portage measuring approximately 1400 meters supposedly went to Four Bass Lake. And from there the plan was to follow a creek out to the Magnetawan River’s Trout Lake, with a side trip to Duck Lake, and then upriver on the Magnetawan back to Wahwashkesh Lake. Simple enough we thought; that is if we could find the portage.

Truth be told, Mike and I did find the portage. It took us a great amount of “mystery solving”, locating old blaze marks, rock cairns, even the odd beer can and a broken paddle to find the trail’s whereabouts. But no mere mortal would ever want to carry a canoe and gear across what we found; that is unless some portage crew came to remark and clear it out. So we searched for an alternative route that some canoeist who posted his trip on-line told us about. He supposedly followed an ATV trail across from the other bay adjacent to the one we were at.

Mike and I paddled around to the other bay, then lifted and dragged our canoe along a dried up creek, to the right of where the survey boundary marker was placed long ago on “Boundary” Lake (that was cool to find). We eventually came to a large beaver dam, some floating logs and then a small, weedy pond. And on the far shore, after some severe bushwacking, we located what seemed to be an old wagon road. Mike and I assumed this was the ATV trail that the other paddler had referred to on his on-line post. The problem was, the trail was grown over with raspberry bushes armed with pencil-sized thorns. To portage along this trail for what seemed to be over two kilometers was not doable at all. The old portage was still an option, and we did return to it and begin unpacking the canoe for the nasty walk ahead of us. But then Mike made a brilliant point. “Kevin, no one is going to want to do this portion of the route until a proper portage is marked. So, why not return to Island Lake through Wolf Lake and call it a trip.” I agreed totally. We repacked the canoe and backtracked to Wolf for our third night out.