Bus to Capreol - Train to Armstrong - Truck to Little Caribou Lake - Wabakimi Lake - Palisade River - Burntrock Lake - Pashkokogan River - Albany River - Ft. Hope - Albany River - Opichuan River - Mahamo Lake - Ottertail River - Truck to Esnagami Lake - Esnagami River - Nakina - Train to Capreol - Bus to Temagami
Trip over. Left to right, back row: Ted Forbes (guide), Joe Skovron, Eric Gilgenast, Tim Woods, Paul Lewitt, Bill Carpenter (staffman). Front row: Todd Ward, Rob Goldberg, Warren Todd, Jay Whitney, Django Hicks, Scott Wychgel.
From the Ottertail it got a little interesting, because we were trying to get to Frog Creek, which we planned to ascend and then cross over the height 'o land into the Little Current River, which we could then go up to Nakina. Marshall Clunie's notes said that Frog Creek was the "third inflowing stream of reasonable size on the left bank." So we took said stream and spent a full day and a half hacking our way through beaver dams and deadfalls to a lovely little swamp in the middle of nowhere. We decided that we had missed the turn and were in the wrong place after spending a lovely night in a swamp, so we went back down the creek to the Ottertail. The maps showed a "winter road" that we figured we could portage along for about seven or eight miles into the Little Current watershed. We were several days behind our itinerary at this point and getting a bit nervous!
We came around a bend in the river and there was this blazing reflection of light where the winter road was supposed to be - Eric Gilgenast (in my bow) insisted it was a truck. I told him he was crazy, but he had better eyes than me. As we swung around the bend further, we saw a big concrete piling sticking up out of the river - with a bridge on top! (This, we later learned, was the brand new "Ogoki Road" that was supposed to ultimately go to Fort Hope). So we unloaded and began to portage along a nice wide trail towards the Little Current. After about an hour of walking, along came a flat-bed lorry loaded with steel for the new Ogoki bridge - the driver stopped and wanted to know what the hell we were doing out here carrying canoes. We told him we are going to Nakina and he said, "You've got a hell of a long walk! When I dump off this load I'll come back and give you a lift." Several hours later, he came along and we loaded everything onto the truck and headed south. That guy drove four hours along a bush road with curves and hills and he NEVER once used the clutch!
We got to Nakina in time for supper - and we went from being three days behind to being five days ahead! So we asked some locals where we should go fishing - they steered us toward the Esnagami River. We tripped over to that river, made a lovely camp on an esker in some jack pines and caught huge brook trout for a couple of days. Then Rob Goldberg got lost in the bush overnight and ... well ... that's another story ....
Ted Forbes, 9/29/99
Ted Forbes Tim Woods
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