ROUTE: 33 Days
Michiwakenda Lake via road - Okawakenda L - West Shining Tree Lake - Lower Opikinimika Lake - Opikinimika River - Nabakwasi River - Minisinakwa Lake- Gogama village (re-outfit) - Makami Lake - Kassasway L - Scraggy Lake - Little Rush L - Rush R - Horwood Lake - Groundhog River - Hwy 101 to Temagami via road
Section back in Temagami. Left to right, back row: Steve "Dart" Frankel (staffman), Dave Steinglass, Crae Ramsey, Mike Findlay, Chris Gardner, Blake "Snake" Papsin (guide). Front row: Bill "Ravi" Seeley, Hugh MacLeod, Chuck Husting, Chris O'Donoghue, John Chapman, Dave Smith.
There was a choked creek that was an all-day affair, somewhere between Shining Tree and the Groundhog. What I recall most, aside from its bushy overgrown, nature, was a hornets' nest on a low branch at a particularly choked spot. It hung about 28 inches off the river. We had had a bad bee sting event already, in which one of the lads got so stung that he swelled up and got a fever. We had to take a day to let him recover. The only way past the nest was to unfurl the bow line, have the bowman swim underwater past the raging tempest and then pull the canoe along. Once the ensuing bruhaha had subsided the sternman would follow, doing his best rendition of Aquaman.
Bill Seeley, 1/8/00
3-Mile Portage to Nowhere Lake
The ever-resourceful Dart, always looking for an adventure, had planned to cut a shortcut through Key Lake to shave five days off the trip. Dart and Snake had learned of the new route from a trapper, out fishing with his son, that we met on the way. He told us that he had taken a moose near Key Lake the previous winter, and had blazed a trail out so that he could find it again to haul home. He said that the blazes would take us almost all the way to the lake. It took us a day to reach the site of the proposed new portage. We found the blazes but, like all good tales of the bush, the blazes ran out a couple hundred yards into the three-mile walk. So we set a compass bearing and started cutting. And cut and cut. After cutting for two days, we ended up in an alder-ridden swamp at what we assumed was dried-up Key Lake.
The decision was made to turn back. It took us two days to get out, and another to get back on the original route because on the retreat, David Steinglass got stung by a million bees or so. So instead of being five days ahead, we were six days behind.
When we got to the Groundhog River the water was low, so travel was slow. Having lost another day going back for a tent left behind by a camper, we were now a week behind schedule with no hope of making up the days. Dart and Snake realized we would not make Fauquier. Instead we took out at Highway 101, and took the bus to Temagami from there.
It actually was quite a grand adventure. I learned more about self-reliance than any other summer at Keewaydin.
Bill Seeley, 1/8/00
Pike and Spaghetti Soup
We killed a pike trying to get it off the lure and Dart had a rule sloganized in classic Dart form to "youkillityoueatit." So Dart MADE us eat it by concocting some abomination called "spaghetti and pike soup." God that pike was awful!
Luckily it was not 1980, a year in which Dart was also my staffman. That year we had brought no forks and spoons, and had to make our own of out wood. It would have been an experience eating this with our hand-carved utensils.
Bill Seeley, 1/18/00
Dart Bill Seeley Ted Forbes
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