Monday, October 4, 2010

A Four Lake Portage

After a very hectic week preparing for and hanging our gallery show at the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a week I started off with a raging head cold, I am back to blogging. I am ready to finish the Ontario trip (just three more posts!) and get back to "real-time" posts for a while. Fall is in full swing, we have narrowly escaped a couple of frosts (which our squash plants are happy about) and I am itching to get back out on the trail now that the temps and bugs are down. But for now, back to Ontario!

One of the things we wanted to make sure we did while we were in Ontario was to spend a day exploring Crescent's neighboring lakes. MacGregor to the northeast, south of that Kenny Lake, then Mudhole Lake between Kenny and Crescent were all connected with portages to form a loop trail.

Crescent Lake is on the bottom right of the map below. We decided to go to MacGregor first, so we paddled to the far end of Crescent, near where we'd seen the wolf, and carried our yaks along the first portage.

I am not sure at which portage Lori took this picture of Lisa and I, but for those of you who may not know what it means to portage, this is it.

You carry, drag or otherwise hump your canoe or kayak between lakes or around falls or dams in rivers. Four lakes meant four portages, the longest of which was 1148 feet, the shortest 196 feet. Since none of us could carry one that far alone we had to work in groups, but the most all four of us could carry together was three, in train-like fashion. The trails were quite narrow and uneven, with tree roots and rocks that lay in wait to twist and ankle or knee. That meant that at least two people had to make two trips to get all the yaks from lake to lake. In total we carried the 'yaks nearly half a mile. We all had sore shoulders when we were done!

But MacGregor Lake alone was well worth the work. The loon we'd been hearing in the distance while we portaged greeted us near the shore of MacGregor.

We were thrilled to see she had a juvenile with her. Only a few more weeks and they'd be leaving for warmer waters.

MacGregor is bigger than Crescent, with several small islands and a much more rugged feel with a rocker shoreline that featured some sheer cliffs.

That's Lori to the left, taking some shots from a different angle.

Proof that cedar trees can grow anywhere.

Plated rock tripe and other lichens grew on the shaded rock walls.

White pines towered over the shore.

We lingered long on MacGregor Lake, exploring, stopping for lunch. Karin had an interesting experience, but that is for another post. I loved this lake, its wildness, loved feeling, if only for a few hours, that we were completely removed from civilization.

The other two lakes were less charming. Kenny Lake looked much like Crescent, without the rocky shore of MacGregor, and as it was situated right on the highway we did not linger long. We did see this common merganser, resting on a log, back in a small cove.

Mudhole Lake, the smallest of them all and the last of the four, seemed more like an obstacle to get past in order to return to camp. But in all it was a great day, and we all finished with the feeling that we'd accomplished something. Needless to say we did not do much kayaking the next day!

Next: Karin's big day.


  1. I will remember that swim in Kenny Lake always. So clear and refreshing. One of my best days ever.

  2. the portage shot was into that lake on the highway...the one with the ripped, weathered, chewed, beaten, 5 inch sheet of paper sign of the portage leaning against the tree and held in place with a rock. that one. good times.