A 'Once Upon a
Time' Bloodvein Tale by
1969 trip with a dead end & an unexpected event.
Bloodvein is one of those rivers that captures one's
imagination. Perhaps it is the name. Perhaps it is the challenge
of reaching its upper waters. Perhaps it is the connection to
the fur trade..". If you ever
wondered what it was like to travel in Woodland Caribou Park
long before portage crews and accurate maps, when your gumption
and resolve was the only way to make it to the next lake, then
you must read Jerrys well-illustrated adventure story.
Years Later by
were traveling north from Mexican Hat, on the way to Wallace
Lake. As we paddled towards the west end of Glen Lake we could
see a channel to the east. One of us commented that we could
probably get to Red Lake if we went that way. We never tried."
Forty-Five years later, Jerry decided
to see the east end of what became Woodland Caribou Park.
Here's his story...
|| A Family Adventure from Mexican Hat to Tulabi by
If only all people pondering marriage would take an 8-day canoe
trip into Woodland Caribou Park... Well, maybe not always
a good idea, but it seemed to work out for Jerry Years
later it led to a family trip that Jerry describes in this
"We were in the proverbial middle of nowhere with no one around in case we got into trouble. The moment passed as we paddled towards the campsite. The pleasure of gliding through the water, the beauty of Mexican Hat, the challenge of canoeing to Tulabi, and the novelty of the situation captured our imaginations and lifted our spirits."
Lake to the Bloodvein River by
Canoe travelers quickly learn that less "stuff" makes for a
better trip. (Some of us even say less stuff and less company
makes for a better trip!). But any trip into Woodland
Caribou Park usually turns out well and Jerry describes just
such a trip.
north to Woodland Caribout Park to get south to Big Whiteshell
us back to 1989 on a trip that went north to reach a lake that
was south of the launch point. "The Talon River is
misnamed. It might better be called a creek, but it does
have character. As you get close to Talon Lake, from
downstream, the river becomes sandy-bottomed and gives you the
feeling that you can pan for gold in the clear shallow waters."
Long Ago Irregular Lake Trip by
explains exploring as it was forty years ago when maps were
fuzzy and GPS might have meant God Please Show us the way.
"In those days (1971), the Bird (River) system was as much a
wilderness zone as were more remote and exotic places such as
the Churchill River of northern Manitoba... Today, this
area is part of Woodland Caribou park." As usual, Jerry
gives us maps that show the routes covered.
The Artery to
Bird Fiasco by
evening we arrived at what could be called crossroads lake. It
was the lake that I reached 20 years ago by portaging from Royd
Creek (upstream from Royd Lake). There were no campsites of the
kind you see in wilderness promotions. We did manage to scratch
out a tent spot in a hollow on a rocky island. After a hasty
supper, we crawled into the tent, anxious about what we hoped to
find in the morning - the two portages of 20 years ago..."
Woodland Caribou Solo 2 by
"It was quiet this morning. How quiet? The lake was a mirror. A
foggy mist rose slowly from the bays and marshes. There were no
loons, no wind, no bird sounds. When the sun peeked out over the
horizon, I expected the day to come alive. It didn’t! It was
peaceful. I wanted to stay in that moment for as long as
possible. There is a feeling that overwhelms me when I sit
looking over a wilderness lake. Tranquility. Escape.
Satisfaction. A person just doesn’t get to a place like this
without all of the planning and work. But here I am. Mesmerized.
Happy. Smiling out loud! "
Garner River System by
The Garner River
upstream from the lake is a small marvelous river with very
little meandering. There are numerous picturesque rapids and
falls. Water levels were very high, greatly increasing the speed
of the current and the paddling energy needed to counter it...
Bushwhacking in Ontario's Woodland Caribou Provincial Park
I awoke and looked
out on a totally different scene. Thick fog shrunk my world to
the two closest islands and a little shoreline. The most
beautiful call of a distant loon came across the water. It held
one high note for the longest time. My words cannot begin to
describe it. For two hours I recline on my pads and
watch as the sun and the fog have a tug of war...
21 Days in Woodland
Rudolph and Jacynthe Guimond
documents a 21-day canoe trip onto Woodland Caribou Provincial
Park from the Wallace Lake access point.... Emphasis is placed
on a previously undocumented canoe route from North Dunstan Lake
to Carroll Lake via Walking Stick Lake.... Reference
maps...portage and campsite descriptions...wildlife sightings
and other observations offer new information about the new
Five Weeks by
A perfect September
morn....I sat by the fire warming but realized that the only
sounds on this calm morning resonated from the crackling wood of
the burning wood. With coffee and chair, I moved to the end of
my peninsula and sipped and listened. Can one tire of the song
of the loon? Or can one not be tempted to pick up the fishing
rod when fish rise in the glassy water? Do people ever just
watch and listen to flocks of geese as they migrate? Can you
hear the sun rise? I know you can feel it. There is a more
permanent warmth that comes from the sun then from a fire or hot
drink. Last evening in the twilight, a bull woodland caribou
began the seasonal ritual of looking for mates with a bugling
that went on for at least an hour. I could see him on the tip of
another peninsula about 100 meters away. He thrashed and called
and even splashed in the water. It was quite a performance. How
fortunate to be able to experience these types of phenomenon’s.
Lost Portages of Irvine Lake
Stepping off the path, exploring new routes, traveling alone and
seeing no one for weeks - this is the ultimate adventure for a
lake canoe traveler. Martin Kehoe takes us on his 32 day trip to
the interior of Woodland Caribou Park."The
creek below this looked wide and open for travel so I worked
back up the shoreline in search of a better option than all the
dense trees. Pushing aside some Alder and Maple brush I found
myself staring into a slot canyon in the high rock. Walking on
in awe through the dark and cool passage led me to the spot from
which I had retreated minutes earlier."
Creeks and Trails of Woodland Caribou Park
Martin explores areas of the park
rarely traveled on this thirty day trip.
the real adventure begins. If I can get down Gammon Lake and
through the little Upper Gammon Lake there is a creek that heads
A Canoe Trip to
Indian House Lake in Woodland Caribou Park
by Chad Gallow
While paddling along the western shore of Hatchet, Tuch spotted
an endangered Woodland Caribou. Oblivious to our presence, the
caribou continued to forage while standing in the shallows along
the western shore...
Woodland-Caribou 7 Day Canoe Trip Journal
by Al Bayne and Tim Gosselin
Travel with Al on a trip from the Leano entry point to Paull
Lake in the southern part of Woodland Caribou Park
"The sky is blue, a light breeze is blowing, and we have a 4 km
paddle before we encounter another portage – life is good."
Moose Trip by
"After a few days in the
bush, especially on the fifth or sixth trip of the season, the
relaxation and absorption into the trail life can become so
complete that the other life, in the city, fades. Wood, water,
gear, trails: that’s life."
Top to Bottom
A solo trip in Ontario's Woodland
Travel with Martin through the Wanipigow, down to the fire
cleared shores of Irregular Lake. Explore an old trail on
the Royd - Murdock route and ride with the wind up to Musclow.
After all this traveling, ending with the Artery - Ford
portages, Martin pauses to map out the Siderock - Obukowin
portages. If you're a canoe traveler, you'll want to read
this great journal.
Moment by Bob Grafton
"The Stranger imagined himself crushed by
his boat as they tumbled together down the chute. As his head
went under, he looked up at the bottom of the boat. He could see
the daylight through it."
Manitoba's Obukowin Lake - Western Entry
to Woodland Caribou Park
"Sometimes our path
leads us closer and closer to fast water that shouts, then roars
as it runs wild over the land, throwing spray into the air,
seeming to shake the treetops with its power. Sunlight pours
down from above, tumbling through the high branches and
splashing on the forest floor."
Portages from Siderock Lake to Obukowin Lake in Manitoba by Martin Kehoe
Many of the portage trails used in the summer are actually
trap-line trails. Trapper Jim Dickieson travels the route
from Siderock to Obukowin and maintains some of the excellent
paths that canoeists (sometimes) find and always appreciate.
Martin contacted Jim and armed with Jim's advice, explored and
mapped out the best route from Siderock to Obukowin. Maps,
notes and GPS readings are included in Martin's excellent
description of Jim's excellent trails. (PDF file, suitable
Marten: I just made the trip in and
back out on the siderock/obukowin portage. It is extremely wet,
you could pull your canoe behind you for large portions. Last
years wind storms left that portion from Kidney to Obukowin in a
huge tangle. We cut out the snowmobile trail for trapping but it
needs more work. The new river stewards for that area are
already looking to work on and improve that which was done
last year. If you can get a message to potential
travelers, let them know that the portage is extremely wet and
muddy. Good luck this summer...drop in if you're around Wallace
Lake. Jim (Dickieson)
The Little North Travels of Bill and Bob
by Bill Fulton
"How about traveling from the north
boundary to the south boundary of Woodland Caribou? Yes that
would be it! We would travel in one of the most beautiful
quadrants of the Little North in the Canadian Shield. North of
the Bloodvein to south of the Bird."
Flying in and
by Grant Pastuck
"Like a Freight Train it hit us. We got
out in a blinding rain to put the fly on the tent, got back in
and were hit by a hammer that flattened the tent. I was awed at
how fragile our shelter was; our shelter that we took for
granted as safe and secure. Flattened. I sat up against the wall
to hold it up. The wind raged and the rain pummeled us. Things
in camp blew around. Lightening hit a tree on our island but the
forest couldn’t catch fire because it was raining so hard."
What if the Plane
Doesn't Find Us? by Grant Pastuck
"...the Chief and I let the fire go out
and stared into a completely moonless night sky full of stars.
As our eyes got adjusted to the darkness, you could see the
black areas in the sky where there were no stars. We spotted
dozens of meteors shooting across the sky and then the Aurora
Borealis started displaying their colour. All in all it was a
spectacular sight... I'm glad we enjoyed the sky that night because it would be the last star we would see for the rest of the trip.
via the Bird River by Grant Pastuck
"I sat up late that night on a rock down near the river, with rapids on both sides, and looked and listened, for hours. Unworldly voices whispered in the mist, speaking of those who had passed this way before and those who may come later.
I said a prayer and dropped some tobacco into the stream. 'May
all who pass this way be well and happy, and may they be
respectful, for they are on sacred ground.'"
How it all began
by Grant Pastuck
"There are watershed events in life that change everything ever after. My first one was probably when I opened my business...that
saved me from ever working for someone other than myself... The next one was when the Commander walked into my store on a slow day in the summer of 1980. That changed everything. I became a camper. That's how it all began."
A Walk up the Wanipigow
by Grant Pastuck
"... We stopped on a gem of an island that had a fire pit with a
three foot tree growing in the coal bed; that’s how long ago it
had been used."
Talon with Time to Burn by Bob Grafton
"...as the evening closed in, they set the fire on the beach,
moved a woodland bench over and sat watching the sunset and
moonrise together... Talon was a sheet of glass... Just the
fire, that long beach and long sunset, then the stars. Perfect."
||A Fly-In Canoe Trip
to Royd Lake in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park by Martin Kehoe
If you enjoy watching a bear foraging for food,
enjoy hitting that great lake trout spot or enjoy
watching a bull moose following a cow and calf on
a small island, you'll really enjoy Martin's
latest Woodland Caribou Park story. Martin's
group of four flew to Royd Lake and fished
through the fifteen portages to Murdock Lake.
Come along now, then start thinking of your own
trip to this great wilderness area.
||A Garner Lake Enty
into Woodland Caribou Provincial Park
Martin takes you to another western entry point
to the park. By using the Garner Lake entry "You
will be rewarded with little contact with other
canoeists, fantastic fishing and the chance to
travel remote backcountry and still have
maintained portages. Do it once and it will be
your destination of choice for great
||A Canoe Trip
Journal - September
in Woodland Caribou Park
Mel Funk and Walt Price
Mel and Walt take you to a great pickerel
(walleye) lake in the south central part of the
park. As they describe in their journal: "We
had caught 14 walleye and 4 pike in our morning's
fishing..." The best part is that they released
almost all of the fish they caught. The fish are
still out there! Join Mel and Walt in some
fishing, a few portages and a liter of chowder at
their campsite below the falls.
Journal - The
The Wanipigow River can take you from Wallace
Lake in Manitoba to the Crystal Lake entry point
of Woodland Caribou Park. This seldom-used part
of the park offers traveling adventure, good
campsites and some great views of the land.
Martin's journal contains great information about
a canoe trip through this great route.
Journal - of a solo
trip into Woodland Caribou Park by Martin Kehoe
May can be a challenging time in Woodland Caribou
Park. Martin traveled through hot, sunny days,
woke up to sleet and snow, and crossed open lakes
of numbing cold water. His canoe journal takes
you to the interior of the northern half of
Woodland Caribou Park - to lakes and streams not
often seen. Martin's excellent canoe journal will
take you to these lonely lands, to places perfect
for those seeking adventure and solitude.
River - Gateway to Woodland Caribou Park
North of Red Lake, the Chukuni River becomes
narrow and shallow - perfect for canoeing! The
"last stop" of the Chukuni leads you
right to the doorstep of Woodland Caribou Park,
another perfect canoeing destination. Open,
mature forest, big lakes, solitude and great
fishing greet the canoe traveler on this route.
Park - A Different World for Canoe Travelers by Jim Hegyi
Travel north from the boundary waters to Red Lake
Ontario, and you'll find another wilderness park.
Woodland Caribou Park is only six hours of scenic
driving from the international border. The
wilderness of woodland caribou is an exciting
place, much like quetico was forty years ago.
...a loud guttural growl comes
out of the woods and I freeze in my tracks!
Provincial Park - Good Land for Canoe
Travelers by Jim Hegyi
The Leano Lake entry point is a favorite for
canoeists entering woodland caribou provincial
park. It's only the beginning - the portages and
lakes stretch all the way to the Manitoba border.
Slow, narrow channels change to wide and deep
waters. Open mature forest changes to land
scrubbed clean by fire. All of these places are
waiting within Woodland Caribou Park. Pick up
your paddle and discover a new place for canoe
travelers, an unspoiled land of solitude and