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1/09/2018 12:45 pm  #1


Clover Lake, Attempt #2

I haven't been quiet about the fact that I completely failed my August trip last year, giving up and going home the same day I arrived. I pretty much decided right then that Clover would be my first trip of 2018, and that decision hasn't wavered. However, with a new respect for the suckiness of that route, and with perhaps the possibility of some company, I'm not thinking about doing the same route. I've never seen the Barron Canyon so I figured I might as well knock that off while I'm over there, at a time of year when (hopefully) there will be far fewer people around. It also means that if anyone does end up joining me that I can slip in a few day solo trip before meeting up with others, and by Spring I'll be dying for some alone time. 

So the theoretical first stab at a trip plan is:

Day 1: Achray to St. Andrews
Day 2: St. Andrews to Opalescent
Day 3: Stay on Opalescent, day trip through Barron Canyon and back
Day 4: Opalescent to Carcajou Bay
Day 5: Carcajou Bay to Guthrie Lake
Day 6: Guthrie to Clover
Day 7: Stay on Clover, day trip in the direction of the Tarn lakes. Whether or not I reach them will depend on my mood and just how terrible those portages are.
Day 8: Clover to Grand. While this could be a reasonably hefty day, the theory is I'll have already been over all those low maintenance portages and, where needed, will have already flagged a route. While this means I'm basically back at the access point, it's 6 hours home for me and that just seems dumb. So spend the night on Grand, and then...
Day 9: Drive home

So in this hypothetical world where I have some company for this trip, they could meet up with me on Carcajou Bay for a 4-day trip to Clover and back, while I get in a solo trip to see the Barron Canyon ahead of time. Or it's an 8-day solo trip, either way I'm happy.

So that makes Day 1 only about an hour and a half travel, which after a 6-hour drive sounds just fine with me (one of the lessons I learned from last time). And Carcajou Bay is about as close as I can get to that 1950 low maintenance portage that killed me last time, which means I'll have all day just to deal with getting through that (and the little 120m to Guthrie), if I need it. 

My first attempt at this trip had me carrying on from Clover through the tarn lakes and then over that killer 4425m low maintenance to St. Andrews, but after my experiences last time I don't want to push it. If I can get to Clover I'll feel like I've redeemed myself, and if all goes well I'll be day tripping into the Tarns anyway.

Thoughts, opinions, advice? I know Spring is a long ways away still, but anyone still thinking about joining me to Clover?

http://i65.tinypic.com/dmwnfc.png



 

 

1/09/2018 10:34 pm  #2


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

I look forward to that video . I have learned a lot watching your trip vids . Off topic but what are your thoughts on an ice out trip from Smoke to Lake Louisa ? I am looking to do my second solo this May.

 

1/10/2018 6:12 am  #3


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

Day 2 is short by anyone's standards. You may find yourself twiddling your thumbs.

Day 6 Guthrie to Clover? Why so short?

Day 7/8. I wouldn't  backtrack. Finish the loop! Backtracking would be my back up plan.

I like the layover day on Clover. I would like to explore the old route to Upper Pine or perhaps the logging roads to Basin.

Depending on when I might join you.

 

1/10/2018 8:35 am  #4


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

@R2: Thanks, I appreciate it. It's been years since I've been through Smoke, but it's probably your one concern on that trip - it's big enough to be rough. But you can hug the edge and have the added benefit of cottages if something really and truly goes awry, so it seems perfectly reasonable to me. None of the portages between the two are all that bad (well the Devil's staircase is a nice climb, but it's short enough I still wouldn't call it 'bad'). 

@MartinG: 

Day 2: Yeah, it's not much of a travel day I agree, but one of the things that bit me last time through Achray was disregarding the very, very long drive. Toronto to Opalescent on Day 1 is certainly doable, but I'm not really feeling the need to push it. I could always take the long way through Marie just to make it hurt more! I was thinking though that in the morning I could jump back to Stratton and check out High Falls from that side, then go back to my site, pack up, and head to Opalescent. That should make it feel more like a real travel day. 

Day 6: Once bitten... 

Every day on this trip (with the possible exception of the last one) is super short by my standards. It would be perfectly reasonable to go from Carcajou straight to Clover, but then I have four low maintenance portages of questionable quality to manage, and I don't want that mucking with my head if/when I start running into trouble on that 1950. So Guthrie pretty much needs to be my destination on Day 5 for my own mental well-being. Which means what else can I do on Day 6 but just go from Guthrie to Clover? Clover is the whole point of the trip so I'm not just going to paddle through it enroute to somewhere else. I figure there should be plenty of exploration options to keep me occupied, but I could always break down and bring a fishing rod (which I haven't done in 4 years!).

Backtrack versus pushing on: I may very well push on, it may depend on how much of that route I scout on the previous days. I've read really miserable things about that section though. Clover to Tarn will not be enjoyable, and then you get that monster 4.5k low maintenance portage with a 120m climb as your reward for making it that far. 

"When" will be probably 2-3 weeks after ice-out, whenever that is. If it happens to work out that you can join me, that would be great. 

Edit: Here's MarkInThePark's report covering Clover to Tarn. Doesn't exactly sound like a party!  http://www.markinthepark.com/triplogs/triplog93/triplog93day14.html

Last edited by Uppa (1/10/2018 8:46 am)

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1/10/2018 4:27 pm  #5


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

Was into both Guthrie and Clover a few years back. Both were lakes that had intrigued me for years. I went in and out the same way, via Carcajou Bay/Creek, then the long unmaintained portage into Turcotte. That portage wasn't bad, but you really needed good "bush eyes" to follow the trail at times, as it seemed to disappear on occasion. My friend and I went in early May and fishing was the focus. Clover, fwiw is a very pretty lake, so if that's the primary reason for tripping in there you'll love it.
From an angling perspective both Guthrie and Clover were a bust. Both lakes were filled with giant clouds of tiny perch, honestly I've never seen anything like it before. This particular gamble didn't pay off, but that's the way it goes. Sometimes you have to take a chance like that. You win some, you lose some.
No amount of money could entice me into doing that trip again though. Not a chance. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

 

 

1/10/2018 4:57 pm  #6


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

Ha, Mark's log does not make that stretch from Clover up to St. Andrew's sound appealing at all. That being said, a part of me that clearly hates the rest of me is really interested in seeing it for myself. I'm still down to meet in the area for a trip to Clover some time in May. I would likely join you for the Carcajou to Clover leg, but then hopefully push on to Tarn for the final night and back up through St. Andrew's.   

 

1/10/2018 5:46 pm  #7


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

I've heard the same thing that the lakes are a brutal slog to get to and have poor fishing. Hard no for me! I'm planning a solo fishing trip in that area May 24 over 4-5 days so may see you guys at some point. 

 

1/10/2018 6:13 pm  #8


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

Fine you jerks. You've sufficiently shamed me that I'm revising the route. I'm not one to shy away from tough conditions, but I was just being overly cautious after what happened last August. I was basically trying to ensure there was no chance of a repeat. But I went a bit overboard - most of my days are downright lazy. 

So here's Clover V2, v2. Or something like that. 

I still want to check out the Barron Canyon (can you believe I've never been there?) so I'm still going to do that first. But I'm going to shave a day off that part. 

Day 1: Achray access point to Opalescent. 
Day 2: Stay on Opalescent, day trip the Barron Canyon
Day 3: Opalescent to Carcajou Bay. This is where I meet up with anyone else who ends up joining me. 
Day 4: Carcajou Bay to Clover. If it ends up being a solo trip, I'll probably change this to Guthrie. Wouldn't change the other days though, it would just mean a slight less 'rest' day on Clover. 
Day 5: Stay on Clover. As Martin pointed out there are definitely some exploration options, and after what was likely a less than fun slog the day before, a day where I don't have to pack up and move on would be nice. 
Day 6: Clover to Tarn. 
Day 7: Tarn to St. Francis if available, or otherwise St. Andrews. Would like to check out St. Francis if possible!
Day 8: St. (Francis/Andrews) to the access point and home. 

http://i65.tinypic.com/2q06b5s.jpg

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1/10/2018 7:58 pm  #9


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

Your modified first day is long if you have a long drive.  Have you considered starting at the Brigham access (A38)?  Also, why not go down (or up) the Cascades rather than doubling back on some ground you've already covered?  It's a lot of short portages (and short stretched of paddling), but there's a lot of nice waterfalls, plus you could see a bit more of the canyon.  The stretch you have covered already is the most interesting.

St. Francis is nice, but don't tell anyone.
 

 

1/10/2018 8:15 pm  #10


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

Your revision is a great route! You'll enjoy it no doubt.

I had concerns with the first iteration lol similar to MartinG's. 

 

1/11/2018 8:50 am  #11


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

UpTheCreek wrote:

Your modified first day is long if you have a long drive.  Have you considered starting at the Brigham access (A38)?  Also, why not go down (or up) the Cascades rather than doubling back on some ground you've already covered?  It's a lot of short portages (and short stretched of paddling), but there's a lot of nice waterfalls, plus you could see a bit more of the canyon.  The stretch you have covered already is the most interesting.

St. Francis is nice, but don't tell anyone.
 

Brigham's worth thinking about for sure, but if my car's at Achray then I can leave most of my food in it, and swing back around to pick it up enroute to Carcajou. It's probably not a big deal given it's just a few short portages to Opalescent, but 6 days food is still 6 days food. No point in carrying it if I don't have to! You're right, I should (and will) definitely swing through the Cascades in one direction or another. Loops are always more interesting than 'there and back again'. St. Francis is definitely a lake I want to get to, but who knows if it'll happen on this trip. It looks like I'll have to immediately start in on a 570 meter portage right after completing that 4425m monster, and I could easily see myself saying 'hell no'. 

Peek wrote:

 Your revision is a great route! You'll enjoy it no doubt.

I had concerns with the first iteration lol similar to MartinG's.

I wasn't too impressed with it myself to be honest, but I'm just feeling a bit skittish about this route. I've never had an outright failed trip like that before and didn't want to set myself up to fail again. This trip is still months away and I'm already getting nervous thinking about it!

AlgonquinLakes wrote:

Ha, Mark's log does not make that stretch from Clover up to St. Andrew's sound appealing at all. That being said, a part of me that clearly hates the rest of me is really interested in seeing it for myself. I'm still down to meet in the area for a trip to Clover some time in May. I would likely join you for the Carcajou to Clover leg, but then hopefully push on to Tarn for the final night and back up through St. Andrew's.   

Awesome. If it works out, I look forward to travelling with you. As my new plan has me heading through Tarn as well, we can pull each out of the muck when we sink in to our shoulders. Unless we fall in at the same time, in which case we'll at least have someone to talk to while we're dying of exposure. 

Last edited by Uppa (1/11/2018 10:25 am)

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1/11/2018 9:45 am  #12


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

Uppa wrote:

St. Francis is definitely a lake I want to get to, but who knows if it'll happen on this trip. It looks like I'll have to immediately start in on a 570 meter portage right after completing that 4425m monster, and I could easily see myself saying 'hell no'. 

I was just in to St. Francis last year, the 570 portage into Rouge is a straight shot along an old rail bed, really clear and really easy. The 950 to St. Francis is a true portage, but it's also pretty easy. They'll both probably feel like the Joe Lake portage after that 4425 and St. Francis is worth the extra effort.

Uppa wrote:

 someone to talk to while we're dying of exposure.



That can be the title of the trip log for this trip.

 

1/11/2018 1:23 pm  #13


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

AlgonquinLakes wrote:

That can be the title of the trip log for this trip.

Okay, I laughed. 

Lenny wrote:

I've heard the same thing that the lakes are a brutal slog to get to and have poor fishing. Hard no for me! I'm planning a solo fishing trip in that area May 24 over 4-5 days so may see you guys at some point.

"Brutal slog" nicely describes my ice-out trip last year, so I might as well keep up the tradition (but with hopefully less snow this time around). Unless ice-out is late I'll probably be there sooner than the 24th, but you never know. If you see a green kayak, say hi!

solopaddler wrote:

Was into both Guthrie and Clover a few years back. Both were lakes that had intrigued me for years. I went in and out the same way, via Carcajou Bay/Creek, then the long unmaintained portage into Turcotte. That portage wasn't bad, but you really needed good "bush eyes" to follow the trail at times, as it seemed to disappear on occasion. My friend and I went in early May and fishing was the focus. Clover, fwiw is a very pretty lake, so if that's the primary reason for tripping in there you'll love it.
 

Thanks for the info. Sounds like unless I want to catch tiny perch I can safely leave the fishing rod behind. 

Alright, yet another map rendition. Just minor changes this time to reflect loops instead of 'there and back again'. In that vein my day trip to the canyon will now be a loop (as much as it can be), and just to cover every single lake in that area I'll go the long way from Opalescent to Carcajou because hey, why not? 


http://i64.tinypic.com/1499sac.png


That should just about do it! I'll bump this in early April or so to figure out specific dates and then see who, if anyone, will be able to join me. Thanks for the feedback folks. 

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1/11/2018 5:18 pm  #14


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

I'm hoping to make it but it might be hard depending on my work schedule which I wont know for sure for a couple of months unfortunately.

 

1/11/2018 5:32 pm  #15


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

You won't be disappointed going through the cascades; it's some work but the beauty is worth it!!
The Barron Canyon has blown my mind both times I've been there! If you get a chance hike the short trail along the rim, the views are spectacular

 

1/11/2018 6:09 pm  #16


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

I have been to the top of Barren but not paddled below  ... yet ... its on the long list.

Not sure if you are into fishing but I would imagine that area would get a lot of fishing pressure in later spring summer and fall ... so earlier spring would likely yield a better chance at the specks.  



  

 

1/11/2018 6:22 pm  #17


Re: Clover Lake, Attempt #2

ATVenture wrote:

I'm hoping to make it but it might be hard depending on my work schedule which I wont know for sure for a couple of months unfortunately.

If you can make it that would be fantastic, but there's no concern about advance notice. While I'm genuinely looking forward to having some company on this trip, I'm a solo camper by preference and I'm not basing the trip on who else might show up. There are plenty of details left to sort out about the who and the when, but you can decide to come (or not to come) hours before the trip if that's how it pans out. It's all good either way. 

oldboyscout wrote:

You won't be disappointed going through the cascades; it's some work but the beauty is worth it!!
The Barron Canyon has blown my mind both times I've been there! If you get a chance hike the short trail along the rim, the views are spectacular

You might laugh, but I'm so ignorant about that section of the park I actually had to spend a bit of time figuring out where actual "Barron Canyon" is! So I didn't intentionally exclude the cascades, I just didn't realize there was a reason to include it. Happy to know better now, and I'm looking forward to seeing that area of the park for the first time! As planned I'm going to have the whole day just to check out that area, so I'll definitely hike the trail. 

 

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