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7/22/2020 12:29 pm  #1

Bonfield / Dickson portage

Hey team Algonquin,

This is the year we've finally decided to make the trek to Laveille (not getting any younger...) and I have a few questions about the Bonfield - Dickson portage & also the cart path that follows next to it.

I understand that anyway you cut it the Bonfield - Dickson portage will be a tough one. My first question is actually with respect to the campsite on neighbouring Wright lake and whether that site has access to the 9.1 km cart trail? Jeff's Maps would suggest that is the case.

A follow up to that is whether the cart trail is truly cart accessible? Never used a cart before to portage but we are reviewing all options at this point.

Appreciate any input that people may have. Thanks!



7/22/2020 1:26 pm  #2

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

Depending on how much gear you plan to carry I wouldn’t bother with the cart trail. The portage is very good, just long. There aren’t any significant ups and downs and with lightweight gear it isn’t a bad carry. I’ve seen people go across the cart trail with a lot of stuff. I’ve never envied them.

I wouldn’t camp on Wright lake either. The sites in the east arm are much nicer.


7/22/2020 6:42 pm  #3

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

Yep, the cart trail runs right behind the campsite on Wright lake.
  I've used the cart path several times. It's only the last part where it joins up with the portage between Bonfield and Dickson that is tough going. When we get to that part, the bags are carried and the canoe is semi rolled/lifted the rest of the way. Bring lots of water. I think Dickson still has an algae problem.


7/22/2020 7:20 pm  #4

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

I wouldn't call the Dickson-Bonfield portage 'tough'.  As Jd says, it's long, but it doesnt' have any difficult sections.  If you have lightweight gear, and minimal food, it's a doable single carry.  With a 5 minute rest every 20 mins or so, it will take about 1 hr and 45 mins.


7/23/2020 5:50 am  #5

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

I've never taken the cart path, but have gone round and round about the matter prior to past trips.  Here's where I landed:

If we are doing a loop trip, in through Proulx and out through the Dickson-Bonfield, I wouldn't even consider lugging a cart around for a trip where I use it 3% of the time.  If we are doing an in/out through the Dickson-Bonfield, I would at least give it consideration. 

In the end, the desire to do a loop trip disqualified any consideration of carting the trail.  The benefit of the loop also had us coming out over that portage when our load is lightest near the end of the trip.  Light gear and frugal packing expand your limitations.  I also recall thinking that we could paddle to the Wright campsite and pickup the trail there if we were doing the 'in/out' approach - cuts off a couple KMs.

Agree with Stainless - it's not a difficult portage in condition or elevation, it's pretty heavily traveled and well board-walked through the wet areas.  It is just simply longer than most.  I've done it four times - all in the month of May when it's probably a little more damp and buggy than summertime.


7/23/2020 7:16 am  #6

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

has any one found the spring that is marked on the portage into dickson from opie?,,,,, the jeff map gives you an idea where the spring is,,  good to know in this summer heat along the trail,,


7/23/2020 8:00 am  #7

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

Thanks all. We were considering a loop from the Crow river initially but are just sticking with an in and out from Bonfield. Noted about the water. We will carry extra. 

We will be base camping at Laveille and bringing extra luxuries which is the reason for the cart path questions. If we can pick up the trail at the Wright campsite and cut off kms then thats a huge bonus.


     Thread Starter

7/23/2020 9:52 am  #8

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

Only issue with cutting through that campsite is if it is occupied - a polite request and explanation will likely permit passage through. 

I've never looked for or located the spring but there are a couple creek crossings along the portage that you could top off nalgenes (although the cart path circumvents those, there is a creek/lake along that route too).  You really would just need enough to get you through Dickson and Hardy's Bay which is likely just an hours travel so just don't rely on Dickson/Hardy water.


7/23/2020 10:10 am  #9

Re: Bonfield / Dickson portage

Thanks Pa. Was concerned about coming upon an occupied site on Wright and am hopeful its occupants would be understanding. Will check the online reservation system before and if occupied, may bring gifts to barter for safe passage...

     Thread Starter

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