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8/04/2016 6:36 am  #1

4d route suggestion w/ a 7yr old with a hike in option?

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking for route suggestions for a trip that I'll be doing with my daughter during the 3rd week of Aug. While I'm a seasoned canoe-tripper, this trip is my first with my 7yr daughter without her mom (from a paddling standpoint, I'm effectively solo). It's also our first attempt at a non-base-camp interior trip, where I'd like to move to a different campsite each day so she can experience what a true canoe trip is like. She has been to the interior numerous times. In the past, we've only done half-day paddles/portaging to set up base-camp for 3-4days.

So far, I've thought of these options:
Kiosk access and explore Mink, Club, Mouse and Whitebirch lakes
Rain access and explore Sawyer, Jubilee and beyond?
Barron River access and explore Opalescent and Cork lakes

Ideally, and please feel free to recommend others, these are my requirements for our trip:
- Half day travel only. Lunch can be on the trail but I'd like for us to set up camp by mid-afternoon.
- Less than 1km portages since I'll be double carrying. I also don't want to overwhelm her with portaging. My plan is to only set her up with a couple of sub-10lb packs to carry.
- Excellent bass fishing. She enjoys fishing and loves to eat them as well. I'd like for us to have fish nearly every dinner.
- Possible hiking nearby
- Great swimming
- Interesting sites to explore. Well, as interesting as things can be for a 7yr old.

The only other consideration is that my wife and 1.5yr old are meeting us on day 5. While not necessary, I'm hoping for a route that can offer a hike-in option in case our toddler doesn't tolerate the long paddle or if the conditions are not ideal. From day 5 to day 7, I would expect us to just camp on the access lake or maybe another lake in to make our last travel day short.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by jakr (8/04/2016 7:20 am)


8/04/2016 8:14 am  #2

Re: 4d route suggestion w/ a 7yr old with a hike in option?

So how many days of travel would there be on this trip? If I read correctly you have 5 days to travel, followed by a 1 day layover on day 6, and then a short exit day (6th day of travel) on day 7? Or were you planning to reach the final base camping location on day 4, or were there to be other layover days earlier in the trip?

Maybe admins can move this to the trip planning forum?

Last edited by DanPM (8/04/2016 8:14 am)


8/04/2016 8:24 am  #3

Re: 4d route suggestion w/ a 7yr old with a hike in option?

I guess the route would dictate how many days we'd travel. I'm technically planning for 8d, 5d of "tripping" and 3d of "base-camping".

I was thinking that we could move around on days 1 to 4. By day 5, my daughter and I should be arriving and setting up at our base-camp site before picking up my wife and toddler. Our exit day should ideally be a very short paddle out.

My daughter and I can certainly lay over within the first 5d if the lake we're at is worth it. 

Hope this helps.

     Thread Starter

8/04/2016 1:41 pm  #4

Re: 4d route suggestion w/ a 7yr old with a hike in option?

Jakr - On the trip I did with my son recently, one thing that kind of stood out to me was length of portage.  I was concerned about it going in.  We ended up with three carries in excess of 1K, and I can't say I'd recommend that.  They weren't long enough to go through the stages of grief, (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), or the additional canoe-tripping stages of portage grief (pain, resignation, fear, submission, despair), but little kids, little legs, right?  On a 1K double carry, you're on the trail for something like 50-60 minutes, and of course you have the child do all that walking with you, whether they are burdened or not.  That's quite a walk.   

I am with you completely on the half-day travel thing.  It is a lot of work for a young one to keep on the move regardless of their level of non-paddling or how light a bag might be, and trying to pull of six, seven, eight hours of travel would be hard on a youngster.  Keeping on the move is fun, but keeping on the move where there's no down time can be a grind.  Plus, that means you are doing shorter distances, so you don't have to awaken at the crack of dawn to try to make some distant point.  Here, if your daughter is a little sleepy, or maybe not feeling too canoe-trippy right off the bat, or just needs some extra time, well, you can get that later start and still be just fine.  

The original plan I had with my son was 5 days, with a base camp on day 3.  A respite from travel can be nice, especially if you have clothes to dry or something like that, OR you find yourself on an awesome fishing lake.

My son got some freedom from my constant presence when we were in campsites by going to the shoreline to fish or whatever, but we were always together, or at least within sight, on the carries.  That said, I did have him wear a whistle around his neck pretty much all the time, and I had one too, in the event we got separated.  He didn't care for it, but it made me feel better.


8/04/2016 6:07 pm  #5

Re: 4d route suggestion w/ a 7yr old with a hike in option?

The Whitebirch-Club-Mink loop that dontgroandaddy did recently, and that I've done a couple of times in the past, could perhaps, at a slow pace with double carry portages and short days, be stretched into 4 days of travel. Any more than that and you're really dealing with some very trivial distances, I would think... to me it's a 2 or 3 day loop max. But I don't have occasion to trip with little kids so I don't really know how far you have to go before it's even worth breaking/setting up camp.

Whitebirch and Waterclear are the prettiest lakes on the loop, and Club is the most interesting for historical remains and wildlife. But Mink and Kioshkokwi are the only ones with smallmouth bass, and the only ones with "hike-in" access (along the old rail bed). The rest of the loop has rock bass.

Not sure how long your wife and youngest are prepared to walk, but the campsites on Mink Lake that are along the rail bed range from 6 to 11 km in walking distance from Kiosk. The ones on Kioshkokwi are obviously much closer, but Kioshkokwi is a little busy with motorboats, leaseholders and frontcountry campers, certainly moreso than Rain. Not sure how she's going to find you since you can't guarantee a specific campsite beforehand but I'm sure you'll work something out.

A longer loop from Kiosk, of which more (though still not all) would be in smallmouth country, would be Manitou-Three Mile-Erables-Mink over 5 days of travel. But that might be a little too much, especially in the portage category.

The Rain Lake area has various loops available, and there are canoeing sites along the hiking trail on both Rain and Islet which is a great bass lake. The issue is again that the chain of bass lakes extending east from Rain ends in about a half-day's travel.

Thinking outside the box here, since your wife I assume is coming in another car, could you do a trip that starts and ends at different access points, using the second car to shuttle back to the first? With 5 travel days you could for example chart an interesting route from Canoe to Rain that hit on several bass lakes... and the Canoe-Tom Thompson route is among the best paddle distance to portage distance ratios in the park. Though retrieving the first car from Canoe Lake would involve a 90-minute detour or so on the way home from Rain. A shorter route with a shorter shuttle detour would be Kawawaymog to Kiosk.


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