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Posts Tagged ‘Canoeing’

Twist Lake

This morning I ventured out with my canoe to have a look at a little lake I found on Google Earth last night that appeared to have access from a good road. It is about a 45 minute drive, at least the way I drive, only having a car, from home, so it was perfect for today’s forecast of showers. Actually i had only planned to have a look at it today, planning to come back when the weather improved, but it turned out to be a beautiful morning so I put the canoe in the water and went exploring.

Twist Lake

This is a opportune time of year to see the plants starting to bloom. I do not profess to know plants, but the next pictures show vegetation that I have tried to identify using Shan Walshe”s great book “Plants of Quetico and the Ontario Shield”. I think the first one shows Leatherleaf, but it may be Bog Rosemary. If anyone knows what it is please add a comment.

Twist Lake Vegetation

The next photo I believe is Bog Laurel, but I would like someone to verify this.

Twist Lake Vegetation

Northwestern Ontario is not known for tornadoes, but we do get plenty of what we call micro bursts. These localized, powerful winds will lay down mature hardwood and softwoods alike. These blow down areas will often be cleaned up by harvesting crews, but it is very hard work.

Twist Lake Blow Down

Twist is not very large, but it was just right for a midday paddle. I had seen a family of Canada geese on the stream, but stayed clear of them so as not to upset the parents, and there was a pair of Loons on the lake. Of course I heard their call before I spotted them. Nothing can compare to being on a lake and hearing that sound. Part of nature’s symphony.

Twist Lake

I paddle once around the lake, with a stop on the far side for a mug of thermos coffee, then back to the stream where I came in. There is another stream on the south east side of the lake that will take you to Marks Lake. I do not know if it is navigatable, as even the stream I came in on had a small beaver dam that I had to push my canoe over. I live in prime beaver country and you see their lodges everywhere.

Twist Lake Beaver Lodge

It turned out to be a great day after all. Even though it was only an hour or so of canoeing, and I didn’t see much wildlife, I’m sure I’ll be back to Twist Lake. I think the stream to Marks Lake needs to be explored.

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Now I’m Canoeing

Today marks my entry into the world of canoeing. I’ve been given the use of a canoe by my son-in-law, bless his country soul, so I’ll be telling little stories about my canoe trips instead of hiking trips. Hopefully I’ll get back to hiking this fall.

So last night I loaded the canoe onto the car and got a small pack ready to head out early. Well, early for me ended up being eight o’clock before I hit the road, but I was on the water by ten to nine. I went to Hazelwood Lake, north of Thunder Bay. I choose this lake because it is close to town, it is not very big, and is one that I’m familiar with.

The wind picked up quite a bit by the time I got on the water and there were white caps on Hazelwood itself, so I stuck to the river portion and stopped for a coffee and a rest on the leeward side of  a little spit of land just as the river opened up into the lake.  Even though it was my first canoe trip in MANY years, I felt comfortable enough that I wasn’t concerned about the wind on the river, but I had no intention of battling the waves on the lake.

Stopped For Coffee

My resting spot.

Turtle

Sunning himself on a birch log.

I took my time heading back to the landing and was rewarded with a bit of nature.   Besides the turtle on the birch log, there was a Canada goose, a pair of mallards, a pair of loons, a kingfisher that made quite a splash for me, and a blue jay. I also saw something small slide off a log into the water but was too far away and noticed it too late to tell you what it was.

Hazelwood Lake

Looking north west at Hazelwood Lake

I’ll try the lake again, either with someone or when the weather (wind) is better. I would like to do the entire shoreline as I’m sure there is lots to see. As well, the river can be travel east towards the dam, which would be a good trip solo as it is better protected from the wind.

This being my first trip, I expect to be stiff and sore by tomorrow, but I really don’t care as it was a great experience and something that I will enjoy as much as hiking. See you on the water!

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