superiortrailsgranite lake in wabakimi Park
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Ontario Camping, Canoeing, Hiking
and Lake Superior Travel

Wabakimi Trips Home Page
Wabakmi & Kopka River - 1

Wabakmi & Kopka River - 2
Wabakmi: Granite Lake
Wabakmi: Palisades River
Wabakmi: Shawanabis Lake
Wabakmi: Chance to Granite Lake
train-in, fly-in, paddle out, fly out fishing and canoeing trips

Ontario Canoe Trip Stories
Ontario Travel - Lake Superior Tour
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contact for trip reports:
Ross - roscoetrails@gmail.com

Ontario Canoe Trips: Wabakimi & Kopka River Provincial Parks

Wabakimi Wilderness Provincial Park
and its adjacent Kopka River canoeing park encompasses an area much larger than the Quetico-Boundary Waters canoe area and is more remote as few roads intersect the park. It can be reached by plane or by traveling a day or more of hard paddling from outside of the park's boundaries. A third method of access is by train and this is the one Jo and I chose for our first trip because it sounded neat! The Canadian National Railway (running coast to coast) happens to bisect the southern end of the park. Through our outfitter we purchased train tickets for us, our canoe & gear for boarding at Armstrong, Ontario. The train service will let canoeists off within the Provincial Park at any point along the train route. Our trip was scheduled for mid-June.

Although our trip started at the edge of wabakimi, our chosen route actually took us south through an adjacent park called the Kopka River Provincial Park.

Day One

See Ontario Park's Explorer Guide to wabakimi ParkOur wilderness trip began in high style - although three hours late. We boarded the westbound Canadian National Railway train in Armstrong and rode in the air-conditioned comfort of the observation car (called the "bubble car" by our Canadian hosts) until we approached a bridge crossing the north end of Shawanabis Lake. We rushed to the baggage car and gave our 'stop' directions to the steward - who radiod them to the engineer. Soon our canoe, backpacks & gear, and the two of us were deposited alongside the railroad tracks near a portage trail leading down to the Shawanabis Lake.

Unfortunately, I was so preoccupied with getting unloaded and insuring we had all of our baggage that I neglected to get a picture of the train or the trackside beginning of our trip. In fact my camera stayed buried for the entire first day. Having lost three hours due to the train delay, we felt we had to "push" ourselves to keep on our trip schedule. Our destination was the Kopka River, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) total distance - covering five lakes and five portages to get to where we wanted to camp for the night. (Naturally now I wish I had gone to the trouble of digging out the camera for a few well chosen shots along the way.)

Wabakimi Wilderness Canoe Outfitters Wild Waters Canoe & Kayak Shop Wabakimi Wilderness Outfitters

Day Two Clicking on a "thumbnail" picture will bring up a larger image
Warning: The Big Pictures come up in a separate window that sometimes becomes "minimized" on your task bar. So to view an image a second time, you need to click on the window's icon on your task bar.

We "slept in" the morning of the second day - the five portages were fairly long and with two and three carrys per portage, we ended up walking several miles - in addition to paddling about 11 miles.

After a paddling about six kilometers and a leisurely shore lunch, we made camp about mid-afternoon at "Paradise Point" - a recommended camp site situated high above Lake Kenakaniss (on the Kopka River). We had correctly guessed the elevation would catch a breeze and give us some relief from the "bugs." It was one of the few times during the trip JO could be on land without her bug jacket and I not be sprayed with copious amounts of "Cutters."

Paradise Point Campfire site

Paradise Point overlook

But that night I would be attacked by a different "bug" - my 'scratchy' throat that I had at the beginning of the trip advanced into a full-bodied flu. Fortunately we had lots of vitamin C/Zinc tablets along plus Ibuprofen so I had drugs to help me make it through the night (with a little additional help from 'Yukon Jack'). To match how I felt internally, a severe thunderstorm rolled in during the night. Nervously we watched lightning spark and trees bend overhead to the point of breaking.

The storm continued throughout the next morning. It and my flu kept me rolled up in my sleeping bag for over fourteen hours.

Day Three

 

Mink rapids prelude to Mink Falls

Due to the storm and flu we broke camp late on Day 3, but had sun and a strong breeze to help us dry the tent and gear before packing and setting off down the river.

<<This is the last of a three rapid set that I ran with an empty canoe (I lined down the last one) because of a "surprise" we discovered on the 750 meter portage trail around the rapids. 300 meters from the river the portage trail mysteriously disappeared in a huge boulder field that was too slippery to carry heavy packs through and certainly too hazardous to carry a canoe. So we 'bushwhacked' our packs through the woods inventing our own route around the rapids and back to the river. We saved the canoe carry for the last trip. . . because I wasn't really sure how I was going to deal with it.

After walking the route five times (three carrys) I decided running the rapids with the canoe was a safer alternative than stepping through the boulder field or bushwhacking through the woods. JO didn't like either alternative. She later confessed that as she saw me disappear down the river, around the bend past the first rapids, she wondered when she would next see me, if I would be among the living and how she would get out of here by herself! While I was on the river wrestling with the rapids, she was in the woods - alone.

One casualty of Jo's anxious journey through the woods alone was my fishing rod that was bunge-corded to the extra paddles. Apparently in bushwacking her way through the brush, the reel must have gotten snagged and unknown to Jo pulled off along with the handle section of the rod. For when were happily re-united and re-loading the canoe to continue, I noticed I only had three-quarters of a fishing rod and no reel and no handle. After a futile hour of searching what she thought was the path see took through the woods, I gave up. And as fate would have it, this was the first ever trip I have made without an extra rod and reel! So my plans to fish that mountain lake between the falls just got changed.

This portage required three carrys, took over three hours to negotiate, and served to remind us that our portage maps from the outfitter may not be as accurate as their computer enhanced appearance suggests.

After being "surprised" by our rapids portage, we decided to forego doing any more portaging on Day 3. After paddling another kilometer, we arrived at the top of the first of the four Mink Falls. We decided to camp there for the night. A beautiful location. We slept peacefully to the music of the falls. . . unaware of the surprises awaiting us the next day. Jo in bug suit enjoying the view Ross and Jo at the top of Mink Falls
A portion of the Upper Mink Falls  

Wabakimi Links

Wabakimi & Kopka River Canoe Trip
Return to Wabakimi & Kopka River - Canoe Camping Trip
Wabakimi Fly-In Fishing Canoe Camping trip, Granite and Brennen Lakes,
  Allenwater River
Wabakimi Fly-In Fishing & Canoeing Trip, Palisade River & Kenoji Lake
Wabakimi, Train-in, Fly-out Outpost Camp - Shawanabis Lake
Wabakimi, Fly-in, Fly-out Fishing & Canoe Camping - Chance Lake - Allenwater River   - Granite Lake

 

Resource Links:
Canadian Canoe Routes
Wabakimi Wilderness  Park
Boundary Waters  Canoe Area
Wabakimi Outfitters  Links



 


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