superiortrailsgranite lake in wabakimi Park
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Wabakimi Train-in, Fly-Out Canoe Trip: Armstrong, Ontario to Shawanabis Lake

shawanabis lake

See Ontario Park's Explorer Guide to Wabakimi ParkIn 2004 I managed two canoe wabakimi canoeing expeditions. The first one, in June, was with my long time buddy, Paul Linde, flying into Burntrock Lake to canoe the Palisades River. My second trip was with my wife Jo and her sister Donna - whom I've dubbed the "canoeing chicks."

Jo and previously had done a train-in to Wabakimi to begin a canoe trip, but we failed to photo record the "train" part which is a neat part of the overall experience. This time we got more pictures. More information on the train can be had here at the Via Rail Canada Website.

As has become our habit, the night before our trip we stayed at the Wabakimi Wilderness Outfitters B&B with hosts Bert and Brenda Zwicker. We had to be at the train station at 6:00 am the next morning. Brenda's job was to get us up early enough to get some breakfast; Bert's job was to transport us and our canoeing gear to the station. The first morning was particularly tough on us since Wisconsin is an hour behind Ontario. We would be getting up at 4 am our time inorder to make that train!

Wabakimi Wild Waters Canoe Outfitting Services

Jo and Donna (on right) huddle together to keep warm while waiting at the Armstrong station for the train to arrive from the east. You can see the sun will soon be coming up.

Far right, The three voyageurs > > >

The train arrives. Bert and I load our canoe in the baggage car while a fellow passanger tries to keep his hands warm.

Far right. The baggage car with canoeing gear (ours is in there somewhere)! Note to the left of the canoe is a dog in a crate. You can bring "Bowser" but he has to ride in a crate in the baggage car. > > >

Jo and Donna riding comfortably in the passenger car. We were going to ride in the "bubble car" (Canadian bush talk for observation car or Park Car) but too many passengers were enjoying their morning cigarette and since smoke rises, you know where it ended up!

Far right. As we near our designated mile marker, the baggage man radio's the engineer to stop . . . and then we unload our gear. > > >

Our conductor (left) and baggage car supervisor send us off > > >  

Jo and Donna pose in front of the train. Too late to turn back now!

Far right. Goodbye train! > > >

Here's our train route from Armstrong to our drop off point near the north end of Shawanabis Lake. Our destination was a cabin on Shawanabis.

"Canoeing Chicks" all loaded and ready to go. Note in this 18.5 footer, the middle seat is towards the stern. I found that worked out well for balancing the canoe. The canoe paddled nicely, although I had to coordinate with Donna's paddle to avoid collisions.

Far right. Paddling in the early morning fog was a little uneasy for the girls. We were just moving forward into the mist with no idea what lie beyond our vision. When this point loomed ahead at least we had some bearings to go by. It was a beautiful morning to be out paddling. > > >

Outpost Camp

The Wabakimi Wilderness Shawanabis Lake outpost camp's main cabin. All the comforts of home (well almost!) Fridge, stove and lights run on LP gas, Gravity feed for water. Solar power lights (when sun shines). Wood stove for heat, with tons of firewood.

Far right. The Sauna building > > >

The shower and laundry building (left) with hot water. To the right is the spacious latrine with a chemical eco-john.

Far right. Donna snugging up in her "bedroom." The cabin appears to accomodate 8 or more guests. > > >
Evenings we fired up the wood stove, played some cards, read books, and enjoyed our favorite beverages: kahlua & peppermint for the canoe chicks; yukon jack on ice for Ross. > > >

Day Trip to Koshko Lake

The next morning, we took a day trip - destination Kokosh Lake, Jo in the bow and Donna in the middle paddler position.


On the way, we passed a totem of recent vintage.

Donna admires a flower at the top of the waterfalls on the stream flowing out of Kokosh Lake. > > >

This should be the place where I show you the walleye I caught on Koshko, but the camera stayed packed away !    
Hiking Trail

One day we had intermittent rain and high winds so we did some hiking instead of going out on the lake. We found this trail with this most attractive moss. > > >

Last Day

Jo and Donna on the dock waiting for the plane to arrive.

While it is possible to take the train back to Armstrong, the eastbound train comes through at 11 pm in the evening. Given that the train is frequently off schedule, you could be waiting track-side until the wee hours of the morning waiting for the train. So a floatplane was our choice for the return trip.

Jilbert arrived on time and we loaded the canoe on the pontoon.

Donna and Jo on their first floatplane ride. Although smiling, I later learned Jo's white face wasn't for lack of sun!

Flying by Shawanabis. > > >

End of trip - Back at Wabakimi B&B.

Wilderness Outfitters
B&B Lodge
Outpost Camps

(807) 583-2626
(807) 767-2022

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




Research Report
Personality Type & Outdoor Recreation
(including canoeing)

Research Report
Personality Type & Outdoor Recreation
(including canoeing)