Kawartha Highlands - 3 nights on Serpentine Lk


June 9-12, 2018

I always take photos of sunsets and sundrenched lakes, but what a pleasant surprise to see so many beautiful

flowers on this trip and I wanted to acknowledge the botanical beauty of Ontario in this blog. Before continuing to read my blog, please take a moment to stop and smell the roses......I did.

Pink Lady's Slipper

A whole patch grew on my camp site

Orange Hawkweed

There is nothing more beautiful , than a Fragrant White Water Lily,

struggling through the mud to bloom in perfect juxtaposition

to it's environment.

Yellow Pond Lily or

Bullhead Lily

King Devil Dwarf Lake Iris

Bunchberry

June 9-12, 2018

Anstruther Lk, Copper Lk, Sepentine Lk, North Rathbun Lk, Rathbun Lk, Anstruther Lk

This trip would also include a day trip from......

Serpentine Lk, Anderson Lk, Rock Lk, Anderson Lk, Copper Lk, Serpentine Lk

I spent three fabulous nights in the Kawartha's this month. It was my first trip there and after some difficulty finding the put in at Anstruther Lk on Saturday morning, I pushed off onto calm waters, which were lit by an already hot sun that would follow me for the next four days. It was an easy paddle across the lake as boaters wizzed by left and right. At the 162m portage I looked up at the rocky ascent, regretting the amount of gear I brought, which meant triple portages today. I wanted all the comfort gear on this trip as I was planning on staying on Serpentine Lk for the four days. I passed from Anstruther to Rathburn climbing the next 216m portage past a fabulous set of falls running out of the top of Rathburn into the lower portion of the lake. An angry beaver greeted me as I put in, pounding his tail with a giant WHOP! From there I enjoyed a lovely paddle through the marsh and then took the 370m portage into Copper Lk. All the portages were short but uphill all the way. I took the time on this portage to search out a trail off the main portage that would take you to the falls running out of Copper. I had promised David Deki Kim that I would take the GPS coordinates and send them to him for his next version of the UnLostify maps which you can get @ https://www.unlostify.com/ . I also stopped to talk with the owner of the cottage that sat at the end of the portage. It was a spectacular location, looking down the long marsh where you put in but just above the falls. Lucky, lucky man. As he told me, "it's hell to get here, but once your here, it's paradise".

beginning of the 216 m portage A powerful set of falls that cascade straight down

At the top of the falls, putting back in to a lovely marsh where the beavers splashed their tails in protest to my presents.

It was getting late in the day when I entered Copper Lk and passed a canoe, paddled by two young men, with a third in the water,hanging off the front bow. His friends push him back to shore while he wrapped his legs around the canoe, laughing. It looked cool, refreshing, and a lot of fun and I was envious as I pushed hard toward the small lift-over of 5m. I saw only two occupied sites on the lake. I crossed the lift over and entered the last stretch through an incredible marsh. I wound my way through, at last coming to a muddy take-out on my final portage of 200m. After some "McGivering" to avoid getting covered in mud, I hit the last portage. This would be the easiest one proving relatively flat. I was exhausted by all the portaging and the days heat and I hadn't eaten as my acid reflux was really bothering me and I could not tolerate food until I sat still. I put-in on Serpentine Lake at 6:15 pm and headed for the nearest site. I could not go any further. I needed to set up and eat. So, although I had booked site #224, I pulled-out on lovely site #222. As it would turn out, I was the only camper on the lake and I would see no one for my entire trip.

I set my Eureka bug shelter up with my hammock hung up inside. I really could have done without the bug shelter as there were NO black flies

and the mosquitoes where tolerable. Four days of sunshine and almost

bug free.......life is good!

I was so tired and my stomach so upset, I had a light dinner of salad with

cheese and enjoyed a quiet sunset before bed at 10:00.

Yes......I brought fresh salad

with strawberries. No wonder

I did triple carries!!!

I was up at 8:00 am and spent a relaxing day, reading and canoeing the lake while collecting firewood. I enjoyed yet another paddle through a marsh along the north end of the lake where a pair of beavers patrolled the channel, angrily slapping their tails from a safe distance. I tried a little fishing but only caught bass which I put back and decided to stop as I didn't get any bites from other "open" species.

I pulled yet another blooper while attempting to cut a nice 4" piece of birch while in my canoe. I saw it and had to have it although my canoe was full of wood. It was a straight trunk......no branches, and I thought I could cut it into a couple of pieces and take the whole thing back to camp. It rested on a steep, rocky ledge, close to the water and I pulled up along side it. I grabbed it with my left hand and reached over with my new Silky Gomboy 240, held firmly in my right hand. The teeth of my Silky chewed through the wood easily and I imagined the flames burning hot in my fire pit. The log slipped in my hand and I placed my Silky handsaw to my right in the canoe before adjusting my grip on the log. The canoe shifted and rocked under the weight of the log I balanced on my left, and I briefly worried I might roll the boat. I reached to my right for the saw. My hand came up empty. What the ??? I searched the small confined area of my canoe but my Silky was gone. I looked over the side of the gunnels. Deep water laughed back at me. Bye-bye new Silky Gomboy. No more wood collecting for me. Another installation for my Bloopers blog!

Bed time was at 10:00 after a great fire that I bitterly enjoyed.

Hunting in the Kawarthas'. A hunt club with a long history

has a nice cottage on Serpentine Lk

A dragonfly drying his new wings Nice catch but not bass season

Day three started at 8:00 am. A breakfast of porridge and coffee and a little clean up and I was in my canoe by 9:30. I had plans to explore the rest of this end of the park. I paddled across the lake heading for the 610m portage that would take me to Anderson Lk. The portage had an uphill climb and then flattened out, winding through dense desiduouse forest. The put-in was, again, on a lovely marsh and I made my way through and across the small lake. Next, it was an easy up and over the 440m portage into Rock Lk. The entry to the put-in, opens onto a high outcrop of Canadian shield rock, which overlooks another lovely marsh. I put-in and spent the next several hours exploring this shallow lake. I saw all of it with the exception of the west/north side. The water depth didn't seem to go beyond 4-5 ft. I explored a flooded standing dead wood forest that was home to many blue heron nests and an old abandoned cabin and bridge down by the end of the North channel. Herons flew low overhead every where I paddled. This paddle was the highlight of my trip. I loved the complete solitude and the interesting bio diversity of this lake, which included a low marsh full of beaver lodges. I would love to camp on it sometime. I was shocked to find picnic tables had been hauled into this lakes two camp sites. I left at 2:30 heading back down the 440m portage into Anderson again where I exited through the marsh on the lower south end of the lake. I had a beaver dam to lift my canoe over and down into a long stretch of marsh. Navigating through this area was a little challenging as the channel through the marsh was not clear but I got out of my canoe to get a visual barring from the top of a large boulder. I could see open water in the distance and felt confident it was Copper Lk. I plowed on through the marsh, pushing through the lily pads before finally entering the open water of Copper Lk.. I was hot and my skin was burning under the afternoon sun in spite of applying sunscreen, so I pulled out on site #233 and sponged off and had a snack in the cool shade of the trees. I paddled back out to the 5m lift over, through the marsh and over the 200m portage, getting back to Serpentine Lk at 5:15.

I was T.I.R.E.D! H.O.T! and B.U.R.N.T.! What a great day! I planned on a nice dinner and a long evening in front of a fire, but.....after making dinner, I sat eating with a glass of wine, my eyes closing as I watched the sun set in the west. I was in my hammock by 9:30. Sleep soon followed. The sound of loons and bull frogs easing me on my way.

Overlooking the put in at the marsh to Rock Lake

Standing on the bridge

on the north channel

Exiting the marsh onto Copper Lk

I stood on the rock in back to see Time for bed.....I'm pooped

where I was in the marsh

I was up at 6:45am, packed up, and on the water by 10:00. I took the 1480m leading to North Rathbun Lk as this would mean I would complete the whole loop. The portage ascended sharply but then flattened out into a slow descent. I had reduced my gear down to a double carry ( I ate most of the food and I drank ALL the wine I brought ). Lots of signs guided me along the trail and I completed the double carry in an hour and a half. I paddled Rathbun North Lk as the sun blazed over me. It was a quick carry over the 164m into Rathbun Lk and all down hill past a lovely waterfall that followed along the portage route keeping me company with its cheerful chatter. I easily crossed Rathbun Lk and stopped for a quick snack before running my gear downhill ( yaaaaaaaaaay! ). I was about to put into Anstruther when I noticed I was missing my belt with my hunting knife, hatchet, and bear spray! OMG!!! I left it back at the last portage!!! I left my gear where it was and hauled the canoe back up ( keyword "up" ) to Rathbun and launched, speed paddling across the lake. I was not leaving this gear, because A) its expensive, and B) leave no trace.....right? I may have sworn and I think I had tears in the corners of my eyes. The problem was I didn't know how far back I had left it, and I prayed it was on the Rathbun/Rathbun North portage. I was lucky when I found it at the top of the portage where I had left it on the ground!!! I am usually much more careful and double check nothing is left behind so I was pretty upset with myself. I managed to cross back, put into Anstruther Lk and make it to my car by 5:30 so I did great ( that's the difference in a double or triple carry ).

In spite of losing my saw in the lake, and having to double-back to rescue my gear, this will go down as a favorite camping trip. The marshes and wetlands made for great relaxed paddling and exploring.

Everything was covered in pollen

from the pine trees. I watched an

easterly wind blow through the pines

on Rock Lk, blowing a dust storm of

pollen over the lake. It was on all my

gear and my car when I finally returned

on Tues.

I hope to see you out there. Bye for now


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