Monday, April 26, 2010

Trip #2: The Bottle (Lake) uncorked! - April 24, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010
Three weeks after first trip the weather became favorable again and I decided to fulfill uncompleted route to the Bottle and Sucker Lakes. This time all the maps were in my pocket, GPS was tuned to the shortest way from home to the bridge at Catchacoma Lake, the car was loaded from the night and it seems nothing could prevent me to have a great journey.
At 8:10 AM I left my home heading to 404, 48, 12 and...surprise-surprise: When I turned right from 12 to Regional Road 15 I saw a big sign "ROAD CLOSED". As a doubting Thomas I drove 2-3 km on the empty road until came to rest against real road closure with the fence closed and bridge fully destroyed. No way.
I consulted my road map and GPS and decided to make a detour to the North. I followed 12 to 48 on East (near Talbot river, where a year ago we tested our kayak for the first time), then 48 to 46 South and then  back to Regional 15 (aka hwy 8) which brought me to the Fenelon Falls and further to hwy 36, 507 North and finally to Beaver Lake Road East where in 4 km the public launch site was near the bridge.  It was 11:00 AM. In 30 min I was into my Inflatable Advanced Frame Convertible Solo Version and ready to go.

This time I follow strictly right bank of the South East Inlet of the Catchacoma Lake to come to the Bottle Creek Inlet by the shortest way.

 And indeed it took me 35 min to come to the dam on the Bottle Creek. It was the first short portage (about 40 m on the rolled rocks along the East side of the Creek ). It was the place where from we turned back last time. Now I spent less than half an hour to move kayak and gear on the other side of the dam (about 1-2 m up the stream). Ahead of me was almost straight water lane 20-50 m wide and about 3 km long - Bottle Creak - leading me Eastward to the Bottle Lake.

Campsite on the left (North) bank of the Bottle Creek near it's mouth at the Bottle Lake

On the Bottle Lake at the portage to the Sucker Lake (160 m).

View on the portage from the kayak above.

View on the portage from the Sucker Lake.

Day campsite on the right (South) bank of the Bottle Creek at it's mouth on the Bottle lake


Cottage under construction on the way back when approaching the bridge on the Beaver lake road

Monday, April 12, 2010

trip # 1 The 2010 season is open! The Ice Cork in the Bottle (Lake) - April 3, 2010

Hello to everybody and happy beginning of the kayak/canoe season!

It was due to unbelievably warm weather this spring that we could  "to put to sea" on April 3. Believe it or not it was 25°C in the air and 0°C into water (ice was still present in many places on the water surface).

Our goal was the Bottle Lake in Kawartha Highland Park. Besides the intriguing name and our desire to visit new place the permission to fish for lake trout in Sucker Lake which is within a short portage (~ 160 m) from the Bottle Lake was the main attraction for us.

As a starting point we choose the bridge on the Beaver Lake Road at the South end of the Catchecoma Lake. Our GPS gave us 165 km long route from our house in Richmond Hill (Oak Ridges to be more precise) to this bridge. But not to drive the unknown roads in the morning we followed our usual route to the Crab Lake (near Apsley, North of Bourleigh Falls). The only difference was that just after Bourleigh Falls we turned west onto hwy 36, then North onto hwy 507 and East onto the Beaver Lake road to the bridge. It takes us about 2.5 hours to drive there.

Parking space near the water on the South-West side of the road/bridge was empty. We were surprised by its small size and how full will it be in the summer time. But now we were alone and it takes us no more than 15 minutes to inflate our kayak and set out. We headed directly under the bridge when heard a voice from above: There're no water there, guys! A man on the bridge smiled to us and pointed with his hand somewhere on the other side of the bridge. Of course we decided that he's joking  and came under the bridge and further into the one of the bays of the Cathecoma Lake. Only half an hour later, when we came to rest against huge field of black ice almost invisible from afar did we understand what the man on the bridge had in mind. Now we noticed this: part of the water mirror was exactly as mirror has to be - flat and black - as if no wind waved to disturb the surface. At the same time there was a wind and in many places we can see "normal" alive water wrinkled by the wind. Yes, there was still an ice covering part of the lake and we were not a icebreaker, but poor inflatable kayak and we had to be as twice careful to avoid direct contact with the sharp block of ice. It was in part due to this unexpected obstacle that we lost orientation and made a big loop around the lake before to come back to the West shore where the Bottle Creek had to spring from the lake to the West.