Tuesday, August 25, 2015 – Nellie Lake to McGregor Bay – 14.1 km
Our route on day eight took us through Nellie, Helen and Low Lakes, a small beaver pond and into Georgian Bay (McGregor Bay). It rained almost all night, and it was still spitting as we ate breakfast and took our tent down. We were on the water by 9 am.
The portage to Helen Lake was our second longest portage, but not one of the hardest. The first two-thirds of it were a gentle downhill, on a wide path. We had hoped to paddle Faux Lake, but it is aptly named. It is more of a swampy beaver meadow, than a lake. We took the rugged path around it, crossed the stream by jumping from rock to rock and then continued along the portage to Helen Lake. It took us two and a half hours to do the 2525 metre portage to Helen Lake. It lightly rained or spit the entire time, but even though it was cool, we were warm. Carrying on the portage helped us stay comfortable, despite the weather.
At Helen Lake, we were disappointed. We had to paddle into a stiff headwind, while rain hit our faces. It was very challenging! We were glad when we finished the two kilometre paddle across it and arrived at the 70 metre portage to Low Lake. Low Lake sits a lot lower than Helen Lake. Because of this, it was a lot calmer on Low Lake. The rain died down. and the sky even brightened a bit. We were able to paddle a creek that runs between Low Lake and a beaver pond. We did have to do a 25 metre portage around a beaver dam, partway along the creek. The beaver pond was choked with water plants. Charlotte and I had trouble finding the portage to the North Channel of McGregor Bay. We found it on our third try, thanks to Charlotte’s excellent navigational skills. Our first two unsuccessful attempts were due to my navigational blunders.
Because Helen Lake had been so rough, we were concerned that the Bay would be windy and wavy too. Fortunately it was calmer than we had feared. We decided to skip the first two camp-sites that are right on the North Channel and to check out the next two camp-sites on the East Channel. As we paddled, the wind picked up and the waves got bigger. The first site looked pretty good, but was taken by some kayakers. The second camp-site was horrible! It was just a huge, wide open rocky point. We decided to press on to the last site, at the mouth of Kirk Creek. The wind was quite strong, when we were heading west. After we turned south down a narrow channel, the Bay calmed right down. We did have to deal with a little wind, when the channel widened and we made the turn east, to head to the camp-site. We had wind and waves pushing us where we were headed.
We couldn’t find the site marker, but the place where we thought the site should be was occupied. We stopped to talk to the people to see if it was site 137 or if they were just camped at an unofficial site. Drew and Amanda thought it was the site, but hadn’t found the site sign either. It was a big site, and they offered to share it with us! We gladly took them up on the offer, set up the tarp and made some nice hot soup! It was a windy and drizzly evening, so after supper, we retired to the tent.