Back from Missinaibi river

-- Last Updated: Jul-18-04 2:57 PM EST --

Well, Dallas and I are back from the Missinaibi River. We had allowed a maximum of 14 days for the trip but only spent 11 days out. Weather was mostly warm with rain, wind and 4 days of good sun. All in all, we would consider it a good trip with its share of highs, tense moments and sights.

A bit of a recap:
Drove from Sudbury to overnight in Hearst, Ontario, Algoma Central Railway south to overnight in Oba, Via rail east to Peterbell and the river. Eleven days on the river, side trip to Brunswick Lake, ending in Mattice. Two leisurely days to drive home.

A quick total from my notes and maps shows 42 sets of rapids or falls, 12 of which we portaged and lined 2. Total distance of river portages was 3,355M and another 1,500M for the side trip into Brunswick Lake. The portages are well marked and maintained but were quite muddy and slick from all the rain.

Wildlife encountered included bald eagles, golden eagles, osprey, beavers, otter, 3 moose, ducks, herons and loons.


Best sunset - Brunswick Lake island campsite. A real northern sky. Made the 1500M portage in that black spruce mud all worthwhile.
Best rapid - Wavy Rapid. Ran this one numerous times in 2 days.
Best audience - CIII canyon run after Pond Falls. Audience of 5 sitting on the rocks taking pictures. Managed to get 2 revolutions with my paddle ( a la MKC Ich bin der beste) before a required brace.
Best wildlife sighting - Bull moose feeding on shore, ignoring us floating past. Water dripping from his rack and green shoots hanging from his mouth every time he raised his head from under the water.
Tense moment - Dallas missing her line in a CII+ technical rapid and dumping at a ledge. She managed to right the canoe without loosing any gear and swam the final 100M wave train before I could toss her a throw bag and fish her and the canoe out.
Best surprise - lack of people. We waved at a group on day 2 and stayed with a party of 4 from Madison, Wisconsin day 7.
Worst surprise - lack of current. As someone from Madison stated, "the river is like a long, skinny lake".
Equipment failure - snapping our only portage yoke with 6 more upcoming carries. Repaired by fastening a piece of Royalex (from someone's wrecked canoe) with half a dozen wood screws and smoothed out with generous amounts of duct tape. Red Green would have been proud.
Best campsite - sandy point river left after Thunder falls. One of our hot days, gave us a chance to dry all our gear that had been picking up moisture over the last few days of rain.
Words from Dallas:
Reflections: Surrounded by the comforts of home, it is interesting how selective trip memories surface. The trip challenges: gruelling headwinds in solo pig boats, millions of biting insects, difficult portages . . . are fading fast. Instead we are left with a sense of accomplishment, a new toughness and self-awareness.

A few select pics here:


Nice shots Paul!
Pretty sunsets! Looks like a good trip!

Great trip report
–especially liked your format. Enjoyed photos too. Thanks.

Very Nice!
Enjoyed the pics and the report. Really good job with those rapid shots and the sunsets. Hope there was a portage arround that logjam! WW

Nice trip report,
I enjoyed the pics, nice to see someone else brings chairs…Robin

Great pics
now that you’ve paddled the Vertige X…what are you impressions? Any way you could write a review under the Product Review section? I’m looking at this boat but have to paddle one yet. I’m very curious

Very Nice Paul!
Good story and nice pics too


Very Nice Paul!
Good story and nice pics too


I just saw
your post from July about your trip on the Misinabi. Great photos and good information. I do have a question. I love the north woods and returned in July from 2 weeks in Woodland Caribou out of Red Lake. I live in Chicago area so it was 1000 miles to get there but worth it. My question is related to your canoes. I’m an experienced C111 easy C4 openboater. When you take these kind of trips where do you put your gear? Do you leave out the rear air bag and reinflate one for playing or what?

Hope you look back to old posts. Otherwise my e-mail is in my proffile i think. it is sshapiro5@yahoo. Hope to hear from you.


no bags
I ran the Missinaibi with no bags. Just lashed in gear. But then I only run CII tech and portage the rest.

Gear storage
Both bags are left in are inflated all the time - or until the rapids run out!! On this trip we only took out the front bag on the last day because of headwinds. Packing was “creative”. I am a firm beleiver in barrels but we could not take them this trip - they were just not conducive to our canoes or gear. Both of us had to be comfortable carrying the bigger packs yet still able to carry the canoe and a smaller pack at the same time. And everthing had to fit in two fairly small canoes.

We both ran the CII’s loaded and the CIII’s empty.

Did a post here before the trip about all the gear but a search cannot find it.

You’ll have to look over here:

There was also a discussion about “high volume solo canoes” that you may find interesting.