Flack Lake Loop 

Day 5 - Bobowash Lake to Flack Lake (10 km)

Map provided courtesy of Toporama which contains information licensed under the Open Government Licence – Canada. I have marked my route in blue and portages in red. 

Day 5 - Bobowash Lake to Flack Lake

The adage, "Red skies in the morning, sailors take warning!" came true on this day. As pretty as the following view was just before 6 am, it was a harbinger of nasty weather later that day.

I had about 4 hours of canoe tripping and 7 hours of driving on the cards for the day, so I got up and at it early. I did pause to enjoy some more blueberry pancakes and coffee as the sun came over the horizon, however. 

As I paddled away to start my last day of the trip, I turned to snap a shot of my island home on Bobowash Lake. It was a great site.

It was a quick paddle through Bobowash and equally quick through the short 25m portage to a small unnamed lake to the east.  Paddling to the end of that lake, I spotted an odd portage sign on a point on the eastern shore. Since I was double tripping the portages, I felt this sign was rubbing it in a little, reminding me that I had to do each trip twice -- one sign for each load.

Furthermore, the sign wasn't even in the right location! I alighted the canoe where the sign was and began unloading, only to find out that I wasn't at the portage. The portage was actually a couple of hundred meters past the point at the end of the swamp. Sheesh!


I soon forgot about that mishap, however, when I came across a massive, lone, old-growth white pine on the carry. What a beauty! I snapped a shot of it, but photos never do justice to the size of large trees.

I paddled through Samreid Lake, another scenic body of water. The sites there didn't look all that great though and I was glad to have decided to stay on Bobowash the previous night. On the northern shore, at the end of an ATV/logging road, was a large cache of fishing boats. 


As I rounded the central island and began heading northeast toward the next portage, the world got eerily quiet. The sky was darkening and the lake was absolutely silent, not even birds were chirping. Yikes. This was the calm before the storm. 

Ten minutes later when I reached the 110m portage, I was getting pounded by rain. By the time I reached the end of the portage with my second load, the thunder and lightning began.


I would have liked to have waited out the storm there, but the put-in was basically in a swamp and the mosquitos were atrocious -- even in the heavy rain. So I made a mad dash up the northern shore of this unnamed lake and was able to take out at the base of a tree-clad rocky slope. There, I pulled the canoe ashore and I climbed up about 8' off the water under some trees. Not ideal in a storm situation, but I didn't want to chance being on the water any longer as the thunder and lightning were getting nearer. Besides, the rest of this pond was a mosquito-infested swamp. I rode out the storm there for about 45 minutes without incident before getting back into the canoe. The storm seemed to have passed for the moment.


The 140-meter portage to the next pond was a slippery descent next to a small chute. After all the rain it was terribly slick and I accomplished it at a snail's pace. Slow and steady wins the day in those conditions.


The 1125-meter portage was better in terms of footing, but it seemed long. The path was clear to follow, however, and was downhill most of the way. There were only a couple of tricky deadfalls to negotiate. The air in the deciduous forest on the carry was extremely close and humid though. By the time I had finished both trips, I was absolutely drenched to the bone in sweat under my rain jacket.


Back on Flack, I had a 4km paddle due north across that large round lake to get back to Laurentian Lodge. The storm looked like it had subsided, so I made a beeline straight across the lake. About halfway across, as luck would have it, dark clouds moved in very quickly from the southwest once again. Thunder and lightning soon followed. Boy, did I paddle those last two km quickly! I made it to the lodge about 20 minutes later just as streaks of lightning began lighting up the sky. About 20 minutes after that, the storm passed directly overhead as I was pulling out of the parking lot. Whew!


Though the portages on this trip were demanding (especially for an out-of-shape, 50-year-old paddling solo!), it is highly recommended for its scenic beauty (it surpasses Algonquin in many respects in my humble opinion), excellent campsites, good fishing, wildlife, and remoteness. I encountered only one other group of canoeists and one fisherman in 5 days during the first week of July -- at the tail end of a pandemic, a time when it seemed that everyone was heading out into the backcountry in a canoe. That's saying something!


Driving back to southern Ontario later that day, I told myself that this would not be my last trip into the Algoma Highlands.