Moon River Loop
Total Distance: 34 km
Duration: 3 days recommended (can be done in 2 long days)
Number of Portages: 12
Total Portage Distance: 4350m
Level of Difficulty: Experienced Novice (number of portages, negotiating river conditions and wind potential near Georgian Bay)
At the entrance to Vaughan Lake, I decided to bestow the "Loneliest Tree in Ontario Award" to this sad fellow. It reminded me of Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree for some reason.
It was nearing dusk and with that came even more mosquitoes. Luckily and unusual for June, there weren't any blackflies. I quickly got my bug shelter and hammock in place.
The humidity hadn't broken yet, and I was positively drenched in sweat and bug repellent when I had finished. I jumped into the lake for a swim to wash off. It was glorious. The water was unseasonably warm for the second week of June; Ontario had experienced an incredibly hot spring thus far. Just as I was emerging from the lake, the clouds broke and the sun came beaming in from its position low in the western sky. It was after 9 pm and that was my omen to finally get some food in my belly.
I snapped one last photo of my set up in the evening sun and tucked into a lovely dinner of pepper steak with gravy, salad and naan bread, accompanied by a nice Czech pilsner. Not a bad evening, at all!
I capped off the night with a couple of gentle sniffs of whiskey in the bug shelter as I watched darkness engulf the lake and the mosquitoes fruitlessly trying to get at me (Thanks, NoBugZone!).
After lunch, I went back to my canoe and did the short paddle to the south branch portage that bypassed the Lower Twin Falls, the prettier of the two in my opinion.
The portage running to the right of these falls was a steep, rocky scramble that involved a bit of boulder and log hopping to get to the water. I had to tread very carefully there!
I fished for a while at the base of the falls. I had something monumental take the hook and give a good fight, but I lost it after about 30 seconds of battle. Grrrrrrrr. Of course, that kept me there fishing much longer than I normally would have!
After dinner, I walked back over to the Chimney and got an even better shot from the top of some rocks.
I was not wrong about the fishing, either. Unfortunately, I had all my success after dinner when I was full, so I didn't bother keeping any to put in my belly. I caught four nice pike and one beautiful yellow walleye. I even had a muskie smash my lure earlier in the day, but couldn't keep that guy on the line.
Getting closer, I could hear the falls well before I spotted them. I located the portage fairly close to the top of the falls on the right. There was a vacant campsite there, as well. Knowing there would be a lot to investigate and see on the return trip, I decided to double carry this one and explore the area on the return walk for my canoe. I'm glad I did because the falls and the steep rapids below them are quite special.
I mountain-goated up to the top of the falls and took the following video.