Day 4 - Outlet Bay to Ogoki River 

(16 km)

Day 4 - Outlet Bay to Ogoki River (16 km)

Our suspicions were correct; it was chilly and overcast when we awoke. The rain was holding off for the time being. 

We had some bacon and eggs, packed up, and got back on the water shortly before 10 AM. We were looking forward to getting into the Berg River, running a few rapids, and tapping into some more pickerel. 

All maps shown on this page are provided courtesy of Toporama which contains information licensed under the Open Government Licence – Canada. I have made additional markings to show route information

We paddled to the start of the Berg River and inspected the rapids that drained from the lake. At the top, they looked runnable, but on the map, we could see that the river veered to the west and there were another set of rapids below that, as well. It was a long way to scout around a blind corner, so we opted to just take the 397m portage that cut across the land to bypass it all. We had a little trouble locating the trail at first, though. It was a little bit further west than I had marked on my maps. 

The trail was easy to follow and free of obstacles. It was absolutely covered with blueberries which we enjoyed on the walk back for our second load. The photo below demonstrates what we saw for pretty much the entire length of the walk. 

The portage emerged at the base of the last bit of moving water that we avoided on the turn and had a strong current there. We fished for a while but didn't have any luck at that spot. We moved downriver toward the next rapid. 

The first set we hit was a short, but fun, Class 1 wave train that we ran right up the middle, happily avoiding the portage. 

We spent a bit of time fishing in the eddy next to these rapids and got some action. We ended up keeping a couple of nice pickerels that we would enjoy later in the day. 

We would have liked to stay longer there, but both of us snapped our fishing line and lost our lures, Dad on a snag, and in my case, by a massive pike that grabbed and ran with it before I could even put my hand on the drag. I learned the hard way to ditch the fluorocarbon leader and to attach my lure directly to the braided line with pike of that size lurking. In addition, the weather was looking nastier by the minute, so we decided to move on and get more distance behind us while the getting was good. 

Almost immediately, we found ourselves atop Island Rapids which was a double falls separated by an island.  From above, it actually looked like three separate falls. We completed the 102m portage on the left, put in, retooled our rods, and started fishing there.  Water levels were very high, and the falls seemed more like rapids than the online depictions of them I had seen before.  In fact, we were subsequently informed that the area had been experiencing abnormally high water for most of the year thus far.

It was an extremely scenic location, but unfortunately, the experience was somewhat diminished by the cold rain that started coming in and it looked like it was going to stay. 

We fished for a while there and caught one more to go with our meal for the evening. The rain started coming down harder, however, and we were getting chilled, so we moved on. I turned to get one more shot of Island Rapids from the other side of the river. I would have liked to spend more time there. 

The river widened and the terrain on the banks got a little swampier. The rain really started pouring and we thought it would be a great time to take a break, get a bite to eat, and clean the fish we had caught. There was a campsite on the east side of the river in a grove of black spruce. We paddled up to the muddy beach there and quickly took notice of the plethora of leeches wriggling in the shallow water.  My trip research denoted that this was supposed to be a nice beach site, but the high water levels seemed to reduce the beach to a muddy river bank. We took cover from the rain amongst the trees until it subsided somewhat. 

After we finished eating our lunch and processing the fish, we stored the fillets in a zip lock, bailed the rain out of the canoe, and moved on down the river. 

The Berg didn't change in its appearance all that much downriver.  It was relatively marshy and less scenic than the rocky and dramatic Lookout River that we enjoyed on Days 1 and 2. Having said that, the rapids on the Berg were more enjoyable to run. We paddled between a couple of large islands as the relentless rain pummeled us, turned to the northwest, and arrived at the next set of rapids, another short but fun run through a wave train. Again, we were happy to avoid the 58m portage. 

The last obstacle on the Berg did force us to get out of the boat, though. The drop was more significant and there were some large boulders at the top of the run. It was definitely runnable, but there wasn't a lot of room for error. Given the fact that we were alone with only one boat, we played it safe and decided to portage past the boulders at the top of the run, put in halfway, and run the bottom part. The rocky shoreline would have made lining difficult. At least we were able to reduce a 275m portage to about 80m.

The remainder of the Berg seemed to get even swampier as we approached the Ogoki River, and before it even registered with us, we paddled around a bend and found that we had already left the Berg. We looked behind us and saw that the river had come from two directions and realized that the Berg had unceremoniously and seamlessly merged into the Ogoki with nary a ripple. 

By this time, we were feeling fairly miserable. The cold, driving rain had pelted us for the better part of two hours. Our rain gear kept most of the water off of us, but we were also damp from perspiration despite the chilly temperature. We were looking to get warm and dry. 

Slightly upriver and across from the confluence of the two rivers, there was a campsite on a rocky ridge. It wasn't the best site we'd ever seen, but it would have to do. There weren't a lot of flat spots to pitch tents and the shoreline was weedy, but we were cold and wet, and the last thing we wanted was a swim. 

We erected a tarp and got all of our gear under it. Getting into some dry clothes felt like heaven. We waited for a period when the rain subsided, but when that moment came and we started pitching our tents, it started raining again about halfway through the process. In the end, we got them up without getting the interiors too wet. I simply just chucked a tarp over my fly for an extra layer of protection; there wasn't much to tie the tarp to in the spot where I was able to find flat ground that wasn't solid rock. 

Despite being cold, we didn't bother with a fire; the world was absolutely soaked and we just wanted to eat. We fired up our stove for the first time on the trip. I normally try to avoid using gas canisters as much as possible, but this was one of those times I indulged.  The pickerel fillets tasted good and improved our spirits. 

The rain seemed to come and go in waves for the rest of the night. We got into the tents much earlier than normal and called it a day. Dad, a fairly stoic fellow who wouldn't have mentioned it at the time, told me the following day that he was shivering when he climbed into his tent. Shivering is the first stage of hypothermia and it just goes to show that even in the middle of summer and being prepared with tarps, good tents, proper rain gear, dry bags, etc., the elements can get to you in the north. It's important to listen to what one's body is communicating and to stay warm. I have been at that stage of shivering on past trips and it isn't fun.

We both stayed dry in our respective tents for the rest of the night, despite the continuing rain. Dad said he warmed up once he was in his sleeping bag and got a good night's rest in the end.