Day 8 - Smoothrock Lake to Funger Lake 

(15 km)

Day 8 - Smoothrock Lake to Funger Lake (15 km)

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 woke up to a very different lake. By 9 AM all the clouds had drifted away and we were left with a lovely warm, calm and sunny day. That kind of weather had been very rare up to that point of the trip, so we lingered for quite a while at breakfast and enjoyed an extra coffee or two. It was our last blueberry pancake breakfast of the trip. 

It was Day 8 and we hadn't had a rest day, so we were feeling it a bit. We discussed staying another night at the site, but in the end, we decided we would continue on. We didn't want to make it to the end only to get windbound on the Caribou Lake crossing, putting us in danger of missing our train home. We decided we would make a compromise by moving on, but not putting in a hard day; we would have no portages for the day. 

We didn't even leave the site until after midday. We paddled southeast and I snapped a photo of the site's front porch as we departed. 

The rest of our day was fairly uneventful, but we were happy about that. We took our time paddling and weren't in a hurry to push. We fished here and there as we paddled through Outlet Bay but weren't having much luck. It was tricky because the bay was quite shallow in many places and we got snagged a bit. 

As we rounded the jutting headland and went through a narrow part of the bay, we watched a massive bald eagle perched on a treetop; it was watching us watch it. It eventually vacated the scene as we stealthily tried to get closer. By this point, we were getting a bit spoiled with all of the eagle sightings. We had to have seen about 15 or so on the trip in total; and most of them were huge, as well! 

Heading east toward Funger Lake, we passed a lovely campsite on a rocky point on the south shore. 

There was supposed to be a nice site on the point opposite to the narrows that led into Funger Lake. We were hoping to stay there, but a foursome was on the site and about to set up camp. It appeared they were coming into the park and were most likely on the second day of their journey. 

This left us with only two sites that we knew of on Funger Lake to choose from. When we got to them, neither one looked great. They were both set back in the trees and were facing east. We were a little leery of another bugfest, so we moved on. 

We really didn't want to start portaging up the Caribou River, so we were looking for anything that might look good. We knew of a site at the first portage, but were reluctant to stay there with the possibility of people moving through the site. On the map, I noticed an island that was near the channel leading to the river. We paddled over to investigate; it had a rocky landing with a steep hike up to a raised area that had a clearing looking north. It seemed like a good spot for a site even though it wasn't listed on my maps as one. Indeed, when we walked up to check it out, we found a well-used fire pit  at the top and a couple of tent pads. It was a very nice site and we decided we would stay, and it wasn't even on any map in my research. 

After setting up camp and relaxing in our tents for a bit, we heard a motorboat whiz past our island. It turned out that there was a fly-in fishing lodge in Funger Lake's large northern bay. We watched them fish in the middle of the lake about 500m south of our island.  After they departed, we paddled over and gave the spot a try. There was a shoal there, and we tried fishing just off of it. We got a couple of bites but didn't stay very long. The wind was causing us to drift and we were having a little trouble keeping the boat over the hole where the pickerel were hiding. 

We fished a bit more in other parts of the lake and had another nice fire that night. We called it an early night, though; it had clouded over and we were feeling a little tired. Also, we knew the following day that we had five portages to contend with as we made our way up the Caribou River.  We retreated to the tents at dusk and slept well.

Day 9 - Funger Lake to Caribou River (11 km)