Day 4 began with rain on the climb up to North Grace, then sun, then strong winds. The first portage was a long 1460m.
Onto North Grace Lake. Soon afterward, the winds really whipped up and funnelled down this east-west lake, pinning me at a campsite. After an hour, I was able to set out and make it to the next lake, a pond called Lemon Lake.
View from the west end of Lemon Lake. My original plan to was to stay on Little Coon, but at this point I decided to camp on the next lake, McGarvey.
The rock guarding my campsite on McGarvey
The campsite proper is next to another big erratic boulder.
After setting up the hammock and tarp, and eating dinner, I found a big pile of fresh bear poo. Needless to say my bear spray was kept near at hand.
Leaving McGarvey, day five. In high water you can paddle into the next lake, but it was September, so I opted to portage.
Whatnot Lake is the top of the watershed, and a crossroads. Behind the canoe is the portage back to McGarvey...
...and on the other side of the pond is the portage to Dividing Lake, home of the giant white pines.
But I'm taking the portage north, down to Little Coon Lake.
I'd read that bears like to climb beech trees to get the beechnuts. Here's proof positive.
The last section of the portage down to Little Coon gives the portage its name, the "Double Devil's Staircase." Luckily I'm not climbing it.
An easy paddle across Little Coon is followed by a flat portage that brings you out onto a strand at the south end of Big Porcupine.
The headwind on South Porcupine was so brutal I took the portage across to the north end just to get out of the canoe.
From big Porcupine, the well-travelled Devil's Staircase brings you out to the south end of Ragged Lake. Last year the water level here was even lower!
This is one year ago: 2012, 18th of September. Water level was very low here.
Found a steep campsite on the island near the north end of Ragged, to get a head start on Smoke Lake the next morning.
The last day of my trip was beautiful and sunny
View from campsite as I get ready to go home
First fall colours
Last look at Ragged Lake
Approaching the take out from Ragged Lake. A short 240 m portage will bring me out to Smoke Lake.
Back on Smoke Lake. It's Saturday morning, and lots of folks are coming in.
Another hour to make it down to the end of the lake and back to the car. That was a hard trip for me. Next time I'd budget a rest day in the middle!