It's big. I have six days, so I will do my best to get as far into the park as I can, starting from near Atikokan.
Access Point dock on Nym Lake
Quetico is a wilderness park, so after leaving this cottage lake, there will be no campsite signs, portage signs, or thunderboxes, unlike Algonquin.
Day 1 Nym Lake Access to Batchewaung Bay
Had hoped to get farther south, but got a late start.
End of Nym, beginning of Batchewaung Portage
The smell of smoke from an active fire was strong in the morning. But the wind changed and brought fresh air and clear skies as I crossed Nym and passed some beautiful cottages. Now I'm about to start the 830 m carry to Batchewaung Lake, which is in the park proper.
Spooky times on Batchewaung Lake
By the time I finished double-carrying the 830 m portage, the wind had shifted and then died, bringing a lot of smoke to this big round lake.
Late afternoon on Batchewaung Bay
I found this rock shelf site with a sheltered tentpad in the back. A thunderstorm was in the forecast, so I was looking for a site with shelter and young trees.
I usually burn alcohol, but the fire ban ruled that out. I bought this Primus stove which burns a mix of isobutane and propane.
Day 2 Batchewaung Bay to Walter Lake
Heading south from Batchewaung
The thunderstorm was biblical. I have never heard thunder like I heard that night. Decided to sleep in a little to make up for the lost sleep. Skies were cloudy as I headed for Pickerel Narrows.
Maria Lake to Jesse Lake. I can only imagine how mucky this is in June.
Beginning of portage to Elizabeth. Jesse is a beautiful lake. I will come back to Jesse later as it is the beginning of my loop south.
Camp on Walter Lake
The tarp is a hammock tarp from Little Shop of Hammocks in Saskatchewan. The bivy is an Uber Bivvy from Miles Gear in Washington State. Snug as a bug in a rug.
I use this bear-proof kevlar bag with spectra rope to secure my food to a tree. The food inside is in an odour-proof bag. If a bear does come along, it can play with my food, and possibly crush it, but it can't eat it.
Don't let your canoe blow away!
Kevlar boats are so light that you really have to secure them at night or they might blow away in a storm.
The Jack Pine
Walter Lake felt like it was much further north, somehow. Just Jack pines and Spruce trees and lichen-covered granite.
Day 3 Walter to Sturgeon
Put-in to Lonely Lake
The next lake in the chain heading south toward Sturgeon is Lonely Lake. There was a lovely rocky stream coming in here on the left, and a lot of beautiful wildflowers.
Aster puniceus, or possibly fringed blue aster. Anyway, it's an aster.
Touch-me-not, or Jewelweed
Fragrant white water lily
Nymphaea odorata, and friends.
Living up to its name. Rain threatened all day and never materialized.
Typical Beaver Dam
Lonely to Sturgeon. This one created almost a metre's difference in water depth.
Souris River Tranquility Canoe
Sharp entry lines but slightly wider beam in the middle than some I've tried. The arched thwarts prevented me from putting the canoe on my rental car for fear of scratching the roof. I had to get it delivered. But on the water those arches mean you can fit your bags more easily under them. Overall: a great light straight-tracking boat for flatwater, not too sensitive to trim. Would recommend. Rented from Camp Quetico.
Sturgeon Lake at last!
I wanted to do at least one section of the old NWCo fur trade route through the park.
Camp on Sturgeon lake
Sturgeon is a huge lake, and I paddled less than half of it in three hours or so. I found this island site in Jean Bay late in the afternoon. You can see my InReach device further out on the rock.
Eriocaulon septangulare. It is really small, just a few centimetres high. Like something from a Dr. Seuss book.
Island in Jean Bay on Sturgeon Lake
My own private island. Sunny skies the next morning.
Morning on my private island
Starting to pack up...
Hypoxis hirsuta? The stems are the size of small blades of grass. This is a really small flower, hanging out near the canoe in the previous photo.
Day 4 Sturgeon to Jean
Heading back north now...
Recovery of a Burn
This area of Sturgeon Lake near Jean Creek looks like it must have burned 25 years ago. The biggest white pines survived, but the new growth is still much lower than those giants.
Jean Creek...there must be a passage here
Poling through grass and muck on Jean Creek
Sturgeon Lake is right there 50 metres to the right...I haven't gone far. Like poling through spaghetti.
Thank god for beaver dams
I was really worried until I spotted the dam. It means the whole upstream run will probably have enough water to get to Rouge Lake.
Above the second beaver dam
Each dam brings more water
Unfortunately it had been breached...
Fifth dam and yet more water! Hurray!
Looking back from the portage take-out
Lovely Burntside Lake
Burntside Lake lunch break
Not a luxury brand, nor a classic, but it gets the job done.
Beautiful Jean Lake
The first view of Jean is certainly dramatic, perched atop this rock. the water access here is steep and rocky.