Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mohun Lake to Twin Lake Portage

This portage is 1.6 km long and is the second longest one on the route. I will deal with more than the 1.6 km but extent all the way to floating in Twin Lake. The portage is in effect longer and in several parts.

One you start this protage, you will have to continue on through to the Twin Lake forest service rec site to find a place to camp.

The first part from Mohun Lake is not bad, go left when you hit what looks like the end of a road about 100 metres from the water. About 400 to 500 metres in we ran into some problems. The portage goes uphill and the section that was steepest was in rougher condition than most of what we saw on the route. We sweated our way through this section. Once we reached the top the trail was in decent condition and we made a good time to the of the portage.

Twin Lake is 60 metres higher than Mohun Lake, and the trail rises up another seven or more metres above that meaning you gain 67 metres on this portage,

Clearly there had been some trees that fallen on the route over the winter. We saw evidence that someone had come along and cut through the fallen trees to keep the the route clear. I do not know who it was, but I thank them for maintaining the trail.

As a rule of thumb, if you have wheels for your canoe and you are not super fit, count on being able to do one to one and half kilometres of portage per hour.

The far end of the portage does not bring you to Twin Lake, but a someone what swampy 300 metre long beaver pond. The end of the trail does not have a lot of space for gear and people and we felt very cramped with nine of us and four canoes.

There is a short portage at the end of this narrow 300 metre lake/pond. Depending on time of year and conditions, you need to make some decisions at this point. 20 metres away over a small rocky portage there is access to what is shown on some maps as part of Twin Lake. You need to see how deep the water is. The water levels are controlled by a beaver and may be too low to float your canoe.

If the water is low at this point, you need consider portaging an extra 100 metres to your right and find a spot to put there. If not you are going to be punting through mud or swimming through mud and pulling your canoe.

After you get through this you may wonder where the hell the route is. Do not worry, the only choice available is the one you need to follow. That choice involves going over a number of beaver dams when the water is low, also lifting over logs and similar things. Depending on water levels and the work of the beaver, you might also ground out on mud. Our biggest canoe had the heaviest load and had to be pulled through a section of this area. The Scout that had to pull was up to his arm pits in peaty mud.

The channel has few markers, but it really is the only water course, so follow it.

At the other end of this channel you pass the beaver lodge and then hit the properly open water of Twin Lake. Earlier in the year you will have higher water and less problems.

In low water, getting from the end of Mohun lake to the Twin Lake forest rec site takes quite awhile. We took 5.5 hours, but we had to do a double trip on the portage because we only had 2 sets of wheels for four canoes and we had five youth on the trip aged 10 to 13. Others I spoke took 2.5 to 3.5 hours to complete this stretch.

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