We made the 2085 meter portage to Nellie Lake easily taking rest breaks along the way.
Nellie Lake has a water clarity of 28 meters. Canoes fly on a membrane of surface over their shadows dancing across the bottom. The quartzite mountain tops are about 140 meters above the lake surface.
When I first went to Killarney and the mountains in 1991 the reason for the clear lifeless lakes, according to Parks Ontario scientists, was acid rain caused by American midwest coal fired electric generation plants. The report stated that fish stalks were returning to the lakes as the causes for the acid were being reduced through technological advances.
Today some people believe that the lakes are naturally void of life. The belief is that through an organic polluting effect, perhaps brought on by back country campers, the upper lakes are becoming less clear and now contain simple life which is dirtying the water.
The picture at the right is how I remember the downwind Sudbury area in 1967 when I first saw it. Then I believed that it was the natural look of the Canadian Shield... MouseOver for a present view.
The Sudbury nickel mines and this once devastated land are about 50 kilometres NE of Nellie Lake.
We found a perfect campsite resting from over use with stone beaches and clear water. It was a place for resting, lunching, sketching, and swimming.
The megalith beach is an outlier of the mountain above providing a ridge trail that promised an approach to the peak and access to the quartzite rock ridge.
And, so, began an idyll...
Tony took up his paints and sketched.
Andy beached on the sun warm quartzite.
I know that Flash is off fashion but, it is so lively, so programmable, so interactive - I can't let it go.
Screenplay: Don approaches, offers gorp.
A click animation.
We had to leave that perfect place where it was easy to get in and out of the water. We had no right to be there even if we were, some of us, tired old men facing 10,230 meters of tough terrain before nightfall.
Ahead was the most difficult portage of the adventure. It consisted of a 70 meters descent from Nellie Lake to Murray Lake over 1470 lateral meters. The Notch Creek gorge is difficult terrain.
Take a look at one part of the trail alongside a cascade of waterfalls (click Flash animation):
The canoe carriers, Tony and Andy, had a difficult and tiring climb down the gorge. The idyll was over.
At Murray Lake we found an unmarked campsite beside the portage. We decided to stay illegally claiming old age, slow pace, and weakness as excuses.
By the time we had set our camp and gathered firewood for Andy's turn cooking our first homemade, dried meal; darkness had fallen. After the meal and our allotted 2 ounce portion of grog with gourmet chocolate we were in much better shape than after previous portages. We were, since dawn of the day, no longer carrying food which contained water.
Down south in Collingwood, Ontario it was opening night for my LandSea exhibition.