Tim River-Big Trout-McIntosh-Tim Canoe Trip

This is one of those trips that I thoroughly enjoyed, yet I doubt if I would repeat the same route. Donít get me wrong, the Tim River is an excellent May trip, just donít try to do the whole river plus three lakes in one day!

Tim River Access point #2 was easy to find. Follow Forestry Tower Road from the village of Kearney. Before we could start our trip, we had to obtain our permits at the Park Office in the Kearney Community Centre.

It was the first week of May and ice out occurred just the week before. We started our journey paddling down the Tim River to Tim Lake. Tim Lake has 6 campsites, three of which are on an island. It was late in the day after the long drive and we set up our camp at the northeast site by the continuing Tim River.

The next morning we were off to Rosebary Lake. We first paddled down the Tim River for about 8 kilometres.  The river had a well used 120 metre portage and a few annoying beaver dams. We eventually arrived at Rosebary Lake. We seen a few moose on our way; they were rather scruffy with their shedding of their winter coats and the males were no longer adorned with their majestic antlers. They werenít what I would call, photogenic.

We continued to Longbow Lake and camped by the dam. I tried my luck fishing below dam and was rewarded with a nice brook trout. He was far too beautiful to kill, so I released him to swim another day.

We thought we knew what we were up against for the next day travel. We knew we had to get up very early to start the long journey down the Tim River. And we were aware that we would be facing a few portages on the way. What we didnít realize was that the Tim River is so winding, that we would be paddling twice as far as the crow would fly if he was going the same way. The Tim River is a shallow, narrow, ever winding creek of a river with most of the shorelines crowded with bushes.

We woke up early, packed up and were on the water by 6:00am. We then spent the entire day, non-stop, paddling full out, to Longer Lake. We had no rest, no time for photographs, no time for fishing and we ate granola bars for lunch, on the trail. This day we conquered the six portages on the Tim (P230, P90, P410, P275, P460 & P125). We arrive at Shippagew Lake at 8:00pm. Before tackling the final 1335 metre portage to Longer Lake, we got our flashlights out of our packs. Near exhaustion, we portaged to Longer Lake. We were relieved to finally get here as it was getting dark. We paddled east across Longer Lake to the nearest campsite. To our disappointment, it was already taken. We then proceeded south to another campsite only to find it was also taken. We looked at the canoe map and realized that we had to back track and paddle to the far north part to the last possible available site. By the time were arrived, it was 10:00pm, pitch dark, and we were now totally exhausted. We just paddled not stop along with 7 portages, for 16 hours straight. What a way to spend a vacation!

The next day, with our wounds and sore muscles, we crossed the 300 metre portage to Big Trout Lake. This was a large, yet very attractive lake. We made our way south and then turned west and followed the narrow passage that leads into White Trout Lake. White Trout Lake has a nice high cliff in the southeast shore and we enjoyed paddling under its protection. This lake lead us into Grassy Bay. Grassy Bay is another windy body of water teaming with wildlife. It has many species of ducks, loons, moose and marsh birds. We grabbed up a campsite on the south shore.

Day five, we continued down Grassy bay which turns into McIntosh Creek. It was raining steadily and the portages on the way (P745 & P510) to McIntosh Lake were very wet and boggy. The planks on the way kept us from sinking in the mud.

When we arrived at McIntosh, the rain gave the lake very misty look. It was really gorgeous. McIntosh is one of the most beautiful lakes in Algonquin. I wish we would have been able to camp here instead of having to press on. Someday I will have to come back and enjoy such a lovely paradise. There was even a heron rookery in one of the bays. By midday, the it was raining very heavy. We were heading to Timberwolf Lake. We got a little lost for a bit, but finally found the right bay that would lead us to the 405 metre portage to Timberwolf. We chose the site in the far north east corner by Timberwolf Creek.

By this time, we were totally soaked and quite cold. Since it had poured all day, everything around was soaking wet as well. We had to get a fire going to warm up and dry our shoes and some of our clothes. This was not an easy task. We did find some dry leaves and grass underneath fallen logs and rocks. With a lot of effort we did finally get a great fire going.

Day six would bring us back to the infamous Tim River via Misty Lake, Pandion Pond and Shah Lake along with four very set portages. This included 130 Metre to Misty Lake, a 705 metre to Pandion Pond, a short jot across the pond to the 335 metre portage to Shah Lake. The 1125 metre portage from Shah to the Tim River was a enjoyable portage (as far as enjoyable portages can go) as it had a extensive, narrow (two 2x8 together which equals 14 ĹĒ), and steps leading down to the river. We paddled a way up the Tim River and set up camp at the lonely campsite just past Little Trout Creek.

Even though it was in the early have of May and the water was truly ice cold, I needed to have a swim. Damn, it was cold. That night, the temperature dropped. It was raining in our tent from condensation. In the morning, our water bucket was a big chunk of ice.

Although we had planned to spend the last night on Tim Lake, we agreed to paddle all the way out a day early. It was another very long day of paddling and again we were cutting it close to sundown before getting to our vehicle.

The highlights of this trip would be the abundance of wildlife and the truly gorgeous few lakes like McIntosh and Big Trout Lakes. I might have enjoyed the Tim River more had it not been all work and no play.



Tim River Moose
View from the Campsite on the Tim
Tim Rapids
McIntosh Lake
West Tim River
Grassy Bay
Tim Moose
Rainy Day on McIntosh


Adventures in Photography by Tony & Kathy deGroot
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