Wolf Lake – A ManCamping Long Weekend (Pirate Island) Trip

Wolf Lake Trip Report – August Long Weekend 2015

A ManCamping warning: Johnny actually decided to do some work and wrote this trip report about Wolf Lake. This is the unedited version. Have fun.

Route: Matagamasi Lake – Chiniguchi River – Silvester Lake – Wolf Lake

Well, like most of our misadventures, this one starts and ends at the pub! Myself (Johnny – The creative genius and mastermind behind the ManCamping concept) and Scotty (my Igor-like, button pushing man servant) find ourselves waiting at the bar on Friday afternoon for our other trip mates; concocting ridiculous scenarios that will likely never come to fruition but still funny. As we sip our pints we find ourselves constantly reviewing the weather forecast which appears to be getting more and more dire as the minutes tick by… oh well! We eventually meet up with Bender aka Caillou (we’ll get to this in just a little bit, but yes I’m referring to the children’s cartoon character) and our newest ManCamper – Brad. Now, Brad is new to the story but all around a seasoned outdoorsman who can handle his own in the bush. Pleasantries are exchanged, boats are lashed to roofs and we set off on a 5 hour trek to our inevitable launch point.

Sometime just after 11pm we reach our starting point and come to the grand idea that a midnight launch is not just deemed appropriate but necessary! Full moon, no clouds, tail wind… giddy up! Brad and myself pair off and launch our canoe first… quickly realizing that our 16’ ultra-light Scott Canoe is in fact meant for fast moving water such as rivers – I mean steering this thing on an open lake is a nightmare (plus we didn’t distribute the weight correctly which only added to our cockeyed appearance)! Either way, we progress forward and aptly christen our boat “The Pig”. Bender and Scot are right behind us and we then embark on a three hour game of “is that a site?” We eventually give up, find what appears to be a site, when in fact it’s just a flat piece of land just big enough for four fully grown men to lay out their sleeping bags, and make a fire. Drinks are poured (in my case a Nalgene bottle full of Ardbeg 10 year old scotch) and the hilarity ensures.   Sometime around 4am (we think…) its time to get some shut eye so we just lay out on the rocks for a nice sleep under the stars… that’s right, four grown ass men spooning on a rock for the whole world to see! Its at this point that we realize Brad must have narcolepsy or something as the moment he went down the snoring ensued… and we mean “wake the dead” snoring! It was actually quite remarkable…

This is how we won the game of "Is that a site?"

This is how we won the game of “Is that a site?”

Matagamasi Lake Campsite #2

Saturday morning – We wake to a pleasant sunny morning, thanking the wilderness overlords that nobody rolled into the lake. Quickly we break down camp, review our map (only 2 portages and maybe 3 hours of paddling ahead until we’re in Wolf Lake) and set off. We make quick work of the portages only stopping to show Brad and Eric the lagoon hidden off the path of the second portage and before we know it we’re paddling into the pristine waters of our final destination.

Portage into Sylvester Lake.


Portage into Silvester lake

Brad and Johnny – Not man enough to solo carry the damn boat. Weak.

Bender - first portage ever and he took the boat solo. Just saying.

Bender – first portage ever and he took the boat solo. Just saying.

We specifically headed out early hoping to snag one particular campsite Scot and I have stayed on before (the one on the point which can be seen when looking down the lake from the second portage) however, no luck. We fart around the lake, reviewing the map and checking for a suitable site before the rest of the weekend “traffic” starts showing up and then our good buddy Caillou (aka Bender) notices a sizable island right in the middle of the lake – which we quickly claim and from hence forth refer to as Pirate Island. Shaped like a crescent moon, there are two fire pits, plenty of flat rock to set up tents (albeit scattered about the island) and multiple “jumping rocks”… PARADISE!

Pirate island on Sylvester Lake, just before Wolf Lake

Pirate island on Silvester Lake, just before Wolf Lake

Pirate Island #2

We spend the next few hours enjoying some drinks, eating lunch, fishing (well, Eric and I went fishing – Scot would have needed to catch a fish to be considered fishing) and going for a leisurely float in the lake with our trusty PDF diapers.

Johnny stomping his fish. Photo by Brad Roylance

Photo by Brad Roylance

Now, while all this well deserved relaxing is transpiring it didn’t quite dawn on any of us to look up for if we had we might have noticed the clouds rolling in. Before you know it it’s a mad dash to get the tents up and staked before whatever god forsaken weather pattern rolls in – however, this ManCamper wasn’t quite fast enough and had to witness his tent soar off the ground like a kite and fly away into the lake. Outstanding!!!! Brad – my new favorite; without warning jumps in and retrieves my tent before anything truly horrible happens. I guess we lucked out, or maybe I just can’t remember as things get a little fuzzy from this point on but we spend the next 6 hours sitting around the fire, sipping on scotch and smoking cigars under what I recall was a clear night.

Johnny "Mornings while ManCamping are a little rough"

Johnny “Mornings while ManCamping are a little rough”

Sunday morning – not feeling amazing but nothing a wang-shriveling dip in the lake can’t cure, right! Its overcast, slightly cool, but we can make the best of any situation! Well, booze can anyways! Today is much like the day before – eating, drinking, fishing, floating; nothing really exciting. I will say that Brad did come to the amazing realization that Bender is the older version of the children’s cartoon character, Caillou! I mean, Jesus Christ – the similarities are UNCANNY! Check it out…

Bender in his rain coat

See the similarity?

See the similarity?

He's even bald!

He’s even bald!

Anyways, we get nice and sauced and decide to have a very heated debate on all the topics you likely shouldn’t debate with your friends about (at least our friends) – religion, politics, unions (we’re not allowed to talk about unions but that’s a story for another time). Apparently it started raining but we didn’t quite seem to notice… it was one of the best nights I’ve ever had on a camping trip! We drank, and drank a lot, we laughed our asses off and yelled at one another just for the sake of yelling at one another. Oh, and from time to time we would just stop and make a Caillou jab at Bender just because its soo damn funny! This went on for hours and I mean HOURS!

Johnny and Brad in "The Pig"

Johnny and Brad in “The Pig”

Home bound on the Chinniguchi River

Home bound on the Chinniguchi River

Monday morning – time to break down camp and head home. We tour the island, clean up and say our goodbyes to Pirate Island. The going is great, the sun is shining and we make great time through the portages. Then, somewhere in the middle of Matagamasi Lake a bloody hurricane hits and completely sours our mood; at least in our boat, which I remind you is not meant for hurricane force winds to hit along the broadside of it… “The Pig” just became that much more of a hindrance! Oh well, we slag through, hit the launch and load the boats. We make quick work of the trip to Sudbury where we end up at the bar, downing a celebratory pint and absolutely destroy their bathroom! Good times!

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