Day 4 - August 24, 1999

Route:  Side trip to Barnet Depot Farm, Side trip to Cedar Rapids
Distance:  14 miles
Portages:  155, 155
Travel Time:  5:00

After three days, this was our first day of rest. The only thing planned for the day was a trip to the Barnet depot to see the "alligator". Seth rose early to go fishing while I slept. He managed to catch three fish - two perch and a chub. Even though they were too small to keep, he was very pleased.

After a leisurely breakfast, we started on our short paddle to the Barnet Depot. When we reached the Barnet Depot, we didn't see the "alligator" right away. There was an old building that we could see so put ashore there. The doorway of the building was still intact. Strangely, like the building at the McLachlin Depot, there was a large birch tree growing in the middle of this building.

Building at Barnet Depot
Building at Barnet Depot

There were more buildings here than the McLachlin Depot. Like the McLachlin Depot, the clearing had plenty of tall grass and raspberry bushes. There paths made by animals throughout the clearing. At one point, we found a pile of bear droppings.

Alligator at the Barnet Depot
Alligator at the Barnet Depot

We wandered around the clearing searching for the "alligator", but had no luck. After a while, we decided that we would probably have better luck searching from the canoe. First, we went left and didn't find anything. We were getting pretty discouraged. We paddled to the other side of the clearing and soon found the "alligator".

We went ashore near the "alligator" and were immediately impressed by its size. The upper part of the boat was still mostly intact even though the hull was collapsed. Inside, the wooden beams were still solid and the paint was not even peeling.

Around to the side, there was a paddle wheel, which was about 10 feet high. It was in amazingly good shape. On the other side of the boat was another paddle wheel which was in worse shape.

Also inside the boat was an immense boiler. There were many gears and levers which were used to drive either the paddle wheels or the large winch. We found out later that this boiler was capable of only 10 horsepower.

I'd been wanting to see the "alligator" for several years, but had never quite made it. It was quite a thrill to finally be here. We took one last look around before returning to camp.

Boiler Inside Alligator
Boiler Inside Alligator

When we reached camp, we ate lunch. True to my vow of the day before, I refused to eat the summer sausage and cheese. Seth tried to convince me it was okay, but I wouldn't be swayed. In the end, we had peanut butter on our bagels. After lunch, we took a nap in our hammocks.

After our nap, we decided to explore the upper part of Burntroot L. and possibly beyond. We decided we would go as far as we could and still make it back by 6:00. We left around 2:00 and reached the Portal Rapids by 2:45. We wanted to check out the rapids to see if we could run them. No go - too many rocks and too little water.

We crossed the portage and reached Perley Lake. This is a very long and interesting lake. The water was relatively shallow with many trees on the bottom. There were also many large boulders in unexpected places. We had to travel very cautiously.

By this time, the sun was really beating down on us and we were both getting sunburned. We really regretted not having sunscreen on our trip.

Ignoring our plan to make it back by 6:00, we paddled to the end of Perley Lake. Along the way we saw two great blue herons and four mergansers. At one point, a very large turtle surfaced right next to our canoe.

We reached the end of Perley L. and walked the portage which went around Cedar Rapids. This was by far the furthest into the park that either of us had been.

Seth Consulting a Map Near the Cedar Rapids
Seth Consulting a Map Near the Cedar Rapids

Female Moose on Perley Lake
Female Moose on Perley Lake

We returned to our canoe to start our return trip. We were both exhausted and were questioning our judgment for making such a long side trip on our day of rest. We both thought that having someone else with us to temper our enthusiasm would be a good idea.

As we reached the end of Perley L., we were rewarded for all of our hard work by a moose sighting. Seth was the one who spotted it first. The female moose was standing in the water drinking water. She saw us almost immediately but continued to drink and allowed us to snap a few pictures. Eventually, she tired of us and went back into the woods. We were tired and still had a long way to paddle but our spirits were lifted by seeing the moose. We finally returned to our campsite around 6:30 and went for a swim.

Just before bedtime, we were treated to a chorus of loons. The loons were soon joined by an owl. The loons tired of the concert, but the owl went on for 20 minutes.

Prev  Home  Next

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8

Home Family Photos Hiking Biking Canoeing

Contact Stephen Miller with any comments or questions about this site.
Last updated on 09/01/2003.