It had been awhile since Jan and I had gotten away for a canoe camping trip. We didn’t have a lot of time so I suggested we drive up to the north end of Chiniguichi Lake and access an in/out route to Stouffer Lake. It took about 2.5 hr. to drive on the old logging roads to arrive at the put in on Button Lake. Map
We quickly loaded up the canoe and headed off for the portage into Dougherty Lake. This portage rises up steeply from Button Lake and climbs over a ridge before descending down to Dougherty Lake, a 480 metre distance. Dougherty is one of the prettier lakes in the area – pine covered shores and the water is an aquamarine colour and very clear.
|Start of portage to Dougherty|
We continued up the lake to the portage into Frederick Lake. This portage bypasses a creek blocked by an ancient beaver dam and is about 220 metres long. We head in a northerly direction and pass through the remnants of an old logging bridge about 1 km up the lake. Just past this old bridge is an island, which has 16 distinct quartz veins running through its rock. After about an hours paddle we reach the 200 metre portage into Stouffer Lake.
We pause to refresh and then head off to the island campsite in mid lake. We set up camp and spend the afternoon poking around and reading. Supper, a glass of wine, a small fire along with some stargazing finished the day.
|Jan enjoying the afternoon|
Dawn brought some scattered clouds and a calm lake. The clouds soon disappear and we pack a lunch and head off to explore the lake.
|Stouffer Lake morning|
I’ve been though here before and show Jan the portage that connects with the Sturgeon River. We also find the beginnings of the portage that leads to the “Backdoor Route” from Stouffer up to Kettle Falls on the Sturgeon River. Jan has a bum ankle but I walk the port to Puddle Lake for a look. It’s a hot day and we find a nice rock and have a swim and clean up before heading for camp and a glass of wine with supper.
We packed up the next morning with the intention of paddling out to Dougherty Lake and spending a night there before we had to head for home. Once we arrived on Frederick Lake we spent some time looking for possible campsites but the only real viable site is the one marked on the Ottertooth map. There are 2 sites island sites on Dougherty Lake and we spent the night on the larger southern island.
|Dougherty Lake sunset|
The next morning arrived with some overcast and we packed and headed for the port back into Button Lake and our vehicle. We experienced a couple of light showers on the way back to the truck but it cleared off as we drove home.All in all a nice quick and easy getaway for us. It's sure nice to live in the heart of canoeing country!