Canoeing From The Pikitigushi’s Cliff Lake to Echo Rock on Lake Nipigon

Here are a few of the images we paddled into on our twelve-day exploration of the Pikitigushi River system from Cliff Lake down to Windigo Bay in Lake Nipigon,  followed by our island-hopping route down to Echo Rock, and our paddle up the west shore of the Lake past Jackfish Island and into Wabinosh Bay and up the Wabinosh River to Waweig Lake. It was a route that had a bit of everything and lots of history to mull over.

The GPX file is in my Dropbox folder. Download it here – 2018 Nipigon Tracks. GPX

Mattive Outfitters Beaver at the dock

The weather was not the greatest and the wind made for extra work and worry – but looking at the pix, I think we were lucky to have made the journey!  More details and maps  – and images – to come in the following weeks.

de Havilland Beaver control panel

Cliff Lake – an aerial view from the north

Cliff Lake Campsite across from Dewdney’s Pictograph Site #264

a newly-constructed (since our last visit in 2013) bench on top of Pictograph Site #264

Dewdney’s site 119 – the moose image and smudges

passing by the Thunderbird at Site #262 at the south end of Cliff Lake

passing by the Thunderbird at Site #262 at the south end of Cliff Lake

pictographs at the south end of Cliff Lake (site #262)

See the two posts below if you want to know more about the Cliff Lake pictographs. Few people know that the lake has one of the Canadian Shield’s most significant collections of Anishinaabe rock paintings.

The Pictographs of Wabakimi’s Cliff Lake -Part One:  Selwyn Dewdney Takes Us on A Tour

The Pictographs of Wabakimi’s Cliff Lake – Part Two

abandoned cabin on Ratte Lake – our home for a night

The Bear Camp on the Pikitigushi – our tent is on the right

After the Bear Camp and our visit with the Boucher Bros., we would not see anyone for the next ten days as we paddled down the river and on Lake Nipigon.  We also did not see any moose or woodland caribou or black bears; we did come across some paw prints on the various beaches we landed on.  You will have to scroll down to the end of the post to see the one incredible display of nature we paddled into – a gathering of perhaps 150 pelicans at the bottom of a set of rapids.

deadfall on the lower Pikitigushi

lunch stop on the meandering Pikitigushi

We dealt with four major logjams on the lower Pikitigushi. None had a portage trail around them so we had to come up with solutions of our own!

“Houston, we have a problem!” – a logjam in need of a bypass

sandbar campsite on the lower Pikitigushi

checking out the last set of waterfalls on the Pikitigushi – above Mud River rail stop

Windigo Bay Lake Nipigon coming up – a cabin at the mouth of the Pikitigushi

Our tent spot on one of the Britannia Islands – 9 square meters of flat ground!

lunch stop on Billings Island

campsite on Geikie Island

Geikie Island campsite – another view

one of a hundred shots we took of the setting sun on Geikie

our campsite on the west side of Kelvin Island

approaching Echo Rock on a wet and cold – and windy – morning

getting close to Echo Rock Lake Nipigon

looking up to the top of Echo Rock

graffiti on Echo Rock

pelicans on Lake Nipigon

early morning on Wabinosh Lake

We spent some time on the shores of Wabinosh Lake looking for remains of a WWII German POW (Prisoner of War) camp.  It was apparently on the west side of the Wabinosh River as it comes in from Waweig Lake.  We would later learn that we were expecting to find something – the remains of an actual POW camp with barbed wire and everything else –  that never actually existed!

WWII POW Camps in the Armstrong Station Area – The Real Story!

the Wabinosh River above the Highway 527 culvert


The following posts cover the various sections of our canoe trip down the Pikitigushi and on Lake Nipigon:

From Cliff Lake To Lake Nipigon:  Logistics. Maps, and Day 1 – Cliff Lake

From Cliff Lake To Lake Nipigon:  Days 2 & 3 – From Cliff Lake to The Bear Camp

From  Cliff Lake  To Lake Nipigon:  Days 3, 4, &5 – From The Bear Camp To Windigo Bay

Island Hopping Lake Nipigon  By Canoe From Windigo Bay To Echo Rock

Canoeing From Lake Nipigon’s Echo Rock To Waweig Lake

This entry was posted in Pictographs of the Canadian Shield, Wabakimi, wilderness canoe tripping. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Canoeing From The Pikitigushi’s Cliff Lake to Echo Rock on Lake Nipigon

  1. Bryan Bishop says:

    Do you normally paddle in the Stern of the canoe Solo like that? Never saw that before! It must be extremely hard to manage the canoe in the wind!

    Bryan Bishop Lifestyle Photography C: 807-252-5436

    • true_north says:

      Bryan, we never paddle like that! The front end is definitely not sitting in the water! We only did it so I could get a shot from the shore that would give the viewer a perspective on the Rock and its size. At times on the big Lake, it was hard enough for us to manage the canoe with two of us in it!

  2. Sheryl D says:

    Awesome to come across this! My parents were from Armstrong and we had a fishing camp at Mud River rail stop that we went to every summer when the pickerel were running, though the last time was 25 yrs ago. The river is looking really low compared to back then.

    • true_north says:

      Sheryl, nice to hear my write-up brought back some good memories! You need to go back sometime – for more pickerel and more memories!

      Re: the water level. The Boucher Bros. have a seasonal camp where the road crosses the Pikitigushi. They told us the water was much lower than usual before we headed down to the Mud River train stop. We were actually kinda worried!

      It turned out that there was more than enough water for us to float down to where your fish camp was and then on down into Windigo Bay.

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