Day Nine: Best Island To Lonebreast Bay of Smoothrock lake – Bussey I.
distance: 22 km.
We got up at 5:00 the next morning and were into McKinley Bay by 6 a.m., intent on paddling away from the new fire and way down into Lonebreast Bay to the south by 11:00.
After knocking off the first three portages of the day – we finally made a one-hour breakfast stop on a flat elevated rock in the middle of the lake after P38. None are difficult although it was our second time through and we still had trouble finding P36! The bay is quite reedy so it can be a challenge to find the trailhead if you are the first party through in a while.
Below is our breakfast rock! We had left Best Island without even a cup of coffee thanks to those sandflies!
We continued south after breakfast to the next portage. Just as we got to the end of P 39, it started to rain – not the torrential downpour we had seen on Grayson Lake but still a nice long soak which was sure to cool down the bush around us. We had arrived at 11:15; we didn’t leave until 1:00 p.m.!
We spent over an hour sitting under that tarp, sipping on coffee, taking too many pix and celebrating the downpour. It washed away the tension of the previous day and a half and, except for a whiff that we got the next night at our Smoothrock Lake camp, that would be it for smoke and fire.
With the portage from Laurent Lake into Lonebreast Bay, that would also be it for portages and rapids for a couple of days. Other than the initial difficulty of finding the portage trail at the south end of McKinley Bay, the six carries from McKinley Bay to Lonebreast Bay are quick and easy.
We paddled down Lonebreast Bay for an hour and pulled ashore on Bussey Island. There is an established campsite there – tucked away and nicely sheltered. Also on site was a plaque left by friends of a deceased paddler who had spent time on the island. One note about the campsite – not everyone found it as we did. Here is a Canadian Canoe Routes forum member’s account of what he found –
Bussey Island when I went to scout it was a trash heap.. The water full of dead fish skins.. The island trashed with tp and propane ( 10 lb ) bottles. I went on. There is another campsite on the south shore about 2 km west of Bussey. Best for soloist. mccr source
There is a fishing lodge down the main part of Smoothrock Lake which may explain the mess found. Lodge guests and their guide probably use the island for fish fry lunches.
Day Ten: Lonebreast Bay To Smoothrock Lake Central
distance: 11 km.
After a leisurely two-cups-of-coffee start to the day, we headed south on Lonebreast Bay. Our objective for the day was to hit Smoothrock Lake Central and then find a campsite that would put us in a good position for the next day’s paddle down the west arm of the Lake.
We found our spot on a small island at the hub of Smoothrock Lake, an elevated spot with a flat top, some trees to provide shade and a windscreen and a nice breeze on the rock sloping down to the water. We set up our tent and hung our sleeping bags on a line we set up to take advantage of the sun and wind.
All in all, it was an easy day after the 5 a.m. get-up the day before on Best Island’s South Beach.