Ode To Obabika
Well, another great adventure to another great location and geocache.
It all started as I'm always looking for caches that are out of the way, and this one definitely was, not found for almost 3 years. I had this one on my list and as fate would have it, someone placed another cache on the same lake that would be enroute. So that sealed the deal, this was our next adventure, it would be 2 First To Finds. My son Patrick had 3 days off coming up next week, so the planning started. Googled any info I could and emailed the cache owner of the new cache as he was just there. Found out about Goulard's gate and that it was our best route. Ranger's Collector's Patch was 15 km's north of where we would launch, but it was also 1km from Goulard's Gate where we'd have to leave the truck and portage canoe and gear to the lake. No motorized vehicles are aloud beyond the gate, but it was still a dirt road up to where the portage crossed, so I decided to make a portage buggy and use our canoe. It was .5km less we would have to carry canoe and gear. Placed my canoe on my dolly at home and it worked OK, but would need some modifications. Not wanting to modify my perfectly good dolly, I went out and bought a new one for $39.99. Brought it home and cut of the top and bottom plate. Painted it and strapped it to canoe, worked great in the yard. I already had purchased a small sleeping bag and other small gear for camping with the canoe/kayak, and picked up a water filtration system, so nothing else was needed but time.
So now, our plan, to drive Patrick's truck to Goulard's Gate, leave truck and portage to water. Paddle 15kms to Ranger's Point Campsite and set up camp. Get up next morning and do the 1.4km hike to the cache, then head back to Campsite 3 which was back closer to Old Baldy Cache, spend the night and then wake up and get that one, along with looking for the Petroglyphs that are supposedly nearby. Then paddle the 5kms back to portage head and portage back to truck. Head home.
With everything loaded in Patrick's Pathfinder and the canoe on top, we set off early Thursday morning (around 6am). We went down Hwy 17 to hagar, turned up 539. It soon became more of a trail than road (539a). We followed for a bit and then opted to follow the old train tracks. These have been removed for years and people use them with quads and skidoo's. We actually use them often when out quading ourselves and I have a cache at the bridge across The Wahnapitae River. So we followed the tracks to 805, then north up 805 till the end and Goulard's gate. It was easy going and passable with a car, but would recommend a 4x4. Passed by beautiful Emerald Lake, which was also the color of it's waters. Turned right at the" Alex" sign to the gate. Unloaded the truck and loaded the canoe. My portage buggy worked great, not only were we able to use it along the road passed the gate, but even along the portage route to the water. We took turns in front and back, used a strap up front over our shoulders and pushed from the back. Once at the lake, which was awesome to see and know now that, this was gonna be possible. We ulnloaded the canoe to remove the portage buggy. Then placed buggy and all our gear in the canoe. Off we went, it was easy because of the GPS, but could be hard to navigate without. Around points and islands, we made our way out of Chinaman's Bay. As we were getting close to Old Baldy, the newer cache, we decided to attempt this one first, would also give our arms a break from paddling. But by the looks of it, our legs were in for a workout. Old Baldy was atop what appeared to be a mountain side that collapsed. There was huge boulders everywhere. We shored the canoe, grabbed our hike belts, swag bag, camera and GPS and headed into the boulders. You had to watch your step as these boulders were loose. We climbed and climbed till we reached the top, I did have one slip, but all was OK. At the top we were greeted by a beautiful view of Lake Obabika. Spectacular, I was wearing my Polarizer sunglasses which just added to the beauty, I could see down into the crystal clear waters of Obabika. Cache was easily located and we signed the log. Took the unactivated TB tags and took pictures. We're gonna use a pic of us atop for the new TB tag we just acquired. After all our enjoyment, taking it all in, we headed back down for more paddling. We paddled another 5kms then stopped on a little beach area for lunch. I was hoping to have the canoe in the water by lunch, so we were way ahead of schedule. There was a camp close by, a beautiful one at that, but looked like no one was there. I was surprised to see it. While eating lunch, we noticed an old rusted truck amongst the trees. It had "MEDERIC CLEANERS" on the side, it looked like a 50's truck or so. After lunch and some pics, we headed back up the river, Ranger's Point Campsite was less than 5kms away. We headed straight for it, the water was so calm and the reflections were amazing. Took our time and many pictures along the way. This lake was huge, yet we were the only ones out here. It was so beautiful, and we were it's only witness. We got to Ranger's Point and what an amazing spot. It was like a peninsula with a huge beach along each side. We found where we wanted set up camp and did so. With camp all set up by 4pm, we decided to do the hike and cache now, and have supper when we return. We put on another dose of Deep Woods Off Sportsman, filled our water bottles with my water filtration system (drinking from the heart of Obabika), grabbed the GPS and camera and were off. The woods were dense but the trail was clear, we followed it till we reached the cabin. Bug spray was working great as we were wearing shorts and muscle shirts. Reached the small cabin and found the cache, FTF. Also found the markings from the Twain's and saw the post where the tower once was. Amazing spot, many signatures on the cabin, from the 40's and saw one from 2008. Had to add ours so I pulled out my permanent marker and signed the wall. Some more pics, then it was time to head back. Started back, then realizedI didn't get a pic of our signature, so turned and went back for a pic. It was like, this maybe the only time we'll ever see our signature here, so we better get a picture. Now, satisfied with everything we headed back to camp. The walk back was one of those walks and talks we 've had many times before ( like Ishpatina and Maple Mountain), proud of what we just accomplished, proud to share it father and son and proud of the 2 year 9 month old FTF. It was also joined by a Ruffed Grouse who was walking ahead of us along the trail. The feeling that you are where you are supposed to be at this point and time in your life.
Back at the camp we had supper. Patrick fell asleep around 7:30 pm, I tried my luck at fishing and caught some bass which were all released because the season wasn't open, then watched the sun go down across the lake. Turned in afterwards for the night. The next morning I was up at 5:28am, got up and made myself a tea. Tried my luck to catch a pike for breakfast, but only bass seemed to be around. Got Patrick up at 7:30. and Made some PB&J camping toast. We always enjoy those when camping. Camping just ain't camping without the PB&J. There was some Flower pot rock formation north of our campsite and I wanted to see them closer for pics before heading back, so we packed up everything and loaded it back in the canoe. Replenished our water from Obabika's heart and off we went. It was a beautiful morning, sun was hot and the water was like glass. Checked out the rock formation and took some pics. Then turned the canoe around and headed for campsite 3, 11+ kms back. We took our time enjoying the solitude and seeing numerous bass in the clear waters. We paddled all the way back to campsite 3 where we had lunch. Opened some beans, patrick tried his luck fishing while the beans heated. It didn't take him long and he had a nice pike. A little to late for lunch, but would make a great supper. We had lunch and then searched for the Petroglyphs (Native rock carvings) we were told about. We saw another Ruffed Grouse, this time with a bunch of chicks. Amazing and cute to see, tried to get some pics, but the camera wouldn't focus on the little guys, opting for any branches or trees instead. We walked along the shoreline the 300m to where the petroglyphs were was suppose to be. It was rough bushwhacking and Patrick thought he found one, but I'm not so sure. We went back to the campsite. It had clouded over by now, so we decided to head back to the truck, weather reports were for rain Saturday. We had accomplished what we wanted to do, so instead of getting stuck in the rain, we headed back to the truck. Got back in the canoe and fished our way back. Stopped along to look at what might of been the Petroglyphs we were looking for. On a rock along the shore. We caught another pike in front of the Old Baldy cache and another just before the launch location in Chinaman's Bay. With 3 pike to bring home, a good supper will be had in the days ahead. At the launch we loaded up the canoe with the portage buggy and gear, took pics of ourselves and fish, and said our last goodbye's to Lake Obabika. The portage was harder coming back because our arms were tired after our 20kms of paddling today and 15 the day before, but we got back to the truck in no time. Loaded up and 30 minutes later the rain came, confirming our decision to leave today. On the ride out we saw another Partridge with 9 chicks as they crossed our pathway. We stopped to get some pics of Emerald Lake and opted to take the old train tracks all the way back toward Skead. Saw a beaver and 2 turtles.
Another great adventure under our belts. What and where will be our next, the stories continue.
Thanks toRstengel for placing a difficult cache, that no one attempted and J-Ho (Jason) for his cache and info that helped so much.
Pictures above includes the Signatures of Shania Twain's Stepfather and Grandparents from 1948. Pictures of the old generator house where the signatures are located, the base of the old fire tower (still trying to find the name), Ranger's Point Campsite and Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks. Also a picture of a Petroglyph, ancient paintings on the rocks.
Maps of our GPS tracks
More Info: Finding out more info. The Signature are of Shania Twain's Stepfather - Gerry Twain Jr, his dad and mom and sister. The rock formations are The Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks. The pic is of a beleived Petroglyph. The cabin was an old generator house. Still trying to find the name of the tower.
(New) Check out my Video Log of this trip Ode To Obaika - Quest for A FTF
It's 6 parts, so follow them in order.
Check out my My Road To Ishpatina story.
Check out my Memories From Maple Mountain story.
Check out my Fraser Hill Fishing Cache story.
Check out my The Air Is Thin Up Here story.
(New) Check out my Wheeled Portager Home made way to get your canoe/kayak to the water.
Check out my Memories From Maple Mountain Video for a truly ultimate cache. It's 16 parts, so follow them in order.
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