A remote family outing
This wasn’t our family’s first wilderness canoe adventure. Sandra and I began taking our kids into the boundary waters for three- to four-night trips as soon as they were out of diapers. Actually it goes back further than that. I vetted Sandra on a canoe trip into the Quetico prior to asking her to marry me.
We took many canoe trips as a family into the Boundary Waters off the Gunflint Trail. Over the years a few things changed, however. Both the Cavity and Ham Lake fires scarred our favorite places, at least temporarily, and the kids grew up.
No longer were they included as an “item” we needed to portage, but instead they began to become able-bodied voyageurs in their own right. Yes, we could have headed west towards Ely for different pastures, but instead decided on venturing into Wabakimi Provincial Park in Ontario after hearing about the place at Canoecopia.
Bruce Hyer is likely most responsible for creating Wabakimi as it’s known today. In 1976 he took everything he owned up to the area to build his own log cabin and live in the wilderness. The park’s original boundary lines were established in 1983. It was expanded six fold in 1997 to create the largest wilderness paddling area in the world.
There are no roads into Wabakimi Provincial Park. Entry is gained via paddling, rail or sea plane. For this particular trip we took a train in and flew out. When the kids, ages 12 and 13, learned of the plan to take a plane out, they could barely contain their excitement.
Starting north of Thunder Bay
We arrived at Wabakimi Canoe Outfitters just outside of Armstrong, Ontario, after driving a two-lane road north from Thunder Bay. We met with our hosts Brenda, who handles the business and reservations part of the business, and Bert, who filled us in with his knowledge of the route we had planned.
Our trip was to begin at Allanwater Bridge, an old Hudson Bay Company fur trading post. From there we would travel north via the Flindt River to the heart of the park – Wabakimi Lake – before getting picked up by float plane on Lower Wabakimi Lake. We were heading into remote territory, for sure.
The entirety of Todd Rich’s account his family vacation in Wabakimi Provincial Park appears in the July 2015 print edition of Silent Sports magazine. To order a copy, call 888-706-4045. Or avoid missing another issue and subscribe online here.