Ishpatina Adventure

In search of the rooftop of Ontario

Page 5

I decided to do the safe thing and turn back... after all, I had gone unnoticed up 'till then. I slowly applied my brakes so that they'd make the least amount of noise possible. Unfortunately, my soaking-wet-mud-coated rims and brake pads had something else in mind as they let out a blood-curdling squeal, which could be heard to Sudbury! The two bears immediately stopped in their tracks and turned their heads towards me. I then locked eyes with the mother bear for the longest three seconds of my life before the cub decided to run for the woods. To my relief, the mother bear decided to follow her cub into the darkness...


I arrived at my car ten minutes later and what a sight it was! I couldn't think of a time when I was so happy to see my car! I started to load my equipment into the rear hatch when I noticed something peculiar. Footprints! Bearprints! Lots of them! All over my car! Hahaha! It was so funny... until I noticed the scratch marks from their claws.

You just can't win in this world! You leave your car in the wrong place in the city and you get it keyed. You leave your car in the wrong place in the wild and you get it clawed...


Epilogue (ie. If I had to do it all over again)

The following section will be of great value to anyone interested in reaching the Ishpatina Ridge by foot. My trip took three days to complete, but if you read the directions below, it should be possible to reach the summit from car to car within a long day.

First and foremost; take a proper vehicle! Leave the Camaro, Corvette, Mustang, etc. at home as this is no place for a sports car! But with that being said, I'll have to admit that the road wasn't that bad. In fact, I'd almost be willing to bet that a "regular" family car such as a Ford Taurus or Honda Accord could probably make it all the way to the Sturgeon River, if driven carefully. Make the trip during daylight and be prepared to fill in some large craters with logs, rocks, etc. The road is not located within any of the provincial parks in that area, but you can try calling the Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park to see if they can offer any report regarding the condition of the road. Oh yeah, be sure to ask them about bear activity as well.

Scarecrow Creek crossing, between Hamlow and Little Scarecrow Lakes.

Once you ford the Sturgeon River, continue north past an abandoned sawmill and ford the river between Hamlow Lake and Little Scarecrow Lake. As you can see to the left, this river is much smaller than the Sturgeon River. Approximately one kilometer later, you should be able to find a road leading up to the right at 4716.053' N, 8047.662' W. Turn onto this road and continue north until you hit the first intersection at 4716.205' N, 8047.618' W. Turn right and continue onto the next intersection at 4716.198' N, 8047.237' W. Finally, turn left and walk west along the faint overgrown road until it suddenly turns towards the north at approximately 4716.2' N, 8046.8' W. At this point, you will be approximately half a kilometer from the shore of Woods Lake. This marks the end of the easy hiking and leads to the fun part of the trip!

Set your compass bearing to 90 (east) and bushwhack towards Woods Lake. Although the forest is relatively dense in this area, you should able to reach the lake in well under an hour. Once you reach Woods Lake, continue north (using the shoreline as a reference) until you reach Scarecrow Lake.

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