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Packrafting Prince Albert National Park Under 100 Kilometres

Prince Albert National Park (2020): Day 5

Anticipating shallow waters on the Bagwa Canoe Route, I positioned my backpack behind me in my packraft today to better see over the bow. The route heading SOBO begins with a paddle down the Bagwa Channel, which had beautiful scenery, calm waters, many weeds and some water lilies to push through.

Bagwa Channel
Beaver lodge

The channel leads into Bagwa Lake, which has a beautiful (and mosquito free, when I arrived!) campground with two sites on a piece of land extending a short distance into the water. A squirrel ran up while I was taking a break there and proceeded to eat an entire mushroom cap in front of me. I guess they don’t like the stem, because she abandoned that.

Adorable

Exiting the campsite on the other side, I got off-route for a few minutes and started paddling further west down the lake. I felt unsure, checked my compass and turned myself around to the right direction, soon reaching a small channel between Bagwa Lake and Lily Lake. The water was choked with lily pads in some areas and a lot of pushing was necessary to get through.

Navigating through the lily pads

Lily Lake is large, and the canoe route extends along it lengthwise. A strong headwind was forming small quick waves on its surface, and I learned the meaning of windbound as for several moments I was paddling while looking at the shore and achieving zero movement forwards. It was a painstaking journey the rest of the way to lovely (and also mosquito-free!) Lily Lake Campground, which is located roughly halfway along the lake and not easy to see unless you’re looking for it. There were already campers in the two sites, but both left soon after my arrival. Perversely the wind did as well, and I went out again on the calm lake to explore its southeast reaches and a small beach there.

I thought that I was going to have the campground to myself, but a pair of men showed up late, around 7:30. They asked whether the ‘yellow inflatable thing’ was mine and whether I had made it all the way here on it. No one has recognized the packraft as a packraft – I’ve mostly gotten ‘kayak’, but I prefer ‘yellow inflatable thing’.

By Krista/Bane

Thru-hiker, LASHer and packrafter from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Enjoys walking slowly, seeking out ice cream whenever possible, and just generally being uninspirational.

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