Wolf Creek is buried deep in the Ottawa National Forest, so you'd be forgiven for never hearing about it before. After making official my goal of paddling on every lake in the Ottawa, I started looking for ways to access remote lakes with even more remote rivers. Wolf Creek is one such route. What started as a desperate attempt to check off one lake from my list soon turned into a journey to unlock several. I almost brought along friends for a leisurely afternoon paddle, never once imagining it to be a Misery Paddle Tour. It turned out to be quite the opposite.
For starters, accessing Wolf Creek required dragging my kayak a quarter mile through open woods and a thick swamp. Dragging straight to Wolf Lake would have been preferable if it weren't surrounded by private land. Once on Wolf Creek, I plowed my way through downed trees and brush to reach the lake, which was ringed almost entirely by wetlands. Pushing across more wetlands and beaver dams rewarded me with a second private lake, Little Wolf Lake. A cabin stood on this one, the only sign of human disturbance for several miles.
"Downstream" of Little Wolf Lake was both beautiful and problematic. Beaver dams created pools of water that were easy to paddle across. However, those beaver dams meant I constantly had to get out to continue. Not to mention there were more than 30 of them... Where they were absent, the river channel was thin and winding and often blocked by remnant trees and dams. It was nice knowing that I'm probably the only person in generations to push through this area though. Miles of wetlands passed by, including Frog Pond which had no frogs. What a rip off.
Accessing Cougar Lake was a chore. It looked simple enough to hop off of Wolf Creek briefly to bag this one, but alas, looks are always deceiving. The channel to this wetland lake was blocked up with alder, remnant dams, and downed trees. The usual, I'd say! The reward was barely even worth the effort, although I can't imagine anyone ever makes their way out here. Once back on Wolf Creek, I paddled through flooded forests of zombie trees, passed an ancient road crossing (mostly a jumble of rocks and petrified trees), and ate up the miles as the river widened. Eventually I reached Perch Lake, the biggest one around. Unfortunately the winds had picked up which made any interest in paddling across to the island nil. Next time! All told I paddled 7.5 miles through this uncharted river and have officially seen it all. You can thank me later. Check out the photos here!
In classic Nathan Invincible fashion, after beating myself up on the paddle I decided biking back to my truck was a worthwhile idea. It rained the entire way.