Scouting a New Route

Carlyle Campsite

Jenny and I said good-bye to our clients, consolidated gear, repacked her tripping canoe and headed out to paddle Carlyle Lake for a short scouting mission.

Scouting Mission

We didn’t get permits fast enough to do three trips of our usual Bell-Balsam women and girls trip. So Jenny quickly mapped out a reasonable Carlyle-Johnnie Lake route and nabbed permits for our trip dates.

The mission for our speedy overnighter was to scout which campsites we were aiming for on each lake. We’d then camp back on Carlyle and head home in the morning.

Carlyle Lake

On Carlyle Lake we could see which campsites were tucked away from the cottages, which ones looked too small or overgrown to accommodate our groups, and which site was the last one before Johnnie Lake. For both of these upcoming canoe trips, we had to camp the first night on Carlyle and the second on Johnnie.

We crossed over the beaver dam, meandered our way through the lily pads, and landed at the base of Johnnie Lake.

Johnnie Lake

It was getting late and based on our map, the paddling to scope out the sites we really wanted and making it back to find our own spot on Carlyle seemed like a lot after an already long day.

We turned around, made our way back through the trail cut into the lily pads, over the beaver dam, and into the cove near our take out.

Landing for the Night

The site we wanted for ourselves seemed unoccupied. As we approached it from the water, we could see smoke billowing. We picked up our pace, beached our canoe, and scrambled up the hill to see that the last campers hadn’t made sure their campfire was fully out. (Note: this is so bad. Please don’t leave your site without making sure your fire is out.)

As we walked around the site we found piles of garbage beneath downed trees at the back of the site and toilet paper everywhere despite a perfectly available, secluded, and not-disgusting thunderbox. (Note: this is also really bad. Pack out your garbage and use the thunderbox if one’s available.)

Add to that a very steep climb down to the water and we deemed the site unsuitable for our clients’ trips but fine for us to lay our heads for the night.

We set up our tents, made a quick dinner of pesto pasta, and called it a night. Around 11 o’clock a thunderstorm threatened with a few shots of lightning and rumbles of thunder but it didn’t produce much rain.

We made breakfast in the morning, eating our oatmeal and drinking our coffee in silence. A red squirrel accumulated a neat and towering pile of cone seeds at the base of a nearby tree. He sat high in the branches, chattering at us.

Homeward Bound

We broke down camp, packed up the canoe one more time, and soaked in the brief paddle back to the access point.

Scouting mission accomplished.

Carlyle and Johnnie Lakes scouting trip

For a little write-up on the trips that benefitted from this scouting trip, see this trip report and this one.

Published by Kate Monahan

Travel happy. Outdoors professional. Writer. Photographer. Educator.

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