Nopiming Canoe Trip 2018
Following the success of our canoe trip on the Stewart Lake Loop in 2017, Sophie, Celeste and I again paddled with Aaron and Genevieve, this time in Nopiming Provincial Park on August 28-31, 2018. The park is on the eastern edge of the Canadian Shield, with small lakes connected by rivers and plenty of large, exposed granite.

We accessed the park at Tulabi Falls, paddling through Tulabi Lake, the Bird River, and Elbow Lake to McGregor Lake, before reversing the route back to Tulabi Falls. We spent nights at Elbow, McGregor, and again at Elbow Lakes.

photo: We make our way along the Sand River on Day 1. The kids took turns paddling in the middle seat, swapping at portages; here it's Sophie's turn. Aaron is in the stern, Celeste and Genevieve are seated on the floor between Aaron and Sophie, and I'm in the bow.
We rented a 17' kevlar canoe from MEC which we picked up on the afternoon before our departure. We left Winnipeg on Tuesday morning for a 2.5 hour drive northeast to Tulabi Falls in Nopiming Provincial Park. We were on the water on Tulabi Lake by 10:30 am. We (unintentionally) visited the eastern bay of Tulabi Lake before finding the opening through the reeds northward into the Bird River. The river has three portages, 150 m, 375 m, and 30 m, before reaching the winding Elbow Lake, which has 15 campsites. The girls were great at partitioning the gear between them for the portages, and we did each in a single carry. We paddled around the first peninsula to campsite #4 (the middle of the three sites in the small bay) which we reached at 4 pm.
photo: The girls enjoyed playing in rapids at the portages. These are at one of the portages along the Bird River on Day 1.
On Day 2 we paddled for two hours through the winding length of Elbow Lake. Along the river before the first portage we were required to walk the canoe on two occasions due to the low water level and the many large rocks, once while the kids remained in the boat, and the second time while they walked along the shore. We had two portages between Elbow and McGregor Lakes. These could be connected as a single longer portage, but we decided to break them up into two shorter ones with a 50 m paddle between them. The second portage ends on McGregor Lake, where we decided to camp at a beautiful site (#16) next to the portage.
photo: our first campsite on Elbow Lake (campsite #4) on the morning of Day 2
On Day 3 we left the campsite at 11:30 am to reverse our route back to Elbow Lake. The wind was strong today, but the many bends in Elbow Lake provided shelter along the shore, and we only had a few stretches of challenging paddling a loaded canoe into strong wind. I have few pictures of Day 3 due to the constant effort required to keep the boat heading into the wind. Genevieve did a tremendous job paddling the entire length of Elbow Lake to get us through the wind to our site. We stopped at #3, the site next to our site from Day 1.
photo: The canoe is packed as we're about to leave our campsite on the morning of Day 2.
On Day 4 we had a 3.5 hour paddle back to Tulabi Falls. A light rain started as we left the campsite; conveniently, the rain held off until after we'd finished cooking and packing. The paddle was enjoyable, with plenty of ABBA songs sung along the way. Partway through the kids put rain jackets on; the rain remained light for a few minutes, before stopping and revealing blue skies and hot sun. We encountered several large groups heading into the park for the long weekend. After loading the car we stopped for a late lunch in Lac du Bonnet before returning to Winnipeg.
photo: This is the western end of the second portage on Day 2, as we prepare to unload the packs for the portage.
The weather was great: sunshine on Day 1, mostly sunny on Day 2, windy and sunny on Day 3, and 30 minutes of light rain on Day 4, followed by sunshine for the remainder of Day 4. Similar to last year, there were very few bugs.

Thanks Aaron and Genevieve for another great week paddling together!

photo: The kids loved the campsite (#16) across the river from the end of the portage, at the west end of McGregor Lake. The site faces rapids on the northwest side (seen here) and McGregor Lake on the northeast side.
photo: The kids worked on their paddling skills without their dads at the campsite on Day 2.

photo: We had dinner on a rock overlooking the rapids near our site on Day 2.
photo: After whitecaps in the winds for all of Day 3, Elbow Lake is calm at dawn on Day 4. I took this photo while the kids slept on the morning of Day 4. (The singularity has occured: I now wake up before my kids on most days).
photo: One of the portage landings on the Bird River was particularly muddy due to the low water level.
photo: We eat a snack/lunch on Day 4 before our final paddle back to the car across Tulabi Lake.
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