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[FAQ] Frequently Asked Questions
about Murtle Lake Canoe Camping

 

1. I have downloaded some info on the hiking trails, do you have any more details (your experience) on trails in the area?

Camp site #8 and #9 are close to a trail leading down to McDougall Falls in the Murtle River. There is also a small cabin inside the lagoon that can be used as a campsite. (has not been updated on this map) A note of caution: this water is moving out of the lake into the lagoon, where it begins it's gradually narrowing entry into the Murtle River.

Camp site #15 is a great place to stage a hike to the top of Wavy Crest Ridge. or Strait Lake. Wavy Crest Ridge. This one is definitely an overnighter! The hike up can be strenuous, depending on weight and speed. Fantastic views of Murtle and Strait Lakes from above. A Total wilderness setting.

Portable camp stoves are required for cooking, (no fire wood in alpine meadows) Leave the canoes at #15, pack "light for the night", or stay a few days. Trail walks are not strenuous unless you are fully packed.

 

2. I was okay without the tap water, flush toilets and the showers but I just don't know how I can camp without a picnic table! How developed are some of the sites? Any recommendations?

There are no picnic tables at any of the sites. Remember this is a wilderness trip! You can have a lot of fun improvising and inventing ideas for a project such as an eating area. Each camp will present a different scenario. There are many improvisations that are sometimes fun projects for the family to do together.

Bring one canvas tarp 10'x10' per canoe. It will be the most valuable equipment item you will have aside from your canoe. You can never have too much rope! Do you need some assistance with tying knots? Check out "Knots" To do this trip, I would recommend that you should be willing to strip yourself of those every day conveniences, get back to basics, simplify your needs. Take some time out for yourself, avoid the complications created in life by carrying too much luggage! You will likely discover new wonderful things about yourself!

I would recommend that for the first two nights you stay at camp #2. It is a half hour paddle from the canoe launching site. This is a great first destination from where you are now! After a drive, pack, portage and shake down of paddling skills, you will be ready for your first gourmet camp meal! Settle in for the next day and night. This gives you time to take in the lake and shake down your systems.

 

3. What about food storage and cooking?

The sites have fire pits with a protective metal ring, grill attached. There are communal Food Cache 's within a 2 minute walk of tent sites. This consists of a platform elevated about 20 off the ground, accessible via ladder. Leave the bulk of your supplies here in coolers or waterproof pack. Access on meal to meal basis.

There are outhouses located at each of the camp areas. They are maintained on a regular basis. The park warden and maintenance personnel frequently service the camp sites (the only motor boat on the lake) You will likely be visited once every other day.

On that note, my other big angst is ice. (can you tell I am a novice to camping?) When we setting up the trip, I said that I had no problem with canoeing in and out however, access to supplies would be great, should the need arise. What is available? Do we have to drive all the way back to your lodge should we need anything (which does not seem feasible)? Ice: Forget ice! Use a couple of freeze packs to get you into the second day. Raw meat will keep for 3 days if protected from the heat of the day. Take in what you need for the duration. Simplify further each day. It would not be logical to exit and go back to town for supplies. It is possible to stay comfortably as long as two weeks without replenishing supplies.

Obviously diet adjustments are required. Most visitors stay 7-10 days. There are many foods that are great basic building blocks that do not need refrigeration. There are some tricks to learn, (like how to pack eggs!). With careful planning and thought to what you place in your pantry, and a little creativity, you will end up creating some of the best tasting meals of your life!

 

4. How much weight can be placed in a canoe?

Generally one canoe holds 2 paddlers and all of their gear. You can put 4 in a canoe, with day gear only.

 

5. We are very interested in getting a couple of portage carts for the walk to the lake.How much do carts carry: do they carry supplies as well as the canoes?

Weight Restriction: Portage Carts: Please remember that the carts are designed to assist in the portage of canoes. A minimal amount of gear (say aprox. 60 pounds) can be placed in the center of the canoe. Overloading can lead to a broken axle (and/or canoe!). You should carry what you can in a back pack for the trip down the trail. Where do we keep the carts once we have portaged into the lake? There is a metal rail at the lagoon entry designed to chain carts to.

 

6. What would you recommend for clothing?

Personal Gear: I would suggest 3 day exchange of clothes.

Rain Gear: Durable hooded raincoat and pants, waterproof foot gear, hat. It should be easy to put this gear on over anything you are wearing. Wool is recommended. it is warm when wet, and cool when weather is hot.

 

7. Are there any accommodations available in Blue River.For that last night, it would be nice to have hot shower further information so we may book our last night, in advance?

Yes, there are several good hotels in Blue River, and we would be happy to help you locate comfortable lodgings. Of course, when camping in Blue River we would recommend the Blue River Campground - click the contact link on the left to make a reservation with us. You might consider extending your stay as the local amenities of Blue River include great cuisine, swimming beach, mountain bike rentals, canoeing or hiking day trips in to "Mud Lake" etc.

 

8. We understand that there is no tap water, please confirm that a purification device will be necessary?

Water: There are a number of fresh mountain streams feeding into Murtle Lake. The water has got to be the purest on earth! It needs NOTHING to 'purify' it. (However tap water does or should!). Keep one 2 gallon collapsible container per person for essential water supply. That is about a 2 day supply. Refill it any time you paddle by a mountain stream entering the lake. Lake water can be boiled before drinking. Water purification is not necessary Use lake water for boiling pasta or rice, etc. The odd individual could possibly bathe in the lake with non biodegradable soap! It is possible that some people wash dishes directly into the lake . Others possibly dispose of fish entrails and other waste into the lake. All of these cause the deterioration of the water quality and natural Eco system. Special efforts must be made by all visitors to wilderness lakes to avoid these activities to maintain the natural quality, beauty and most of all, delicate balance of the Eco system in the area.

 

9. As I am from the City I worry about thefts. Should we be taking some precautions at our campsite?

Generally speaking this area has no frequent occurrence of any crimes. (At least I have never heard of any) It is my experience that cars are prime target for criminals anywhere!. A locked door usually does not keep an intending offender out! If someone is desperate enough to steal your food, then he likely needs your help! Regarding camping equipment, I wouldn't worry too much, the desperado will have to portage it out, and get to town, all before you find out, to be successful! Names of all visitors are logged into the permit directory, in case of anything serious.

 

10. I am not worried about bears (maybe I should be but I grew up in the interior) I am worried about mountain lions/wild cats. How is the wildlife up there?

Thank God that we have not chased away our wildlife yet! Moose are the most commonly sited large animal. Black bears are around and will snoop into unattended sites that have food improperly stored. Improper disposal of dish washing water will also attract attention of bears and other scavengers. It is best to dispose of gray water into the toilet outhouse pit. DO NOT DISPOSE OF FOOD WASTE IN OUTHOUSES.

Other wildlife consists of Martin, porcupine, ospreys, owls and eagles. I am sure there are mountain lions in the region, but have never heard of a siting.

 

11. What is the weather like in mid-June on the lake?

June is my favorite time to go into the lake. The water is a bit high and covers some of the camp sites. However, there are many to choose from, so that is not much of a problem. There are very few visitors during this time of year as summer holidays for most have not yet begun. Weather is varied, prepare for hot sun, and rain squalls. The water isn't warm enough to swim in yet, but not ice cold. Evenings are cool, but nothing a small fire and a wool blanket can't fend off.

 

12. What are the bugs like?

A note on bugs: "No bugs in the Alpine, (above tree line) No bugs on the lake. No bugs on the open beaches on a hot day! No bugs around a small smudgy camp fire. No bugs in the tent! No bugs under my hat!"

Try not to allow them much thought, but mosquitoes do exist!. They do have their moments with us at times! Usually they hang aroung in the mornings and evenings. For when they are bad, I would recommend gloves, good socks, neckerchief an appreciation of nature and a good sense of humor .

I have a pair of wool gauntlets that protect my hands and forearms when I have a task to do and the bugs are bad Aside from these essential basics, avoid standard bug dopes such as "Off" or "Raid", use citronella oil on skin and/or burn citronella candles during bad times. I have definitely noticed more mosquitoes around when industrial standard chemicals are used, (go figure!)

 

 
 
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