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Old 08-10-2014, 09:24 AM   #1
stripperguy
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Sand Lake to Clockmill Pond



Looks great right??
If only we had continued...

We planned (me mostly) to paddle and carry from Sand Lake to Clockmill Pond.
Google and Bing recon looked favorable, with a few rough spots in between.
MDB and I, along with hickoryskier and his SO, carried to Sand Lake. It was an easy .4 mile carry, with some sloppy going at the midpoint (headwater of a feeder to Big Bay).
There is a sloppy campsite right at the end of the trail.



We put in from the campsite on a postcard picture perfect day...



and paddled across to the inlet. We found our way though a maze of pickerelweed and water lillies, past a huge beaver hut.



We paddled up the inlet for a minute, or so it seemed, and came to a small rock garden.



I whacked through the woods for no more than 100 yards, easy going with no undergrowth. Looking upstream, it was small, but certainly navigable.
I came back to report to the gang, and they had already decided today would be a low effort day.

So we circumnavigated the lake, spotting 4 campsites along the shores.
We stopped for a snack at a particularly scenic and attractive campsite.



The southern most part of the lake has some nice views...



Watched a pair of loons fill their bellies, and that was it!! Many rises from fish, and not another soul to be found. It was quiet and nice, not bad for a close to home day trip.
I need to go back with more motivated minions!!
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:14 AM   #2
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Nice trip. A hidden gem. I ski all over in there in the winter, so many open meadows! A friend took his Hornbeck to clockmill once. Don;t remember the details.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:27 PM   #3
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Good recon trip.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:59 PM   #4
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Keith,
That little rock garden couldn't have been more than 100 yards. After that, it looked like easy paddling all the way to the confluence with Clockmill outlet.
I'll get there eventually...
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for the report.

Great photos - as usual.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:02 PM   #6
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Stripper, my buddy Jamie and I are planning to complete the the sand to clockmill trip next week. We recently did the clockmill, rock and un named loop and found it to be a very enjoyable paddle. If I can figure out how to upload photos to this site will share. John
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:35 AM   #7
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Blue (John),
I'll look forward to your photos and descriptions. The photos are most easily uploaded from a hosting site like Picasa, Photobucket, Flickr or similar.
I was really disappointed that my gang was reluctant to put in a little more effort, the flats between Sand and Clockmill look to be some interesting stuff.


Oh, and welcome to the forum...
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Old 08-31-2014, 03:36 PM   #8
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Stripperguy, my paddling buddy Jamie and I went to complete this trip on Wednesday the 27th. We started the hike to Sand Lake shortly after 10am and found the hike and paddle across Sand to the inlet to be as you described. We bushwacked the hundred or so yards and continued up the meandering inlet stream. Our research showed that we would encounter 4 obstructions, with the last being a rock garden. We paddled through several breached beaver dams and had to carry over three. The last obstruction was a rock garden that required a bushwack through the forest. It was much shorter than the the first bushwack. After this carry we went left towards clockmill and paddled til we came to where the stream dropped out of the forest. We tried to bushwack but woods were very thick. We contemplated walking up the stream bed, but it was all rock face and slippery. We decided this was not wise for a couple guys in their early 60s carrying 15 foot boats. At this point we were over 3 hours in from the car.
Rather than turn back we decided to venture onto mud pond and carry out to the road. We figured we would be about a mile from the car. stream became very narrow and windy. It was also chock full of beaver dams. We thought we were becoming adept at dam crossings and quite the explorers. While patting ourselves on the back we missed the right to mud and continued towards the clockmill trail til we ran out of water. At 4pm we decided it was wisest to head back to Sand and out to the car. On our return we found the cutoff to mud but it too was just wet mud.
We made it back to Sand and out to the car by 6pm. We figured that we had carried over about 17 beaver dams and had completed 2 bushwacks.
We did not make it in to Clockmill from this approach, but had an excellent day. I paddle a PBW rapidfire and Jamie paddles a Hemlock Kestrel. I still cannot get my photos on this site and hope somebody will tell me how without using a host site. I am willing to send photos to you or any other readers. Send me your email by private message and i will see what I can do
John
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:30 PM   #9
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John,
Sounds like you and your pal Jamie had quite the adventure!! That spot where the stream dropped away must be the spot that is hard to see on the satellite photos. But, it sounds like it was good paddling up to that point, am I right? Did you see any moose sign?
And I guess the short loop via Mud is a no go, maybe in the spring?
Did you happen to have a GPS with you? From your description, it sounds like your wrong turn past Mud outlet might have left you fairly close to the Clockmill Pond trail. But it's encouraging to hear that there was enough water to make it to the Clokmill outlet confluence.
If you want to directly link photos, you have to reduce their size to less than 146 KB and use the manage attachments feature under "additional options" below the "reply to Thread" window.
The Wednesday that you went was just about perfect, you must have had a really great time!
Thanks for posting, you've given me hope for a successful return trip.
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:05 PM   #10
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Ooooh, I'm so frustrated!!
Son Josh and I gave it a shot today and failed to reach Clockmill, we didn't even make it to the outlet, but I can explain.
After coming home and looking at the photos, maps, satellite images, and rereading John's description of his route, I know exactly what happened.

At the 2nd rock dam, we stayed right, and then looked for the channel to Clockmill. My printed map, and the map in my GPS agreed, and we followed those directly into oblivion!! The channel as shown on the maps is not the channel that is obvious (and that Bluefire took) on the satellite views.
Oooh!! I should have reviewed his description before our trip.

With all that said, we both had a great time, despite the weather and our navigational faux pas.

Being half my age and twice my strength, Josh graciously offered to carry my boat, I carried MDB's that he paddled.



The trail to Sand Lake could use a little work

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Old 07-18-2015, 08:11 PM   #11
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The put in at Sand Lake remains the same as ever...messy.



We paddled across Sand into a foggy mist



Josh doing his best effort of foreshadowing in a wrong channel



We paddled up the inlet into more mist, there is a .1 mile carry around a rock dam just ahead on the left



Within sight of the rock dam carry was the 1st of 10 beaver dams...remember what this dam looks like

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Old 07-18-2015, 08:19 PM   #12
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This was beaver dam number 6...or was it 7? I lost track



So here is Josh in the channel to Clockmill that is shown on the maps



Yeah, I can't see him either. We went as far as possible, there was too little water and too much vegetation! So we backed out of there and made a bee line towards Mud Pond.



All along the way, I used my freshly painted boat to carefully mark the underwater hazards

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Old 07-18-2015, 08:33 PM   #13
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Some of the spots were very nice, rock outcroppings everywhere, just nice paddling



When we got to the spot where Mud Lake outlet comes in, we realized there was no hope of going any farther upstream, we couldn't float on mud...

So we turned around and returned to Sand Lake.
Remember that 1st beaver dam?
Well, Josh was passing the boat over that dam, standing on the very same dam, when it began to collapse. The rush of newly released water nearly swamped his boat. I was standing next to him, for a moment...until the dam under my feet gave way!! I guess those beavers have some repair work to do, sorry guys!



We did ultimately make it to Clockmill Pond, but the boats remained on the roof racks as we walked the trail. We bushwhacked to the old dam at the outlet.

Clockmill from the old dam



Cascade on Clockmill outlet



1 of 1,000 red efts along the way



So, even with a misty start to the day, and missing our target, we had a great time.
The deer flies were particularly active and aggressive, especially on the trail.

So...it looks like I have to go back yet again.
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Old 07-19-2015, 06:56 AM   #14
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Looks like an enjoyable day of exploration. Thnx for sharing, with the nice pics.
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Old 07-19-2015, 08:47 AM   #15
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Nice photos Mike, thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:23 AM   #16
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Thanks for all of the photos, that is a beautiful area. It looks pretty confusing on Google maps. Maybe you need a little flag on a long pole on your canoes so that you can find each other in those meadows.
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Old 07-19-2015, 09:54 PM   #17
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Mike, wish I could've made the trip with you guys. I liked how you marked the way with the red rocks. Who needs GPS or map and compass?
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hickoryskier View Post
Mike, wish I could've made the trip with you guys. I liked how you marked the way with the red rocks. Who needs GPS or map and compass?
Dave,
Hah!! No need for map, compass or GPS, what I needed was a satellite image in my pocket!
I'm still kicking myself for not fully preparing...don't get me wrong, we had a great time, but still those lingering questions remain. Your little lady would not have enjoyed it, nor would MDB!! Josh called it a mini-manly trip. BTW, he now remembers the Cedar River trip fondly, funny how a little time dulls the memory, or does it give greater perspective?
I plan to go back early season, when the water is higher and the vegetation lower, tricky though, because the Powley road opens kind of late...

Anyway, even after marking all the hazards, my boat didn't suffer much.
Here's how it looked this afternoon when I was putting everything away.

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Old 08-24-2015, 08:49 PM   #19
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A year after not completing this trip, Jamie and I returned with a new plan and lots of determination. We decided the best way to be successful would be to turn the trip around. So on Sunday morning we carried into clockmill. The water level was quite low but we put on and paddled to the old dam and outflow. Very short portage to what most maps show as a small flow or pond. At first it looked completely dry, but we found a narrow stream and we put in. It was about 6 feet wide, so we figured it would be an easy paddle over to the woods approximately 800 yards. The 6 feet quickly narrowed to about 2 feet and filled in with weeds. We managed to push, slide and paddle through but it took about an hour. We were both glad we were going with the flow instead of upstream. At the current low level I don't think a boat could be paddled upstream. We were now at the top of the bushwhack that we could not get up last year. We started bushwalking down through the forest on river left and moved out into the stream bed for the second half, again very pleased we were downstream instead of up. We were exactly where we had turned back the year before. I would say that this bushwhack is at least twice as long as the two coming up from sand. We paddled right and very soon were at the top of the second sand bushwhack. We swung and headed towards the mud pond outflow. This was very much like the trip stripperguy and Josh were on in July, probably a little less water. We worked our way upstream crossing beaver dams and avoiding rocks. At one point we had to get out of the boats and carry over rock gardens. Eventually we made our way to the intersection with the outflow of mud pond. There was not enough water so we carried out boats about 40 or fifty yards and found enough water to paddle. Gps indicated about .35 mile to mud so on we went. In this short distance we carried over 4 or 5 beaver dams gaining water each time. At the last dam we could see mud pond through the woods. We were soon on mud and it was great. We paddled up most of the left shore looking for the trail, with no luck so we climbed onto the bog and headed nw. In a very short bushwhack we broke out onto the road. Gps showed about .7 mile to the car at clockmill corner. All together we traveled just under 4 miles in about 6.5 hours. We had decided during the planning stage to go out through mud so we could bring one car and eliminate the need for a shuttle. I thought it would be easier than going out through sand. Definitely too low of a water level. In the end we made it through as planned and in one piece. John
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:51 PM   #20
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John,

To cool!! Glad to hear that there was enough water(sort of) to make it from Clockmill outlet back to the 2nd rock dam.
Did you find my low water warnings on the rocks?
I think I'll wait for more water before I do a replay.
Nice demonstration of willpower.
What's next??
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