Closest Access Point: Canoe Lake (Access #5)
Distance To Access Point: 5.2 KM (1.5 – 2 hours)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Medium
Maintenance Level: Low
Date of Visit: May, 2020
I have visited this site more times than I can count. It sits at the Drummer end of the Gill/Drummer portage, beckoning you in with its rope swing and incredibly sturdy looking lean-to after the long carry up from Gill. As far as sites go, it’s fine. The addition of the lean-to and the rope swing make it pretty close to unique and that alone would make it worthwhile I suppose. That being said, it also sits on a portage so you’re going to get people passing through. Maybe even me, at 7 in the morning, which is when I like to come up to Drummer when I do a morning paddle up from Canoe Lake. Fair warning.
Terrain: This is a rocky, hilly site. The lean-to, fire pit and tent sites sit about twenty feet up from the water which means you’re going to get a leg workout going back and forth to the shoreline. The ground around the site proper is fairly flat, but the site proper is also fairly small. Once you account for the fire pit, the tent site and the lean-to, there isn’t a whole ton of extra flat space to use.
Canoe Landing: The shoreline of this site is basically large slabs of sloping rock face descending into the water. There are a couple of places where you can ram the bow of your canoe in between some rocks for a pretty steady exit. Or you can just step into the water and stop complaining. Your choice. The underwater approach is more of the same, so don’t have to worry about hitting rockbergs, just scraping along the bottom as you get close to shore.
Tent Sites: There’s one flat space for a tent, not including the flat space underneath the lean-to. So, I guess, that makes two spaces. That’s about it though. I figure this site can sleep about four people comfortably, more uncomfortably if everyone just hunkers down underneath the lean-to.
Fire Pit: The fire pit is about what you would expect for a low maintenance campsite. Not much more than a circle of rocks, but it’s a damn useful circle of rocks. There’s also a four legged grill you can use over the fire or as a handy table.
Thunderbox: It’s up the hill a bit, which means it’s a nice distance from both the site and the portage. The box also looks pretty new, so you can cross collapsing into the thunderbox pit off your list of fears for this site.
Swimability: Three years ago I decided to take some video of myself swinging off the rope swing. I was channeling my inner American Ninja Warrior and swinging out over the water from side to side along the ledge. It was pretty awesome, until I missed my push at one end of the swing and didn’t have enough momentum to get back to the ledge. I found myself hanging over the water, kicking my legs like a baby turtle on its back and trying to get some kind of pendulum thing going. It didn’t work. So, believe me when I tell you, this is definitely a swimmable site. (also, the sloping rocks into the water along the canoe landing make for a nice, gradual descent (as long as it’s not too slimy).
Accessories: I mean, it’s got a lean-to and a rope swing. What else do you want? Oh yeah, there’s a rusty old saw on the wall of the lean-to in case you want to cut some wood or get tetanus.
Views: You’ve got a nice view west down Drummer from the shoreline. You can also see north across the lake to Site 4 which, spoiler alert, is probably a better choice for the night, despite the absence of a lean-to or rope swing. The view from up by the lean-to and fire pit is more restricted. You can still see west, but there are some trees in between you and the water. The view north is completely obstructed by more trees.
Notes: This site is fine, but it’s probably not my favourite on the lake. Actually, I don’t think it’s even number two, now that I think about it. (Number one is probably this one, number two is probably this one). Because of the direction it faces and the relatively thick tree cover, it’s pretty dark for the first part of the day and being on the portage means you’re going to get some pass through traffic. It’s also a kind of small space, all things considered. But it’s not terrible either! It’s fine. That’s about all I can say for it. It’s fine.