Guthrie Lake – Site 1

Guthrie Lake
Map Courtesy of Jeff’s Maps

Closest Access Point: Achray (Access #22)
Distance To Access Point:  13(ish) KM (A full day’s travel)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Hard (creeks and low maintenance portages)
Maintenance Level: Low.
Date of Visit: Mid-May, 2018

This is a cool campsite. It’s not necessarily a great one from a maintenance/amenity point of view, but it’s got some unique features, great views and a ton of privacy since it’s the only site on the lake. It’s home to the remains of an old ranger cabin, so you’ve got plenty of relics from the old days (and maybe a few ranger ghosts) to keep you company.

Terrain: Very flat. The ground cover (when we were there) was a mix of pine needles and dead grass. My guess is that further into the season that grass would be less dead, so it may be harder to see where you’re walking, but either way it shouldn’t bee too much of a problem.

Canoe Landing: Decent. As I mentioned, this site is pretty flat, and that extends to where the land meets the water. The underwater approach is relatively free of obstacles and there’s a nice little canoe slip cut into the shoreline at one spot. Getting in and out of the boat was no problem at all, and I can’t imagine there’d be any problems loading/unloading either.

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The Fire Pit

Fire Pit: The fire pit is basic. It’s a circle of rocks in a relatively clear area that nonetheless gets the job done, if that job is “find me a place to build a fire”. If there’s any kind of wind, or if you’re looking to cook something over the fire, you might need to do some work to build up the pit walls, but apart from that it’s perfectly serviceable.

Tent Sites: As you might expect from a low maintenance camp site, there hasn’t been a lot of attention given to carving out well defined tent spots. There are definitely a couple of places that look like they’ve been used for this purpose, and they’d be fine for smaller sized tents, but there’s nothing too obvious. The good news is that there’s plenty of flat(ish) space to pitch a tent if you don’t mind moving around some pine cones or dead stuff.

Swimability: Definitely swimmable. That smooth underwater approach makes for an easy entry into the water if you’re so inclined. There were a few lily pads and such in the water near the shoreline, so I guess it could get kind of gucky later on in the summer. You can always take the canoe out and swim further out (or check out the swimming options at the cliffs across the lake).

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This is weirdly close to the water.

Thunderbox: The thunderbox is in fine enough shape. It’s on an angle and it kind of looks like someone just dropped it where it sits, but it’s well built and doesn’t seem to have had heavy use. It’s weirdly close to the water, but I guess there probably won’t be that many people paddling past to worry about on this route.

Accessories: Quite a few, owing to the remains of the old ranger cabin. There’s a rusted out old bed spring that someone has repurposed into a bench near the fire pit (which … I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but rusted metal springs aren’t top on the list of things I want to sit on).  There’s an old desk by the shoreline that would be super handy for putting things on and then giving yourself tetanus when it collapses under the weight of things you’ve put on it. The log “benches” around the fire pit are really just logs, but at least they’re probably not rusty.

Views: I love the view from this site. The tree coverage at the shoreline is very low, meaning you’ve got nice views out to the water from most places along the shore. Basically, depending on where you are on the site, you’ve got a view of pretty much the entire lake. My favourite views are the ones westward, looking out across the lake at the impressive set of cliffs that dominate Guthrie’s far shore.

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Big rocks, little kayak.

Notes: While the site itself is pretty basic, the history and views make it worth checking out. You can also walk a pretty decent way along the shoreline to a small peninsula that juts out to the south. From here you can see the rest of Guthrie, including the spot where the map says the site is located. Of course, it’s entirely possible that I’m just working off an old version of the map and the site has been moved since it was last updated (or maybe there’s a second site I couldn’t see that’s not marked on the map). Who knows. Regardless, the site is actually located at the site of the old ranger cabin, not on the island as marked.

Related Trip Report: Four Lakes to Clover

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