Joe Lake & Western Narrows – Site 11

Closest Access Point:  Canoe Lake  (Access Point #5)
Distance To Access Point:  6.5KM (1 – 1.5 hours)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Easy.
Maintenance Level: Regular
Date of Visit: June, 2020

Swamp anyone? How about some mosquitoes? Because if that’s your thing, then you’re going to love this site. If it isn’t … well, there are like 20 other sites on Joe to choose from, so keep on paddling.

Terrain: This is a pretty compact site. The area that is usable is definitely flat and easy to get around on. However, it’s pretty close to some marshy spots, and just behind the site I found at least a couple of very wet depressions in the ground. Basically, it’s a mosquito breeding ground, which I can attest to because I got absolutely swarmed as I walked around the site checking it out.

Canoe Landing: Not the greatest, not terrible either. The entire front of the site is a grassy ledge. There isn’t any place to pull the the canoe up bow first, but you can go in sideways and step up pretty easily. There is (or at least, there was when I was there) a long partially submerged log across the front of the site, meaning there’s really only one angle of approach to get at the site. It’s like the landing realizes how crappy the site is and is trying to keep you away.

Fire Pit: So this at least is pretty impressive. The pit is big and deep, with high stone walls and lots of space to get a nice big fire going (which you will need, to smoke away the mosquitoes, seriously, why are you still reading this. Don’t pick this site). The pit is right beside the water, so you’ll have a nice view with your massive fire.

Swimability: I’m going to give this a 5 out of 10 on the swimmability scale. You can definitely wade in along a pretty sandy bottom, which is nice. But it’s not like there are any nice rocks to slip in from or jump from. HOWEVER, the Joe Lake cliffs are an extremely short paddle away and they’re a 20 out of 10 on the swimmability scale, so that helps.

Tent Sites: You could fit at least a couple of tents on before you run out of dry ground and start floating. The spots are close to the water and close to the fire.

Thunderbox: It’s back a ways into the woods, old and covered in moss. Also, I don’t know if this is due to the windstorm that ripped through the area a couple of weeks ago, or something older, but there are a couple of huge trees down across the path to the thunderbox so you have to pick your way through some brush to get there.

Accessories: That stone table I mentioned before, the cliffs. All the mosquitoes you could ever hope to meet. That’s about it.

Views: Unobstructed view of the narrows between Joe Lake and Tepee from anywhere you want to be on the site. Although the site faces east, you don’t get the early morning sun thanks to the hills on the other side of the narrows.

Not a bad view, all things considered.

Notes: Not sure if it came through in this report, but I’m not a fan of this site.

Related Trip Report: The Brent Crawl
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