Closest Access Point: Canoe Lake (Access Point 5)
Distance To Access Point: 5.2 KM (1.5 – 2 hours)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Moderate
Drummer and Little Drummer are my favourite day trip destinations out of Canoe Lake, so I’ve visited all of the sites on those lakes, including this one, many times. Most recently, I was there in early September of 2017, which is when the pictures in this report were taken. Drummer and Little Drummer are basically the same lake, so although there’s only one campsite on Little Drummer, if you book it you might still be sharing your fortress of solitude with a couple of other trippers. In fact, I believe that it’s the case that for reservation purposes, Little Drummer is considered to be part of Drummer. So I guess if you want to stay on Little Drummer, book a site on Drummer and cross your fingers that no one has beaten you to it. It’d be a shame if they did, because this is a nice little site (provided you’re happy sharing a tent and don’t mind a low maintenance vibe). One thing to note, getting up to Drummer/Little Drummer takes a bit of effort, despite their relative proximity to the Canoe Lake Access Point. The 1.8km portage from Gill Lake up to Drummer in particular can be challenging in the early summer if the Park crews haven’t come through with their chainsaws.
Terrain: This site is built on a series of rock ledges that lead down to the water in a small point. This means that there’s definitely a bit of climbing to get from the water to the fire pit and the site’s lone halfway decent tent spot. On the plus side, the rock face is a nice place to sit and watch the sun set over the water. On the negative side, there aren’t a whole lot of flat surfaces on which to sit. On the whole, this is a pretty uneven site. The area at the top where the fire pit and tent site are is not that large. Basically, maybe don’t pick this site if you’re looking for a place for your annual high school marching band reunion/touch football game.
Canoe Landing: I’ve generally pulled my canoe up on the north side of the point just past where the channel exits from Drummer. To be honest, there aren’t really any perfect spots to pull up, but there is a small rock slip that you can jam a canoe into and use to load/unload. The underwater approach is rocky, but deep so there isn’t much worry about scraping the bottom of your canoe.
Fire Pit: Here’s the thing about being called a Fire Pit: It’s a pretty easy job title to get. You don’t need an extensive resume or six years of fire pit grad school. You just need to be a bunch of rocks in a quasi-circle (or square, fire pits don’t discriminate based on shape, size or design) inside of which someone has built a fire. By this criteria, the fire pit on this site qualifies. There’s also a stand up grill and a charred toast grill that come with the site. The stand up grill gets a two out of five on the “I’m not putting anything that’s going in my stomach on that” scale, but the toast grill is actually in pretty decent shape and would probably get a four out of five.
Tent Sites: As I mentioned before, this is a pretty uneven site. There’s one spot that I’d consider halfway decent for a tent and, maybe, if you closed your eyes and didn’t mind sleeping on two distinct levels, a second that you could try. Either way, this site is better suited to someone travelling solo or a couple of people who don’t mind sharing small spaces.
Thunderbox: If you’ve ever wanted to stumble along an overgrown path to sit on a moss covered wooden box that looks like it might disintegrate under the strain of last night’s chilli, then this is the thunder box for you. (Seriously, this is by far the oldest looking box I’ve seen in the park. It looks like it was put there 20 years ago, and then forgotten about. On the plus side, the tangle of underbrush encroaching on all sides means you’ve got ton of privacy (well, except for the bugs) (Also, there’s bugs)).
Accessories: I saw a river otter swimming offshore when I was there last time. Between that and the toast grill, that’s pretty much it.
Swimability: I really like swimming here. There are lots of places to climb in off the point, and the ground underfoot is rocky but not too hard to keep balanced on. The point gets the afternoon sun and is a great spot to dry off. If you don’t believe me, ask the otters.
Views: Great western view of Little Drummer. Sunsets would be really nice from the point. As an added bonus, you can watch people emerge from the nearby portages to Namakootchie and Tonakela and feel smug about already having the best (also only!) site on Little Drummer.
Notes: Reading back over this report, this site doesn’t come across as that appealing. It’s true that it’s small, and it definitely earns its black triangle low maintenance designation on Jeff’s Map, but there’s something about it that I really like. It’s secluded, it’s on a very pretty and peaceful lake and it’s a great spot to get away from the crowds you’d find anywhere else within a 5km radius of the Canoe Lake Access Point. I don’t know, go see for yourself!