So ... we went!
Biff and I set out in my car down the Bronson Road to find Lake Stream Lake, and to determine whether the stream issuing from it was wide enough to paddle on.
I had copied the aerial photos from GeoNB, and noted the distance to every turn and straightaway on the dirt roads fanning out from the main logging road. It looked easy enough, how could I miss?
Easy enough ... to miss, that is. I swear we went on the right roads, took the right turns, but we couldn't find the lake. It seems impossible to not find a huge lake, but the roads were a dizzying labyrinth of alder-lined ruts and swampy puddles. I had a good 4-wheel-drive car and took it nice and easy. The roads were hard-packed since it was the middle of a dry summer, and if we did get a little stuck, I could always haul out my traction plates and set them under the wheels. But we didn't need them, thank goodness.
Several times we pulled off to the side, thinking that this trail had to lead into the lake. It looked on the map like the Lake was only a few steps off the road and through the bushes from where we were. But each time the trail just kept going, turn around turn. After each of at least five hikes into the woods, each leading nowhere, we'd hike back to the car in search of another likely trail.
One such path looked promising, but was wet and soon swallowed by alders, and we didn't want to get all scratched up. So we didn't go more than a few steps down it. I bet that path was the right trail into the lake.
I guess I should have brought along my handheld GPS, and my New Brunswick Backroad Mapbook. I could have gone right to the spot following the coordinates in the book with my GPS. Next time for sure. Some folks say a trip is no fun unless you forget at least one thing, so that was it, I guess.
We did eventually find a stream. I think it was Lake Stream connecting Lake Stream Lake to Lower Lake Stream Lake ... I don't know why the names are so bland and unimaginative ... and we were able to launch my canoe. But we soon found out that it was blocked, upstream by impenetrable swamp grass, and downstream by fallen trees and beaver stumps. It was a beautiful day, we were in our canoe, and we spent a little while at the log jam pretending we were actually on a trip. But it grew old after a couple of minutes.
We decided to take another logging road which, on the map at least, led directly to the stream about ten miles farther downstream. The road was magnificent, and led through a huge clearcut that had only recently been replanted.
When we got to the end of the road, we could see the line of trees which the tree company had left bordering the stream about 100 metres away. But the ground had been torn up so viciously by tractors and scarifiers that it was impossible to walk through the jumbled stumps to the stream, let alone lug a boat and gear. Curses, foiled again.
So at last we drove another couple of kilometers to the bridge on the main Bronson Road over Lake Stream, halfway between its source and its mouth into the Salmon River, just for a look. It looked small and curvy, but since I like getting into small places, I decided that this will be my next river. Starting here, and paddling an over-nighter, taking out on the Salmon River above Chipman.
Yeah, there could be a few log jams and the odd treefall across the stream, but I've been there before. I can handle it.
By the way, if you're looking for rapids, thrills and spills, don't look here. Go up to the Miramichi country instead. This stream is a gentle lowland brook, I expect. But I don't care, I gotta see what's there.
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