Blackstone Base Camp
“Blackstone Lake was named after the eloquent Ojibwe chief Magatewasin(Blackstone) who argued so well for the rights of his people that he was compared to a famous English jurist, Sir Wm. Blackstone(1723-1780). Blackstone was appointed by the people at the height of land to represent them at the negotiations for Treaty 3 in 1873. He became the chief at the Lac la Croix reserve until his death in 1884. A daughter married the son of Chief Kabaigon of Kawa Bay Reserve.” Lake Names of Quetico Provincial Park
A Short Story:
Add Blackstone’s Last Walk 1919 from A Wonderful Country
Blackstone Lake is one of our favorite Quetico Park Lakes. It takes a little bit of work to get into but once you are there you will not want to leave. Most of the time you will have the entire lake to yourself and if you do end up sharing it it’s not a big deal because it’s a larger sized lake with lots of bays to tuck into.
When you have finished at the Cache Bay Ranger Station you will head North and then west into the channel that leads you to Silver Falls. Cache Bay is a large open bay that can get wavy in a hurry and can also be a bit confusing. Point your boat north and then look for the high point of land on the north shore of the bay. You should be able to pick out the highest tree tops and that’s where you’ll want to go.
Make sure you are at the farthest channel in the Bay as many folks have been fooled into thinking the bay just prior to it is the right one. It doesn’t take long to hear the falls so if you’ve been paddling in the channel for more then 15 minutes then you’re probably in the wrong place.
Remember, when you hear rushing water and see tree tops dropping there’s going to be a change in elevation. You are at the top of the falls so make sure to paddle close to the right side of the channel where you’ll find the canoe landing.
Silver Falls Portage is somewhat long at 125 rods but it is a well beaten path as most people who visit the Quetico from Cache Bay travel across it one way if not both. At the bottom of the Falls you may find people cooling off in the water or taking a break. If you are tempted to do this then I would suggest paddling to the first campsite to avoid congestion at the portage. As I said before, Silver Falls can be a busy place as groups coming in and going out of the Quetico tend to use this portage. If you want to avoid Silver Falls then ask us about an alternate route.
It’s a pretty paddle through the narrows and out into Saganagons. There’s also some good fishing in this area as well as a couple of prime campsites, just keep in mind you’re still on the beaten path. Once the lake opens up you’ll find more campsites but if you’re destined for Blackstone then paddle northwest to find the creek that leads to Blackstone.
The creek is a fun and beautiful place to paddle. Moose, deer and wolves have been spotted in the area and the plant life is unique when compared to other areas of the Quetico Park. You’ll be able to paddle the majority of the way but will have 3-4 short portages and may have to get your feet wet to get over some beaver dams.
I’m not sure what it is about an island campsite but the majority of folks love to camp on them. The island site on Blackstone is no exception and is by far the most used campsite. That being said it is the most open and public campsite so if you want a more primitive site then look at the others before deciding on the island. The other sites are smaller and offer more privacy.
If you’re looking for walleye then don’t look in Blackstone as you won’t find any. You will find lake trout, smallmouth bass and northern pike on Blackstone and you can even find largemouth bass on the lakes between Blackstone and Slate Lake. If you aren’t into fishing but wish to explore then check out the portages. The portage into Bell is 298 rods each way, almost 2 miles round trip. Not many people portage their gear out this way but it makes a great place to stretch your legs for a hike.
You can exit Blackstone via the creek you came in on or through the unnamed lakes between Blackstone and Slate. From Blackstone there is a 60 rod, 25 rod and 150 rod to get to Slate and then an 8 rod portage to get into Saganagons. You’ll paddle back towards Silver Falls, traverse the portage and find yourself back in Cache Bay of Saganaga.
To really enjoy a trip to Blackstone it’s nice to have a full day planned for getting there, a full day planned for getting out and 3 or more days to spend camping, exploring and relaxing in