The LaVase Portages are a series of portages, waterway and pathways between Trout Lake & Lake Nipissing. The portages are about 11 kms in length and are long and tough and move through very muddy areas. At the beginning of the portages there is a historical plaque. The route was used thousands of years ago by most First Nation groups in Ontario at the time of European contact.
You should expect that a few things have changed since the days of the voyageurs. For one, sections of the portages are routed away from their original location, because some land has been taken over by industries (e.g. the quarry and the safety perimeter around a chemical factory). In other places, the water level has changed and drowned the original path. And, there is a section of the LaVase River that the voyageurs had to portage since they could not maneuver the large boats around the tight bends of the river - while you can paddle and enjoy the swifts and riffles.
Last not least, urbanization has brought railways, roads and houses to the southern end of the route. But, the upper sections of the route are still in a natural state, and if you are willing to put up with the chore of portaging, you can retrace the steps of Canada's explorers on this crucial link of the Canadian fur trade routes.
There has been little use of the portages over the last decades, maybe because they are a bit of a chore, because urbanization encroached in the lower sections and, with people having cars to go further, paddlers went elsewhere for their weekend trips. As a result, today's LaVase portages need an experienced guide to take you across.
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