We'd stayed long enough on the summit. We had a long way back, and we knew that a goodly portion of the way back was going to be a tiring bushwhack. So, there was nothing for it but to get started and get back, hopefully making better time than we made on the way up.
The way down the trailed portion went quickly enough, with the only thing slowing us down were a couple of boot-to-water shoe changes to cross the beaver dam and the deep muddy marshy area. We also stopped at one of the pretty little lakes to filter a little water - we'd used all of ours up and we needed a few more litres.
The three to four kilometre bushwhack back was, as we expected, long, slow, and tiring. As I said earlier, it isn't that the bushwacking was particularly hard, it was just that doing 8 kilometres of it in one day wears you down. We were mightily glad when the faint beginnings of an old track marked the start of more passable terrain.
We reached the bikes shortly thereafter and in no time we were pedalling our way back down the nice, wide logging road. We had over seven slightly downhill kilometres to go, and we polished that off in about 40 minutes. We quickly made our way across the Sturgeon River and stood back at the car, slightly less than six hours after we left the summit. The whole thing had taken us just under twelve and a half hours - not bad, considering the total distance was over 33 kilometres!
Since it wasn't too late in the evening, and since the bugs were horrible, we decided to head out and not camp beside the river. Roland suggested that we call Gaston and Georgette Pauze (the parents of Dan Pauze in nearby Sudbury, and that perhaps we could stay there.
(Dan was Roland's good friend who went missing while climbing another Canadian highpoint, Mount Caubvick, and you can read all about the adventure to go searching for Dan, if you haven't already, by clicking here
The drive back over the logging roads went more quickly, since we now weren't negotiating them in the dark. Roland called the Pauzes when we were back on pavement... and Mrs. Pauze was more than happy to have us over!
When we arrived at the Pauzes, we were welcomed with open arms, given some very delicious soup, and accommodated in their large RV that they have parked outside in their driveway. Ahhh... no pesky bugs to deal with! The Pauzes were excellent hosts, and we chatted and talked the next morning until almost 10am, when we then climbed into the muddy CR-V for the five hour drive back to Ottawa.
There you go! Ishpatina Ridge in a day. It can be done!
If you are interested in a more detailed description of the route, complete with GPS waypoints, more detail on access roads, etc, then click on 'next page' below, or click here