Trip Date: October 3rd, 2010
James and I had visited the area of Stella, Lower Stella, Pye and McCreight Lakes last year but the day had been windy and the lakes were uninviting. This day the Weather Network predicted low winds so we decided to try again. A sign at the entrance to Rock Bay Road informed us that the road would be closed the next day for logging in the Stella Lake area. We congratulated ourselves on visiting the lakes just in time.
We stopped briefly at McCreight, but the long narrow valley seems always to channel wind down the lake. Today was no exception. We drove on, enjoying the country between McCreight and Stella, a lowland of meandering streams and deep water marshes.
Lower Stella looked calm and inviting, but we checked our watches and decided we could probably get a paddle in on both Stella and Lower Stella; so headed on to Stella. At the put in a lone angler was navigating his aluminum skiff with an electric motor towards the beach where he was camped. The wind was running out of the South East and the sheltered bay was inviting enough. We set off along the North Eastern shore protected from the main wind by the protruding headland at the transition to the main lake.
Once we passed the headland we headed Southwest towards the island that stands off from the point between the two large bays on the Northern end of the lake. Rocky on the southern shore and lush and dense with foliage on the Northern side, the island does not appear to receive many visitors. No obvious campsite was evident but there was a fire ring on the high rocks on the western side. I got out and crashed through the bushes for awhile trying to find a route to high ground before giving up and returning to my canoe.
We headed back to the put-in, enjoying the Northern shore and outflow before taking out and heading to Lower Stella.
Lower Stella is the haunt of generations of anglers. A grandfather on our last visit was introducing his grandchildren to the special place. A fisherman's poem is carefully nailed to a tree near the put-in and because there is no easy way to launch a boat of any significant size, I suspect only canoes, light skiffs, and pontoon boats make it onto the lake.
The light was fading but we headed out, circumnavigating the lake counter clockwise. The inflow is picturesque, but the most endearing aspect of the lake is the long southern shore with it's grassy fringe and striking contrast of light alder trunks against the dark forest behind.
With the chill of evening penetrating our shirts we finished out paddle and headed to have a look at the Pye Lake Rec Site, which we found and wandered through in the last light before dark. Pye was also calm and we wished we had a little more day left to explore it. We decided to return again on another day.
Fore more photos of Lower Stella visit the photo gallery here.