Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

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MagicPaddler
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Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

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Post by MagicPaddler » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:32 am

7/16/2015
About 6:30 AM I left home and on my way to Woodland Caribou for a 2 week trip with Ben. I have plenty of time so not pushed to drive as fast as I can get away with. My plan is to find a motel in Canada. On one of the blacktop roads just south of Dryden there was a links on the edge of the road as I went by. He put his ears back and arched his back as I went by. First time I have seen a links but I have seen several bob cats and they are almost the same. Spent the night in Dryden and on my way the next morning.
7/17/15
Harlan had one of his guys mark up a couple of maps for me at $15 each and he had reserved a room at the motel 8. The motel door had a note to be careful of bears in the parking lot. Very nice room with frig and Keurig for coffee. Breakfast starts at 5:00 AM and there is a microwave available there. One night cost $135.
7/18/15
The motel breakfast had cereal, waffles, hard boiled eggs, milk, coffee, muffins, toast, and jelly. Had breakfast and headed for Lund Lake at 5:40. When almost there a cow came out of the bush in front of me and trotted along on the road. When I stopped to let her find her way off the road she stopped and turned to watch me. I would guess she had a calf in the woods and wanted to lead me away from it. I followed her about 5 minutes then got close enough to make her head off into the woods. The green line on the map below is my first days travel all the way from the motel too the camp site. At 7:40 I was in the Lund Lake parking lot and Ben’s truck is here.
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Total Rout
The green line on the map below is the section of the first day that was not in a car. The portage from the parking lot to Lund Lake is like a road. I think it is an old snowmobile rout. At 8:40 I have finished the portage and have shoved off on Lund Lake.
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When I was about ½ way across Lund I could see a moose in the water. I count that as the first moose of the canoe trip.
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The weather is overcast with a few sprinkles. With my fish detector I did not see anything deeper than 13 feet on Lund. On the portage out of Lund 2 partridges flushed. One landed on a tree by the portage and cackled at me as I passed. I have no names for the next few lakes but on the next one after Lund I met Ben. We chatted for a while then got under way. At the end of one of the last portages of the day I took off before Ben was loaded. As soon as I got around the corner the sky cracked open and dumped on us with lots of lightning. By the time I got to shore I had 3 inches of rain in my canoe. Ben said he crawled under his canoe and hid. We stopped on the lake before Knox and found an island camp site that had been recommended by Martin (Martin is the official unofficial rout finder, explorer of the north). The rain let up until after we had camp set up. Ben has his tent under his tarp. We were both tired and did not stay up long after eating.
7/19/15
Today we have the longest portage of the trip at about 1 mile. The portage starts down the creek running from this lake to Knox. Just a little ways down the creek you come to a beaver dam. On the left side of the dam is where the portage starts. The water is running about 2 Ft. deep down the first 100 ft. of the portage which parallels the creek. At that point the trail turns 90° away from the creek in an area that is heavily forested enough to keep you on the cleared portage trail. Only problem is the trail is mud about need deep for about 400Yds. Most of the way the canoe will almost float so I push it ahead and let it coast till it hits something. Then I work my way to the front of the canoe get it past whatever it hit and give it another shove. After about 400Yds. the portage is a nice path through a wooded and fairly flat area. The portage was long but other than the first section it had no challenges. Once on Knox I got my fishing gear out and started trolling for the island camp marked on my map. I caught one walleye but the wind got pretty stiff so I headed for camp. Ben came straight to camp and unloaded then went out to fish but before he could catch anything the wind chased him back to camp. Good he headed back when he did because the wind got fears accompanied with rain and hail. The trees around out camp did an excellent job of keeping the wind out. After the rain the sky was overcast but with light winds. I set my tarp up in the no sow paddle mod, fashion to give lots of dry space for gear and to cook supper. We shared our one fish and ate supper then finished setting up camp.
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Ben set his tent under the edge of his tarp. We put both of our canoes in the woods to keep the wind from getting them.
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At about 9PM the wind started to blow hard and it blew hard till morning.
7/20/15
During breakfast the wind was so hard I figured we were wind bound but we went ahead and prepared for travel. We discussed our best route to the portage. The first stretch would be the longest and mostly into the wind. This would get up behind an island where we could rest and verify the other was still ok. I set off first paddling was slow but I was not taking on water. About ¾ of the way across the wind let up and was not a problem the rest of the day. On the map below the blue line is todays travel except where the GPS went to sleep.
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Although we have been on Bloodvain waters for a couple of days when we got to the first portage it was obvious that we were on a major river system. Although the portages moved away from the river we could hear the rapids and get glimpses of then through the trees.
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At one of the places where the river narrowed there were a large number of pictographs. They were still very clear and on a wall where any one passing through the river would be near them.
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The portages into Larus is in a burn area. Where the portage goes through an open area with no trees the weeds and saplings are growing fast and making it hard to see the portage trail. In some places the burned trees have fallen across the portage where it is difficult to go around. This portage took a little longer than expected because of all the fallen trees.
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As soon as we get on Larus we look for the first camp site. There is a thumb shaped peninsula that can be seen from the portage with 2 camp sites on it and we took the one at the narrowest location. I think the other one would have been better. We been traveling for 11 hours both of us are tired. I can feel sore muscles but otherwise feel fine and have eaten supper. Ben has eaten only a bite or two and is too exhausted to eat. Before going to sleep Ben did eat some supper.
7/21/15
A good night’s sleep has made both of us feel much better. This day’s travel is shown in black in the above map. Knox, Murdock and Larus have fly in cabins on then. Today we head up Larus Creek and away from people. We see a cabin with people out front just before turning into the bay with the creek in it. We start up the creek and have been paddling for some time. As I write this report I went to google earth and measured the distance by water from the cabin and found it to be almost 3 miles. I come around a tight corner in the creek and there is an airplane about 300 feet up and 400 feet to my left and it is coming down. I try to spot exactly where it goes below the tree line as it is angling slightly away from me. I grab my map to see if it will help in locating the best route to where the plane went down. I see we are about 200Yds from the cabin. The plane landed just over a hill on Larus in the cove in front of the cabin. The creek zigzags back and forth making it seem like we have traveled a long ways. I find that my shorter canoe is an advantage on the tight turns of the creek and I soon pull away from Ben. Then I would come to a logjam. There were 3 main ways to get past the logjams. Sometimes if I stepped out on the logjam it would sink far enough to slide the loaded canoe over the logs. On some I would use a pocket saw to cut off branches that block the creek. On some it was get out, unload and drag the canoe out in the swamp and around the jam. Each time I would work my way around one of these Ben would catch up and he could take advantage of whatever path I had cleared. I found this bird in a nest but did not know what kind of bird it was. The nest was about ½ the size of a Bald Eagles nest. This was the best picture I was able to get through the trees.
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I came around a corner in the creek and met a moose coming down stream. I stopped paddling and the canoe stopped moving up stream but the moose kept walking for a few more steps which had my heart racing. He soon saw me and turned and started heading away from me so I started digging for my camera. He had gotten a ways off before I got the camera out and started taking pictures. He came out of the creek at a right angle and headed straight away from the section of the creek I was on but because the creek winds so much he went past the section of creek Ben was on so we both got a good look at this guy. Moose number two.
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We moved on up river and into a less swampy area where a fire had left all the trees dead, we had about 5 or 6 places with dead falls across the creek. I came around a bend in the river and there was a bear at the edge of the river. It saw me and was gone up the hill and out of sight in 2 seconds. I call him a scaredy bear. We come to a shallow lake that has a pinch point in the middle and hope we can find a place to camp. I referred to this lake as the frog pond. The water is full of leaches and tadpoles. Ben has some notes from Martin at to where he camped. I checked out a couple of other possibilities and found them lacking. We found a small landing area and that was where Martin had stayed. There were lots of down trees but we soon had a place for both of us to set up. In the picture below you can see a moose path going under my hammock. The light area off to the right is the water. For the hammockers I have a pole mod but frequently use the poles to prop up the porch. We cooked and ate our meals out by the landing where there was a breeze to keep the bugs off.
7/22/15
We had a quiet night and were both still trying to get a little more sleep when we heard something walking in the water. It was big and it was close. I tried to roll over and look out of my hammock but I had pulled the back of my tarp down to block the breeze. I made enough noise moving around in the hammock that whatever it was it turned around and quickened its pace. We never saw anything.
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The picture below is taken from the landing site in the morning before we ate breakfast. When the picture was being taken I could hear splashing in the water that I had heard before. I heard this same sound last year in Opasquia, only that time I could see what was making the noise. What makes this sound unique is occasionally I can hear rocks banging together in the water. It is a calf moose playing and running back and forth in the water. I strain my eyes but can see nothing. The sound is coming from about the center of this picture.
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On the map below the blue line starting at the top is our tracks for today from the frog pond to Irvine Lake.
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Headed out of the frog pond is a creek with faster current than what we were in yesterday. I used google earth to measure some distances. After we had traveled 4000Yds. From camp we were 1500Yds form camp. The creek did a lot of back and forth for the first mile then the shore of the creek became more wooded with hills nearby. That bring trees to the edge of the creek. The picture below shows one of the trees blocking the creek. This one had a guard beaver. While I was sawing limbs off to allow my canoe to slip through he would slap his tail on the water within one foot of my canoe. Ben was arriving as I got through. As I rounded the bend in the creek I hear the beaver greeting Ben (SMACK).
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I come to some rapids that could easily be lined and then some with trees blocking them. I was working on sawing through one of the trees that blocked the creek when Ben arrived. Then Ben yelled here is the portage back here. So I lined my canoe back down through the rapids and by the time I got to the portage Ben had unloaded and he got my picture as I was getting out of the canoe.
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After we finished the portage we checked out several camp sites on the little lakes before Irvine. We found that the ones I got from PaddlePlanner.Com were better than the ones I got from Harlan. Once on Irvine we checked several camp sites and took the one on the west side of the peninsula. The site across from where we stayed (the one on the west shore) which had been the best on the lake had a blowdown and was not usable. The lake is fairly shallow but it has been reported as a good walleye lake.
7/23/15
This is a layover day so first off I go check out the pictographs. They are faded but visible. I explore the shore line back to the portage in the south east corner of the lake. I can hear lots of water coming in to Irvine from one of the creeks in that area. Fishing on my way back to camp I pick up a couple of walleyes and stop and dress them on one of the islands. Ben and I share the Walleyes for a late lunch. After lunch Ben and I were setting under his tarp talking and a bald faced hornet came straight in to my eye. When he hit I squinted my eye shut which wrinkled the skin under my eye trapping one of his legs. He did not like that so he stung me. I did not like that so I smacked him. He did not like that so he stung me. I did not like that so I wiped him off and he flew away. I put some hydrocortisone on the stings and they were a little tender but not too bad.
7/24/15
It rained all night and Irvine Lake is up a couple inches overnight. We hope to get about ½ way to Poodle Lake today. Our tracks for this day are on the above map in black. It was a hot humid day and we both tended to overheat. Ben had said he hoped the camp at the end of the fifth portage was usable and it was. This last portage was full of ripe blueberries and raspberry. That was nice we finished the portage and did not need to load up we just set up camp. It took some clearing and Ben could only set up ½ of his tarp. I dropped the under quilt and UQ protector to leave a gap to let the breeze blow under and over me to cool down then ate supper and got ready for bed.
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7/25/15
In the morning after taking my hammock down I went up on the hill to do some business and on returning Ben gave me the be quiet sign and pointed across the lake. He is pointing at a moose on the far side of this end of the lake in the fog. The moose has seen us but he stood and watched us for long enough for me to get a picture.
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There was a nice rock with a view to cook and eat my breakfast. Ben furnished a cup of coffee to go with my breakfast. The moose in the previous picture was in the back of the cove that is in the background of this picture,
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Tracks for today are on the above map near the bottom in blue and that gets up to Poodle. My map shows walleye and I trolled from the portage to our camp but no luck. My fish detector shows over 45 foot of water and it is fairly tea colored. We moved some blowdown and make camp for the night.
7/26/15
We had an uneventful night and Ben supplied coffee for our breakfasts and we were on our way. Our tracks for today are the black line on the left on map below. My little boat had the advantage on the tight turns and weedy sections of Royd creek. Ben said this creek has been called the Nile but I think it should be called the snake because it snakes up a wide valley. The portage on the west end of the creek was hard to find and required some marsh walking to get on it. It starts about 100 Yds up the creek and is marked with flagging tape.
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I left my walking stick at one of the portages today. That stick has been with me since the middle of my Quetico trip. I will need to stop by Mr. Beavers came shop and get another one.
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Crossing Lightning my fish detector marked fish but my gear is packed away. We stopped on the first lake east of Lightning Lake which is Joey. It was starting to rain as we got to camp. Like every place we stop there are lots of blowdowns and here there is snow damage. Lots of trees all leaning the same way with the tops bent over. We soon have 3 spots cleared to set up in. This is my favorite lake of the trip. The camp sets up on a rock ridge giving a nice view of the lake. There are more rock ridges behind the one the camp is on and they are on higher ground.
7/27/15
Today is a layover day. After a good nights sleep I sat and enjoyed a cup of hot coco while watching Ben fishing and the sunrise. In the morning I ate breakfast and did some camp chores. Ben brought back 2 walleyes and we had a walleye lunch. In the afternoon I went exploring the lake and brought back 2 more walleyes which we shared for supper.
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7/28/15
It has been a nice lake but we gota go. We are headed for Indian House Lake but that is about one and one half days travel. Ben thought we could make it to a small lake one portage short of Indian House. It took about 15 minutes to find the portage out of Joey. Once on the trail it was not hard to follow. The last portage of the day dropped us in a creek going down stream and there is a strong current. About 50Yds. downstream we came to what I called the 8 inch portage. A tree across the creek that required getting out and unloading the canoe. The creek is full of tight switchbacks. Ben had to get out and unload his canoe to get around one of the 180° switchbacks. At places the creek was not visible from inside the canoe because of all of the alder bushes growing across the creek. As I pushed through the alder they would catch on my knife and watch which I wore on my belt. The picture below is looking downstream. This route would be more difficult if you had to go up stream on this stretch. When I got to camp my watch band was broken from catching on the alder. The watch was still caught under my belt so I did not lose it. When I got to the lake I made a right turn and there was a camp 350Yds down the shore. It is a small camp with one tent pad and I hung my hammock between 2 small trees and let it settle on my pack. The most common weather pattern has been for it to start raining midafternoon and continue until near time to get up in the morning and that is what happened today.
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Usually I am in bed before Ben but tonight I feel like just watching the lake. At about 9:00 I see something at the south end of the lake but I cannot tell what. I grab my camera and zoom in and take a couple of pictures. With the camera I can tell it is a moose. I love that camera.
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7/29/15
We have one long portage today and we will be on Indian House Lake where we plan to have a layover day. I marked several fish on Indian House but we did not like any of the camp sites so we kept going. We stopped on the next lake past Indian House. We checked out 3 camp sites and took the one on the north island. We should have taken the first camp on Indian House. We decided to take a layover and do some fishing tomorrow.
7/30/15
Weather was reasonable today but the fish were not cooperating. The only thing we caught was one perch. At noon we came back to camp and decide to move on. We ended up 2 lakes west of Lund on an island camp. It is a better camp than the one we had last night. I have good trees to hang from and no widow makers hanging over me. Camp is high enough to have a good view of the lake.
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We had another storm with hail before bed time.
7/31/15
We moved on to Lund Lake. The last 2 days we have had short travel days so we are more rested than most evenings. We both cleaned up and plan on exiting the park tomorrow morning. Six canoe loads of youngsters arrived and are looking for a camp and we are all set up where I think they had planned to stay. We had a little shower and a nice double rainbow. The moose pictured in the first days report was 50Yds from this camp site.
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8/1/15
We had a good nights sleep and headed out. Both cars started and were fine. We went to Red Lake and had breakfast said our good buys and I was on my way home.
I would like to thank my trip partner Ben (nctry) for planning a great trip. I also want to thank DentonDoc for excellent information on maps. The best portage and campsite information came from PaddlePlanner.com. The trip is only good memories now.



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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#2

Post by Traillium » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:26 pm

Wonderful area and great descriptions!

My wife & I spent 11 days just to the west of your area, farther down on the Haggard River & the Bloodvein. That was about 1978 … Saw one elderly couple — our present age! — and that was all. So much wildlife, including the woodland caribou. Pike at every set of rapids; pickerel in the lakes. Lots of bear- and moose-hunting camps. Quite a few winter trap lines in one area.
No alligators, though. … The mozzies are so huge they literally carry them away …


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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#3

Post by MagicPaddler » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:36 pm

I did a loop out of Leno about 5 years ago. That a big park.
Thanks for reading.

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#4

Post by sarge » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:02 pm

Dang.

This post made me miss New Hampshire. I miss the lakes and canoe camping up north. Awesome trip, great report.
You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me. ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#5

Post by MagicPaddler » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:49 pm

Sarge
Canoe wilderness tripping is my passion. Thanks for the comment.

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#6

Post by sarge » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:10 pm

MagicPaddler wrote:Sarge
Canoe wilderness tripping is my passion. Thanks for the comment.
I shall live vicariously through you, then.

Especially if you start doing the video thing.
You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me. ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
My You Tube Channel

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#7

Post by Baby Huey » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:58 am

Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great trip.
"Y'all got on this boat for different reasons, but y'all come to the same place."
-Capt. Malcolm Reynolds-

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#8

Post by MagicPaddler » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:09 am

Glad you all enjoy reading my trip reports. It makes the effort worthwhile.
I see a lot of followers from this board are from Texas, well at the end of the report I thank DentonDoc for map information. The Denton in DentonDoc is for a town in Texas where he used to live. He makes it on at least one canoe trip in Canada each year so it is not too far for you to go on your own adventure.

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#9

Post by sarge » Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:27 am

I went to North Texas State (that's what it was called then) in Denton, married a Denton girl (divorced a Denton girl), and lived there for a number of years before work put me linda permanently in the Houston area. If I had my druthers I'd druther live in North Texas.

Please keep on paddlin' up yonder, and posting the reports---its about the only way I'm going to get to enjoy it.
You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me. ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#10

Post by MagicPaddler » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:55 am

With all the tadoo about no sew pole modifications on the hammock sites I thought someone would comment on my no sew paddle mod ( I misspelled sew in the report sow) in picture 3. That was meant to bring a laugh to some.

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#11

Post by Scott » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:51 pm

sarge wrote:---its about the only way I'm going to get to enjoy it.
+1 the report did it's job, it made me jealous. ;)

When I win the lotto my time will be spent alpine hiking, fishing, building and driving cars, building and paddling kayaks and canoes, golfing, Hunting, etc. If I could find a benevolent benefactor or a long lost trust fund, I have about 10 years worth of adventure before I would need to update the bucket list. Until then I will keep showing up to work so I can keep paying the mortgage :roll:
Texas sucede? Y'all are lucky we don't invade!

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#12

Post by KevinL » Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:40 am

Nice trip report. I'm going to do a PMA with Ben in May and I can't wait.

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#13

Post by MagicPaddler » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:32 am

KevinL
I do not have any trips nailed down for next summer yet. My trips have usually been 10 days but this year both of my trips were 14 days. With the extra days there is more time spent deep in the park. Good luck on next years trip.

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Re: Woodland Caribou Canoe Trip

#14

Post by Calait » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:31 pm

Looking forward to learning more about hanging my ENO and improving it. Thinking of first making it a 2 layer hammock and building a underquilt.
Any day in the outdoors is better than a day at work.

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#15

Post by DuxDawg » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:47 pm

Fantastic TR! Thanks so much for sharing.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" Philippians 4:4 NASB
"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:9 NASB

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