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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through August 16, 2005 * Backcountry Travel in Spring 2005 < Previous Next >

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Post Number: 192
Registered: 03-2004

Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2005 - 8:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I was going to write a detailed trip report on my recent Spring travels in Temagami, but that seemed like a lot of work and besides who would want to read the ramblings of an old geezer travelling through the bush.

But I have a couple of things I would like to say about my recent trip that started on May 4th and finished on may 27th.

When I went into Lady Evelyn Lake, from Diamond, I thought the water levels were really low. I was going to write a nasty letter to Ontario Power Generation when I got back,complaining about the amount of water they were sucking out of the lake over the Mattawapiskat Dam, but as I travelled along I began to realize that they were not the problem.The levels were just low. I am used to seeing August water levels on the Lady Evelyn in August but I am not used to seeing August water levels in May. The water was at least 6 feet lower than normal.
It is hard to judge water levels and compare them to previous years levels, without hard and fast numbers, but as I travelled up the Lady Evelyn River it became apparent that the levels were significantly below those of last year.

Last year may have been a record.

Helen Falls has a drop basin below it that has a narrows about 12 to 15 feet across at the exit. Last year I paddled up to the exit and saw that the water level in the drop basin was about 12 inches higher than it was below the exit. There was no way a solo canoeist, or for that matter anyone in a tandem boat could have paddled up and into the drop basin. This year, I paddled up into the drop basin without effort.
So....I am suggesting that travel will become difficult this year as the Season progresses.

Another point I would like to make concerns the state of the portages. Last year in the Spring, there were many deadfalls to negotiate on the portages. I am not talking about the popular portages, but rather those remote ones that are not well used.
Travelling up through MacPherson Lake to Makobe through the Grays River during Spring of 2004 , I encountered about 31 deadfalls that had to be cut or trimmed in some fashion to get across. This year there was only 1 that stopped me and had to be trimmed before I could get my canoe across it.

The Park Rangers, cleaned them all up last Summer. The 2 guys who did this job, need to be congratulated. They did a tremendous job. They cleaned up almost every deadfall on the portages.If they missed it, it was because it was not an obstacle, or it simply wasn't there yet.

As a part of my Spring trips, I ran the Sturgeon River last year in 2004, somewhat unexpectedly, and again this year in 2005. Last year, it also had a pile of deadfalls, about 20 or so. This year I had to stop and cut out 2 deadfalls in order to get through. Both, were new ones.

The other thing I noticed is that portage and campsite signs were up, on almost all of the areas I visited. I soon realized that if they were missing, it was because some individual(s) had removed them.
I don't knpow why this is happening. In the past, some people thought the portage signs were obtrusive and perhaps they were. They were made of plywood about 2' x2', painted brown, with a large yellow depiction of a person carrying a canoe. But in the 1970's that was the way it was with the MNR.

These new signs look to be about a 5" to 6" yellow (or orange for campsites) parallelogram on edge.

They are unobtrusive, yet very visible when you are looking for them.

I came into a small lake South of Threthewey on the crossover portages, hoping to find a campsite, that was marked on the MNR route map but not mentioned in Hap's guide book and I had been through there before, but not seen it.. It was late in the day and raining. It was cold and miserable. If the site was not there, I would have to bush it as I was getting too fatiqued to carry on. As I finished the first carry, I looked down the lake a bit to where I thought the site might be and sure enough I saw the orange site marker on a tree,about 600 metres away.The site was not much, but it was adequate enough to put up my tent and stow my canoe and gear, before the rain got intense and the temperatures dropped further.

As a long time traveller in Temagami, since the early 1970's, I am really pleased to see that the MNR is now active again in maintaining the portages and campsites, even though I now have to pay..
Hopefully in the next few years, they will be able to clean up the remaining portages, clear out deadfalls and dead trees from the campsites, clean out the garbage left from 30 plus years of use and neglect and install new "privies" on the well used sites.

I wish them the best of luck and I hope that those of us who travel through Temagami will co-operate with the MNR as they go about the difficult task of bringing the routes and sites up to "snuff" so that we can all better enjoy this unique canoeing area.
Ed. MacPherson
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Post Number: 36
Registered: 11-2004

Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2005 - 8:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Great read Ed. I noticed that Temagami itself isnt' much higher (maybe 8") than it was when we left in October... which has me a tad concerned as well. Sounds like you enjoyed your solitude!

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Post Number: 6
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Sunday, June 5, 2005 - 2:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Ed, Keep these reports coming. Those of us who only get up once a year relly enjoy the exchange of information. Appreciate it...
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Post Number: 194
Registered: 03-2004

Posted on Monday, June 6, 2005 - 7:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

The solitude was great. I didn't see a soul from the time I arived at Sandy Inlet on May 4th until I reached Gamble Lake on May 14th. There were 2 trout fishermen there who I met last year on exactly the same weekend.This year they invited me to share the site with them.

After they left, I went down the LER, where I met 2 canoeists going in the opposite direction and a couple of old guys fishing at the second bridge, the burned out one. I was going to Florence Lake and out through Bluesucker then west through Solace PP to the Sturgeon. It was the Saturday of long weekend when and I met a group of local fishermen camped at the Ghoul Lake site.There was a canoe heading towards us from upriver, into Ghoul, but I didn't wait to talk to them.
Then I saw no one until I reached Wawiagama, on Wednesday at noon where 2 old guys in a motorized canoe stopped to talk to me. The one old guy was 85 and the other 79. They have been coming up there every year since 1956 to fish and hunt moose.

If I had been a bit out of phase on the weekends, ending up at places where there was no access, I would not have seen anyone for the entire trip.

As you might suspect there are very few people out there in the early part of May. But, I can readily understand why, as the weather can be brutal at times.
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Post Number: 199
Registered: 03-2004

Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 4:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

In an earlier post,I mentioned that the water levels on Lady Evelyn lake were really low this year. About 6 feet below the high water mark.

Brian has directed my attention to the Ontario Power Generation website, accessible through velyn.pdf

A look at the water level chart for the Mattawapiskat dam which controls the level of Lady Evelyn lake indicates that they were within the operating levels for the May period.
It seems they draw down water over the winter months and let it replenish during the Spring run-off.I went through LEL on about May 6th, and the level was down visibly by about 6 feet.

A look at the chart, as of today indicates that the level is now almost at it's Summer level,or about 6 feet higher than my observations in early May.
So for June, July, August and September they keep the levels up to accommodate spawning fish, water travellers and cottagers and then draw down the rest of the year.

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Post Number: 424
Registered: 02-2004

Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 4:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

There is a lot of good links under the Current Conditions link on the Ottertooth Temagami home page.
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Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 6:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

In your first post you said who would want to read the ramblings of an old geezer, well this 31 year old spring chicken enjoys any details of my favourite place. Any info you post I have read and apprecaited. That river seems to draw me back every year like some sort of instintual calling. Last year we climbed Maple mountain and missed the river but this year I'll be back.
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Post Number: 206
Registered: 03-2004

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2005 - 8:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

The Lady Evelyn River is always a challenge "eian" whenever you do it and it presents itself differently as the Seasons change.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip.


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