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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through May 29, 2009 * Obabika -> Diamond < Previous Next >

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stillwater
Member

Post Number: 3
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2008 - 2:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

We took an interesting detour up north of Obabika over the long weekend, having not been able to meet up with the other half of our group as planned owing to Goulard Rd. conditions (see http://www.ottertooth.com/discus/messages/3/13221. html?1216001830).

Portage from Obabika -> Shish-Kong was steep but decent, short paddle to a good site at the north end of S-K with a spectacular cliff view. Great hiking on the east side of the lake along the cliffs, had only ever been along the west before but the view is definitely superior the way we went this time.

Next day we put in at the site for a 30 second paddle to the portage to Mud Lake (~750m), that's when things got interesting. Rocks and roots give way to metigo-mikana over the last few hundred meters, eventually becoming just a few saplings balanced delicately on mud and ooze - though my lab loved wading along beside us!

Mud Lake was short but sweet, the following portage (~250m) starting off the way the previous one finished but becoming a bit easier to follow, decent put-in at Bob Lake. Looked like a great site here at the bay on the upper eastern side of the lake, more or less across from the next portage to an unnamed pond. This is where things got hairy since my copy of Hap's book (albeit an old version) gave some weird instructions to get there, also including the route on the book map but not the full-size fold-out version. The log foundations referenced there were also gone, leaving us to guesstimate by compass across the pond to the northeast, fortunately picking up the trail again from some flagging tape.

From there we bushwacked about 50' to the main logging artery that goes through the area, and took an easy 250m carry to...nothing. The continuation of the portage which was to go to Small Lake had disappeared, and after debating the merits of following the road for ~5km all the way to the top of the Wakimika River, we wisely chose to follow yet more seemingly-random flagging tape by a bridge. This led us eventually to a faint trail at the top end of the marsh over a brutal stretch of a portage (~300m?) long-ago forgotten, finally to dump us into Small.

Here was where the book picked up the slack a bit, accurately predicting two carryovers about halfway up the lake on the way to a short hop into Diamond, though these (as well as the rest of the sketchy sections along the route) could easily be cleared and marked in 2-3 days to remake this route. It would be well-worth the effort for some group IMHO, as the route appears to follow a logical nastawgan; also taking users from the rather scenic Bob up through a classic pond setting, then along the famed logging road, through a wildlife-filled marsh and up Small to Diamond; at which point you're less than an hour's paddle from the first portage over toward Wakimika.

Taken the opposite way, it would also be a great shortcut after dumping out of the two-miler directly across from the Diamond->Small entrance. On a windy day you could make it down to Obabika in a few hours without having to battle through Wakimika or the mouth of the Obabika entrance to hit the sites at the old growth and beyond. All in all, an interesting alternative to the standard 1200m Bob->Diamond trek.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 937
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Monday, August 11, 2008 - 6:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I've never done that stretch between Bob and Small, and wanted too. Was also intrigued with the discrepancy between Hap's book and the logs at Keewaydin. The route was, presumably, ruined by the presence of logging and the logging road (as is invariably the case) and these situations require signage. Actually this is the exception to my no-signage philosophy: if there's roads, then there needs to be extensive, extensive signs. I will use your notes when I go. Thanks for posting.
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curly
Member

Post Number: 137
Registered: 03-2006


Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - 9:38 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Stillwater,

I am familiar with the Small-Bob Lake route, paddled it in 2000. Didn't have any great difficulty, but things can change in 8 years with minimal maintenance. I travelled from north to south, and will describe the route as such:

- Diamond Lake to large pond, portage on west side of creek, 170 m
- liftover to second unnamed pond
- 60 m portage on east shore, to Small Lake
- 405 m portage on west side of creek, to very small pond
- beaver dam liftover to second very small pond
- paddle to the RS Road, portage begins here on east side of creek
- portage 345 m from RSR to small pond (I did not take the 780 m portage all the way to Bob)
- portage 245 m to Bob Lake (this portage has a side trail which leads to Redtail Lake)

This is exactly as depicted in Hap's book (latest edition).

Also went into the area in 2006 with the Nastawgan Network. We went there to do some maintenance on the Misabi Lake route to Lain Lake. The map for that route is here:

http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/Maps/misabi-lak e.htm

Note that the long portage from Bob directly to Small on the Nastawgan Network map does not exist as depicted.

I suspect (but am not sure from your description) that your problem arose by taking the portage on the north side of the creek from Bob, rather than the portage on the south. I've never taken the long one on the north, but the 245 m shorter one on the south was in excellent shape in 2006.

What your post does reinforce is that canoe route maintenance is everyone's responsibility. I always take a brush axe, clippers and small saw with me, and plan a little extra time to do the work. It's true that the MNR has reinstated portage maintenance on a very limited scale in Temagami (inside and outside the parks) but that doesn't diminish our individual responsibility. Also, I've heard that the MNR crews are doing a very poor job. One thing you could do is call the Finlayson Point Provincial Park office and let them know that the route is in need of some maintenance. The other thing I'd strongly encourage you to do is join the Friends of Temagami and help us (financially or physically) with our route maintenance or advocacy efforts.

http://www.friendsoftemagami.org
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hillbilly
Member

Post Number: 330
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - 11:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Stillwater,
As Brian has posted on the main page, see below:
http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/News/newsbriefs -082.htm#au10

Temagami is much bigger in way of canoe routes and portages. The MNR only have, I believe, 4 rangers for the whole are. Even with the FOT as Curly has said it is almost impossible to maintain all the portages in Temagami. You will find some in great condition and others in poor condition. As Curly has said we all need to help keep the portages open and in good condition. This is just not in Temagami but in Ontario and Canada. While canoing carry the equipment Curly suggested to help with portage maintenance everywhere. Many of us do our best.

Bill
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blitz_boy
Member

Post Number: 41
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, August 14, 2008 - 8:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hey Stillwater

I met you at Ranger point (opposite the island campsite) on Obabika that weekend. Your dog had a lifejacket. I hope that you did eventually find your friends.

blitz

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