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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through May 29, 2009 * Smoothwater-Florence-Solace-Scarecrow Loop < Previous Next >

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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 1
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2008 - 10:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Very interesting site. Have been looking for some new routes for an annual Sept week trip I have been doing for 30 years and havent travelled this part of Temagami. Am looking for opinion on this route in 7 days/6 nights including travel from southern Ont and access via the Beauty Lk Rd to Montreal River.

Night 1-Smoothwater(Launch at 12 noon after the drive)
Night 2-Florence(North end) via S. Lady(or on the river if too far)
Night 3-Pilgrim
Night 4-Solace
Night 5-Hamlow or Scarecrow
Night 6-Smoothwater
Day 7-back to landing and drive home.

Found the great maps posted re the Solace to Regan route.
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otter_mel
Member

Post Number: 97
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Monday, September 1, 2008 - 10:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I think you are a bit overoptimistic for this route. In my opinion, it should be more like 9 to 10 days so that you don't have to go for 16 hours per day.
I have done all of these lakes and river routes you plan to do and to got from Smoothwater to Florence in one day is a giant push considering the possible water levels on South Lady Evelyn River.
Florence to Pilgrim is a long, long day, then you have a short day to Solace and another long one to Scarecrow.
In order to enjoy this trip add a couple of days. There are nice sights to see, Florence Mountain to climb and you want yo take it easy and enjoy the trip (this is not the Olympics!!)
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 590
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Monday, September 1, 2008 - 11:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

rossclan:
Check out this earlier post by otter-mel :

http://www.ottertooth.com/discus/messages/3/800.ht ml?1087322422

The ease of travel from Florence to Bluesucker will be dependant on the number of beavers presently living in the area.A full day of travel is more likely the norm.

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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 3
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Monday, September 1, 2008 - 7:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks otter_mel and ed for the advice. We generally like to keep to 7/8 hours on the water/land in the fall to leave time to explore. Think I will add a couple of days or re-vamp the route.
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estulin
Member

Post Number: 2
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Monday, September 1, 2008 - 11:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Just came back from a very similar trip.
You'll need 8 full days to do this trip. And that's assuming the wind doesn't slow you down.

Expect the creek to take a full day.
Many liftovers and a few sections that you'll have to walk through because the creek is really shallow in sections. And there's a real possibilty the water levels have dropped off even further since last week when I paddled this section.

Florence to Pilgrim was completed in a 7-hour stretch.
And the Solace to Regan route was bang on! Easy portages since you're mostly on logging/skid tracks.

Most portages were done as single carry's.

good luck!
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rootbrian
Member

Post Number: 15
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Friday, September 5, 2008 - 4:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

which creek are you referring from Duff to Lady Evelyn FORKS?
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gunney
Member

Post Number: 4
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Monday, September 8, 2008 - 10:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi,

I did this exact route August 8-14, 2008.

First some personal info:

I have been tripping for five years. I am an experienced novice per Hap Wilson's Temagami Guide skills rating; 45 yrs, a little soft around the middle, and weigh about 105kg. I'm a mailman and moderately active. My partner is 55 yrs, not an ounce of fat and weighs 65kg. He's a hyperactive dairy farmer and has also been tripping for 5 years. He is advanced in skills having been a whitewater kayaker in his younger days. Like many, we started along Hwy 60 in Algonquin; later moving to the northside and accessing at Brent. Algonquin is very nice, however, we found it to be a bit crowded at times. As fate would have it my wife gave me a book; Hap Wilson's "The Cabin" for Christmas and dreams of Temagami were set in motion...

While we did our trip in seven days due to work constraints, 8 or 9 days would have allowed for much greater freetime and relaxation. As it was our trip was more like a week long workout, which I loved nonetheless!

Day 1: Travel, Montreal River to Smoothwater Lake:

Drive 12 hours and 845km from Leicester, NY (~60km south of Rochester, NY) with a side trip to Finlayson PP for permits. The staff were very friendly and efficient. Put-in at Montreal River Access via Beauty Lake Rd at 5:00 pm. Stayed at site just north of Smoothwater Lake on Montreal River. Spotted by beavers and warned by much slapping of water. Thanks to the Millenium Loo Crew for donating the thunderbox at the site.

Day 2: Smoothwater Lake, Apex Lake (left small cache for return trip), Whitemud Lake, South Lady Evelyn River:

This was a very long day. It also rained much of the day. There were numerous beaver dams, shallows, and small fallen logs requiring liftovers and lining. Be careful to watch your step when wading to avoid deep muck. Due to an unusually wet summer we were able to carefully run or line some of the rocky swifts. The South Lady Evelyn is very twisty and frequently bends back upon itself; so much so that one can carry on a face to face conversation with their bow parner without them having to turn around. We spent the night at the large site before the junction with the Florence River. After changing into dry clothing we enjoyed a meal of strip steak, red russet potatos, and fresh sweet pea pods.

Day 3: Florence River, Florence Lake, Bluesucker Creek, Bluesucker Lake:

The Florence River flowed gently with maiden hair. Spotted two river otters frolicking in the water. Florence Lake was very scenic. I wished we had more time to explore. We lifted over the "elbow" at the old fishing cabin where there is also a nice beach. The portages into Bluesucker Creek and Lake were fantastically varied if not rugged! The first small site on Bluesucker Lake was a little overgrown and hadn't been used in awhile. We stayed at the 2nd small site located in a bay across from the portage into Benner Lake. There was a fishing camp just to the south as well as a larger camping site. The next morning I inadvertantly left my watershoe inserts on shore along with a pair of wet socks for which I apologize. Toss them into the fire if you come across them.

Day 4: Bluesucker, Benner Lake, Rodd, Pilgram, Maggie, Samson & Bill Lakes, Solace, Biscuit, Broadbent, Carrying Bar, Tooth, Melanson, and Reagan Lake:

Our longest day of the trip went very well. The portage into pretty Benner Lkae is located in a very small bay across from the middle campsite. Do not be misled by a small fishermen's campsite complete with frying pans and counters located further to the north in a similar small bay. At the northwest end of Rodd Lake we were treated to a lengthy cow moose viewing. After watching for 20 minutes we had to move on to maintain our tight schedule. At the end of the 1090m portage from Pilgram one can see a trapline on the west shore of Maggie Lake. The trapline is not the portage! It is located futher to the north. I remember the trail into Bill Lake was steep and rugged. Solace Lake was a beauty with many small islands. We lunched at a dock located at an untidy fishing camp on the most northlerly island of Solace. Investigation found an outhouse located at the site. A bald eagle made its appearance known! From Solace to Reagan one has to be careful and patient in finding some of the obscured carries; they weren't too difficult to locate, just a little hidden at times. I regreted not having more tape to better mark the portages for other voyageurs, but next time I'll be better prepared. The carry from Broadbent Lake to Carrying Bar Lake seemed steep. The best portages/ATV trails of the trip were to be found entering and exiting Reagan Lake.

Day 5: Reagan, Hamlow, Woods, and Scarecrow Lakes.

These are straight forward. You will have to line and wade some porions of Scarecrow Creek when travling upstream. There is one liftover at a collapsed bridge. Look for an ingenious tow rope as you get closer to Woods Lake and pull yourself upstream. The pretty island on Scarecrow is small and rocky with little cover. Since mosquitos and blackflies weren't a problem we stayed at the larger former ranger cabin site closer to the Ishpatina Ridge Trail. We met the only people we saw during our trip here on Scarecrow.

Day 6: Climbed Ishpatina Ridge. Mihell, McCulloch, unnamed lakes & ponds, Apex, and Smoothwater Lakes:

The trail to Ishpatina Ridge runs east from the shore campsite and then more or less north to the ridge. There are three small lakes on the trail to Ishpatina Ridge along with some boggy areas. The best place for refilling water bottles is near the beaver dam on Dick Lake. The view from the very top is stunning! Bring a camera! Also enjoy the many blueberries. We took about two hours going up and an hour coming down plus viewing time at the top. McCulloch Lake had a nice beach site at the southern portage. Retrieved cache at Apex Lake. The beach on Smoothwater Lake at the Marina Lake portage is absolutely gorgeous! Enjoyed a ham and pineapple dinner with sweet potatos. Thanks again to the Millenium Loo Crew and the expert furniture craftsmen! The sunset was extraordinary!!

Day 7: Smoothwater Lake, Lady Dufferin Lake, Montreal River Access

A light rain gave way to a beautiful and heavenly double rainbow as we left Smoothwater Lake!

Gear:
Canoe: Wenonah Minnesota II:18', 42 lbs.
Paddles: Zaveral Carbon Bent Shaft, Mitchell Carbon Bent Shaft.
Tent: Golite Hex 3 w/nest
Dining/Rain Fly: Tyvek
2 Packs: Golite Gust
Dry Bags: Sea To Summit Silnylon
Stove: MSR Simmerlite
Camera: Olympus 720SW
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gunney
Member

Post Number: 5
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Monday, September 8, 2008 - 10:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Additional Details

Total # Portages: 32
Longest Portage: Florence to Bluesucker ~1600m
Portage Distance: 15,675m or 17142 yds or ~10 miles
Total Distance (rough est.): 110-115km or 70 mile
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 951
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - 11:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

You got lucky seeing so few people, even on Smoothwater, as that is a popular time.

Did you take the creek or portage out of the north end of Scarecrow?

Did that cabin at the north end of Solace still look like it was used?

Thanks for the report.

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gunney
Member

Post Number: 6
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - 7:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

We paddled some of the creek and portaged a short distance ,but mostly we waded or lined.

We were also wondering if the cabin was still used. The dock was a little run down and some of the planks were missing. We did poke our heads inside for a quick look. The interior of the cabin looked like a frat house after a weekend party, cluttered and messy. However, the bunks still had mattresses with blankets and there was plenty of cookware, too. The cabin was outfitted with propane appliances, but I don't remember seeing any tanks outside. The nearby sauna was in good shape as was the outhouse. We concluded that it hadn't been used recently. Is this property private or now part of Solace PP?
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 21
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - 8:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I met three guys that fished out of that cabin 10 or 15 years ago while they were on their way to check on another cabin they have near the south end of the lake. Not sure if the cabins are private or LUPs.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 952
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 9:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

MNR is not buying or ending leases and these cabins are hot items. So I don't know any reason why it isn't still private. I knew it was owned by another LUP on the lake and thought he had bought it to get more privacy. Hence my question.

Thanks for posting your trip summary.
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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 4
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - 8:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks Gunney for the trip report. Hope to do this one next year when I have the extra day or two. Ended up doing a more traditional trip this year-the Temaagami-DIamond-Lady Evalyn-Willow ISland-Upstream on NOrth Lady Evaly River-downstream on the South Lady Evalyn River and back out. Was a great trip. Caught and released some nice brook trout from the river.
We tried to locate the series of 4 portages that link 3 small lakes between Willow Island and Lady Evalyn that Hap Wilson shows on his maps but dont appear on the MNR map. They are shown about the middle of the lake leaving Willow Island from a bay on the east shore. Despite mucking around the marsh, wading ashore we were unable to find any sign of the portage-just some blind end beaver and moose trails.
Anyone tried them?
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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 6
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 7:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Correction to above-the series of4 portages i was hunting for connect Willow Island to the North Arm of Diamond
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 955
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 10:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Maybe 8 years Hugh Stewart went through there and re-cleared them. I suspect they are easier to find coming from Diamond.

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