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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through October 17, 2015 * Trip Planning - Ishpatina / Florence loop < Previous Next >

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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 8:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Seasoned travelers,

I'm a first time poster, long time browser. I was introduced to canoe tripping as a child, my Dad was actually a competitive whitewater canoeist in his youth. I've never however had the opportunity to canoe in Northern Ontario. I know Algonquin and Killarney well, Temagami will be a new adventure.

So I've been planning a route mostly based on http://www.thetemagamimap.com/ (Jeff's Map) and posts on this board. Any feedback that could be provided would be appreciated.

Trip would be in September, double-portaging:

- Day 1: Drive from Sudbury to Sturgeon River access point, near the Ishpatina ridge. Travel to Scarecrow and camp
- Day 2: Hike to top of ridge
- Day 3: Travel from Scarecrow and stay on Whitemud
- Day 4: Travel down South Lady Evelyn river. Camp at one of the two sites past the portages
- Day 5: Travel through Florence to Bluesucker and camp there
- Day 6: Option #1: Bluesucker to Einar, camp
Option #2: Bluesucker to Solace River, camp on Selkirk
- Day 7: Option #1: Einar through Regan and out
Option #2: Solace to Paul and Sturgeon and out
- One day to spare if held up by weather / other issue


What I do know:

- We probably won't attempt to run Stull or Scarecrow creeks
- The South Lady Evelyn will likely be a pain the first few kms at that time of year

Question I have:

- How usable is the 1515m portage beside Stull creek?
- Is going through Solace and paddling up the Sturgeon a bit going to be an issue? Currents? Whitewater?
- In general, how well marked are portages/campsites in this area? Am I looking for yellow/orange signs, or flags and blazes?
- Am I being too ambitious on any of the travel days?

Thanks,




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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 366
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 10:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

1. Get Hap Wilson's guidebook and the 1:50,000's.
2. Sudbury to Scarecrow is a marathon, driving the stretch from Capreol to the Surgeon is 3 hours at a safe speed.
3. Never done it, but from what I understand Whitemud to the Florence River could be a 2 or 3-day drag in September, unless water levels are unusually high.
4. A stay on Florence is highly recommended.
5. The portages from Hamlow or Selkirk to the Sturgeon are fine; Stull Creek ain't a "run" but it is still a viable route in late summer if you like that sort of thing (like me); it's probably 20% paddling, 50% lining/wading/dragging, 30% portaging.
6. Going upstream on the Sturgeon is no problem, portages/campsites are usually well marked but GET HAP'S GUIDE.
The time frame could be a bit tight but it all depends on the S. L. E. from Whitemud- the alternative would of course be Apex-Smoothwater-Sunnywater-N. Lady Evelyn which is 2 days with difficult portages but well worth it.
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 56
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 10:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hello
Your day 6, Bluesucker to Selkirk, is pretty ambitious: it's 10+ portages, mostly short and level, but 2 of them - 700 and 900m between Pilgrim & Solace are seriously uphill, and 900m out of Solace is not easy (Jeff marked these portages shorter than they are on Ottertooth maps). It took us 10 hours (we did it in 2 days) to get from Pilgrim to Selkirk, double carry. YMMV - we are on a slow side. You might consider on day 5 going further than Bluesucker and camp on Benner or Rodd, for instance.

Portages between Florence & Sturgeon are well traveled and easy to locate. I don't remember how they are signed, but I doubt you'll see yellow signs in this area.
Upstream travel on Sturgeon from Ghoul lake to Gervais landing is not difficult in average flow. One or two C1 rapids before the take-out may require some wading.
Proper name for a park marked "Solace River" on Jeff's map is just "Solace" - there's no river there, just lakes.
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 367
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 11:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Just refreshed my memory and actually Sudbury to Scarecrow is not that bad time-wise.
If SLER is too low preferred campsites would be Scarecrow (Island), Smoothwater, Sunnywater, Confluence of N and S LER, Florence, Benner (not Bluesucker in my opinion), Selkirk.
To clarify, Scarecrow to Florence is 3 days double portaging unless you're on a marathon. It's also one of the top 2 or 3 routes in the whole region, which is saying a lot.
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jeffreym
Member

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2015
Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015 - 2:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

@eddy_turn - Oh geez, that's pretty embarrassing - I don't know how I managed that :-(.

That'll be fixed on the next version of the map. Thanks so much for pointing that out.
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 58
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015 - 3:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Jeffrey. You probably didn't have a team of associates to proofread your map before it was published, so proofreading after the fact is totally appropriate. Glad I could be of some use :-).
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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015 - 7:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Very good feedback, much appreciated.

Hap's book arrived yesterday and I am enjoying reading through it. From what I can see so far, nothing mentioned here nor in Hap's book is throwing up warning flags about this route, so I'm gaining some confidence.

I definitely see the possibility of doing the loop through Sunnywater rather than the SLER. That decision will probably come down to the water level and whether I can tack an extra day or two on the trip. I must admit though, I'm amazed at the difference in portage lengths depending on which map you look at. For example, the three portages at the end of the SLER:

Jeff's Map: 125m, 120m, 515m
Ottertooth: 180m, 60m, 650m
Hap's Guide: 70m, 55m, 580m

I have just a couple more questions:

- Does anyone have a link to a webpage with the water level information for the Lady Evelyn?

- Is there any information or reports on the state of an approximately 1300m portage on the SLER starting about 1km down from Whitemud and ending before Jerry Creek? I've found reference to it as a way to 'cut the corner' when the river heads north, but nothing concrete.

Thanks,

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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015 - 7:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Map reference...


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richtheo
Member

Post Number: 8
Registered: 01-2015
Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015 - 8:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I just discovered Jeff's maps. I downloaded Temagami and it is superimposed on Google Earth. Truly impressive, plenty of details. I ordered the paper copy for my next trip. Great work Jeff.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1670
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 11:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

There will always be new businesses coming up with a map based on copying others. The difference is that Ottertooth maps are done by local canoeists with years of experience on the trails.

http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/Maps/heartland0 5.htm

So yes, do the 1500 m portage.

I have paddled up the Sturgeon from Twin Falls to the landing. There is a narrow rock gap between Paul and Ghoul that may need quick strokes to get up, but that is very water-level dependent. Normally it is fine.

As for the portages lengths on various maps, that is probably dependent on methods. Hap did all his years ago by estimating from the number of his footsteps. The Ottertooth lengths were done on the ground with GPS units and cross-proofed with GIS (though the latter really was redundant). Like Hap's, the Ottertooth maps don't get done without someone on the ground first. We revise from feedback or re-travelling, as portages and waterways do change.

Your reference to a portage on the SLER downstream of Whitemud is probably to an old, old portage out of use for at least 50 years. If it was passable, it would be on this map.

http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/Maps/heartland06.htm

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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 369
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 8:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Right on Brian, since Hap's guide first introduced me to Temagami in the 80's I always tend to say "get Hap's guide", but it is a fact that the Ottertooth maps are an indispensible adjunct to Hap's guide. Most importantly, they show MANY more connecting links based on the most up to date information.
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jeffreym
Member

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2015
Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 11:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

@eddy_turn - Haha, unfortunately I don't :-(. If you're ever interested in looking over future drafts I'd veryyy much appreciate it! Absolutely every correction will be included in the next version of the map :-)

@mcon99 - that's not a portage that's the distance of the canoe route (from orange dot to orange dot). It gives an accurate distance for the route where the route isn't straight :-)

@richtheo - :D thanks!
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 59
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 11:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

mcon, to the best of my knowledge the only hydro-metric station in this part of Temagami is located on the Sturgeon at Upper Goose falls. Still, it could be used for reference for adjacent areas: http://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/report/report_e.html?t ype=realTime&stn=02DC012. According to Hap Wilson South LER should be traveled in spring, though I am sure it's been paddled in summer as well.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1293
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Monday, February 23, 2015 - 6:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Go here for LEL water levels:

http://www.opg.com/generating-power/hydro/RiverSys tems/Northeast/Ladyevelyn.pdf

The Graph shows the current level and the narrow lines show the target levels during the summer months.If you travel to LEL in early May the level will usually be low, but by regulation it is required to come up to the target level during the summer.
Edit:
Sorry guys. I should have gone back and read the entire thread.
I thought you were talking about the Lady Evelyn Lake level.
I would expect that in September the water would be low in the both branches of the LER. In September 2013 that was the case. In September 2014 there was lot's of rain all summer and the rivers had lot's of water in them.
So I would agree with Eddy Turn, check the water gauge on the Sturgeon at Upper Goose and if it shows a good flow it should be good in LER as well.}}
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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Monday, February 23, 2015 - 8:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Once again, thanks for all the great information.

I've talked to my canoeing partner and he agrees that we should add 2 nights to our trip, regardless of whether we take the S or N Lady Evelyn. I might even consider at this point flipping the route to go down the Sturgeon to Solace (Selkirk) on the first day, which would leave the extra day to climb the Ishpatina (or catch up some distance) at the end of the trip.

As for this 'portage around then bend' on the SLER, here is one of the references I found to it (last post in thread), although I'm sure I had seen another one as well that listed the distance as about 1.3kms, which would seem to be about right to cover the distance around that north bend on the river:


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

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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Monday, February 23, 2015 - 9:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Here is the other reference ...

http://www.ottertooth.com/discus/messages/3/4587.h tml?1167916623
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1672
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 9:17 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

That portage is implied to be a short one in the first message, but clearly sounds, in the second message, like the one I was referring to. The walking was likely along the wet banks just downstream of Whitemud. As otter_mel said, not a pleasant area for walking. Otter_mel is around. He might respond to this discussion.
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 370
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 8:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Here's a scan from my 1976 1:50,000 (still in use!)
You can clearly see the trail Otter Mel is talking about, which appears to branch off the regular portage to Whitemud, crossing the SLER.
Notice there's a 1300 foot contour line marked just below the trail... coincidence??
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1673
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 8:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Good work finding this old map, or should I say keeping in 'working use.' That is an old winter logging road, World War II or earlier. These operations worked south from Smoothwater Lake. Most of the road was built over the old nastawgan that continued east to the LER, SE of '42', about where the creek and river meet. At the two spots where it crosses the LER there are remnants of the old bridges. This is the trail I was referring to as out of use for decades.
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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 6
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 6:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I found another map reference as well from the Ottertooth archives. Sorry for the bad splice, but it was split between 2 map sections. It clearly shows the old portage going to exactly where I though it would, where the SLER and creek joins:


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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 371
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 8:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

A useful clue would be the fact that the logging road went only as far as the creek, which suggests they floated the logs (and if it floats a log it floats a canoe) from that point in the spring. Avoiding, as you say, the big bend. For low water the Nastawgan continued to the forks.
It's obviously the best route- if somebody spent a week with a chainsaw, clearing it!
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 372
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 9:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

By the way, if you use a ruler on that old map to measure the oblique angle and compare it with the map's 1000 meter grid, the distance from the whitemud portage to the forks is 2.3km AS THE CROW FLIES (i.e. around 3km with all the bends), not 1250 M as indicated on the Nastawgan map!!
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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 7
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 10:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I actually think those distances are in chains. I had to look up what that was.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_%28unit%29

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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1674
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Saturday, March 7, 2015 - 10:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Actually, the logs were not floated here but taken by winter sleigh to Smoothwater and then floated down the Montreal River. That is why there are several bridge crossings on the South LER. This was the far limit of the logging from the north and pushing the limit on distance from water transport.
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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 30
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 8:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I went down the SLE from Whitemud to Florence in September 2011. Took 10 hours of heavy work. Water was low so in many spots only an inch or two of water and lots of man hauling. Beginning km was a soft organic bottom that couldnt be paddled or lined except by jumping from clump to clump with a rope along shore. It does allow for a loop but not sure I would attempt it again. Here is the link to my trip log.
http://www.ottertooth.com/discus/show.cgi?tpc=3&po st=15857#POST15857
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1699
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Saturday, June 27, 2015 - 11:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Right now, the water is high, and biters are in full force.

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