Forums Forums Help/Rules Help Edit Profile My Profile Member List Register  
Search Last 1 | 3 | 7 Days Search Search  
Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through July 10, 2016 * Hap's Route #2 - Upstream on Yorston R in summer? < Previous Next >

Author Message
 Link to this message

tearknee
Member

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2016


Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2016 - 11:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi, everybody! I'm new to this forum but I've been lurking for awhile. Used the Ottertooth maps on my last big trip through Chiniguchi and down the Sturgeon which were almost unbelievably accurate and detailed, so thanks for that.
This year I'm planning something a little tougher, a little longer.. Hap Wilson's Florence Lake Loop (Route #2). I've been fishing for advice over on myccr but I figured I should ask the experts here, too.
We have about 14-16 days in late July or early August to complete this loop. My questions arise when I get to the upstream leg of the journey after the Obabika River empties into the Sturgeon. Is it a terrible idea to drag/push/line/wade up the Yorston River all the way to Yorston Lake? From my research, it appears that there may not even be enough water in the Yorston River to float our canoe. I know it's theoretically possible to travel upstream on the Sturgeon to the Pilgrim Triangle and then take the Witch's crossovers, however we had a tricky time south of the Triangle last year heading downstream due to low water, and I worry that heading upstream will be much, much worse. Is it better to take our lumps pulling our boat up a mud channel like the lower Yorston or should I forget about that route entirely and head up the Sturgeon to the Triangle? OR is it possible to pond-hop north and west of Obabika Lake through Pinetorch to get to Yorston and then up the Ames creek? In any case, this stretch will be a tough push, I'm sure. Gotta go up to get back down, though! And I really really want to make it through Florence.

So many questions! Thanks a bunch, everyone.
 Link to this message

brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1731
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Monday, February 29, 2016 - 1:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Lots to consider.

Water levels cannot be assumed from year to year. I went up the Sturgeon and down the Yorston in September and I have never seen water levels this high, except in spring. But many years the water has been, yes, brutally low.

If you don't mind upstream travel, travelling up the Sturgeon between the Obabika and the Triangle, if the water is neither extreme, is not bad. The stretches of wading and lining on the Yorston are longer and I would highly recommend against it, especially if water is at the extremes. Do the upstream work on the Sturgeon.

However, I think the trip is much better in the opposite direction than Hap recommends. Go up the Trout Streams (take the Shortcut around the Forks) to Florence, use Witch's Crossover out of Yorston Lake and paddle down the Sturgeon.

Lots of portaging through the Pinetorch, and you probably won't see anyone, but you will miss the great places on the Lady Evelyn.








 Link to this message

tearknee
Member

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2016


Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 7:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks so much for your response, Brian! And thanks for helping me register for the forum, too.
We were on the Sturgeon last year in early August. I checked out the historical data for the water gauge at Upper Goose and it appears that we ran the river when the flow rate was.. 0m3/s. Unbelievable how much it can change in a month!
The only things stopping me from doing this trip in the opposite direction are 1) the severity of the portages (namely, tricky footing) along the South Lady Ev. I'd prefer to tackle those once the food barrel has been emptied somewhat, and 2)I'd rather explore somewhere new than run the Sturgeon again after only a year.

I'm pretty sure we've decided against the Yorston. Now our choices are between running the Obabika down to the Sturgeon and heading upstream to the Pilgrim Triangle, running a section of the Obabika to the Nasmith and then heading up through Lahay, or the aforementioned pond-hop through Wakimika to Pinetorch. I'm apprehensive about the pond-hop only because I spoke to a Keewaydin tripper who went through this area a few years ago. Now, he was only thirteen at the time, but his journal entry from that day read "This is the worst day of my life. It sucks so much, it's unbelievable" which made me laugh uncontrollably and consider a different approach.
I'm not adverse to taking a challenging, remote trip. I'd just really like to cover new ground. I've heard that the portages in our second and third route options are also pretty gnarly, but better difficult than impossible (i.e. Yorston). I estimate this route up the Nasmith would take about 3-4 days from Obabika Lake to Pinetorch. Is this overly ambitious? I imagine taking the Yorston all the way up would be much, much longer.. wasting valuable time out of the 14-16 days we have to play with.
 Link to this message

brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1732
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 8:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I hope you are differentiating between the Upper and Lower Yorston, as the Upper is a nice trip without any of the challenges of the Lower.

 Link to this message

grncnu
Member

Post Number: 399
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 2:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

We did Hap's route #2 in August 1992, it was only our 2nd trip in Temagami. We've also since done all of your alternate routes.
I like what you said about "gotta get up to get down" (isn't that a line from a song?): any trip to the remoter parts of Temagami means going up into the hills.
In defence of going up the lower Yorston in summer, I would still consider that stretch (Sturgeon to Linger) as a real hidden gem- it's not impossible, nor is there any "mud" to speak of- at least till you get to Mudchannel way up on the Upper Yorston! Yes there are a lot of obstacles (log jams, BD's, portages that have to be improvised and yes, plenty of lining) but the plus side is... no competition for campsites- you won't see anyone at all on that stretch, guaranteed! It has a bad reputation among canoeists. Not entirely deserved, nor entirely undeserved, but there you have it...
Obviously if it's an extreme low water year it could be a different story, but remember that whole stretch of river is regulated by beavers to a great extent...
I hear you about not wanting to do the SLER portages uphill with full packs. Not to mention the 2-miler... I think those are the reasons Hap planned this route as clockwise.
As for Nasmith to the Upper Yorston, the direction of travel is all about the 1st portage after Nasmith which (speaking as someone who has done it) is likewise no fun at all with full packs. And don't forget there are several very strenuous portages just to get to Nasmith from Wakimika. Again, however, that "pond hop" is one of the jewels of the backcountry and not much travelled!
Going up Nasmith from Lahay is easier than Wakimika-Nasmith unless water levels are really low- that's a gravelly section as I recall and it could be one long "drag".
What do they say, no gain without pain...
As for the Witches' crossover, that's comparatively easy especially if the portages have been cleared recently which I think they have.
Anyway console yourself with this: you have ample time and can therefore consider either one of these long loop trips, both of which are superb, unforgettable backcountry trips!
 Link to this message

eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 76
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 2:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

You can also plan two alternative routes - one for low flow year and one for average - and make your choice at the last moment. All you need is knowledge where to get parks permits on your way in (you might travel at least 2 parks - Lady Evelyn and Sturgeon; Bluesucker lake is in Solace park &c.)
 Link to this message

alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 394
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 4:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Brian said "I hope you are differentiating between the Upper and Lower Yorston, as the Upper is a nice trip without any of the challenges of the Lower"

I consider Lower Yorston to be below Lunch Lake, where the river enters the meandering sand bars. Most of the travel issues are between Linger and Lunch Lakes
 Link to this message

tearknee
Member

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2016


Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 6:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Brian: Yes, but if I'm avoiding the lower Yorston upstream it would be going out of the way to head through Pinetorch and then up the Yorston to Bluesucker, right? If I choose the Nasmith/Lahay/Pinetorch route I may as well take the Ames creek to Florence, or go through Lewbert from just north of Upper Pinetorch, unless I am mistaken. Would it be nicer to spend an extra day or two going through Pinetorch, down through Twinkle and Seagram and then going up past Talking Falls and through Bluesucker? I'd like to get to Florence in about a week so if we have any extra time near the end of our trip we could go explore some more around Diamond and Obabika.

grncnu: I googled that line and came up with many songs across many genres, haha. I was more inspired by this one, though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AvUJM1b57E
This will be our second Temagami trip, too! 24 years later, and we're doing the same thing as you. Wow, 1992 was 24 years ago?! I'm old enough to remember 1992, but I was prancing around in the mud in a party dress back then. Actually, I've never really stopped doing that.
About the Lower Yorston.. you are the first to vote for it. Definitely still an option for us. Good to hear from someone who has also done "The Worst Day Of My Life" and the Nasmith-Lahay route! Thanks for all of the helpful info. It's great to have some time to do a big loop. After our two-week trip last year, we knew we had to do another of at least that length. So much to see!

eddy turn: Thanks so much for your advice so far. I'm happy I'm becoming more familiar with all of these routes if we have to change our plans last minute. Jeff's Temagami map (first edition, I know, I know) does have all the permit info on it, which takes some of the guesswork out of that aspect. I need to get my new Friends of Temagami adventure planning map framed so I can sit and stare at it for hours. Need to start tallying things up and planning daily distances. Also have to read Hap's notes backwards for the #11 options. Last year for our trip I copied pages and then cut-and-pasted in order of travel, ha. Nice to know when the next portage is going to be a doozy.

alscool: Interesting! I would have thought for sure that the section below Lunch would be the toughest slog. When we passed it last year on the Sturgeon, it was nothing more than a trickle through a grassy ditch. Good to know.
 Link to this message

grncnu
Member

Post Number: 400
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2016 - 2:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

The song I was thinking of was by the Beastie Boys...
Yes, the Yorston sure doesn't look promising where it enters the Sturgeon, but that is really just a sort of sandbar and it widens out shortly- and deepens somewhat.
Alscool's right about north of Lunch, but that doesn't mean the southern part is exactly a stroll!
But I've always found that kind of travel fun and interesting- something different around every corner!!
Same thing with "worst day of my life"- that portage is gruelling, steep uphill all the way, but it's also one of the prettiest in the whole area. If you're double-portaging like us, when you return for the 2nd load there's also a swimming hole right there at the bottom of the portage on Nasmith, at the foot of a small rapids- coldest swim of my life, but didn't feel a thing...

Forums | Last Day | Last Week | Search | User List | Help/Rules Home