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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through July 10, 2016 * Trip planned for Sept/16..looking for any advice < Previous Next >

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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 8
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Monday, March 7, 2016 - 8:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Well, based on some excellent feedback last year, my buddy and I have our first trip to Temagami planned for early September. We will be starting from the Gervais crossing, heading up the west side of park through Scarecrow, Smoothwater, then through Sunnywater to the LER. Down from there to Florence, across Solace and then back up the Sturgeon a short distance to the crossing.

We are well equipped from a map perspective, and I've already poured over Hap's book numerous times. The plan is to paddle approximately 8 days out of 12, with 2 night stops on Scarecrow, Florence and Selkirk.

At this point, I still have a few outstanding questions:

- Is Opy's in Capreol still issuing permits? I'm thinking of not risking it and getting one mailed to me, just in case, as there is still lots of time

- I know that the permits are not 'lake' based like those in Algonquin, so what is the usual protocol if you get to a spot on the journey where there is only one campsite for miles and it is taken? Specifically I'm thinking of places like Sunnywater and Selkirk

- I'm assuming that yellow portage/orange campsite signs, and wood box privys will be next to non-existent

- Anything on this route that deserves a close look? We are going to climb Isphatina, and the lookup on Florence. I also see a few additional vantage points marked in Hap's guide, as well as some caves on Florence.


One of the many things I am looking forward too... with the ice storm breaking the tree tops in winter 2014-15, I'm guessing that firewood is probably an easy find. From what I've read over the last year, it appears all the portages should be fairly clear by now.

Thank you in advance everyone...
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1733
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 11:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Not sure I would rely on Opy's.

If it is nightfall, you might consider asking the occupants if you can join them, or, even though parks doesn't want you to, make your own campsite.

Don't count on signs or privys.

Those portages should be cleared.

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darlh
Member

Post Number: 8
Registered: 09-2009
Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 3:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

That is a full Temagami experience route you have planned for a first trip to the area. You probably have other paddling/portage experience, hopefully not just the manicured provincial park canoe routes. The carrys like Smoothwater to Sunnywater can be strenuous to the uninitiated.

Your route will pass close enough to Sucker Gut Lake for Maple Mountain access, and I like that hike more then Ishpatina. The Sturgeon River in September may be quite low.
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 77
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 6:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Florence and Selkirk are excellent layover sites. Altogether this is a route worth of going slowly and enjoying the journey.
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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 9
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 8:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Excellent feedback, thanks gentlemen.

We are going to save Sucker Gut and Maple Mountain for another year. Probably start that trip from Mowat Landing, and do a loop down the lower LER and then back up through the Sugar Lake area.

I think we can manage the Sunnywater portages, especially since we'll rest a night in between. We did the portage below in Algonquin a couple of years ago, heading south, it has quite an incline on the first section, so we've seen some steep territoy. :-) We double portage so we are not breaking our backs.

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darlh
Member

Post Number: 9
Registered: 09-2009
Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 8:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I know the Hogan to Big Crow portage well, and yep that has substantial climb to start and another halfway along. The elevation gain out of Marina is coupled with some poor footing, so just be careful. Speaking of careful the road up to Gervais landing can have some big and fast moving logging trucks. Brian's maps are essential, do you have a GPS file of the drive to the put in as well?

Be safe and have fun.
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 78
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 1:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hogan to Crow portage is long and hilly, but not too difficult otherwise. Many of Temagami portages are more "technical" - less open, with long stone gardens and/or boggy sections, so a 200m Temagami portage could be more exhausting than a much longer trail in Algonquin. It makes a big difference effort-wise if you have to watch every step you make comparing to walking an average well used hiking trail.
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mcon99
Member

Post Number: 10
Registered: 02-2015


Posted on Monday, March 14, 2016 - 10:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

darlh,

Thanks for the reference to the GPS file for the Gervais road. I had seen it before on the website, but I got around to trying it tonight and it loads perfectly into my GPS software. That will definitely make it easier than relying on the trip odometer and the mileage makers on the map. The maps I have for my GPS are quite a few years out of date, but it does have the 'old' road route (with the washout) in it.

Next step... call Finlayson Point in June and get the permits. And when spring arrives, burrow through the shed and figure out how many Mountain House meals I have left over from last years trip :-)




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fireman
Member

Post Number: 203
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Sunday, May 1, 2016 - 5:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Boy. I haven't been on this forum in a long time. I miss it.
Your route is truly a definitive Temagami route.
Not sure exactly your plan for getting in to ScareCrow, but I found that going through Stull Lake was more straightforward than dealing with Stull Creek or the long portage.
I cannot imagine finding a campsite in mid September being a concern for you. and people happily share if it comes to that.
The campsite in Florence on the northern section of the lake, to the west side is beautiful.
And when you cross over from Solace back in to the Sturgeon, take an extra day to fish or just chill out at Twin Falls. The paddle from there to your vehicle at the put in is under two hours, unless the current is booming.

I came down the Sturgeon last September and it was a truly wonderful experience. Until we wrapped our only canoe around a big boulder in the middle of the rapids downstream from Pilgrim's Triangle. then it got a lot more interesting. but that is a different thread.

enjoy your trip. you have all the time in the world. The sand spit on Florence is definitely haunted. as I am sure everyone will tell you.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1740
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Monday, May 2, 2016 - 9:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Fireman,
The quickest and easiest route between Hamlow and the Sturgeon is the 1650 metre here:

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



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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 405
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Monday, May 2, 2016 - 8:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hey fireman, you've been missed by everyone on this forum as well, welcome back!
We dumped our canoe on that same boulder around 15 years ago, and I almost drowned trying to rescue my hat!
How'd you get out from that spot?
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 204
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 7:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

First off, it is very nice to be welcomed back.
I am still paddling but neglecting writing about it somewhat...possibly due to shame?
Believe it or not, I set off from Lakeland Lodge with not one, but two, Israeli Survival instructors who were looking in to the possibility of outfitting tourist groups from Israel into Ontario Wilderness Canoeing.
If nothing else was achieved, I doubt they will be doing so.
One of them, 29, tough as nails and a desert rat, has paddled with me many times and been a chaperone on several high school trips to Killarney.
The other, a wonderful chap (as they say), 40, three children and a head for the business of running a survival school, was not quite prepared for the harsh truth of paddling all day.
In all other things he was great (except carrying the canoe on portages, but that is understandable).
In any event, the plan was to paddle up to Twin Falls, via the Back Door Route, and then come back down the Sturgeon to the Rawson Crossover and meet up with two other paddlers, on Laura Lake, for week two of the trip.
It almost happened...
Three of us, minimal gear (no tent, no stove;just bivy's and dried food we cooked on a wood fire) in a Swift Yukon.
But all the other essentials and packed for a long trip...meaning a very heavy and sluggish boat in the water.
I do not consider myself much of a negotiator of rapids and one seemingly harmless bump swung our boat and we were on that big boulder in the middle of the rapid. the packs floated out and we were more concerned about them than realizing that the boat was open to the upstream and quickly filled with water, pushing it further down under the water.
I had 300 feet of static 9 mm. hauling rope plus pulleyed carabiners and I know all the tricks of mechanical advantages, etc.
We worked for three hours trying different approaches, anchor points, levers...in the end, one cannot lift a river off of a submerged canoe that is smeared over a large flat boulder.
Fully half of the hull was pressed against the rock which was fairly smooth.
At one point we thought we had it. The stern started to rise and I pried with all I had and submerged myself to get my back under the hull while the other two hauled like maniacs...
what was happening was the canoe was simply being torn apart between our pulling and the force of the river. I stood mid-stream, rather cold and wet, and watched the stern seat, then the thwart, then the yoke and then the front seat, splinter and crack. At which point I called Time of Death and we detached the ropes and began the next phase of our trip.
Retrieving the packs was fun. the two Eureka Canoe Packs were easy enough to swim upstream with and had only drifted about 150 metres downstream before beaching. The main food and equipment pack, however, containing an olive barrel plus our axe, saw, grill, cookset and a lot of other gear, was much further downstream and weighed a ton being a cordura Hooligan pack.
I left it to the young guy to swim it back.
We were in the middle of nowhere on the East bank of the Sturgeon, about two kms. south of the portage at Parson's Crossover. We made camp in the forest, hacking out a spot and ate cheese and fried up some SPAM. it was ridiculously tasty!
We had the old topos that were issued in the early 80's and probably surveyed in the 70's. Which show a myriad of logging roads that I know to be unreliable....we made a fire, set up a tripod on a shoal islet with a barrel and a note explaining what had happened and that we were headed north to Pilgrim Triangle and hoped to find an ATV trail with someone one it. Otherwise, I knew only that there was car access at Lower Goose Falls and that an ATV trail to there existed, although which one of the many I did not know. We set out the next morning.
Getting up to Pilgrim's Triangle took several hours of bushwhacking using a compass and we did find the corridor of the logging road, not that it helped much as it is strewn with deadfall.
We got to falls and I suggested floating the gear across and swimming to the far side. the other two were up for finding a way to ford the river upstream. anyone who has explored there knows how much water is flowing and the rockiness..at any rate, we went for it. Again, always bring a young man with more enthusiasm than yourself. we tied a rope to him and he crabbed across the first of two snyes, secured the rope and we came across (falling and splashing on the rocks) with the packs, which we had combined in to three, one being very, very heavy (and mine).
The second snye was as tough as the first. And we encountered the same challenge crossing Pilgrim Creek itself. The water was high last September. We got to the far side around one p.m. drank some water and headed up the logging trail in the direction we felt we needed to go.
It was an unused trail. The used one loops around northwest. At any rate, after several hours of hacking at fallen trees, we arrived at a slightly better trail. passing a 1939 vehicle abandoned in the woods; the only sign of human presence!
We explored a bit and found a current ATV trail a little to the east. We collapsed, put out all of our wet gear to dry in the sun and started making camp.
The older Israeli went to a further junction to put up a tripod with a note, just in case someone came by. The younger guy and I got a pot of coffee going and just sprawled in the sunlight, exhausted to the end.
....and then we heard an engine. Several. Four ATV's, single riders came across our sorry butts.
To finish the story quickly, these saints (nothing less in the circumstances) took the three of us and our gear on the backs of their ATV's back to their camp at Lower Goose and after a cold beer, drove us down to Sturgeon Falls AND THEN back up to LakeLand Lodge parking lot...all in that same day we set out from our bivouac.
The Israelis are convinced that Canadians are the friendliest and most helpful people on the planet.
Meanwhile, the other two paddlers had set out to meet us and returned a few days later to the Lodge where we celebrated one night and then did a short jaunt on the Naiscoot on our way back, just to use up the perishable food...and Scotch.

All in all, quite a trip. I lost a brand new fishing rod, my favorite paddle and a bit more pride (but there was precious little of that left in my 54th year)....and no injuries.
It is a YouTube movie, in Hebrew, on their YouTube channel website. His name is Gai Serussi.
In the end, it was as real as it gets and he was shooting it all on a digital video camera, start to finish.
At one point we popped in to Sudbury to do laundry and get some pizza and notify the OPP that we were out and safe and that anyone contacting them having found our note could relax.
As I find in much of my life....stupid action followed by an incredible recovery that even seems elegant when looked at in a certain light.
I can tell you we never stopped laughing at ourselves. Some of the remarks (in Hebrew) in the movie are priceless.
Always have a map??? And a young guy.

cheers,
sorry for the length. Trust me,I kept it short.

Fireman (much safer job)
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 205
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

correction: we were on the West bank of the Sturgeon River, or southwest, to be more accurate. Anyone who came across our marker, would love to hear from you..
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 407
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 1:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I agree- the "worst" experiences are really the most important ones (and even the most enjoyable ones in a weird sort of way)- but only AFTER.
Your description of how you ended up on that boulder convinced me that it really was the same boulder. It looked like nothing at all, then we were in the water with the canoe at right angles to the river. What happened to you almost happened to us but the current helped us push off the rock, luckily we hit it slightly off-centre.
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 83
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 10:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Very entertaining story. And the goal is reached after all: now your guests are very much familiar with what they are into, I mean: outfitting canoe wilderness trips. No doubt their Israel experience is quite different, though I heard that the Jordan in spring is quite a beast and I know of people who after a raft wreck had to "bushwack" mine fields on the Golan heights.
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 206
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Saturday, May 7, 2016 - 9:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Yeah, well, that would not surprise me. thus wars get started!
I am going to be in the Golan next weekend actually, getting together with my old unit.
As for outfitting, I think the lesson learned was that the objectives need to be much more controllable and it is important to remember that for 99% of people, a wilderness canoe trip is a new experience. If you go up one side of one lake and down the other, they would never realize it. It is overwhelming and a lot can be accomplished in a small area. Long, ambitious trips are really only for those with experience.
the risks are too great, or at the very least, it is too much responsibility for the outfitter.
just my opinion. nothing ruins a canoe trip like making it feel like a job.
ever since I read Deep Waters by James Ruffin (sp?), I have not been able to be casual about taking others out on trips. When I take high school students out, I run it like the military (or the fire dept.), simply for the sake of safety. I could not live with being the one telling someone's parents the bad news.
take care.

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