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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through May 30, 2017 * July trip - Sturgeon River loop through Florence < Previous Next >

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mjb1
Member

Post Number: 26
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi all,

I'm looking for a little advice on a trip I am planning for late July from the Sturgeon River (put in at the end of the Gervais Road).

My current plan is as follows:
Day 1
Hamlow to Scarecrow
Day 2
Scarecrow to SLE
Day 3
SLE to Florence
Day 4
Florence
Day 5
Florence to Bluesucker (or beyond)
Day 6
Bluesucker to Solace
Day 7
Solace - out

A couple of questions for people who have paddled through this area:
- I've read lots of information about water levels on the route between Whitemud, SLE, Florence River into Florence. Obviously this information changes with the season/year/etc., but in general, does anyone have a sense if this section usually navigable in late July?

- my suggested route leaves me with a bit of upstream paddling on the Sturgeon (Paul Lake to the access at the end of the Gervais Road). I've done this in the past, including in early season, so I'm not overly concerned - but is there any recommendations on which direction I should take the route (i.e. consider the route in the opposite direction)? Is there any advantage I'm missing about going in through Solace and out through Scarecrow?

- lastly, I've read that the portage between Florence to Bluesucker is a tough go - anyone's experiences on this one would be appreciated. Actually, any experiences on any part of this route would be helpful.

Thanks,
mbj1
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 90
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 1:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I have only traveled the bottom half of your route - from Florence river to Gervais landing. In my opinion your choice of direction is prudent since in late July the most probable issue would be low water in SLER, which you plan to paddle downstream. Bluesucker portages are not easy, but they are not something to be too concerned about either - classic Temagami, some rock gardens, some bogs. You'll have plenty of time on your day 6, and the area is worth of going slowly.
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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 91
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 1:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I meant to say: on your day 5.
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 412
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 12:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Having done all of that except the SLER, which you've read about on this forum so you know as much as I do- your trip is otherwise definitely doable.
I would recommend camping on Benner (a beautiful campsite and lake) rather than Bluesucker and pushing on to Selkirk rather than Solace- nothing against Solace but the most desirable campsite (the central island) is problematic for various reasons which will become clear to you if you go there, though it's true it's been more than a few years since I've been there...
The Florence to Bluesucker portage as eddyturn alluded to has a (BAD) swampy section, so for that one bit of your trip you are actually hoping for low water and weeks of dry weather prior...
Great route, you will not be disappointed!!
But I am concerned the SLER may require an extra day or half-day.
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mjb1
Member

Post Number: 27
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 11:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks for the comments everyone.

As expected, the SLER is the unknown. Oh well, we are up for a challenge and have tried to give ourselves lots of time to get through it. Florence has been on my list for a couple of years.

Glad to confirm that the Florence to Bluesucker portages are nothing to be too concerned about. Again, I have tried to provide lots of time to get through there.

I've been through Bluesucker to the Sturgeon River a few times, so am familiar with that route. I'll have to revisit Benner as it seems like a lot of people enjoy that site and lake.

I actually enjoy one particular site on Solace, but I am considering pushing further to Selkirk or beyond to shorten the last day. As with a few other days on the trip, other factors may influence the campsite locations.

Thanks again for all the help.
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mjb1
Member

Post Number: 29
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 11:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Well, I thought I'd provide an update.

My wife and I attempted this trip in late July last year (2016), but the SLER proved to be a little too much for us (we spend about an hour dragging the canoe through a trickle of water, making very little distance, and in the pouring rain, before we decided to adjust our plans). It all worked out as we ended up spending on some time on Smoothwater and Sunnywater (both of which were new territory for us and beautiful lakes), then back down through Scarecrow (with a hike up Ishpatina). It was an enjoyable trip and we certainly made the best of it.

But I still had an interest in the original route as a way into Florence, so this spring, my father and I took on the original route. The SLER was still a beast to get through (from Woods to the last portage on the SLER was a tough 10 hour day - of course, we had a heavy wind and rain the entire day, which probably slowed progress). It's a tough go - and the first stretch, even with high water, it a lot of in and out of the canoe, dragging over logs, etc. Water picked up a bit after that, but it's a winding creek, so progress is slow.

Special thanks for the ottertooth maps and the update from last July about the new 'portage' around the log jam on the SLER (http://www.ottertooth.com/discus/messages/3/157543 .html?1467899004).

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eddy_turn
Member

Post Number: 107
Registered: 03-2011


Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 7:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks for update. I would expect SLER to be paddle-friendlier in May water.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1824
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 5:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Woods Lake to Florence River - pretty ambitious.

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