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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through July 27, 2010 * Sturgeon River, Paul Lake and Solace area < Previous Next >

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erhard
Member

Post Number: 27
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 6:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Just came back from a few days in the upper Sturgeon River, Paul Lake and Solace area. Did the loop that lies between the Sturgeon and Solace Lake (Selkirk Lake is one of the lakes) - a nice and wild area. The loop is doable in a single day (we paddled with empty boats and thus no gear to slow us down).

Our base was at the northern site on Paul Lake
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=47.19890,-80.81071&z=16 &t=S
and there we made an interesting discovery: a "Pine sap trap", used to get a stash of pine sap for canoe repair. Travelers used to create a "trap" by notching a tree and let the sap accumulate over time. Thus they would have a stash of resin at their frequented camp sites whenever needed.
Pics at:
http://www.gallery.myccr.com/albums/userpics/11594 /IMGP0095.JPG
http://www.gallery.myccr.com/albums/userpics/11594 /IMGP0094.JPG


Also, about 100m S of the camp site on a rock overlooking the lake, there is a geodesic marker if you are interested.
Pic:
http://www.gallery.myccr.com/albums/userpics/11594 /IMGP0110.JPG

On the side, we tried to see whether the old trail from Hanslow to the Sturgeon, along Stull Creek, might still be possible to travel. It is not.
The beginning out of the south end of Hanslow is a good trail, but after about 300m it disappears and no trail is visible that could take you the remaining 1km or so. Just portage, like every one else, via the logging road that connects Hamlow with the ford at the Sturgeon. The start of that portage on the southern end of the eastern bay of Hamlow is easy to find.
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tsm
Member

Post Number: 143
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 7:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

erhard
How were the water levels? Bugs? I've been wanting to do a trip from Florence to Paul Lake....perhaps this year! Did you camp on Solace? How were the campsites?
Where did you go in and out?
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erhard
Member

Post Number: 28
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 8:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Camp sites looked clean, even the one where the road crosses the Sturgeon. (You can camp even at the road 200ft north of the Bowland River crossing, if the camp site at the Sturgeon should be occupied.)

Water levels: rivers probably like June, and one of the head lakes was down about a foot from normal, judging by the pitcher plants that were standing well above the water's edge.

Bugs: when it got a bit warm - like 12 degrees - the blackflies were out and nibbled. But as it was mostly cold, I came home with only four bites. Mosquitos were there, quite some large individuals, but the weather wasn't to their liking.

We just futzed around the Paul Lake, Sturgeon River, HAmlow areas and paddled the circle of lakes west of Solace but did not enter Solace Lake.
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tsm
Member

Post Number: 144
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 9:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks erhard,
Heading up to Temagami for the long weekend for a fishing trip, then back up for 2 weeks in July at the cottage on the big lake with the family . Thinking of celebrating mine and my wife's 50th BD with a trip into the park in September!
Can't get enough of Temagami! :-)
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alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 248
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 10:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Nice find at Paul Lake. FOT reaserch has found Paul and Ghoul Lakes as important habitation places for the Early Anishinaabeg of Temagami.

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tsm
Member

Post Number: 145
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 3:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

alscool
What types of things were found?
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 29
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 6:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Erhard,

I'm curious, when you were following the historic Hamlow-Sturgeon R portage, you would have been gaining elevation for the first couple of hundred meters, right? Were you able to follow the trail as far as the crest of that rise? If so, did you get down as far as an old logging road?

A friend of mine axe-blazed young jack pine between Stull Creek and the old road that bisects the trail more than 15 years ago. This section of the original portage was obliterated by logging and regeneration. North of the road we were able to locate occasional tree blazes and compacted soil groove between the road and the highest point on the trail, (the crest I asked about earlier) where we lost track of all sign of a route, ran out of daylight, and ended up bivouacing right there. Next morning the remainder of the trail to Hamlow, terminating at an old, axe-blazed cedar, was revealed to us.

We traveled back over it on our return from Ishpatina, and I know of at least two other parties (one was a large high school group) that have used the trail, but that was over a decade ago. I'm sure I could locate the trail if I get a chance to get back there. I remember the most obscure portion being the area surrounding that 'summit'.

DoubleBend



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lost_canoe
Member

Post Number: 15
Registered: 03-2010
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 7:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

What is the paddle on the Sturgeon like from the Gervais road put in to the 1275m portage (into Selkirk L) on Ghoul Lake? Easy to paddle either way?? No hard swifts or rapids etc...??
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erhard
Member

Post Number: 30
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 8:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

DB,
we came from Hamlow as we knew most folks use the road now and had hoped the old trail might be easier to find.
Look at the map at http://www.yip.org/~erhard/Temagami/sturgen-hamlow -20000.jpg
We followed the clear trail that I indicated in orange and it stopped at the highest point with no indication where the old trail might have been. We sent two folks out to scout ahead, they spent a few hours walking and one got as far as the old cross-road - we found nothing helpful. So we turned around and carried along the current road towards the Sturgeon.

We're speculating that that path to nowhere is on the wrong side of the hill (elevation 390) and that the old trail went on its eastern flank, which I drew as a red arrow onto the map.

Someone should go out and walk the terrain, determining the whole layout of the path.
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erhard
Member

Post Number: 31
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 8:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

LC,
we paddled down from the river crossing to Ghoul and there are swifts, no rapids. Paddling back up to Paul is no problem - just push a bit harder where there is current. But some swifts further upstream probably would have to be lined. To save time, we carried the boats back to the road from the north end of Paul via an ATV trail. It's visible on the satellite view on this website (you can switch between topo view etc - it's neat for "digging around"... )
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=47.20206,-80.81442&z=17 &t=S
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1192
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 9:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

For anyone coming into this thread and uncertain of the portage it is on this map between Hamlow Lake and Stull Creek (near the Sturgeon). It is marked in a smaller font as "nastawgan 1500."

http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/Maps/heartland0 3a.htm
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 30
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 9:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I figured it'd be at the top of that hill you lost the way.

You were on the right trail. At the top of the hill it takes an s-bend, first left (east), and then right (south).

We came at this portage from the lower end and from the cross road we were able to spot an old tree blaze that indicated the trail through the uncut portion. From there to the top of the hill we're talking about took some doing to locate the trail but was do-able. As mentioned previously, the top of the hill was our partial undoing.

While bivouacing at the top of the hill I experienced the strangest dreams, where I observed a steady procession of First Nation travelers, representing many generations, making their way along the trail and passing by our impromptu camp. One, an old woman carrying a load, appeared startled and momentarily seemed to sense our presence as she reached our location before shrugging and moving on.

In the morning we located the remainder of the trail to Hamlow precisely where the procession had moved through. A weird experience that's stayed with me ever since. Sure got me hooked on heritage routes.

I wish I had a GPS track to share, but this occurred long before such technology was readily available. Too bad you can't see the recollections I hold in memory.

Hope this helps someone...

Regards,
DoubleBend
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erhard
Member

Post Number: 32
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 10:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

That's useful info. Thank you - I wished we had YOU along with us!

I probably won't be in that area again during this year's season. So maybe someone else reads this and has success in locating (and marking) the trail!
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ghost_brigade
Member

Post Number: 89
Registered: 04-2004


Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 3:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

How interesting doublebend, thanks for sharing.
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erhard
Member

Post Number: 33
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 7:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

DB,
are you familiar with Dave Hadfield's song "Jack Pine"? You may like it....



I dreamed a voyager stood there, sparkling eyes and tangled hair,
Told me of a life he'd lived 200 years ago,
He'd had 3 wives, a dozen sons, an iron back, a hundred songs,
And late at night he'd hear the wind from under his canot.

Chorus
And the Jack Pine, jack pine groan,
Hard as the rock -- the earth's old bones.
Hear the wind, the north wind moan,
And the jack pine, jack pine groan.



http://www.hadfield.ca/Northern/Jack_Pine.html
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typhoonit
Member

Post Number: 6
Registered: 04-2010
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 3:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I'll likely be traveling from Hamlow to Sturgeon R at the end of June with 5 friends. This sounds like a good challenge, and if it fits our schedule I'd love to locate this trail and mark it.

I'll let you know how it goes.
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erhard
Member

Post Number: 35
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 10:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks - and I hope you succeed!
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typhoonit
Member

Post Number: 12
Registered: 04-2010
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2010 - 4:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Based on comments here, other maps, and what I could make out from a faint line on Google maps, I've marked the portage on a satellite image from Google maps.

Does this look about right for where the portage should be? Is the old logging road correctly indicated?

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