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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through August 17, 2010 * Drinking Water Quality? < Previous Next >

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kavik2
Member

Post Number: 6
Registered: 05-2010
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 4:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi All, soon we'll be heading off on our route from Mowats Landing to Walsh-Sirdevan-Turner-Eagle-Anima Nip in a few days. I will provide an update on the route when we return.
One question, will we need to treat all water we drink by boiling or with tablets or water pump? Or can we drink right out of the lakes ?

Also, if anyone has an update on the Sirdevan Tundra Portage and boardwalk that would be appreciated.

Bushpilot, any idea what the water levels will be in these lakes?? Thanks - Stephanie
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dergon_darkhelm
Member

Post Number: 45
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 9:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

The *official* recommendation is to boil, treat or filter.

However, I was in Walsh Sirdevan Turner last year last year with none of the above. None of the 8 of our trekkers had any complications.

There is, however, no way to surely avoid giardiasis or other without taking definitive steps.
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simonb
Member

Post Number: 41
Registered: 05-2007


Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 12:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I've been through a lot of those lakes over the last few years, and we dip straight from the lakes with no problems yet. It has to be understood that there is always a risk.

Our general rule is if the lake is not surrounded in shallow swampy shores, and there are no cottages/motorboats, we dip by plunging our water bottle as deep as possible.

That being said, we always carry a water filter (or 2) because you never know when you may need it. We once ran out of water on a longer than expected portage on a 30+ day and were able to filter water from a small muddy stream.

Simon
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kavik2
Member

Post Number: 7
Registered: 05-2010
Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 9:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks to you both, this is in line with our thoughts.

By the way, is there really a "boardwalk" into Sirdevan now? The last time I was through about 30 years agao there was a sign at the start of the portage saying "Abandon Hope All Ye who Enter here..", due to the severe mud on the portage trail. - Stephanie
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preacher
Member

Post Number: 146
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 11:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Not treating the water is a game of russian roulette. It's a game I play. I would never tell someone else to play it. Out there you should treat all water as potential for explosive diarrhea. Make your own choices, take your own risks.
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dergon_darkhelm
Member

Post Number: 46
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 11:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

The boardwalk was freshly repaired last year and in high quality condition..........thank god.....because otherwise it would have been a nightmare of bog.
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pine_sap
Member

Post Number: 56
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 8:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Travelled for years in the area... Never had a problem on the lakes... did however get extremely sick on the Temagami River while traveling up-stream from the Sturgeon. Took some nice big swigs of water, only to turn around the bend to find some cows wallowing in the river around Field. Almost didn't make it back. I was one of the first to get sick... in subsequent days others got sick and had to be evacked... I was able to stick it out though... extremely weak and miserable...
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dergon_darkhelm
Member

Post Number: 49
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 11:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

As highlighted by the story above, he "clear running stream" is the worst place to ake your water.

Get in your canoe with empty bottles, paddle to the center ofthe lake in deep water and fill there.
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 106
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Monday, August 2, 2010 - 8:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I had heard that if water is running through a stream for 100 metres and is exposed to sunlight and not too deep, it is purified by the sun. It was a legitimate source, I just cannot remember it. I do know that placing water in a clear container and exposing it to sunlight for several hours will purify it. Not very practial for canoeing, though.
Problem with boiling water is storing it before it is cool. It causes leaching in polycarbonate containers and disfigurement.
I use tiny tablets that I get from an army doctor. They simply go in and you wait half an hour and you can drink it. tastes a bit like a swimming pool in Toronto, but it is clean.
Pumps are just too impractical for the type of intensive canoeing discussed on this site.
I know people love their kit, but I can guarantee that people are not drinking enough water if they have to dig out a pump, pump the water and put it back in the pack before they take a swig.
I take students out and they are chronically dehydrated because they do not drink enough.
for arduous canoe tripping, meaning lots of portages aka-Temagami, I find we drink one litre per hour/person. If it is five minutes to pump one litre (all in), well, you are looking at over an hour of the travelling day spent pumping water. Which people will usually not do.
Yes, there is a risk of contamination, but dehydration is for sure if one does not drink enough. Middle of the lake, down deep is the best bet in my book.
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blindeye
Member

Post Number: 2
Registered: 07-2010
Posted on Monday, August 2, 2010 - 8:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

MSR MIOX purifier (or similar in other brands). I've used pump filters for years and it seems that any spare time in camp is spent pumping water, pump would slow down over time, filter would split, etc. so went with this system starting last year and love it. A bit expensive to purchase, but am glad I did. It's so simple, fast and convenient. Can do high volumes in short space of time. Only issue though is it won't filter particulate like a filter would. MEC carries it. check it out on MSR website http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/water-treatment-and- hydration/expedition-water-treatment-and-hydration /miox-purifier/product
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doc
Member

Post Number: 33
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, August 2, 2010 - 9:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I have used a Steripen on the last couple of trips and it worked great with no one getting sick. The battery life is about 4 days for 4 people.
http://www.rei.com/product/750366

I have also drank plenty of lake water, noticing all the protozoans swimming around in my bottle after I am about half done, and never gotten sick then either.
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 107
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Monday, August 2, 2010 - 10:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Another option I just remembered.
Drink one cup of water-unfiltered, untreated, from any source imaginable.
Following that; drink one cup of Scotch. Or Rye. Or even Vodka seems to work.
Millions of tiny disinfectant scrubbrushes go to work on your digestive system rendering the microbes, bacteria, viruses, et al, harmless.
When in doubt, double dosage.
The only side effects are slight disorientation, surliness, temporary euphoria and, even worse, no more Scotch left.
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preacher
Member

Post Number: 150
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Personally I'm not a fany of batteries and anything I bring that requires them is not vital equipment.
These days I use Pristine. It's light & easy & doesn't add flavour unless you overdose the water.
My back-up system is boiling.
Sometimes I'll bring a gravity-feed filter for groups.
I'm pretty nuts about being hydrated, I'm usually over-hydrated. Better over than under?

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