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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through July 31, 2011 * Pinetorch Lake trail < Previous Next >

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jimmm
Member

Post Number: 15
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011 - 7:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Has anyone recently attempted to make the hike from Pinetorch Lake up to the fire tower? Last I heard (in this forum) is that the trail is marked approx. half-way to the top, and then it becomes a bush whack after that. Has anything changed recently?
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 84
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011 - 10:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

actually the problem (i believe) is that there are 2 intersecting trails, the one from the campsite and one from an old landing once used by the fire rangers. this results in a "zone of confusion" where the two trails meet, and various persons over the last 30-odd years have attempted to blaze their way out of- or into- the conundrum, resulting in a "zrb" (zone of random blazes)...
and so the pinetorch fire tower remains as it were hidden in plain sight.
bottom line someone with the requisite compass skills needs to blaze a new trail...
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alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 313
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 12:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Intersting take on the Pinetorch tower situation. As it is hidden in plain sight, it is difficult to glimpse. I have seen the tower from Twinkle Lake, Shishkong Ridge and halfway up in the 'zrb'
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1039
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 9:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

And you can see it from the campsite on Pine Lake and using a telephoto lens you can see it from Ranger Point on the east side of Obabika.
But there is no chance of seeing it up close unless you are a bushwhacker.

Curly et al went up there last Fall and posted some pictures. Can't recall if they were posted here or on the F of T website.
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andrewh
Member

Post Number: 68
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 10:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I was up there with Curly last fall, we had bushwacked from the old logging road that runs east from Pinetorch Lake, straight up the hill(north?). Once on top we tried to find the trail back down. We found a few old blazes that seemed more likely to be from the old ranger trail, but they discontinued and we were unable to find a recognizable trail anywhere.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1040
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 11:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Sorry Andrew. I knew it was you, but I forgot your ottertooth name.
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jimmm
Member

Post Number: 16
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 9:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I'm looking at the area in Google Maps. Is the tower located on the high point? The coordinates are approx. 47.151756,-80.474124

I plan to be in the area in mid-July; I might spend a day trying to make my way to the top (if I can convince the others in the group!).
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1341
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 12:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

A little history. The towerman's trail went from the towerman's cabin at the east end of Pinetorch Lake. In either the late 1970s or early 1980s, Goulard Lumber clearcut a red pine patch between the lake and the tower. End of that trail.

Hap Wilson planned to cut a new trail from the campsite, which would allow it to bypass the clearcut. However, he never got to it, even though it is marked in his book, so there never was a second trail from the campsite.

As Andrew's evidence of blazes points out, others tried and left their blazes, but no trail.
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gudwulf
Member

Post Number: 54
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 2:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Brian... you are a wealth of information! How did you get so versed in such things as the Pinetorch trail??? Alscool ~ what's the 'zrb'?
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jimmm
Member

Post Number: 17
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 4:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hap's book also shows a trail that leads to the tower from the north, starting at "unnamed lake #7" (aka Beaver Lk, on the ottertooth maps). I have not seen any other reference to this trail, so I am guessing it is not a better alternative. Does anyone have any comments on this trail?
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 86
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 12:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

gudwulf, the zrb is the ZONE of RANDOM BLAZES. my memory of the trail from the campsite is that it really is an old trail, with blazes deeply embedded in 50+ years of new wood. it proceeds logically and seemingly inevitably for about a half-hours hike, then enters the zrb and becomes untenable. and alscool is right, you can actually see the tower at one point- so near and yet so far...
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curly
Member

Post Number: 280
Registered: 03-2006


Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 7:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

My advice to anyone who wants to hike to the tower is to start at the ATV trail at the east end of Pinetorch Lake, walk east for a ways, then bushwhack uphill. There are some old skid trails that may help you get about 1/3 of the way up. Yes, the tower is on the high point. You can see the helicopter clearing on Google Earth. I posted photos of our adventure on Facebook. If you want to see them, become a fan of Friends of Temagami then go to photos and see the Pinetorch Fire Tower album.
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curly
Member

Post Number: 281
Registered: 03-2006


Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 7:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

BTW, the FOT discussed finishing the trail at our last AGM (prompted actually by a suggestion from MNR). But we decided against it due to the deteriorating nature of the tower (the concrete footings are crumbling and the cupola is a death trap).
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 1342
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 8:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

The second trail, from the north, shown in Hap's book did not get marked or cleared. It was on Hap's to-do list.

I have been looking into all the towers and asked Hap about those trails.

For those who know him, Leo Paul was a towerman for a summer at Pinetorch.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1041
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 3:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

The trail from the campsite is clear for about 200-250 m, but then disappears from sight and you would need to bushwhack the rest of the way.

Although the tower is on the high point, it is not readily visible from the south as there is a second high point blocking the view. You need to get around or over this slightly smaller hill before you can see the tower from this direction.
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jimmm
Member

Post Number: 18
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 1:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks for all the info. If I can convince the others in my group, we will make an attempt to get to the top (mid July).

One last question for curly: how long did it take you to get to the top?
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andrewh
Member

Post Number: 69
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 8:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

If I remember correctly it took 1-2 hrs from the ATV trail to get to the top in the fall when there were no leaves. Much quicker on the way down. I wouldnt attempt it without a GPS.
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otter_mel
Member

Post Number: 161
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 12:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

We made three attempts at the tower from the Pinetorch campsite. As others have said, there is a blazed trail which disappears after a few hundred meters. We could see the tower through the trees at some points but had to turn back due to the late afternoon (bushwacking would have taken too much time to get there and back in daylight).

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