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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through April 3, 2012 * Whitemud to Florence south South Lady E. < Previous Next >

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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 9
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 12:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Anyone have info on water levels down the SLE from Whitemud to Florence. Leaving in a week for a trip and thought I would give it a crack. Have found lots of good threads on this route. Looks challenging but not impassable. Thanks
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gibson
Member

Post Number: 5
Registered: 01-2011
Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I am leaving on a trip this weekend and I have been wavering on whether I should give this same route a try. The water readings for the area indicate that they are at almost record lows:

http://www.wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/graph/graph_e.html ?stn=02DC012&prm1=3&prm2=-1&mode=graph&smo=8&sday= 25&syr=2011&emo=9&eday=2&eyr=2011&y1min=&y1max=&ma x=1&mean=1&min=1&y2min=&y2max=

My gut tells me that the first few kms may be a muddy ditch. I would also be interested in hearing from anyone who has been down the SLE lately. If I do decide to give it a try I will be sure to post a report.

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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 10
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 6:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks. Heading out Sat Sept 10 so havent yet decided if I will put in at the Beauty Lake access or drive the Gervais road to the Sturgeon.
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lizd
Member

Post Number: 6
Registered: 08-2011
Posted on Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 1:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I just got back from putting in at the Gervais Rd. and heading to Florence.

Other than getting completely lost before finding the roads, it was fine driving. I was in a Corolla, so it was a bit bumpy, but good. I'd never driven it before and there is no indication that it's called the Gervais Rd. Portelance is the main road.

The water levels seemed really low to me. We went up to Florence Lk and came back down instead of heading up the L. Evelyn, which was the initial plan. The portaging was challenging. It was a lot of puddle jumping and not tons of actual paddling (which is obvious from the maps). But getting to Florence always makes it worthwhile! also, we didn't see a soul for the entire week.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1093
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 2:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Lizd:
I am a bit confused. Did you go downstream on the South Lady Evelyn River from Whitemud to Florence or did you go some other way?
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lizd
Member

Post Number: 8
Registered: 08-2011
Posted on Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 9:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Sorry- no we didn't take the S. Lady Evelyn in the end b/c water levels seemed so low on the way from the Gervais Rd. and Sturgeon to Florence lake via Ghoul, Solace, Bluesucker. The intention had been to attempt that route from Florence to Whitemud and make a loop back to the car but water levels were so low everywhere that I figured the S. Lady Evelyn would be tough to get through and we might not make it back to the car in time.
Does that make any sense?
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1094
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 8:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

So you backtracked from Florence to Ghoul and back up the Sturgeon to where you parked your car?
That must have been a difficult trip as well.
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mjb1
Member

Post Number: 13
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 1:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Interesting.

We spent three nights on Solace this past weekend. We got in and out through the Sturgeon (Paul, Ghoul, Selkirk, ect). We took the northern route on the way in and the southern route on the way out. Water did seem low, but no issues on the route to Solace (or Bluesucker).

We did a day trip through to Bluesucker, and were looking at potentially expanding a future trip through to Florence. I figure that the route from Bluesucker to Florence would be tough to do this time of year...I'll have to look more closely at the maps to the alternative route that lizd took in to Florence.

One other note - Opy's doesn't have any permits left (or atleast didn't when we went through and they didn't seem interested in getting any more).
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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 13
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 8:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks for the info mjb1. Decided to give the SLE a shot and hump through the mud. LEave on Saturday for 7 nights.
Am going to go in at the Beauty Lake access, through Smoothwater and down the SLE route to Florence. Through Bluesucker etc to Solace and then north through Regan and up to Scarecrow with a hike up the Ish. and then out through Smoothwater again. ( PS-I think lizd took same route you did-through Bluesucker to florence and then doubled back)
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mjb1
Member

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 - 2:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Looks like a great trip. Have fun rossclan. Please let me/us know how the trip goes; I'm curious about the SLE and especially about how it will be this time of year.
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gunney
Member

Post Number: 17
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 - 7:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

rossclan,

The South Lady Evelyn at near record lows will not be easy. I paddled the same route as your intended trip in 2008, which was a high water year, and it took us all day to go from Montreal River and Smoothwater to just upstream of the SLE-Florence River junction.
I have a youtube video showing the SLE. It's located between 1:00-2:30 minute section. I would imagine the "Narrows" might be nearly dry. On the other hand, the Florence to Bluesucker portage is probably much improved with this dry weather.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jlwGqYGd28

I look forward to reading your trip report. Enjoy yourself.
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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 14
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 - 8:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks gunney. I planned on a whole day from Smoothwater to about the same spot you camped at the junction of SLE and Florence River. Have some leeway on time so may take a bit longer depending on the water. Had checked out your video a while back. Nicely done. Will post when i return.
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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 15
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Monday, September 19, 2011 - 8:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Here is a quick trip report. The SLE river from Whitemud to Florence was as expected-almost non existent in spots and not for the faint of heart.
Day 1-drive and access at Montreal River off Beauty Lake Road-bought a permit in Temagami on route. A quick 2 3/4 hr paddle and camped on the north end of amazing beach on east shore of Smoothwater Lake. Had the lake to ourselves.
Day 2-through Apex and Whitemud and down the SLE river to the Florence River. This was a 10 hr day with 8 hours on the river and that was working it hard with just a couple 5 min breaks. Was a great work out. The river for the first hour wasnt navigable and was 1 inch of water over 4 ft of organic detritus(loon s**t) so we used a method that has worked in past-bow guy with a 60 ft line hops along shore from floating muskeg clumps of lab tea and stern guy with a pole to keep canoe pushed out from shore. Many waist deep encounters with sink holes. Of the 8 hours, only about 50% was navigable so much man hauling with a rope, and hauling over logs and dams and some portages. The end 580 m portage is a nice single track ancient trail that follows the natural topography, foot in front of foot as opposed to the 10 ft wide clear cut portages that people expect now. Camped at the Florence River junction, wet, muddy, exhausted and in a thunderstorm but loved every minute.
Day 3-Down Florence River and through Florence lake after exploring the old cabin on the carry over point. Portaged through to and camped on Bluesucker-caught a lake trout for dinner.
Day 4-Travelled and portaged through Benner, Rodd,Pilgrim,Maggie,Bill, Samson, Solace and camped in Einar. Had planned on camping in Solace but was was a cold north wind so opted for Einar. This was a nice connecting chain on blue/green lakes. Campsite on Einer appeared to have been burnt over a few years ago so was potholed where fire crews had dug out hot spots and overgrown. Located and rebuilt the old fire pit and pitched tent over a soft but uneven bed of blueberry bushes.
Day 4-Travelled through Biscuit, Broadbent,Carrying Bar,Tooth, Melanson, Regan and camped on Hamlow at the old sawmill site, There were no other sites on the previous lakes(that we saw), although they were very picturesque and trails were all in good shape. A nice chap stopped by on his pick up on route to his camp on Stull and we had a good chat re the local area etc.
Day 5-through to Scarecrow and camped on the island site early so we could hike up Ishpatina. Was a cold misty morning but it cleared up in the afternoon and we hiked up. Well marked trail. Took hour and twenty minutes up and same down. Very easy going. Great view and well worth it.
Day 6-Through a series of beautiful small lakes all connected by flat, easy going trails-Mihell, McCulloch,couple ponds, Apex and back to Smoothwater. Camped on same beach site all to ourselves. Passed the only other canoe we saw the whole week today that were headed south to Scarecrow.
Day 7-back up the Montreal after paying our respects at the memorial cross at the north end of Smoothwater. Fished a tackle box off the bottom of the river we saw on way in-looks like was lost overboard in the 70's by the vintage of the lures. Great fries at the Elk Lake chip stand and drove home wishing we could just load back up with supplies and head back out.

A great loop trip made possible with the one tough day on the SLE river. First time in this NW section of these watersheds. Will be returning for sure to check out the areas we missed. Based on viewing gunney's video, the SLE was bout 4-6 inches lower than his Aug 2008 trip. The chap we spoke to on Hamlow confirmed this was a very low water year. Maps on the site were very helpful and current and combined with topos and Hap's book and this site made the planning a success.

(Message edited by rossclan on September 19, 2011)

(Message edited by rossclan on September 19, 2011)
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 136
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2011 - 9:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

thanks for the report, interesting to hear that it was even vaguely passable in these conditions!
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gunney
Member

Post Number: 18
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 7:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I've been wondering how your trip was; thanks for reporting. Glad you were able to make it down SLE in spite of the adverse conditions. Your description of waist deep detritus reminds me of the Bill Mason scene in Waterwalker at 66:16 http://www.nfb.ca/film/waterwalker/
How was the Florence-Bluesucker traverse and which site on Bluesucker did you camp? The view from Ishpatina is well worth it. Your tackle box "catch" was a hoot. Are any of those vintage lures salvageable? And will you be posting any pictures?
Thanks again.
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rossclan
Member

Post Number: 16
Registered: 08-2008


Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 9:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi gunny
Florence to Bluesucker was fine. Low water wasnt a problem. Camped on Bluesucker on a nice site that was raised up from the waters edge on east side across from the portage leading to Benner. Your you tube video was quite useful. On the way down the BEauty Lake Road we took a fork to the right thinking it was the right fork in the road. Road got narrower and we even drove through a foot of water in a beaver flooded section before we hit a small creek and a missing bridge. Having recalled your photos of the launch site, I figure we were on the wrong track. Will post a link to photos soon. The lures were too corroded to be salvaged. We did keep a small box of home tied jigs appeared to be made from horse or deer hairs as was the practice. They were surprisingly good so hope to use them. Sitting in an office this week wishing I was heading back.
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mjb1
Member

Post Number: 15
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 1:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Sounds like a great trip.

Thanks for posting the trip details as I'd like to do a similar loop, although with a different start point.

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