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Ottertooth Forums * Temagami canoe routes & backcountry travel * Archive through July 18, 2008 * East Whitefish River < Previous Next >

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mdwag
Member

Post Number: 3
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Kavu88 and sundown;
Did you make the trip, kavu?
I just now came across your old post, while googling Nighthawk Lake.
I've been studying the topos, satillite photos, MNR reports and land use policies, for weeks, very hard, and came up with the same route as the best way over the height of land, from the Temagami/Gowganda region to Frederick House Lake, site of the early Hudson's Bay Post.
I am a bit loathe to make publicity on the route, before I have solidified my plans, but this site does seem to attract the hard-core, so I guess it's okay.
Thank you , Sundown, for that valuable information about the history of the route. It looks to me that the portage north out of Matachewan Lake would be into Nokomis Lake; then from there onto the East Whitefish River.
http://www.ottertooth.com/discus/messages/3/7088.h tml?1178132451
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 200
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007 - 1:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

mdwag

You are correct. The portage is from the head of
Lake Matachewan into Nokomis then into the East
Whitefish River ... however... I am also intrigued by
Lake Matachewan-Nokomis-EAST WHITEFISH LAKE, and
then up thru Radisson Lake. Looks doable?}

Hardcore? Yup. Not sure if portages still exist.

Trudeau did the traditional Nokomis-East Whitefish River-Nighthawk route.

Keep us posted?

Sundown
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mdwag
Member

Post Number: 5
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007 - 4:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

At first I thought the series of lakes looked more straight-forward as a regular route to develop, rather than slog up a possibly marshy and shallow clay/mud-bed; and I will explore this lakes route as well as the river; but the satellite photos show extensive recent clear-cutting up that way, and a thick profusion of roads. These will be useful for exploration by truck, and maybe to access some good pike lakes, should I need to 'get a guest a fish'; but one of the cuts in particular is a veritable moonscape, and may be a bit much, if traveled through. I don't mind skirting an older cut. (heck, I myself feel as at home on a clear cut as I do at Center Falls) Whether suitable as a canoe route depends I think on the precise route of travel relative to the big cut, lay of the portages, and thickness of any uncut buffers left to the waters edge. There is certainly a better chance of finding a suitable campsite on the lakes, than bushing it along the river.

As I looked further at sat photos, the river appeared more and more navigable. A person might camp on Whitefish Lake, then get to somewhat bigger water in a single very long day. But until hitting Nighthawk proper, it looks like pretty marshy country.

At some point in time, I do think a portage should be made from the East Whitefish into the Nighthawk River, right near that crossing road and the small pond. This can be looked into by truck.

My instinct is to come along the river by canoe, bushing through and clearing as needed by hand. But I would tend to check that mid-point, and along the lakes chain, by pick-up truck. I think at my age, and somewhat marginal condition, I ought not to go solo. But I am tempted.
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mdwag
Member

Post Number: 7
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007 - 7:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

You are right about that Radisson Lakes route being a good one. Also a possible route is to paddle and portage west out of Currie Lake, reaching that small tributary which will join Whitefish River well to the north, shortly before entering Nighthawk Lake. If you follow the link below you can see the river from Radisson leading north to Nighthawk passes along that huge cut. It seems to big for a planned cut; maybe there was a big burn, which later got salvage-logged? Also you can see a more normal cut along the southwest bank of Nokomis Lake. At the very bottom-center you can see Matachewan Lake sticking up, just above the Montreal River, to orient from.

http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll=48.190352,- 80.767365&spn=0.226589,0.457306&t=k&z=11&om=1

(Would Matachewan Lake be concidered the northernmost point of the Montreal, or a separate entity above it?)
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 202
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007 - 11:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

mdwag

The portages you mention are also on my own list
for restoratation 2008. You may not require solo.

I dont know (Likely hasnt been a burn there, as
you ask) of a fire there... the log trucks have
been running the last 2 years though...

Matachewan Lake IS the Northernmost point of the
West Montreal system... its all uphill to Nokomis.

Sundown
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mdwag
Member

Post Number: 11
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Friday, September 28, 2007 - 1:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I would be happy to get together to check out this route. I am not sure how to email people off the site. Anyway, it will probably be a trip in mid- to late May for me. The water will be high, but the bugs could be fierce.

I hope to get my canoe up to Hugh Stewart in October, to have it ready for next spring. It hasn't been on the water in some time. (This past summer, I was able to borrow a wood Peterborough (1954) on Temagami, for a trip with my son. It was his first canoe trip. - Bless the man who lent me that boat.)

I would want to travel light - 1 Duluth pack, tent, tarp, bow saw, axe, no chain saw or wanigan, and do as little clearing as needed to get the canoe through the portages. Other than Matachewan Lake to Nokomis it's hard to know how much portaging might be needed. It looks possible that with good water a person might float most all of it, but I imagine there would be some clearing in the creekbed. I think that from Matachewan Lake through Nokomis, Whitefish lake, and down to where we might find a second old logging road crossing, about the midpoint along the river, could be 2 to 3 days; then from there to Frederick House 2 to 3 more days. We come out of the uninhabited country by the north end of Nighthawk Lake, which has cottages, and pass under hwy 101, and then the little bridge at Connaught.

I'd also like to cut a portage from near that mid-point logging road west into Nighthawk river. You can see that closest point between them, near that road; on the map. That may end up being the fasrest route out to bigger water.
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 205
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Friday, September 28, 2007 - 5:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Mdwag

More like "float and bang", maybe... crossing
the height of land gets interesting. My goal is
to cut a proper portage, not just to get thru...
but we can look at it if you wish... doesnt hurt to do a recon trip and then I can go back in to do it up right. I already have approval from OMNR and Ontario Parks to cut these portages, so I'd like to do them up right...early May would be a bit less buggier, though the waters a bit nippy. Maybe, I'll sled it this winter and see
what i'm up against.

Sundown
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mdwag
Member

Post Number: 12
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Friday, September 28, 2007 - 11:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


I also would like to see portage trails passable without undue difficulty.

On the upper whitefish, I don't mind walking alongside the canoe; but blowdowns, overhanging brush and treetops, might take some time to clear and make for tough going.

I'd like to eventually see regular canoe trips using the route from the Temagami area, to Frederick House; and hopefully also have trips originate from Frederick House heading south.

I thought a "recon" trip, as you say, might encourage an experienced camp section to make the trip up from Temagami, perhaps via Gowganda region. If so, this following section could open the trail further. (I have limited time for the trail work, and I admit to an inclination to move through the country)

I do envision eventually having the route established enough that it would be not too tough for a group of older adults, with guides for portaging - etc, who might be interested in "following the route of the fur trade". It could be run, I think, from the north or south. From Bear Island Bay Post one would head up through Sharp Rock, Diamond, Lady Evelyn to Mowats, the Montreal River, up through Whitefish and so to the Frederick House Bay Post. A one way trip via that route would be relatively safe, controlled, and periodically accessible by road, if need be. It would have considerable lore and history. And almost no portaging... [one could take the old folks... pleasant, scenic,... and pray for a tail-breeze] Readings from trade era journals around the fire would be a real plus.

Also a round trip youth camp section would take the better part of a session (only three weeks of canoeing time for some camps) to come up via, say, Smoothwater - Gowganda - north on Montreal or West Montreal, to Frederick House. For a group like that, the "main road" back to Temagami would be a fast run.
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sundown
Member

Post Number: 206
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Saturday, September 29, 2007 - 7:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

mdwag

You're either a Mind-Reader or you've been
peeking at my maps again!!!!

Sundown

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