CA/Cross/Wasaksina/Iceland

CanadaOntarioTemagami
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
David Tansley
Trip Date : 
Sept 12, 2014
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
41 km
Duration: 
3 days
Loop Trip: 
No
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
3
Total Portage Distance: 
1750 m
Longest Portage: 
1350 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Novice
Lake Travel: 
Novice
Portaging: 
Moderate
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Medium
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Start at Central Access

South to the east side of High Rock Island (4km)

South to the end of the bay (5.5km)

P50m back to the main lake.  There is a campsite here

South to Outlet Bay (3km)

East to Cross Lake (3.5km)

North to the "Cross" of Cross Lake (4.5km)

North East to the NE end of the lake (4.5km)

P1350m east to Wasaksina Lake

North across Wasaksina to where it narrows (5.5km)

North through narrows to Driftwood Lake (4.5km)

Directly north across lake to Portage (1.5km)

P350m to Iceland LakeNorth and West across Iceland Lake (2km)

North up the South Tetapaga River to where the Access Road Crosses. (1km)

Take out

 

 

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

 

Day 1

3 of us, from beginner to intermediate experience left Hamilton @ 1pm. After a stop at MEC in Barrie to buy some last minute gear, we made it to the 4th guys place in Huntsville at 5:45pm. Lasagna, beers, and asleep by 11pm.  Get up at 4:45am, on the road by 5:30am, and drive to the outfitters by 9am.  It was cold and windy but promised to clear.  

The Plan: Rent two canoes, the meal package, and whatever various gear each of us might need; packs, therma-rest, extra stove etc.  Temagami Outfitting Company can handle rentals to suit your needs, and makes GREAT fresh food.  Set out to the Central Access and put in around noon.  Aside from a flat tire, successfully plugged, we made it out incident free.

The sun came out and the wind died down exactly as we put in. We made great time as we set out south along the East shore, and then straight south across the mouth of Shiningwood Bay.  We hit the narrow opening to the bay east of High Rock Island with no trouble, and paddled smoothly down to the 50m portage at the end of the bay.  We took the time to get a snack, check out the campsite there, and enjoy the weather and view while we took a group photo.

Back on the water, we paddle south to outlet bay where we bid farewell to cottages and boats, though the traffic was very light being mid september.  Outlet Bay narrows 3 times as it flows into Cross lake, and the current picks up, making paddling swift and relaxing.  The loons here began to call to one another without pause.  An consistant loud call lasting 5 minutes or more.  It was astounding.  We paddled another kilometer to a campsite on a point on the west shore, and set up camp at around 5pm.  We ate all the fresh bread and sandwich meat for supper, and managed to get enough dry firewood together for a decent fire.  

Day 2

Up early to a cool, rainy, grey sky. We started the twig stove to make coffee, and decided to make all the bacon and some eggs.  There was no rush as the forecast called for it to clear.  We got camp packed up and were on the water by 11:40am with a light drizzle still falling.  Thank goodness I brought rain gear!   The 8 km paddle north to the end of Cross Lake was wet and into the gentle wind, and we arrived at the long portage to Wasaksina Lake around 1pm.  Today's rain on top of some heavy recent rains in the area made this portage tricky and wet in spots.  A jagged trail with a few slippery places, and enough gear to merit two trips made this 1350M trip a long one.  2 large fallen trees presented challenges too. The steep awkward put in at the end was fitting, but after the 2 hour portage we pushed on to a site at the north end of the lake.  We battled a strong headwind the whole way, but the rain had stopped so we didn't complain.  We were hoping to set up on the small island in the middle, but it was occupied, so we opted for a nice site on the south side of the big island before the narrows toward driftwood lake. Jim caught a nice pike with little effort from the shore, which he let go.   Once again, dry wood was major challenge, but with a 4 man team effort, we put together a good blaze for the evening, and cooked plenty of food on it, such as the incredible goat cheeze rizotto our outiffter had made for us, and hard boiled the rest of the eggs for easy morning food.  

Day 3

Ww woke to a warmer day with a good forecast.  The biolite twig stove once again providedw coffee and oatmeal, and we set to packing up camp.  We were set to leave around 11am, but a strong wind at our backs got us thinking about the viability of building a sail.  We decided to lash together the two canoes with a couple dead tree tops, and build a mast and cross beam out of another two.  We used our large rain fly for a sail, and set up our ropes to lower and raise it, and we set off around 12pm.  It worked great!  Even though the wind had slowed considerably by the time we got out on the water, we were still able to sail up the entire narrow section and right across driftwood lake to the portage with only about a dozen strokes.  About 5.5km in total.  It wasn't fast, but it was enjoyable.  We dismantled it and left the lumber at the start of the portage.  This was an enjoyable, short 350M trail that presented no difficulty.  Once in the water in iceland lake, we set out to find a camp site.  As the lake began to widen out from our southern point of entry, we spotted one on the east shore, and one on a beautiful point on the west shore. We scouted both, went on to find another on the island immediately to the north of these, but decided to set up on the one on the point.  This lake was stunning, easily our favorite.  The weather had improved, and we noticed while paddling around it, that there was lots of dead dry lumber just leaning out over the water.  Once we'd emptied the canoes at the site, two of us set out again to gather wood.  It was strangly enjoyable to cut down trees from inside the canoe.  It worked very well, and thanks to a full canoe of dry wood, we had a roaring fire that night, on what we agreed was the nicest site of the trip.  We successfully attempted to eat every last scrap of our food, other than our  breakfast for the following morning.  

Day 4.  We quickly re-stoked the fire, and cooked our remaining food and had some coffee. We packed up camp, attempted in vain to catch another fish, and set out fairly early to the access road where we had arranged to be picked up.  It's a short 1.5km paddle across the lake to the mouth of the South Tetapaga River.  We were expecting a 50M portage here, but I guess water leverls were high enough that we were able to enter the river without any trouble. Another km or so up the river and we were pulling our canoes out of the water.  As we sat on the shore the sun came out hotter and brighter than it had all week.  Figures.  Our ride came failry promptly, and we were on our long drive home by noon, feeling rejuvinated, and exhausted at the same time.  Can't wait to return!

 

 

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Temagami Canoe Routes planning map, published by Ontario Parks
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
Google Earth and research.