Maple Mtn Variation

CanadaOntarioTemagami
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Admin
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Unknown
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
162 km
Duration: 
10 days
Loop Trip: 
No
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
21
Total Portage Distance: 
9635 m
Longest Portage: 
2450 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Novice
Lake Travel: 
Intermediate
Portaging: 
Moderate
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Day 1
Lake Temagami Central Access
Lake Temagami
Lake Temagami Northwest Arm
Obabika Inlet
P 940 yards
Obabika Lake

Day 2
Obabika Lake
Wakimika River
Log jams, liftovers
Wakimika Lake

Day 3
Wakimika Lake
P 435 yards
P430 yards
Diamond Lake

Day 4
Diamond Lake
Lady Evelyn Lake
P 445
Unnamed Lake
P 550
Willow Island Lake
Sucker Gut Lake

Day 5
Sucker Gut Lake
Hobart Lake
Tupper Lake

Day 6
Old Bill Lake
P 415
Willow Island Creek
P 395
P 140
Anvil Lake

Day 7
Anvil Lake
P 75
P 495
P 45
P 825
Bergeron Lake
P 85
Niccolite Lake
P 95
P 235
P 425
P 100
Greenwater Lake

Day 8
Greenwater Lake
P 790
Little Skull Lake
P 80
Skull Lake

Day 9
Skull Lake
P 2450
Mendelssohn Lake
Spray Creek
P 185
Spray Creek
Montreal River

Day 10
Montreal River

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

August of 2002.

Persona non-skilled: The members of this group included Baron, Nothing But Net, Approximately and Jester. Also, Dick = Baron, Gil = Nothing But Net, Gerry = Approximately and Dave = Jester so depend-ing upon nicknames being used we had as many as 8 personas traveling with us this year. SoftMap Plus is the basis for all distance figures provided throughout, unless otherwise specified.

Arrangements were made with Temagami Outfitters, formerly known as Lady Evelyn Outfitters, to pro-vide shuttle and 2 canoes, either Souris River models or Scott Canoe Trilliums, both models we had not previously used. Email was sent back and forth as we sounded out various ideas for our trip and began obtaining topo maps, new copies of the Ministry of Natural Resources Temagami canoe routes map, poked around in back issues of Kanawa Magazine, Canoe and Kayak Magazine and checked with Rich-ard Munn’s Canadian Canoe Routes web site during the spring months of ‘02.

Wednesday, 8/7/02, Shaker Heights, OH to Temagami, ON

The drive north from Cleveland to Temagami was uneventful except for a noticeable lack of air condition-ing while driving around Toronto. We managed to crack the windows just enough to provide air flow and the outside temperature was not too bad so we made it all the way to North Bay before we asked a local OPP officer the location of a Toyota dealer. The air conditioning started working when they pulled it in to the service bay but the technicians had no idea what might have been wrong.

Upon arriving at Temagami Outfitting no one was around so we found a pay phone outside the building next door and left Ted a message and proceeded to wander around town for half an hour or so since we had eaten supper back in North Bay while we waited for the Toyota diagnosis.

After returning to the outfitter we checked and rechecked our gear, making certain that the equipment packs were equal in comfort and weight. In year's past, we have found that, although light, some of the packing methods have made carrying the bags difficult as someone usually had a metal object protruding into their back during a portage. To avoid this type of difficulty we packed one Timberline 2 person tent into each equipment bag to soften the back panel.

We discussed our intended route with the outfitter who begged off on hauling us down Red Squirrel Lake Road due to the conditions, which he indicated, were less than suitable. He asked us why we wanted to start there and since we did not have any special reason we agreed to be dropped off at the Central Lake Temagami Access point. Although this meant paddling through a busier section of cottage country and exposed us to a bit more open water we got on the water earlier and avoided our first day’s portage.

Thursday, 8/08/98, Lake Temagami to Lake Obabika

Awake at 6, we had breakfast at the outfitter's B&B, loaded into the van and soon were off for our put in and the challenge of finding our way through the islands of Lake Temagami. Back in 1990 we ended up in this area when we paddled south through Kokoko Bay back to the Central Access, but we turned east and missed the landing at Central Access, actually completing our trip just up the Northeast Arm of Lake Te-magami at a nearby marina.

After adjusting our loads to fit the 16’ Trilliums, noting for the future we should go with the 17 footers, we began paddling the waters of Lake Temagami. We passed the North East arm, Spawning Bay, Kokoko Bay, crossed north of Bear Island and edged by the opening to the main or northern arm and weaved along and through the maze of islands. Although our goal was Lake Temagami’s Northwest Arm and Obabika Inlet we were continually looking around at the beauty, which draws people to Temagami. The boat traffic was light and although one or two houseboats passed us as they headed back to town we felt the relief, which comes from beginning another outdoor adventure.

After 15.5 Km of paddling we stopped for lunch at one of the last campsites on the west shore of the northwest arm prior to entering Obabika Inlet. Some of the topo maps have a campsite symbol just below the narrows leading to Obabika Inlet. Our opinion of this site was that it would make do in an emergency but unless we missed some tent areas back in the woods, the sloping rocks would not prove conducive to a good night’s sleep. While our digital topo map shows the campsite where we stopped, the online map at http://www.ottertooth.com/Temagami/Maps/map_tem_atlas_nwarm.htm shows a campsite marker on the opposite side of Birth Narrows from where we ate lunch. Upon entering the inlet we searched for the spot at which we had stopped years earlier and upon finding the clearing along the north shore, I won-dered how we had fit our group in that space? There was a small sailboat anchored in the bay around from where we had camped in the late 80s and we encountered several powerboats near the western end of the inlet. Interestingly, the inlet did not invite me to stay. It felt “empty” but perhaps that was me wres-tling with my ability to keep up on this trip due to health issues.

Since we arrived earlier than planned we paddled through to the portage from Obabika Inlet to Obabika Lake, about 25 Km distance from our launch spot on Lake Temagami. Upon reaching the lake we found a nice campsite on the west shore a few minutes from the portage landing. The lake is narrow at this point and without the map to correct your orientation it is easy to think that the western shoreline is actually an island in Obabika. Prior to finding our spot for the night, Gerry and I paddled west and south to check out a grassy area with a sand beach however it was a lawn and as we drew near we saw the cabin’s chim-ney rise above the trees.

As we reversed direction and hopped from small sand beach to small sand beach our canoe caught up with Gil and Dick at a campsite which proved to be the best one of the trip so far. OK, this is the first day but it was equipped with a small tent area above the water and a pebble and sand beach on which Gil and Dick pitched one of the Timberline 2 person tents. I decided to try my Bug Hut II on the beach as well so Gerry had a tent to himself up among the trees. As he was alone at the edge of the woods, we gave him detailed instructions on which way to run when he was attacked during the night.

In spite of a few powerboat encounters and the occasional background hum of outboard motors, our first day had been a glorious success as far as safety, beauty, meals and campsite location. Here was a location, which began to wash my spirit and draw me into its charm. The weather was perfect and the lake was beautiful. Total travel distance for day one measured out to be just over 26 Km.

Friday, 8/09/98, Lake Obabika to Wakimika Lake

Awake at 6, which became our routine for the trip, we began airing out our tents and gear since those of us who had slept on the beach found condensation on the outer layers of our shelters. Gerry’s tent re-mained dry during the night as it was on higher ground and farther from the lake. Either that, or the bears dried off the tent as they brushed by during the night. It was another beautiful day and we slowly collected our belongings, made breakfast and packed in that semi-organized manner which often accom-panies the first few days out in the bush. We were on the water by 8 AM or so.

It was a great day to be paddling slowly north along Obabika’s western shore and not far from our camp-site we past a few locations, which would have enticed us if we had been looking for an overnight site or a lunch spot. We slowly approached the entrance to the Obabika River and listened to a dog at Alex Mathias camp barking first at us and then at a solo paddler who headed into the grassy river entrance.

Just north of the river we saw some kids taking a break and we wondered if it was the same group we spotted yesterday at the end of the portage out of the Obabika Inlet. During our 1990 trip we had come down the Wakimika River and pulled in to what I remembered as an elevated grassy spot. I saw nothing which reminded me of that memory but we did take a bit of a break on a small bouldery beach about 7 Km north of our campsite.

Heading upstream on the Wakimika River we turned back and forth, pulled over a few beaver dams and logjams but nothing too serious was encountered. There was one spot where Gil and Gerry broke out the saw to try to arrange the logs for future generations. The current was of no or limited consequence and we made good progress through the river then the pond and finally the last portion of the river as it headed towards Wakimika Lake. Several canoes came downstream and we hugged the banks to let them pass by but the traffic was light and these canoes passed quickly by. At the 10 Km mark north of our campsite on Obabika and just south of the small lake prior to Wakimika we came upon the remains of the logging road bridge, which back in the late 80s had appeared to be brand new. In 2002, the bridge had been dismantled and only the abutments remained.

Although intending to camp on Wakimika, having paddled further than planned on our first day, we reached the lake in time for lunch at the southwest corner near some scalloped rocks which made for nice horizontal relaxation. Upon entering the lake we gravitated to the west but not too far, so we may have stopped at a campsite or we may have simply found some nice rocks. In any case, since lunch on day one had been pita, peanut butter, jelly and honey, we ate our first tuna fish mix lunch and relaxed under the beautiful sky. Since we had traveled 15 Km from our morning launch location we enjoyed the view knowing we were making good progress.

After lounging around the lunch spot for a short period we packed up our food and pushed off to cross Wakimika but shortly after leaving shore the winds picked up. As the sky darkened Gerry and I headed for the sand beach near the northeast corner of the lake. Gerry and I made an executive decision to stop and at least wait out the weather change. As we watched Baron and Gil approach it appeared that they had come to the same conclusion. I believe they landed and then one or both of them crossed the channel and went down the beach to the east and reported that we had the best of the two campsites and we dis-cussed staying on Wakimika for night two. We were on the lake where we had planned to camp and we had traveled about 18 Km this day so it was easy to call it a day.

We spent the afternoon enjoying a layover day of sorts and we kept betting on rain, no rain. The sky was gray but the front seemed to be split right above the lake so we were being blown but not dampened as the rain fell west of Wakimika. Eventually we set up one tent back in the woods where Gerry and I slept and the second tent was near the small channel pitched on some sandy soil and Gil erected the Buckley Dry Fly on the eastern side of the channel and possibly used the bug hut under the tarp. It was an enjoy-able feeling not only to have tents and tarp erected by 2 PM but also to know that we could just sit and read, watch the storm pass overhead and not feel guilty about lack of progress.

Shortly after arriving at the beach the whitecaps began rolling from the south – southwest and we took comfort in our sandy, wooded and very inviting location. Some paddlers entered Wakimika from the north and stayed close to the eastern shore and began the difficult paddle south towards the river’s out-let. Some time later another party arrived but they did not look at all ready to battle the winds and waves so as they came through the narrows, when we pointed to the beach opposite our location this group swung their canoes around and pulled in for refuge. Later we also chatted with a solo paddler who had passed us earlier in the day as we came up the Wakimika. After a day trip down to Obabika he was head-ing back into Diamond Lake so he had two portages ahead of him.

Some time in the afternoon, we went for a swim as the sandy shallows was inviting but the wind was so strong that we were dried off by the time we waded in to the water’s edge. Although breezy I did get in a little bit of hammock time but in general we “frittered” away our late afternoon. The day’s best entertain-ment came after supper when we found a large tree just west of our location and bear bagged our food for the night.

Gil slept across the small channel in the Bug Hut under the Buckley Dry Fly, Baron slept in a Eureka in a sandy spot near the channel and Gerry and Jester slept in the second Eureka back in the woods where there appeared to be two or three tent spots. We were pleased with the conditions found at this site and I was pleased that I had decided to forego some of my personal gear in order to bring the Bug Hut along since it was used on the first two nights.

Saturday, 8/10/98, Wakimika Lake to Diamond Lake

Saturday morning found us on the water early or at least early for our group. It was about 8 AM each day as we fell into a routine. Having been through this area in 1990, although in the opposite direction, I tried to imagine the rocky trails, the logging road, the bare rocks and jagged stones and wondered how we would fare. I had read about the new portages leading from the small lake over to another pond and then into Diamond.

After paddling about 2 Km we pulled up at the portage landing and began walking slightly uphill through the woods and soon had climbed up a gravel embankment and headed down the remains of an old logging road. What had been a clear road in 1990 was now partially blocked by small trees of varying height. I chuckled at the thought of a road being encroached upon by trees when a decade ago the log-ging road was threatening the trees. Unfortunately the pressure to log this area seems never ending and other roads are being built, planned or reopened.

After a short walk along the gravel roadbed the trail drops left and crosses over fairly open bedrock, which makes up the hillside right down to the landing. By following the stone Cairns, memories and looking ahead towards the small lake the “trail” was easy to follow. The only down side to this first port-age is the view across the small pond to the next portage. The distance, less than ½ Km, is so short you can feel disheartened knowing you have a little bit longer, more difficult trail ahead of you AND you face it so quickly.

Upon crossing the pond we searched for a good place to pull in but the landing was a bit of a problem as there was only a ledge onto which we tried to carefully unload. As I recall, one person held the canoe while the other one lifted or shoved gear up to him so he could place it on the rocks

Knowing that there were now two trails leading away from the small lake I stayed to the left figuring that I would find the path off the rocky area somewhere between the water and the big rocks. At first the trail is not obvious as there are several bare spots among the rocks and scruffy bushes and as I haphazardly proceeded away from the water I wondered if I was heading in the correct direction. I walked 5 or 10 feet, and then glanced around to see if any obviously worn paths stood out. Gerry asked me if he was headed towards the alternate route but I had never seen this “new” trail so I had to answer that I did not know.

What I did know was that soon I would reach a rock “wall” and have to start climbing. Slowly the trail unfolded or more accurately seemed to be dumped at my feet as I saw the boulder steps, prompting memories of 1990. I returned to the landing to pick up my pack and headed off over the rough ground and towards the rise that eventually opened to more open boulders over which we hiked until we began a slow descent to thicker woods but more shattered and jagged rocks that littered the shoreline.

Once we got the canoes up the initial climb then it was fairly good going until the Diamond end of the trail. We took it slowly and carefully and at both the beginning and ending of the trail we ensured that two men handled the canoes. We climbed over or around a few more large boulders and then began the game of choosing a launch site. Though loading and unloading of canoes is potentially the funniest or the deadliest portion of any trip over the years we have been fortunate to avoid damage to the canoes and ourselves. Crossing this trail and loading at the Diamond end were two of the more interesting segments of the week.

There was just sufficient water to enable us to load, paddle over and around the submerged rocks and just slip between the expose rocks. We slowly paddled about 2 Km out through the small bay at the southwest end of Diamond and then stopped for a break close to a campsite and small beach. Having paddled and portaged 5.8 Km or so, we had made good progress this morning and enjoyed the break at which time we also rinsed out our tee shirts. The water was shallow but weedy so it was not the best loca-tion to attempt a swim. The view was fantastic and we studied the long nearly submerged bar that diago-nally crossed the opening to the bay where we had just been paddling. There appeared to be two or three campsites in this nice area and as we paddled north we recognized the site at which we had camped in 1990, which certainly appeared to be less appealing than I remembered.

We soon left our beach rest spot in the western end of Diamond and headed east paddling past the small islands marked as camp sites on the Temagami canoe routes planning map or the Chrismar Temagami map. We did not stop but some of the spots looked like they would be nice overnight locations. About 9 Km from our morning campsite we paused to link up and discuss stopping at one of the next sites for a lunch break but in the end decided to press on toward the eastern end of the lake in hopes we could eat lunch where we could unload our gear for the evening. At about 1 PM or so we landed at the spot where we camped in 1998 – a point on the mainland’s near the northern bay leading to Lady Evelyn Lake. To-day’s distance was about 13 Km but once again we were where we had planned to stop and after the morning’s portaging effort looking forward to a lazy afternoon was appreciated.

This site appears to be an island but as one approaches from the west, paddling counterclockwise around to the north side of this peninsula it becomes evident that it is connected to the mainland. There is a nice landing on the eastern facing shore but the hill climb makes getting water interesting in damp conditions. At the bottom of the northwest hill, which is a more gradual descent, there is a good landing and we moved our canoes around to that side after eating our lunch.

The eastern shore has some nice rocks that are great for napping, reading or just sitting down near the water. The views from our high spot were super and we spent much of the afternoon just looking off to-wards what we call Blueberry Island near the eastern end of Diamond. Every now and then there was a motorboat heading north or returning south from the direction of the liftover into Lady Evelyn or Sharp Rock Portage. From our site we observed several other canoe groups either pass by or land on the islands located to our southeast. In 1998 a party landed opposite our site and camped out but from checking the area and looking at the maps it does not appear to be a designated site but unlike Algonquin none of these sites are actually marked by any signs so camping is where you can find a suitable spot.

Gil and Gerry independently investigated the surrounding area and reported back that there were two or three other small grassy areas suitable for private reading spots a short walk away. This site would have been a nice campsite to settle down for an extended stay. Possible day trips would include a paddle down Diamond Lake where there is that beach area and rocky sites to investigate, the various islands to explore, including Blueberry Island near our present site, as well as the islands further west past which we had earlier paddled. Paddling north as we would do in the morning enables a day trip to Lower Lady Evelyn Lake and the opportunity to play wilderness detective among the islands and bays in that area.

Gil set up his net at the northern edge of the clearing out on the rock. This was the spot of choice for star gazing and observing any wildlife that may have found their way to the grassy area near the small bay adjacent to our location. I set up my Bug Hut 20 yards behind Gil in the open area adjacent to the rocks while Dick and Gerry pitched tents along the southern edge of the site near the tree line. We began our afternoon pleased with our location, our progress and the weather. It is a great feeling when that which you can control and that which is out of your control merge into a perfect experience.

Sunday, 8/11/98, Diamond Lake to Sucker Gut Lake

Sunday morning we were up at our usual time with Gerry and Gil again the sunrise observers. We were on the water between 8 and 8:30 AM, paddling north up Diamond towards the narrow chute that spills from Diamond into lower Lady Evelyn Lake, a little over 3 Km North of our campsite. As we approached this area I looked for the petroglyphs about which I had read but did not stay close enough to the western shoreline to observe them. Perhaps they were north of where we entered Lady Evelyn Lake. After the lead canoe with Baron and Gil completed the drop successfully Gerry and I headed into the notch and made an equally impressive run and Temagami Outfitters won’t miss that Kevlar.

Gerry and I stopped to investigate the “campsite” located at the juncture of Diamond and Lady Evelyn Lakes and decided that it may look pretty but is probably not a “destination” site. Soon after this lift over, Gerry got out on a small rock island that looked like a seal sunbathing spot and although Gerry made me promise to stick around I was tempted to paddle away. The lower portion of Lady Evelyn Lake is quite different than the northern and middle sections as it has many dead trees from the flooding which I be-lieve resulted from the removal of a logging dam in the 50s. Entering Lady Evelyn from the south, the route passes through an area distinctly different from the rest of Lady Evelyn Lake and then on through a channel containing an island campsite, which sit offshore but near a pair of sloping campsites.

At the 7.5 Km mark from our campsite on Diamond we slowed down to pay homage to the “refuge” campsite used in 1988. On our first trip to Temagami we were traveling west to East through this area and looking for campsites upon arriving at the Lady Evelyn end of the portages from Willow Island. How-ever, we did not find a suitable site for our group of 9 and actually were driven to this small, but welcome, spot by an approaching thunderstorm. We have paddled through this area on two occasions since that first trip and have marveled at how we fit our group of 9 paddlers and 3 tents in the clearing.

Upon reaching the impressive main body of Lady Evelyn Lake, we began looking for our turn west to-wards the Willow Island portages. As on Lake Temagami and Obabika Inlet our first day and Diamond on our second day, we encountered some fishing boats trolling the waters. Soon, however, we were winding back to the portage location found at the end of a small bay in the southwestern corner of Lady Evelyn’s main body approximately 12 ½ Km from our campsite on Diamond.

The beginning of this portage is quite rocky and appears to be a dry creek bed. Care must be taken for the initial 50 yards or so but then the trail evolves into a good path unless it is a wet summer. The western end shirts a meadow which can be quite wet and we saw the side trails others have made in attempts to bypass the soggy clumps of grass and boggy areas. In ’98 we were forced to walk on one of these trails at the extreme right hand (northern) edge of the meadow but this day we went right through to the pretty beach landing.

Arriving at the end of the first portage I remarked that on the previous trip we had eaten lunch at this picturesque spot. I believe it was about 10:15 AM and the reaction was swift: “Oh it is too early for lunch.” Hey, fellas, just reminiscing. The canoe maps indicate that there is a campsite near the portage landing, somewhere to the north but we chose to not investigate beyond a few steps down a trail.

After a short paddle across an unnamed small lake we began our second and last portage of the day. This second trail was better than the one just hiked but seemed to wind on much longer than I recalled. The Willow Island Lake end has been rerouted to a spot south of the previous put in which was characterized by soggy footing and often jammed with floating logs, making loading of canoes a delicate experience. We had traveled 14.8 Km from our campsite on Diamond to the waters of Willow Island Lake.

Our smiles due to the new, drier landing quickly vanished as we noticed the wind blowing from the southwest and white caps that would be rolling across our beam as we set off from shore. The wind was definitely stronger on Willow Island and was reminiscent of Wakimika on day two. We worked strenu-ously to get out of the small bay near the portage and into, then across the northern edge of Willow Island Lake. The first canoe set out to battle the white caps and eventually they took a line out into the wind and then tacked to make a run with the wind towards the outlet to Sucker Gut Lake. Gerry and I trailed a few minutes later with the wind and waves pushing us toward the shore and it seemed that our canoe just bobbed along, eventually reaching the calm waters where the South Channel of the Lady Evelyn River leaves Willow Island Lake.

What wind there was in the area known as the Lady Evelyn River South Channel was behind us, al-though it was less apparent than that which we encountered on Willow Island Lake itself. Slowly we ar-rived at the center of Sucker Gut Lake where we turned around and headed back in a southwesterly di-rection towards the small island that we hoped to use as our home for the night. As we rounded the western point and turned back south away from the main body of Sucker Gut we felt the strong wind in our face. It was quite a paddle as we worked our way down the lake towards the small island and I pri-vately feared that the island would be taken and we would be forced to chose between continuing on towards Frank Falls and the next campsites or reversing our direction and paddling with the wind back towards Betty’s Hole and the portion of Sucker Gut nearer Hobart Lake. We saw no one on the northern end of the island and were encouraged as we slowly paddled down the western side of the island and searched for signs of other parties on the island.

As we pulled into the tiny lagoon-like bay that is in the center of the island we confirmed the island and surrounding waters were deserted so we checked out the tent sites and decided that, with some creative use of rocks, we could fit our tents in the area. The island has two marked campsites but the years since our last visit have not been kind to this spot that could be a wonderful location for a lunch break or an overnight stay. If allowed to lie fallow for a period the island might recover from overuse and the man-made improvements that marred the larger or southern campsite.

Once again the wind blew all afternoon, which is what we encountered on Wakimika and Diamond. I recall wandering from rock to hammock, back to rock, reading book, Ghost Soldiers. The hammock was set up on the south end of the campsite and the combination of sun and wind made for interesting leisure time.

During the afternoon Gerry thought he heard voices but we experts insisted it was either the wind or gulls. At times we have heard wind or gulls and thought there was someone nearby. Gerry hiked around the small island and discovered there was someone at the northern end who landed sometime after our arrival. They probably arrived while we were vacuuming our site and setting up the tents. Of course, they were downwind of our location and they may have heard us but we really never heard them as their tent was located on the extreme northern tip of the island beyond some trees and the small lagoon. Our total distance for day four measured out to be about 22 Km from the Diamond campsite to our tiny island in Sucker Gut Lake.

Monday, 8/10/98, lower Sucker Gut Lake to Tupper Lake

Monday morning we left our tiny island and headed north to the Maple Mountain area. We were enter-ing the “flexible” portion of our itinerary, as we wanted to be on either Hobart or Tupper Lake. After paddling through Sucker Gut Lake and checking out the campsites in the western portion of the lake and finding some rather dirty and poorly kept areas we made the turn north and meandered through the rocks in the channel which links Hobart to the north and Sucker Gut to the south. The topos identify this as Willow Island Creek, basically the same “creek” which led us out of Willow Island Lake and into Sucker Gut Lake thought the topos designate that stretch as the Lady Evelyn River South Channel. From our island campsite on lower Sucker Gut Lake to the point where this creek leaves Sucker Gut Lake north to-wards Hobart is approximately 6 Km.

The first Hobart site we saw was high on the right or eastern shore just prior to the main body of the lake, approximately 7.8 Km from our morning starting point. Although vacant we were not enticed by its steep layout and although the orientation may have provided for a nice view of the sunsets, it was enough south of the main body of Hobart Lake that it would not have been a prime site, in our opinion. We pad-dled on and were interested in the first site to the left of west along the south shore of the lake, about an 8.8 Km paddle from our island campsite on Sucker Gut, but upon reaching the site Jester and Gerry saw that it was occupied and we turned our canoe towards the outlet of Willow Island Creek and the route towards Tupper. Baron called out to us that we should be paddling towards the campsite. I figured he would see for himself soon enough that we were not lost but had no reason to paddle closer to a site that was occupied by others. The next site down along the eastern shore was also taken so we paddled out through the creek and took the next creek to the left and paddled upstream to Tupper Lake.

As in 1998, there were no obstacles until we reached the entrance to Tupper where a significant beaver dam had been built. Although our habit of awakening at 6 AM or earlier did not enable us to camp at our site of choice on Hobart Lake, we were able to claim the lone site on Tupper Lake that is near the south-eastern corner of the lake and about 13 Km paddle from our previous campsite. Upon reaching the site we struggled with the rocky landing and unloaded our gear. The west-facing northern edge of the camp-site has a rocky and difficult landing and it took us a while to unload. I always ask those on shore if there is a better or different landing and the response was “no”. The site actually has a second smaller landing that has better footing but we did not discover it until after the guys changed shoes and gathered up wa-ter and cameras and pushed off for Maple Mountain.

We remembered the Tupper Lake campsite as dark, damp and buggy but this year the site was quite dry and even struck Baron as a different site as it seemed to be higher ground. I stayed behind at the campsite as I chose to forego the climb due to my cardiac condition. I had twice before climbed Maple Mountain and it is worth the 1 ½ hour effort as the contrast between the lake level and the top of the ridge provides an interesting view. I tried to find suitable trees for my hammock and then set up my Bug Hut in the shade near one of the rear tent pads.

The sun was out and the hammock location was soon too warm for comfortable lounging so I hopped out and climbed into the Bug Hut and continued my reading. I made great progress on my book Ghost Sol-diers and only occasionally thought of the fellows hiking the trail. I estimated that it would be closer to noon when they actually began the trail and it there were blueberries any where near the trail the guys would find a way to deviate to the left or right. I drifted between thoughts of the men in the Philippines and the men hiking the mountain, but most of my thoughts were centered upon moving from one spot in the shade to another. I applied suntan lotion and laid in the hammock reading and when it was a bit too warm I retreated to the Bug Hut. The great thing about the weather was although the breeze was up, I could use the Bug Hut without tent pegs so I quickly picked the whole thing up to chase the shade.

During the hike and to take a break from reading Ghost Soldiers, I moved the one canoe around closer to the less rocky landing area, hung a clothesline and made our presence known by hanging my sleeping bag to air. I noticed that some of the paddlers who headed to the hiking trail landing (not easy to find in the grass) left after a short while. Also, a party stopped at the campsite thinking they had arrived at the trailhead. Although the trail is not the easiest to find, the campsite is definitely not close and is several minutes paddling from the trail. I got a kick out of the guy who, about to stand up in the canoe, shouted, “Obviously this is the rail!” I smiled and while pointing to the grassy area where we could just barely see the canoes, quietly said, “Not so obviously not.” The guys came back close to 3 PM and while some ate a quick pita lunch others skipped the, by now, ritualistic pita, honey, jam and peanut butter.

Tuesday, 8/11/98, Tupper Lake to Anvil Lake

In the morning we packed up and headed north out of Tupper, retracing the route over the beaver dam, through what I call Tupper Creek and back into Willow Island Creek and headed the less than 3 Km to Old Bill Lake. This is a great spot for an early morning quiet paddle even if one does not see wildlife. After several days on the larger lakes and interconnecting channels, paddling today’s small lakes including Bessie and Inez, with the resulting increase in route finding, was fun. It was great weather and we were planning on paddling only as far as Anvil Lake where we knew there were several campsites from which to choose. At 10:30 or 11 AM, after several portages we were at the end of the portage at Anvil Lake, a large lake with fine sandy beaches on the North shore, about 5.9 Km from Tupper’s campsite.

Gerry and I stopped to talk with two women from the University of Waterloo who were paddling the Maple Mountain Loop. They, as were some other parties we encountered in this section, were paddling the route in a counter-clockwise direction so as we felt the wind at our back all week, these folks paddled into the wind. They gave us helpful details as to the long Skull – Mendelssohn portage and the Montreal River island campsite. In connection with the long portage, obviously something had changed since 1998. Also, we learned that the campsites had been full the night before so we were a bit apprehensive about getting a good site. Baron and Gil had pushed off and were slowly paddling around Anvil, checking out an island for a possible campsite and when Gerry and I finally quit chatting we paddled north and east along the shoreline towards one of the campsites often mentioned as being one of the better ones on the lake.

As we paddled far enough into the lake and got past the small island we could see a tent on the north west shore near the small beach. In addition, the campsite on the point a few minutes paddle east from the portage entrance was taken by a group who were well-ensconced and eating. We asked a boy who was down by the water about their plans and he indicated they were still eating breakfast so we con-cluded they would be in no hurry to leave. Gerry and I slowly paddled away and I recalled Cheryl’s trip log read during the early summer that indicated a nice sandy site that is on the way towards the outlet near Hammer Lake.

As we crossed the lake and headed towards the northern end of the lake we began to feel the wind pick up and push us towards a sand bar. Even with our attention directed back towards the task of maneuver-ing the canoe, it would have been hard to miss the beautiful point and the flat sandy area to our left. Gerry and I pulled in and marveled at the many tent areas and extremely flat area about 4 or 5 feet above the water level. As we landed we were struck by scenic vistas and the view looking back to the south and southeast and the area through which we had been paddling the previous several days.

The two women from Waterloo mentioned sharing a site with another party and we decided that the site now unoccupied must have been where they stayed. Since we had only seen the one group pass us prior to reaching Anvil, either the other party got up quite early and had paddled past our location and into Hobart so we missed them OR they were paddling the Maple Mountain Loop in the same direction and we might have some company later on in our trip.

Upon their arrival, Gil and Dick agreed with our assessment that the campsite was a gem. There were 4 or more good sites for tents, level ground for food preparation and general lounging in our Thermarest chairs, several hammock trees plus, most importantly, large quantities of blueberries. We had traveled 8.8 Km and had reached our destination before noon.

Soon we had rigged the tents, hung line and were spreading out our stuff to air out. We gathered ‘round the small stump near the fire ring and made lunch. Today was another tuna fish kit and pita day. Every other day we had tuna fish kits from Chicken of the Sea and on alternate days we enjoyed the pita with jam, peanut butter and Bigelow flavored honey. The tuna was easier to plan as we needed 2 kits for 4 guys while we did not know how to estimate how much honey to haul along. We brought too much even though we left several squeeze containers back at the outfitters. The day was quite nice and we soon had all found the water. It felt quite food to rinse off in the shallows however the wind was strong although not as strong as the winds on Wakimika which dried us off before we could wade back through the ex-tensive shallows along that nice beach site.

In the late afternoon I set the Bug Hut up in a flat area near the point behind some large trees. We had another afternoon of lazy behavior. I began to wonder if we were purposely paddling shorter distances to avoid that long walk into Mendelssohn Lake. By now, we had heard more than a few comments about the “middle” section. Other than long, which we knew from having walked it on two previous trips, how bad could it be?

Wednesday, 8/12/98, Anvil Lake to Greenwater Lake

We broke camp and with heightened anticipation, headed north along Anvil’s north shore, past the west-ern end of the island and then snuck into the creek system near the beaver dam at Hammer Lake. The water level this year was quite high for Baron and I recalled a tree lined bank clearly marking the waters of Hammer from the creek. After lifting over the beaver dam we had a good view of the waters of Ham-mer, something we had not really seen on previous trips.

I recall the first portage of this section was after paddling through a small grassy lake and as the creek be-came clear again, we pulled out on river left. Soon we arrived at the second portage that was river right and approximately 50 meters around a boulder garden. The trial is good and quite smooth. However, as we got out and began to collect our gear Gerry began looking for his sandals and discovered that he must have left them back on Anvil. Baron and Gil, for the second year in a row, reversed direction and paddled back downstream, over the beaver dam and back to Anvil. In less time than it takes to say, “déjà vu, what else can go wrong?” the intrepid paddlers had returned with the missing footwear. Another reason that the time spent waiting at the narrow portage landing along the creek seemed short was the lack of bugs! This was the portage where we actually ate lunch on our ’98 trip. Of course, that year we spent the previ-ous night on Hobart after climbing Maple Mountain.

We quickly loaded the canoes and began looking for the 100-meter portage on river left as you head up-stream. In a few minutes we arrived at a second portage on the right bank but it, too, was about 50 meters. Again, we were quickly on our way and encountered a third portage on river right, this time one which approximated 100 meters but without the marked campsite as indicated on the Chrismar map. Three portages under our belt and even with the sandal detour we were making good time on our route toward Bergeron. That is, until Jester and Gerry attempted to board the canoe at portage end. I forget who had boarded and who was entering but as we sat adjacent to the rocks at a less than optimum landing we be-gan to tip and no amount of bracing stopped the canoe from rolling and settling under the water.

Jester quickly hopped out and while standing in waist deep water began tossing packs and loose items up onto the bank while Gerry tried to regain his footing. Gerry however, could not easily retrieve his external frame pack as it was wedged into the Trillium’s front space. Finally we got the canoe emptied and when we caught our breath, we rolled the canoe upside down and then raised it up and popped it back onto the water. Within a few minutes we had loaded the gear and pushed off from the rocky shore.

Just upstream (or is it downstream here?) from this portage was a beaver dam so we had to build up some speed to carry us over to the other side. Within a few minutes the trailing canoe had rejoined us and we began the paddle towards the Willow Island Creek to Bergeron Lake portage. Willow Island Creek flows north and into Duncanson Lake but the portage leads north and east paralleling a creek. I have wondered about actually taking Willow Island Creek all the way to Little Skull Lake and seeing if I could survive the deadfalls and rock gardens. I believe the Bergeron portage landing is the one that is a small beach where we could pull both canoes up side by side and still have enough room to unload. It certainly is a big im-provement over the last landing where the rocks make it difficult. Even Jester could have disembarked with his eyes closed at this spot. It was approaching this trail that we paddled through some grassy areas and actually needed a couple of tries to find the right channel through the grass before arriving at the actual portage landing.

I don’t remember much about the trail to Bergeron other than it is not too bad. Upon arriving at Bergeron, about 4 Km from our launch site on Anvil, we slowly paddled north and noted that the small site on the eastern shore was occupied. We stopped to chat with the couple and when we mentioned that our plans included the Skull Mendelssohn portage they quizzed us on how bad it was. After listening to us they decided to continue on to Skull rather than turn around. Perhaps they could make that long portage based upon the information provided by these Ohio men. Of course our answers were based upon four-year-old information and the accumulated hearsay regarding the beaver pond in the middle.

Although it is not a great site, we had been looking forward to Bergeron where we knew we could fit in on the eastern campsite with its tent sites nestled into the hillside. We pushed off and carried over the trail from Bergeron to the small-unnamed pond and it was from this lake we portaged into Niccolite when we could have actually paddled directly into Niccolite due to the high water. The waters opened up into a marshy area that drew Gil and Baron in. Gerry and Jester saw the portage almost opposite the trail we had used to enter the lake. We landed in a mucky and murky area below a rise and slowly got both canoes unloaded. As we proceeded up the hill I remembered an uphill then a downhill trail, which turned out to be pretty close to reality. However, what greeted us at the bottom was a worse collection of bog, muck and a few dead falls to make it the worst encounter yet. I just stood and wondered, “Which way should we go?” Logs or swamp blocked each logical route with no real footing anywhere. We cut one large log then Gerry pulled the top of a mud laden dead pine out of the way which left a mud residue splattered on our canoe. Gil then grabbed the saw and quickly showed a lawyer’s aggressive tenacity as he cut more of the tree away.

As we edged out into the bog it quickly became apparent that we would have to slog our way on foot more than paddle. One step we were on fairly solid ground and the next we were almost prone in some-thing more like quick sand. After 10 or 15 minutes from the time we had arrived at Niccolite we were again paddling on open water. The lead canoe pulled in on a small point south of the island campsite and washed off shoes, legs and canoe. The other canoe kept looking for a campsite worthy of at least a lunch stop. Unfortunately, the mainland sites were either non-existent or had long since been overgrown and the small island which is billed as the best site has been reduced to such a small size that it is only a meal stop rather than a place to pitch a tent. It is actually quite forlorn so we cleaned the canoes and had a late lunch under gray skies.

Earlier in the day we had been marveling at how we had actually dodged significant rain all day. This was the first overcast sky of the trip but we had only a few sprinkles that were almost, but not quite, wel-come. Of course, Gerry and Jester were damp from their roll at the one portage so they did not notice the rain.

We pushed on through Lockie (7.6 Km from Anvil) and Holden Lakes and upon reaching Greenwater we checked out the campsite just to the right of the portage approximately 9.3 Km from our morning launch spot. It was a fairly nice open site with enough trees to rig the Buckley tarp. We found space for both our Timberline 2 person tents and quickly began to speculate on the weather which continued to be gray and “changing’. The site was much drier and more dust covered than previous sites although the Anvil site just vacated in the morning was quite sandy and dry.

I don’t recall if it was prior to supper or after another good meal but some time after settling in on Green-water we saw a wonderful rainbow. In fact, Gerry began to educate us on sundogs and other phenomena of the sky. Eventually we found time to string a clothesline and I turned a garbage bag being used as a pack liner inside out in order to fully recover from the morning’s dump in the creek.

Gil again slept out under the stars and I think he used the Bug Hut on the rocks, which is not a paddler’s beverage. The Bug Hut is nice as it gives full bug protection and with the 2 poles can support a tarp sim-ply tossed on top in an emergency. If enough weight is placed inside, the hut stays put without use of the stakes but I’d recommend the stakes if you are not on bare rock. Gil has a great little mosquito net that he rigs via sticks, saplings or the canoe. I have visions of Bradford Angier each time I see Gil preparing his den.

The night on Greenwater proved dry and in the morning we headed north past the other campsite that was occupied by a gentleman who had been fishing on Greenwater but had entered from the north. He provided some tips on the condition of the portage between Skull and Mendelssohn. “Track the canoes through the beaver pond area. There is muck up to your crotch!” We began to question our comments shared back on Bergeron where we told the couple that other than long, there was nothing to that trail. Oooops!

Thursday, 8/13/98, Greenwater Lake to Skull Lake

Knowing that the portage out of Greenwater was tucked into the Northwest corner and just over 1 Km away, we made good time as we paddled in the early morning quiet. We were usually on the water at 8 AM, some days sooner and some days a bit later, so we often had a couple hours without any wind. The stretch of route through which we now paddled was less exposed to winds as it was creek and small lake travel. The trail out of Greenwater in prior years had many wet, boggy sections and, although this year the trail was fairly dry, I happened to step into one area adjacent to a log. When I returned to the port-age’s south end for the canoe, I took some time to rinse off my shoe. Jester always follows the rule that states if a foot gets wet in the woods but no one else witnesses it, then it did not happen. Therefore, the incident I am describing is not a real event.

After portaging out of Greenwater we paddled across Little Skull Lake where Jester started heading northwest rather than straight across to the portage. The portage into Skull is east of a rocky creek area but goes over fairly good ground. Upon reaching Skull, only 2.4 Km away from our campsite on Green-water, and certainly by the time we were a third of the way down the lake toward the Mendelssohn port-age, the winds that we had avoided since Anvil picked up again. Passing by the campsite closest to the portage landing we headed for the island. Actually, the wind blew us quickly to the campsite but we had difficulty in landing. We pulled up from the northeast side and decided that we could make it back south and around the point to the rocky shallows. As Gerry and Jester made the turn they took a broadside and got splashed but otherwise made it to the shore without incident. Our total distance for the day was the shortest of the trip at 4.5 Km but we did not intend to tackle the Skull – Mendelssohn portage.

Our afternoon routine was typical for the days when we arrived in camp early. We pitched the tents in a grassy area far enough from the open rock shore to provide a bit of protection from the wind. However, we did not set the tents up immediately as we were using that area to prepare and then eat our supper. I set up my hammock near the water but off to one side of the open area where the wind kept any bugs away. Each time I got in the hammock, however, a bird began to squawk and fly around so the others started looking for a nest in one of the nearby trees. Later we found a snake enjoying the sun on the rocks just at the edge of the vegetation.

Everyone spent the afternoon relaxing and trying to adjust to the wind which seemed to bother us more now that we were not paddling. I remember moving from hammock to Thermarest chair, which I set up near the backside of the campsite and I believe the others kept busy at the time honored practice of camp-site fidgeting. Gerry spent some time investigating the island and as usual returned with a full report that would have done George Washington’s surveying party justice. The only thing missing from one of Gerry’s detailed reports was the actual deed to the property. Whenever I saw Gil in camp he was always seated underneath his wide brimmed straw hat reading or standing somewhere with the lake in the background in that pose which accentuated his tall lean cowboy frame. Baron more often than not was the first one to scout out the rocks and flat spots that are unsuitable for pitching tents but perfect for hori-zontal repose.

Although small, the island afforded enough space for our tents and we could have pitched the Buckley and Bug Hut if we had desired. We debated the wisdom of sleeping out on the flat rocks down by the water, but the waves were rolling whitecaps all afternoon and on through suppertime while wind re-mained strong well into the evening.

Friday, 8/14/98, Skull Lake to Montreal River

Around 4 AM rain came and lasted an hour but thankfully by dawn the weather had cleared. We got a good start on the day’s travel and we were soon at the rocky portage trail landing. From the island it is perhaps a 5 to 10 minute paddle so we had just warmed up to the day’s tasks when we pulled the canoes up to the small beach where there was room for both canoes.

From our previous trips we knew that while long, the portage trail was not too bad. In ’98 there was one big blow down where we had to duck under a large diameter tree and slide the canoe over the trunk and we recalled another spot where the trail was relocated due to fallen trees, but we were anticipating the great unknown flooded “beaver project” as we began our hike.

We began our “leapfrogging” trail routine approximately 8 AM and soon were encountering the damp-ness left behind by the early morning rain showers. The trail slowly gained altitude and then leveled out for much of the way. Every now and then we would descend and then climb but the general nature of the area is flat. The one change noted this day was the trail encroachment that made the trail appear as if not enough parties pass through this section to keep the brush and vegetation worn. If one looked straight down at times the trail was not visible so you walked along carrying your load, trusting that you would not stumble over a rock or root. We were in no danger of losing our way but there was a marked contrast in the condition of the trail from 4 years previous.

In fact, we had been commenting throughout our trip at least since visiting the small island in lower Sucker Gut Lake where we first encountered disappointing conditions that a master plan of trail and site maintenance ought to be developed. We eventually reached the large deadfall but it posed little difficulty this year as it was so dry that the tree had collapsed under its own weight, breaking most of the branches. Without the branches to hold it up, the trunk was now much lower and at a height where it was easier to climb or slide over with less need for additional help.

Although there was moisture present along the trail we were making good progress and soon arrived at the “swamp”, which is about halfway per the topos, and quickly decided that we could load the canoes and track them through the flooded area. It actually was not too bad and our Tevas were fine. Some of us changed out of our hiking shoes and then upon reaching the eastern or Mendelssohn edge of the “creek” we dried off and put the hiking shoes back on. Perhaps it was a 10-minute ordeal plus the shoe change time. With just a little bit of “squish” in our shoes we were again trudging onward to Mendelssohn. In general the trail after the flooded area is flatter than the stretch leading out of Skull but for ruggedness I would say this trail is not bad and if taken slowly the distance is not awful. Of course, awful is based upon load carried, which varies with each person.

Eventually we wound our way far enough to know we were getting near the last creek just a few minutes from the waters of Mendelssohn Lake, which is 2.4 Km from our island launch point. Jester, the slow poke on this trip, reached the end with his pack while Gerry was heading back for the last equipment pack left up the trail, several minutes distance. Gerry came back saying he could not find the pack. “It is past that first blow down where the trail is rerouted left and then back to the original trail.”

When Gerry arrived with the equipment pack we loaded the canoe then tracked our craft out into the grassy creek to a point where we could paddle. Once on Mendelssohn Lake it was an easy paddle to the first marked campsite at which we ate lunch. This first spot is on the left hand, or Northwestern side of the lake, about 4 Km from our previous campsite. It has a nice rocky ledge for the landing, which also pro-vides a lunch table and rest spot. This point also affords shade if the weather is hot, protection from rain back in the woods and enough flat rocks on the shoreline to enjoy a bit of a siesta after lunch. This site also has a second grassy clearing just west of the landing area so our group with 2 tents or a group with 3 or 4 tents could possibly overnight here.

As we ate our lunch the wind once again began to pick up and when we got finished with our pita, jam, honey lunch we pushed off and were blown down the lake. This year there were people at the lodge half way down the lake on the west shore, a change from previous visits. The lake is long enough that the small waves became rolling white caps the further north we paddled.

Approaching the north shore and the entrance to Spray Creek we encountered long grass so steered our canoe further away from the west shore. As we progressed we also studied the area east of Spray Creek looking the campsite mentioned by Hap Wilson. We have never really looked for it having stayed over-night on Skull Lake each trip but we were curious about its existence, as others have said they had seen no site in the area.

It began to look like there might be a site adjacent to a small sandy beach not far from Spray Creek and although we did not stop, it looked promising so we made mental notes for the future. The location at the north end of a long lake where the winds and waves have pushed the sand might be nice. If the winds blow into the evening the bugs might be kept at bay as well.

Spray Creek, located 9.4 Km distance from our morning starting point on Skull, was quite different this year from the previous trips as the weather was clear and sunny, making the colors vastly brighter. The placement of beaver dams was another change noticed. Several dams were completely gone while others were broken allowing paddling straight through. There were still a few significant drops where we had to step out and slide the canoe across to the downstream level, but water levels were good and we enjoyed most of Spray Creek.

It gets a bit tiresome after a couple hours however, and the slowly changing terrain hinting at the near-ness of the Montreal River is welcome. There were a few hunter platforms as usual and upon reaching Spring Lake at the 16.2 Km mark, we noticed a large structure resembling a guard tower from a Rambo movie. The formerly massive beaver dam holding back the waters of Spray Creek not too far above the Montreal River was not as large and the drop was less than a few years earlier.

As we approached the river we passed a few fishing boats and both the topography and atmosphere were increasingly different. Finally, rounding the last bend we joined the river (17 plus Km from the island campsite on Skull) and began the slow, lazy paddling down river. We paddled perhaps for half an hour on the Montreal until we reached the portion of the river known as Indian Narrows and found the small dry and dusty island campsite, marked as indicated by the two women from Waterloo with the diamond plywood sign. It turned out that the previously used grassy site on the north shore is just opposite this island but no one wanted to venture across the river to inspect its condition. This location is about 22 Km from our morning starting point on Skull Lake or 4.2 Km from the junction of the creek and river.

The muddy, very muddy, beach landing is not appealing but the location is a good one if you want to take the Montreal section from Spray Creek to Mowat as your last or first day. It certainly is not a pretty site and it is ultra utilitarian with an old truck wheel serving as a fire ring. We had room to pitch multiple tents but other than location, there was nothing special about it. The little shade available was the result of someone doing a machete job in the woods and there was extensive evidence of recent cuttings includ-ing a large pile of brush off to one side.

While back in the shade with my hammock pitched not too far from the home made Thunderbox, some men in a fishing boat stopped by to offer us cold well water. This turned out to be a retired policeman from Toronto who lived near Mowat Landing.

Saturday, 8/25/02, Montreal River to Mowat Landing

Saturday morning we launched the canoes without lashing our craft together, something we did on our last Montreal River trip. About 2.3 Km after leaving Indian Narrows the wide-open lake beckons the pad-dler straight while the narrow river turns approximately 45 degrees to the southeast and Mowat. In ’91 Baron and Jester went straight for some time before that queasy feeling of “something is not right” kicked in and the two of them turned around. The two trips since then Jester marvels at how dumb they were to have gone straight but failure to read the map and remind yourself that what you think you know may be different than what you do know.

The river maintains a fairly consistent width all the way to Mowat from the junction of Spray Creek but it does widen in a few places and the wind can slow your progress, which is why we lashed the canoes in ’98. There is an “elbow” double bend (approximately 7 Km), a creek enters from river right at 9.9 Km and at the places where the river widens (13 Km and 15 Km) it offers several interesting variations on the straight forward trip to Mowat but, to be honest, this stretch does not rate highly on anyone’s beautiful rivers of North America list. Although sad to see our trip reach completion, we were glad to have reached the end of this 17 Km paddle from Indian Narrows to Mowat. Of course, Mowat Landing is more and more only a place to complete a trip. Having been warned about the reception being offered paddlers by the only place with a phone we had arranged in advance to be picked up about 1 PM.

When we landed, unloaded, arranged our gear and cleared the area, we sat down to fix our last tuna fish kit lunch. When we went to the local store and asked about a phone, sure enough, Ted was correct and the lady said there was no public phone so we just sat back, put up our feet and on the side of the dock we chose to eat our last lunch meal in honor of the completion of another successful trip. Eating pita bread once again had been proven to ward off injuries and slow down, even reverse, the aging process. This is not mere speculation on my part for a group of grown men had shoved off from Temagami’s Cen-tral Access point and by week’s end reappeared acting like children.

After cleaning up at the outfitters we headed off for a supper at the Busy Bee, which turned out to be busy, but also a good choice. We had quality service and plenty of smiles and so much food was on the table that we had difficulty finding places for everything.

Our expectations were more than met as we had a safe, fun and moderately challenging adventure. Other than bruised egos, no injuries were sustained in the bush and we saw some great spots, both new and old. We also decided that the area is in trouble if they do not develop a master plan for the trails and campsites. If allowed to remain as they are the policies or lack of policies will lead to people choosing to drive to areas other rather than Temagami.

We renewed our appreciation for Obabika and Anvil Lakes by actually camping on them this year afford-ing the opportunity to sit and view the surrounding area and slowly take it in. The same is true for Wakimika Lake where we pulled in early due to high winds and quite gray skies but bonded with the lake. Due to the extra day spent out in the woods and on the water we had more time to relax and enjoy campsites which, coupled with the excellent weather, made for a near perfect trip. The foundation for all such good trips was the excellent group of hard working, fun loving paddlers. It would be difficult to find another group of such high quality friends.

Maps Required
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Chrismar Temagami 1