Rabbit - Twin Lakes Loop

Submitter & Author Information
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Additional Route Information
50 km
3 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
5425 m
Longest Portage: 
1350 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Start at Town of Temagami
P700m to Snake Island Lake
Paddle to Cassels Lake
Paddle to Rabbit Lake
P795m to Reuben Lake
P900m to Paul Lake
P400m to Black Lake
P500m to Pond
P10m to Breeze Lake
P150m to Louise Lake
P1350m to Upper Twin Lake
P390m to Pond
P280m to Lowell Lake

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

June 28th, 2007

Ashley, Andre, Shannon and I left London around 5 and headed up the back roads towards Barrie. We stopped in Listowel for a quick bite at Timmy’s and a stop at the Beer Store. We then drove to Alliston where we had to grab a hatchet and a bottle of stove fuel at Canadian Tire. We arrived in Barrie around 9 and had hamburgers and hotdogs at my parents’ place. Leslie, Shawn and Rachel arrived a couple hours later and all had a beer together. I madly packed all my stuff and Shawn and I checked out how to put the canoes on the car and we were in bed by 12:30.

June 29th, 2007

My alarm was set for 3:30am but I woke up about 15 minutes before that. I quickly grabbed most of the food out of the fridge and started packing the cars. I then put all the canoes on and we were out of my driveway at 4:45. We picked up Ashley at her house around 5 and we were off. We saw a bear cross the road around Huntsville and then stopped for breakfast at Tim Horton’s in North Bay. We arrived at the outfitter’s in Temagami around 9:30 and found Kenn passed out in the grass beside the Shell Station. He had taken a 32 hour bus ride in from Winnipeg and had arrived around 6am. At this point we realized that Leslie had forgotten her purse at Tim Horton’s and a guy from the outfitters who was running a shuttle from Temagami to North Bay offered to pick it up for us! We got our other two canoes from here and we were off. We portaged through the town and over to the start of Snake Island Lake. By the time we got all packed up and ready to go it was almost noon! The sun was shining and everything pointed to us having a wonderful first day of paddling! We easily navigated our way down to Rabbit Lake and I managed to catch two pike on the way (one about 2 pounds, the other about 5). At this point everyone else was well ahead due to my fishing so we caught up and I decided not to fish until we were further along. A solid thunderstorm was building ahead and significant clouds were also building behind so we decided that it was even more important to keep moving. The wind was behind us and quickly pushed the first thunderstorm off into the distance. However, the second cell was slowly moving closer and it was getting darker by the second. We raced past the site with the portage to Lode Lake and tried to make it to the next large site down the lake. With thunder rumbling directly overhead and fork lightning over the north end of the lake we sought shelter on a narrow band of rocks on the west shore. I jumped out and tied the canoe to a tree and tried to get back into the canoe to find my pack cover. As I got back out I stepped onto the wet rock and fell into the lake up to my waist. That was the end of my dry shoes for the trip! Rachel then almost did the same thing as I but managed to yell out “I’m going, I’m going, I’m going” on her way into the lake and she was saved before getting too wet! We began to paddle again and just as we did the rain struck again. Ashley and I found a pine that stood out over the lake and provided us with shelter while the others paddled ahead. We caught up when they took a wrong turn further down the lake and we rounded the corner towards the portage into Reuben. We couldn’t find the portage initially and searched a couple of spots opposite the major rock face on the northwest shore. Kenn and Shannon went back to the opening we’d seen in the bush to check if that was perhaps the trail. Having done most of their tripping in Algonquin they assumed that a landing that poor and a trail that overgrown couldn’t possibly be our portage, they told us that they had found nothing. We the consulted Hap’s book and found that indeed that was the trail (like he says, 250m east of the creek coming out). Hap mentions that this trail starts up a steep slope. It is VERY steep with numerous blowdowns over the trail and significant undergrowth. We cleared a good portion of the undergrowth as we made our way back for more loads, but I’m sure it will grow back in this year again! I carried my pack over first and then returned to grab a canoe. I took it to the top of the hill where I left it to be relayed over to the far end. I then went back and did the same thing with the next canoe. Finally I grabbed my canoe and carried it the entire length of the portage. Once at the other end we found that Ashley and Shannon were off to find camp as it was getting late. Kenn and I then took my canoe and headed off to the campsite. We fished on the way across with no luck. The campsite on the point is definitely one of the nicest I’ve seen in Temagami and we set up camp and had a beautiful evening with a small campfire and a little guitar. We ate chicken teriyaki stirfry for dinner and Kenn and I went fishing again with no luck. There is a massive cliff across from the campsite which I’m sure would afford an incredible view of the surrounding area and certainly the sunset however we didn’t have the time to undertake such an adventure. The rest of the group decided to hang the food pack and I decided they had it under control so I climbed into the tent. All I heard was “Ok that looks good, tie it to the tree!” SNAP! And a thunderous crash followed that echoed through the hills for what seemed like minutes. Our branch broke. So I climbed back out of the tent. By the time we had split the food into two bags and hung them from different branches it was an hour and a half later. I retired for the evening.

June 30th, 2007

I slept soundly through the night and woke up to see that my clock said it was 9:15! I had slept in! I jumped out the tent and grabbed both the food bags from the tree before anyone else was up. One of our ropes was quite short and when I untied it from the tree I didn’t have time to get my other hand on the rope before it started to fall. I grabbed tighter with my hand that was on the rope to stop it from slipping but it already had too much momentum. I ended up with a pack crashing to the ground and a wicked rope burn on my left hand! I began cooking breakfast of bacon and toast while Ashley went for a quick dip and then filtered water. While filtering water she saw a few leeches that were almost 3 inches in length. She is happy she swam first. After eating breakfast I cleaned the dishes and took down our tent. I packed up and helped pack the food bag and we were on the water by 11:30. After consulting the forums on myccr we chose the Breeze Lake route to Upper Twin as it was more scenic and cleared. We found the portage marked with flagging tape and started taking our packs across. Kenn and Shannon had already left as there was only room for one canoe at a time at the takeout. Leslie and Shawn led the way for the rest of us following the flagging tape tied to the trees along the way. We quickly decided that this route was totally unnavigable with a canoe and were surprised that Kenn and Shannon had pushed on. Andre, Rachel, Ashley and I headed back to the canoes while Leslie and Shawn said they’d push ahead to find Kenn and Shannon. We heard calls of “Kenn” for about 15 minutes before they found him. We spoke to Kenn and he wondered what was going on. He said the trail was perfectly cleared and wondered what we were all talking about. It turns out about 3 metres into the portage the trail splits left and right. We took the right branch while Kenn took the left which was the actual portage. The flagging tape to the right was a mystery, but perhaps it is the proposed re-routing of the portage to Paul Lake to make way for the logging road? The trail was quite long – longer than would be estimated by the old Nastawgan maps I’d got ahold of. According to my measurements on these maps the portage should have been about 600m, however it was definitely longer than the 795 into Reuben Lake. We guessed it was somewhere around 900-1000m. About 300m along there is a large clearing to the left which seemed to look like the beginning of the proposed road into this area. However there definitely was not any sort of finished road crossing the trail as of yet. The trail was in good shape with a large tree that had been chainsawed out recently. Thanks to those who did the trail maintenance here! As we crossed the trail it started to rain soaking all of the underbrush and in turn soaking us. The put in had a number of logs across it and required quite the balancing act to get out to the open water. Once on Paul Lake it’s a very short paddle to the far shore past another nice rock face on the east shore. This trail is quite tight and I got wedged in between trees with the canoe on a couple of occasions. Towards the end the trail takes a sharp left out to Black Lake where the put in was flooded and in terrible shape. We took a route through the trees on the right near the put in where it was easier to get the canoe into the water. I would guess that this trail is probably 380-400m. We ate lunch on Black Lake where the wind picked up and the clouds darkened again. By this point it was getting cold. My thermometer read 9 degrees and considering it had been consistently 25-30 degrees in London for the past month this was quite a shock! A couple of the guys were in shorts and they ended up quite cold by the end of the lunch break. Of course we didn’t want to go in to shore as the mosquitoes were awful! When we reached the portage from Black to Breeze again the takeout was quite small. Shawn realized here that he left his Nalgene at the beginning of the last portage, but decided that it was an acceptable loss. If you find this, enjoy it! Ashley and I were the last to take out after the rest of the group had taken off down the portage. I grabbed the canoe and started out. The beginning was quite wet with large puddles all throughout the bush. Some were so large they had leeches on the rocks in them. At the end of the portage Kenn was picking numerous leeches off of himself. Once you walk through the swamp at the beginning of the portage, you meander through low cedar trees until it opens up a bit and you cross a creek. The portage then heads directly up the creek bed around numerous trickling cascades. At the base of a large hill you break off from the creek and head directly up the steep slope. At the top you take a sharp left but never cross the creek again. Just before you hit the creek you take a right and it will take you out to the put in. The last part is significantly overgrown and your only guide will be the yellow flagging tape on the trees. We tried to clear this out as best we could, but again this undergrowth will likely be back! This portage was definitely the most scenic en route but the footing was difficult. I would say this portage was likely in the area of 500-550m and I had a pretty good feeling after doing it 3 ½ times! (The third was due to me thinking I’d left my camera and map in a Ziploc bag at the start of the portage! It was later found in Ashley’s backpack.) After the put in you paddle across a small beaver pond. This was one of the most interesting parts of this trip. The pond is quite large and can be seen on Google Maps in high resolution and is the result of a beaver dam that spans about 100 feet across and about 4 feet high. This dam must have been created quite a while ago because it flooded all the trees there and the trees still stand in about 4-6 feet of water and they’re all dead. It was like paddling through a dead forest which was pretty neat! After some tricky maneuvering between logs we reached one that couldn’t be avoided. After a quick liftover we were out onto the main part of Breeze Lake. After about 4 minutes of paddling we reached the next portage which would be the easiest of the entire trip. It was about 150m and was in great shape. It is quite level until the end where the trail descends a hill to Louise lake. Once loaded up we headed west towards the small bay where the next portage was located. There is a stunning cliff on the west side of Louise Lake. To the east there was a perfect rainbow spanning the sky in the aftermath of the rain that had made every portage extremely slick. I took this opportunity to fish while the others were unloading their canoes, but had no luck. Ashley took pictures of the cliff and the rainbow. Andre took a canoe and a pack as did Kenn. I carried over the food pack which was still exceptionally heavy! About 250m in you come out into an open marsh with waist high grass. If you happen to be there during high water (like us) you’ll trudge through in ankle deep water below the grass. Also, if you’re lucky and no one has been here in a while, the grass won’t be trampled down at all so you won’t have any idea where you’re supposed to go! There are little bits of yellow flagging tape on the right and as a rule of thumb, stay close to the bush on the right. Without these we’d have been lost! In a couple of places the bush protrudes and you will pass through a few cedars before entering more grassland. You will never cross the creek and you will re-enter the right-hand bush after about 500-600m of marsh. You will likely now find yourself in front of a labyrinth of mud. Both Shannon and Rachel lost their sandals while carrying their packs through and Andre lost both sandals while carrying the canoe. We retrieved all footwear and continued on. About 300m later you will cross a small stream with a tree bent across that you’ll have to go around. Another couple hundred metres after that you’ll hit another little stream that goes across and when you get to this point you’re nearing the end. About 100m later the railroad tracks will come into view. Once you climb the embankment to the tracks take a left for about 20m to a roadway that leads down to the right to a couple of camps. You can put in from the docks there but being courteous take the full length of the trail to the point at the merger between Lower Twin and Upper Twin Lake. I would have guessed that this trail was at least 2000m but the map I found when I returned says it is 1350. Perhaps it was just the mud and the overall uncertainty as to which way to go through the marsh that made it seem that long. Shawn, Leslie, Ashley and I headed back for the last pack and two canoes. Shawn and I each carried a canoe and Ashley carried the pack while Leslie picked up a bag that had been left halfway along the trail. It was quite late when we pulled into camp on Upper Twin. We set up, had pita pizzas and went to bed.

July 1st, 2007

Happy Canada Day! I was up at 7:15, cooked breakfast filtered water and started the other group’s breakfast and ate before anyone else was up. When they finally got up I packed up my tent and took it down. I then took down the other tent and did the dishes, packed the food pack and Ashley and I went fishing for 20 minutes before anyone else hit the water. However we had become a bit concerned as Shannon had been quite ill all morning. She hadn’t been able to keep anything down and was definitely not herself. We decided to get moving in case her condition worsened and we raced to get to the highway. Once you pass under the old rail bridge (it goes to an abandoned gravel pit I believe), head right and up the main body of Upper Twin Lake. The portage is easily located at the far end of the lake and is in decent shape. I had forgotten how short a 390m portage really is! I carried two canoes over and two packs, and by the time I got into the canoe some of the leaders had already located the next portage on the other side of the small pond. It was clearly marked with flagging tape, but seemed to be quite rough. This surprised me considering the previous portage was in such good shape! After getting all 4 canoes out and following a rough trail about 200m into the bush we came to a cliff face. We then decided this was not the trail. By the time I got turned around and got back to the lake it had been an hour. I took a wrong turn on my return and ended up about 10 feet from where the put in was. However the bush was so thick there was no way I was getting a 16 foot canoe to the put in. I tried to push my way through and I tripped in the process. I fell in slow motion over an old stump. I took a nice chunk out of my palm putting my hand out to brace my fall onto the stump. Then I laid there with a canoe on top of me for at least 30 seconds before someone in the group could get through the bush to get it off of me. It is quite hilarious in retrospect, but I didn’t find it funny then. We searched and found more and more flagging tape on the lake, but no portage. Finally we found it on the northwest shore while we had been looking at the south and southwest shores. Looking back it was quite the obvious trail. So, when you come out of the 390m portage, head right, down the lake and the portage starts just to the right of the little creek outflow where you can see the hydro wires. However, it was the most flooded trail we had. At the beginning there was a puddle that was about 15m long and about shin deep. Once you get through that it was another 20-30m of puddle before it dried out. You’ll then hit a hydro clearing where you continue to go straight across where the trail continues. This will quickly bring you out to Lowell Lake. We paddled across Lowell Lake the takeout of the 145m portage. There didn’t seem to be an obvious takeout, but you could basically pull out anywhere along the side of the road that runs along the edge of the lake. Shannon was still quite sick at this point so we decided to call our trip early. Shawn and I left the group and headed out to the road to try to catch a ride back to town. We’d hiked past Maille Lake and got picked up at a construction company’s parking lot on the right hand side of Highway 11. We then went and got the two rental canoes and returned them and then returned for the rest of the gear and my two canoes. We then checked into Finlayson Point PP for our last night (somewhat embarrassingly). Shannon tried eating and drinking some more water and as the evening went on her condition improved. Even though she got better we felt we made a good decision to come in since it would have been awful if she’d worsened on Iceland Lake. However, we were definitely disappointed to have not finished the route. We have decided that next year we will return to conquer it! We ate at the Busy Bee Restaurant in town which was awesome, and then spent the evening around town waiting for the fireworks. What a show they put on! This was definitely an extensive show for a small town! I’ve seen cities put on smaller fireworks displays. Hats off to Temagami! At the end of the fireworks our group broke out into “O Canada” and we received a nice applause from the patrons of the fireworks display. We sat around the campfire and played guitar until late that evening pondering what the fireworks would have looked/sounded like from Iceland Lake. Maybe next year!

July 2nd, 2007
We awoke around 10 and were out of camp by 11:30. We drove to North Bay and ate lunch at East Side Mario’s before sending Kenn and Shannon off to Winnipeg on the bus. Kenn is on his way to Seattle to work for Microsoft and so this was sort of a send off party. Shannon is heading to Korea to teach English for a year, so this canoe trip was our last hoorah for them! It was unfortunate that Shannon got sick, but all in all it was a great time. Ash and I drove Rach and Andre back to Barrie. We unloaded the canoes and sent Andre and Rachel back with Leslie and Shawn. Ashley and I then unloaded stuff at my house and Ash went home for a bit. I picked her up around 9 and we made it back to London by midnight.

This was a great trip with tough portages and really crumby weather. The lakes were awesome with stunning cliff faces and (I would imagine) incredible lookouts. I would definitely return to this area and would encourage further use of this underused area of Temagami. It would be a real shame if this area was swallowed up by the logging industry and lost forever. There are a number of people working hard to keep these areas open for canoeing use. Please use them! We did this on the July long weekend and saw one other canoe party on Snake Island Lake (about 20 minutes into our trip). After that we didn’t see anyone, so if you want some solitude on a route that you can literally leave from the outfitters on, this is it!

Special Comments: 

Portaging is difficult if wet, surveyor flagging tape is sometimes confusing when trying to locate portages, although not exactly remote (a few camps on some lakes) we didn't see any other canoe parties. The scenery is spectacular along this underused route.


Post date: Tue, 09/01/2009 - 15:25


We did a family trip to Reuben Lake in August 2009 and tried to do the portage to Paul Lake for a day trip. As described here there are two lines of flagging tape leading from the takeout. We made the same mistake as this group and followed the blue ones. Don't do it, they lead nowhere. We then tried to follow the orange-flagged trail but it sort of petered out at a recent cut line and we were unable to follow it further. I didn't have time to spare for route finding, so we abandoned the portage and went back to Reuben. If anyone is going to try this route then be prepared to spend some time route finding and perhaps bushwhacking.

We also walked the portage to the small pond W of Reuben and it was in fair shape except for one huge downed tree.

We did climb up the cliffs at Reuben Lake and the view was indeed very good. Highly recommended.