View topic - Chiniguchi-Laura Creek Loop - Direction Preference?

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PostPosted: September 10th, 2020, 1:07 pm 
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Joined: July 10th, 2020, 4:02 pm
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I'm setting out for my first solo trip in a few weeks, I've decided on Chiniguchi, starting at Matagamasi Lake. Most of the trip reports seem to go up through the northern arm, going through Wolf/Dewdney/Chiniguchi/McConnell Bay, then down through Laura Lake/Laura Creek/Evelyn Lake/etc. But research also indicates that the loop can be done in either direction; is one way better than the other during late September?

Advice appreciated. :)


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PostPosted: September 10th, 2020, 2:48 pm 
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Joined: March 30th, 2010, 4:10 pm
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Location: Ringwood, NJ
Matag to McConnell bay leg is the same either direction (well, there's a short climb on Toenail portage heading North), then you face a bog on a flat Laura lake portage and then it's Laura creek which flows from north to south. No or almost no current to deal with on the creek, but downstream going might be slightly easier. For some unfathomable reason it's fashionable to do this loop clockwise. Have fun on your trip! I can only envy you from below the border :). Matag, especially Upper Matag, could be quite a beast in the northern wind (I spent once 2+ hours solo paddling this 3km stretch, another time coming up from McLaren creek I wasn't able to enter the lake at all) - if it's the case I'd go to the East arm and do the trip counterclockwise.


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PostPosted: September 10th, 2020, 8:26 pm 
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That's what I was wondering, it seems that doing the loop clockwise means you're going upstream on the Chiniguchi River and downstream on Laura Creek, as opposed to the reverse for both of them... I wasn't sure which has a stronger current to fight against (or float along). Either way I go, it seems like the first part is going to be tougher and the way back will be easier.

Any other helpful suggestions? It's my first solo, and my plan is to take four days and three nights on the loop. I'll put in as early as I can on the first day, and expect to come out later in the day on the fourth day. Hopefully the water levels will be a bit higher now that it's September, that port between Laura & McConnell sounds like it'll be an unpleasant trip...


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PostPosted: September 11th, 2020, 8:23 am 
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Joined: March 30th, 2010, 4:10 pm
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Location: Ringwood, NJ
No fighting will be required. Upstream on the Chiniguchi is easy. There are 2 short swifts on both ends of Silvester lake, but neither of them is a reason for concern. Even if you can't paddle them, which never happened to me, you can wade them (the southern swift is by a campsite and could be carried over). I don't know what water levels are now in the area, bud don't remember them ever being an issue on that loop, except for Laura portage - dry summer definitely makes it easier. I understand that nowadays it's possible to avoid it altogether if one goes from McConnell towards Marjorie lake and takes 1 mile portage east to Muck lake, but I've never done it myself. And I'm definitely in favor of ottertooth maps. Jeff's map is outdated and it shows some dubious portages and campsites in this area. It's an excellent trip with plenty of good campsites (consider camping on Silvester or tiny site on Dewdney; on Wolf best sites are on the east shore - the west ones are ATV-accessible), and doing it in 4 days should be comfortable. Marjorie route between Wolf and McConnell is a beauty, though it's tougher than taking Dewdney. Toenail and Flume lagoon portages are worth spending some extra time.


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PostPosted: September 12th, 2020, 7:08 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2004, 5:26 pm
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Location: n/e ontario
Check the wind prediction before you go. Best weather site is here: https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/we ... da_6296276.
If you have flexibility, you can sometimes get a tailwind both ways on Matag! We once met a north wind on Evelyn that we could not paddle against...that could happen on any of the lakes.
I recommend taking an extra couple days so you can enjoy the beauty.
I heard from a traveller that with our wet summer you can drag-float the canoe through the bog on the middle section of the Luara portage, and carefully feel for and stay on the historic logs which are now underwater.
Clearly, you will need dry footwear at the end of the portage!

Late summer should give you lots of campsite choice. Suggested sites on Wolf, Chiniguchi and Evelyn. Add a night on Matag. if you have time.


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2020, 11:18 am 
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Perfect, I've got the ottertooth maps and I'll probably decide which direction I'm going once I get on Matag. Planning to camp on Wolf, McConnell Bay, and Evelyn (or the reverse if I go that way), and if the wind & weather are bad I'll consider taking the shortcut through Marjorie instead of the outer loop. :)

I hear that fishing isn't great in this area, so I'll probably leave my gear at home. I should be able to single-carry the ports that way.

Appreciate the advice! Excited for my first solo, I'll be sure to post the report when I get back. :)


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