Temagami 2017 – An Instagram Trip Log


A 300-ish kilometre Temagami Canoe Trip

July 31 – August 17, 2017


DAY ONE: Sandy Inlet, Ferguson Bay – Sharp Rock Inlet, Lake Temagami


DAY TWO: Sharp Rock Inlet, Lake Temagami – Diamond Lake – Lain Lake – Pencil Lake – Wakimika Lake

DAY TWO: Began very promisingly, with a moose swimming across Lake Temagami in the morning and sunny skies as we paddled all the way across Diamond Lake before lunch. Had a beer in a hidey-hole. Saw fire-fighting equipment set up at the southwest end of Diamond. Tried to outrun thunderstorm on Pencil Lake but failed. Marooned under our tarp in a cedar grove exactly one kilometre from a campsite for three hours. Made a break for it during a half-hour window without lightning and set up camp moments before another storm hit ?⛈? . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoetripping #canoeing #canoeist #paddling #portaging #ontario #ontarioparksne #northernontario #obabikariverprovincialpark #ourcamplife #camping #thunderstorm #moose #getoutside #backcountry #wilderness

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DAY THREE: Wakimika Lake – Some Unnamed Pond – Another Lake With No Name – Sylvester Lake


DAY FOUR: Sylvester Lake – Hortense Lake – Dorothy Lake – Nasmith Creek – The “Worst Day Of My Life” Portage – Chapin Lake

DAY 4: Portaged from Sylvester to Hortense, Hortense to Dorothy, Dorothy to the Nasmith Creek. Higher water levels in the creek made wading trickier than last year. Began the long, steep 120 m vertical climb to Chapin Lake in good spirits which quickly disappeared once we remembered the pain of the Worst Day Of My Life Portage. The heel of my boot fell off during the first carry so we tied it to my foot and ankle with paracord. We made it to Chapin Lake at dusk. Getting to Chapin Lake feels like you've climbed into the clouds: it's small and beautiful but incredibly painful to get to. Exhausted, we set up our tent and tarp with the bug shelter as the drone of millions of mosquitoes rose from all around and we settled in for our usual evening thunderstorm and downpour ??⛺️ Photos by @andygump . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #portage #portaging #worstportageever #backcountry #wilderness #ontario #northernontario #camping #ourcamplife #getoutside #brokenbootblues #neverstopexploring

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DAY FIVE: Chapin Lake – Lake #13 – Lake #12 – Lake #11- Lake #10 – Livingston Lake – Beaver Lake

DAY 5: Packed up our wet tent on Chapin Lake after picking a full cup of blueberries in minutes on our campsite. We took it easy, travelling through only six tiny lakes before calling it quits for the day on Beaver Lake in the Pinetorch Conservation Reserve at 2 p.m. Met two Keewaydin groups travelling in the opposite direction out on 21-day trips. It didn't rain in the afternoon, so we hung everything out to dry, made pizzas in our reflector oven and dipped heartily into our wine rations. The next day would be a big push to try to get back on schedule after stopping so early, so we added a Velcro strap I'd found on a portage to my fancy boot/stirrup contraption in the hopes that it would somehow stop the sole from falling off completely over the next two weeks of portaging ??☁️ . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #paddle #paddling #portaging #camping #ourcamplife #ontario #northernontario #backcountry #wilderness #wanderlust #keepitwild #getoutside #neverstopexploring #scoutforth #livebeyondthebend

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DAY SIX: Beaver Lake – Pinetorch Creek – Upper Pinetorch Lake – Pinetorch Creek, again – Pinetorch Lake – Pine Lake – Akick Lake – Bitty Lake – Tierney Lake* – Bowler Lake – Mudchannel Lake – Talking Falls, Yorston River

*unofficial name but will labelled as such on future maps if I grease the right palms

DAY 6: The weather was chilly and damp for a very important day of travel. Portages down the Pinetorch Creek were shortened by an industrious beaver's construction projects and by lunchtime we'd left the Pinetorch Conservation Reserve and entered the Solace Wildlands – Temagami's last roadless, virgin wilderness and a major connecting link between the protected areas of Sturgeon River Provincal Park to the south and west, Obabika River Provincial Park to the east, and Solace Provincial Park and Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park to the north. We learned earlier this summer that a primary logging road is slated for construction right through the Wildlands to harvest over-prime timber destined for the pulp mill in Sudbury. The Turner Road proposal includes numerous water crossings which would erase portages and campsites, some in use for thousands of years, culminating in a crossing at Talking Falls on the Yorston River. As @friendsoftemagami members (I'm a Director), we felt it was important to do what we could to protect these important link routes. We signed and blazed portages and campsites from Akick Lake west to Talking Falls, a beautiful, remote campsite worth every bit of effort to get to. A primary logging road would destroy this rugged and wild landscape. Please consider joining the Friends of Temagami and Earthroots in our effort to Save Solace and preserve these important link routes through the heart of Temagami ??⛺️ . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #solacewildlands #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #portage #portaging #environmentalactivism #earthroots #ontario #ontarioparks #ontarioparksne #wilderness #backcountry #wanderlust #keepitwild #savethetrees #conservation #paddlecanada #ourcamplife #neverstopexploring

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DAY SEVEN: Talking Falls, Didn’t Move, Did Laundry Instead

DAY 7: Talking Falls was too pretty to leave, especially with decent weather and a lot of dirty socks that needed washing. We took an unscheduled rest day to do laundry, bake bannock and dry every last piece of soggy equipment in the sun and the breeze. We also wanted to spend as much time as possible here in case the primary logging road does get built across the falls and the quiet magic of this place that is so difficult to get to is eventually lost forever. "Talking Falls looks like just a trickle on our maps," the forestry company said. It's so much more than that. ??⛺️ . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #portage #portaging #keepitwild #backcountry #wilderness #solacewildlands #ontario #northernontario #camping #ourcamplife #campvibes #waterfall #wanderlust #neverstopexploring

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DAY EIGHT: Talking Falls – Yorston River – Mudchannel Lake – Yorston River – Bluesucker Lake And Temagami’s Finest Cobblers – Benner Lake – Rodd Lake – Pilgrim Lake

DAY 8: BEST DAY! Reluctantly packed up at Talking Falls and shared coffee and a chat about the overnight thunderstorm with our camp neighbour @jmedelaney . We signed the last portage on our way north to Bluesucker Lake. On Bluesucker we heard some chainsaw noises and paddled over to investigate, finding the most lovely little cabin on a beach. As we neared the dock, a small, wiry woman ran down from the cabin waving her arms and inviting us over, so we beached the canoe and introduced ourselves. I asked if she happened to have any Shoe Goo to fix my boot with because I'd been walking around with a flapping heel for days. With a slam of the screen door, her husband came bounding down the steps with surprising speed for having an artificial leg. The cabin owners, John and Debbie, greeted us warmly and showed us around their property which they share with campers often. They told us they're a "safe camp" for @taylorstattencamps and that the Wapomeo girls on 50-day trips make a point of stopping by to enjoy a fish fry with them and use the sauna. Debbie ran over to their underground cellar, produced two ice-cold beers for us and invited us in while John got to work on repairing my boot. They fed us fish cakes and we had a wonderful chat about the area. They told us they'd been coming to this cabin for the 50 years they've been married but because the area was now part of Solace Provincial Park, once they die the cabin does too. Rather than being upset about it, they were happy that they were still able to use the cabin by flying in during the summer and snowmobiling in during the winter. The boot repair was a spectacular feat of northern ingenuity. With a cordless drill and three screws, John reattached my sole. They didn't have Shoe Goo but they did have a can of spray foam insulation which gave my boot a fun marshmallow look. Debbie ripped out the insoles from a pair of her boots for me and took our photo. Thanking them profusely, we went on our way to camp on Pilgrim Lake for the night, where I invented a delicious new bush cocktail and we watched the stars come out one by one ?⛺️? . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON

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DAY NINE: Pilgrim Lake – Maggie Lake – Bill Lake – Samson Lake – Solace Lake

DAY 9: No rain overnight, which meant there had been exactly two 24-hour periods without a storm on our trip so far. Andrew woke early, and when I finally dragged myself out of the tent we made blueberry pancakes to give us energy for what we hoped would be a big travel day to make up some time. It was hot, still and muggy as we set off across Pilgrim Lake and the steep portages left us sweaty and breathless. As we reached Solace Lake, the clouds blackened and we knew we were about to get walloped. We set up a tarp at the end of the portage to wait out the storm. The wind roared, trees swayed and popped, heavy rain flew across the lake in great sheets of water and the thunder and lightning cracked right above us. After three hours of feeling trapped under our tarp, we set off again only to have the clouds circle back around on us. We raced to the nearest campsite, flying past it in our haste and then doubling back while lightning touched down over the ridge. It was only 3:30p.m. but we couldn't trust the weather to go any farther. We were still two days behind schedule and we couldn't do a damn thing about it ⛈⚡️? . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #portaging #camping #ourcamplife #ontario #ontarioparks #ontarioparksne #solaceprovincalpark #northernontario #getoutside #backcountry #wilderness #wanderlust #paddling #neverstopexploring #thunderstorm #soakedagain

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DAY TEN: Solace Lake – Einar Lake – Biscuit Lake – Broadbent Lake* – Carrying Bar Lake – Tooth Lake – Cavity Creek** – Melanson Lake – Regan Lake – Hamlow Lake – Little Scarecrow Lake – Woods Lake

*the namesake of the palms I must grease to get a lake named after me on future maps

**a bad joke referring to the small waterbody flowing from Tooth Lake

DAY 10: Up and on the water early without breakfast in a race to beat what we started calling the Thunder Hour. From Solace Lake we travelled north and west all day across nine portages, stopping only to hug some trees and make lunch on an unmarked campsite on Melanson Lake. We realized that the weather was holding when it hadn't stormed by 5 p.m. and the last few portages of the day, although long, were some of the easiest as they followed old logging roads. By dusk we had reached Woods Lake and set up camp on a peninsula facing north to the Ishpatina Ridge, Ontario's highest peak. We'd paddled over 20km and portaged 10km. We were exhausted but now only half a day behind schedule and slept well until being woken by a thunderstorm that was also half a day behind its usual appearance ??⛺️ P.S. The green bag on my head is the Liquor Bag. I have a love/hate relationship with Liquor Bag. Everything inside it is in Playtpus wine preservers but the damn thing still weighs a ton. Necessities. . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #portaging #camping #ourcamplife #ontario #ontarioparks #ontarioparksne #solaceprovincalpark #northernontario #sturgeonriverprovincialpark #getoutside #backcountry #wilderness #wanderlust #paddling #neverstopexploring

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DAY 11: Woods Lake – Scarecrow Lake – Mihell Lake

DAY 11: A terrible, horrible, no good very bad day. It was the anniversary of our engagement but things started going wrong the moment we woke up. Andrew went for a spot of fishing while I made breakfast and instead of catching anything, a small dead fish floated up to the surface next to the canoe. "I think it's a gift! It could be good luck," he said. "Good luck?! I think that's a bad omen," I replied. We set off and found a huge turtle hiding under a log. We thought it was dead at first: its shell was mushy and it wouldn't move. Andrew fed the dead fish he'd been dragging behind the canoe to the turtle and it perked right up. "There," he said. "It was good luck." Moments later, thunder began to rumble behind the hills. We paddled hard to reach the Ishpatina Ridge trailhead campsite to wait out the storm and came across a group of kids about to hike to the fire tower. Thinking they were set up at the site, we asked if it was cool to crash there while the storm rolled through. They told us it looked like someone else was camping there but that there was no one around. Upon further inspection the campsite looked like it had been abandoned in a hurry. The amount of garbage was unbelievable. Five tarps, half-eaten food, utensils, pots and pans, stacks of clothes, live cut trees, actual shit, full bottles of oil, fuel canisters and unopened backpacker pantry meals were scattered everywhere. We couldn't imagine how anyone could have left a campsite looking like such a dump. In the hours waiting out the storm, we did our best to clean it up, burning everything we could in a big hot smelly garbage fire, stacking the tarps and leaving a nasty note in case the offenders returned. When the storm broke we set off again, only to get drenched in another downpour on Mihell Lake, where we missed our campsite and had to turn back around. We were both miserable. The forest was so wet that Andrew was unable to get a fire started, which has never happened before. Grumbling at each other and saying very mean things, we went to bed angry and soggy and hoping for just one day without stupid, annoying thunderstorms. . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON

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DAY 12: Mihell Lake – McColluch Lake – A Small Pond – Another Small Pond – Apex Lake – Smoothwater Lake

DAY 12: The thunderstorms continued until about 10 a.m. We sat under our tarp discussing the possibility that we might not be able to complete our loop if we kept having to wait every day for a brief paddling window where we wouldn't get struck by lightning. When we were finally able to leave, we paddled and portaged through steady rain all day. We went through Apex Lake, the headwaters of the South Lady Evelyn River and talked about the upcoming downstream journey that was so much fun the year before. By late afternoon we'd made it to Smoothwater Lake and the big, beautiful beach site was completely deserted. As we set up our tent, the rain stopped and we scarfed down Fancy Ramen out of our mugs and saw a glimpse of the sun peek out behind the clouds for just a moment. We ran down to the beach in total disbelief of our good fortune and pretended that we were on a tropical beach holiday where our feet were always warm and dry and we had really great tans ?⛅️? . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #paddling #portaging #camping #ourcamplife #campvibes #ontario #ontarioparks #ontarioparksne #keepitwild #backcountry #wilderness #wanderlust #neverstopexploring

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DAY 13: Smoothwater Lake – Marina Lake – Whitepine Lake – Sunnywater Lake – A Pond – Junction Lake – An Incredibly Long 3,895m Portage Which I Will Never Do In The Opposite Direction – Gamble Lake

DAY 13: Sunshine, glorious sunshine! The fine weather made our decision to travel two days' distance in one an easy choice. From Smoothwater Lake we hiked up some of the most ridiculous portages in the Temagami area to Sunnywater, a turquoise jewel of a lake set in the hills of the area's highest active canoe routes, reached by three portages totalling 2km that climb a combined 88m over rocks and up a veritable waterfall. We lunched on Sunnywater, catching our breath and mentally preparing ourselves for the longest portage of the trip: 3,895m to Gamble Lake and the beginning of our downstream journey on the South Lady Evelyn River. We began the descent around 5 p.m. and chose to leapfrog our gear four times so as not to get stranded in the dark without half of our equipment. Four and a half hours later, we arrived on Gamble Lake. If the portage had been another uphill, I doubt we would have made our goal. In one day we had portaged a total of 21km, accounting for the double-carries. I don't know if I've ever felt so happily exhausted and accomplished as I did that night while we sat around the fire and caught glimpses of the Perseid meteor shower through the treetops. We needed this. Day 13 was a fabulous day. We slept like the dead. . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #paddling #portaging #camping #ourcamplife #ontario #ontarioparks #ontarioparksne #backcountry #wilderness #wanderlust #neverstopexploring

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DAY 14: Gamble Lake – Chance Lake – North Lady Evelyn River – Rapid #2 (CI-II, ran) – Rapid #3 (CII, ran, great fun) – Rapid #4 (CII tech, portaged) – Rapid #5 (Camped)

DAY 14: The day went something like this: ☀️⚡️⛈☀️⛈. It was sunny when we left Gamble Lake and floated lazily down the Lady Evelyn River. Once we reached the first small waterfall we were on familiar turf, having travelled this section the year before. A bit of thunder rumbled as we ran Rapid No. 3 – a CII we'd had to line due to low water the previous year – and after the short bouldery portage around Rapid No. 4 we called it quits for the day. Our tarp was set up just before the downpour which made us feel like we were doing something right. After the storm, a group of six guys on night one of their trip arrived as we were lounging and sipping scotch from our plastic wine glasses and we helped them to portage through our campsite to the other side. I made an elaborate layered burrito casserole for dinner (using just about every piece of dishware we own) and it was finished baking just in time for another thunderstorm that lasted all night. . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #camping #ourcamplife #tarplife #portaging #backcountry #ontario #ontarioparks #ontarioparksne #getoutside #wilderness #wanderlust #thunderstorm

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DAY 15: Rapid #5 (CI, portaged, bony) – Rapid #6 (CI, portaged, large ledge) – Macpherson Lake – Rapid #7 (CII, ran) – Rapid #8 (CI tech, ran) – Rapid #9 (CI, ran) – Shangri La And The Storm Of The Century – Rapid #11 (CI-II, ran) – Rapid #12 (CI, ran) – Katherine/Divide Lake – Rapid #13 (CI tech, ran) – The Cabin At Cabin Falls

DAY 15: The sun struggled to burn off the morning mist and the humidity made us feel like we were in a glass dome. The blueberries through the old burn by MacPherson Chutes were exceptional again this year and we shovelled handfuls into our mouths along the portage. We were both starting to look quite skinny despite the amount of food we were eating every day. At the portage to Shangri-La we ran into the group of guys we'd met the day before. One of their trip-mates injured himself in the night and they were trying to get to Diamond Lake as quickly as possible. We told them it was unlikely that they'd make it there by nightfall but they seemed determined to get out without assistance so we told them the shortest route. We stopped for lunch and a swim in the Shangri-La falls. I washed my hair for the first time in a week. Less than twenty minutes later, the sky turned black and thunder roared close by so we set up our tarp to wait it out. The storm came in quickly and with a ferocity we hadn't yet seen. Our tarp was pelted by hail, lightning forked overhead and – no exaggeration – at least 50mm of rain fell over the next FIVE HOURS we sat under our tarp. Eventually we managed to make a break for it and paddled hard past Rapids 11 & 12. When we got to Cabin Falls we were on the verge of hypothermia. I'd been asked to water the flowers at the cabin (unnecessary, but I did remove the deadheads so they'd bloom again) and told that we should have stayed there last year after we got engaged just upstream. That was enough for us to decide to bunk in the old cabin for the night. That and the whole hypothermia thing. We were so incredibly grateful for this friendly port in a two-week storm. Once we warmed up I wrote a 4-page letter to Hap and Andrea about our trip up to this point and we fell asleep to the sweet lullaby of the waterfall. . . . #friendsoftemagami #paddleON #discoverON . . . #temagami #canoe #canoeing #canoetripping #camping #ourcamplife #cabinlife #hailstorm #thunderstorm #portaging #ontario #ontarioparks #ontarioparksne #backcountry #wilderness #wanderlust #neverstopexploring

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DAY 16: Cabin Falls – Bridal Veil Falls – Rapid #15 (CII-III, portaged) – Fat Man’s Falls – Rapid #16 (CI-II, ran) – Rapid #17 (CI, ran) – Rapid #18 (CI tech, ran, got a bit stuck) – Rapid #19 (CI tech, ran but also nonexistent or I lost count two years in a row) – Willow Island Lake – Klutz Lake, Crowley Lake and Cleary Pond* – Diamond Lake – Lady Evelyn Lake

*this is really just a series of small ponds broken up by extremely boggy portages where you’re guaranteed to sink waist-deep in muskeg and have no idea where you are but you might see a bald eagle like we did so that’s cool

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DAY 17: Lady Evelyn Lake – Diamond Lake – Bob Lake – Mud Lake – Chee-Skon Lake – Obabika Lake

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DAY 18: Obabika Lake – Obabika Inlet – Lake Temagami (A Wet Exit)

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4 thoughts on “Temagami 2017 – An Instagram Trip Log

  1. Pingback: Temagami 2017 – An Instagram Trip Log, Part Two | the happy adventure

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