August 31-September 4 I got the awesome experience of canoetripping in Temagami. They say it’s the roughest portaging in Ontario (or Canada?), and they’re right. I was worried my back rehab wouldn’t have gone as well as it could have, but I was wrong. I’m not sore, and I feel like I could conquer any task. Temagami was definitely the most intense canoe trip I’ve ever been on, and I’d love to go back for years. I’ve included my edited version of the Temagami Jeff’s Map in case you’re interested in our route.
We rented 55 lb canoes from Smoothwater Outfitters and a 60 L plastic canoe barrel from MEC. The canoes were a good weight, but a little fragile. We managed to get a crack at Sharp Rock portage from someone being too rough putting the food barrel in.
- Access point 12 (check with the outfitters nearby to see where you should park your car, we had to park an extra 300 m away)
- Canoe through Lake Temagami to Napoleon. Portage seems rough at first, but it’s just the first part of the hill
- Go through to Sharp Rock Inlet
- Paddle north through Diamond lake to Willow Lake and up to Sucker Gut
- Sucker Gut to Trout Streams to as far as you can get on Lady Evelyn Smoothwater River without dying
- Make sure you have your portaging technique down (boats first so you can load ASAP) and have ropes ready for some walk-throughs
- “Two-miler” portage is rough, to Diamond Lake, to Sharp Rock Inlet
- Canoe home!
Thursday we only had about 3 hours of work which was nice. We arrived at Smoothwater at 10, loaded up, and were on water by 12. Napoleon’s portage seemed hard at first, but it wasn’t actually. Thursday was very cold. We put all 5 people + 1 dog in the 4 person tent, instead of Nic and I using our own 2 person. Good decision.
Friday morning was very cold, just like the night. We paddled about 25 km on Friday and had beautiful weather. We were nervous for our first falls, but turns out Lady Evelyn Falls are a tiny step, and the actual portage was unnecessary. Just carry it over the rocks!
We had a beautiful campsite on Sucker Gut Lake, and I actually went swimming (although I’m screaming in that picture)! S’mores, sunsets, and Bailey’s pair well. We were on the water from 9 to 4 including lunch and portages. It’s crazy to see the distance on the map!
Saturday the fog was insane, we weren’t even sure it would be gone in time to paddle out! Trout streams was rough. Jeff’s Map (dirty liar) did not mention the rapids/rocks that we had to walk the canoes through (no visible portage, and we got pretty wet- bring sturdy sandals if you’re pulling your canoe through with ropes!). Frank’s Falls and Helen falls were beautiful! Center Falls were the coolest portage, but very tricky with all the cliff faces. Definitely a great campsite if you don’t mind the noise from the falls. With all the portages in quick succession, we finally made it to the turn south onto Lady Evelyn Smoothwater River at 2 for our lunch.
By 5 we decided we were done with all the portaging, so we camped at Bridal Veil Falls. Watch out for the end of the portage, you have to get your canoes down a sheer rock face without breaking them or yourself. We used 4 people to zig-zag them down the fissures. The water was super cold, but a well-needed relief.
Sunday started off beautiful. We anticipated some short portages (again in quick succession) and some drag-throughs, but they ended up being relatively fast. The water was even high enough that we skipped the last rapids and portage before the Two-miler portage.
The “two-miler” portage (2.2km) actually ends in another km of a bog. That was rough. I’ll talk more about that in the “Lessons Learned from Temagami” post, or follow along on my Instagram! That took us a full 2 hours with getting stuck in the bog.
Ally and I were a little hysterical by the end, not gonna lie. It was a good break to be able to paddle for longer than 10 minutes on Diamond! We made it back to Deer Island to stay on the site we had eyed-up on Thursday.
Monday at 4am we got rain. Until about 10am. I couldn’t sleep just thinking about how rough the access road would be. We had a good, fast paddle through the wind, paused for a picture on Lake Temagami, and made it to the outfitters by 11:30.
This was the best canoe trip I’ve ever been on, hands-down. I loved it. I can’t wait to explore Temagami more!