Table of Contents:
- Passing By The Diamond Lake Pictograph Site
- The Lady Evelyn “Lift-Over” – A Bit of History
- Meanwhile…Portages into Willow Island Lake
- From Sucker Gut To Hobart
- Maple Mountain – Background History
- The Trail Up To The Top of Maple Mountain
- The Fire Tower On Top
- Checking Out The Tupper Lake Campsite
- Hap Wilson’s Temagami Guidebook
- Natural Resources Canada 1:50000 Topos
- Jeff’s Temagami Map
- Friends of Temagami Map
Temagami Choices – Why Maple Mountain?
Having decided to cut out the Little Steel part of our Steel River trip, we were left with a few more days of food in our pack. We needed an impromptu mini-trip whose paddle strokes would burn it all up.
We focused on two options, both in the Temagami area:
1 – a return to Cheeskon Lake and more time walking the hiking trails of the old-growth forest that we had missed on our previous outing. (Early Autumn Canoeing In the Heart of Temagami).
2 – a return to Maple Mountain, a side visit on a previous trip to Ishpatina Ridge. Ishpatina is Ontario’s highest spot at 692 meters; Maple Mountain reaches 641.
In the end, Maple Mountain won! We’d also get to set up our tent at one of our favourite campsites, the one you see in the photo below on the east side of Hobart Lake.
It has all the qualities of a classic Canadian Shield campsite –
- the sloping rock outcrop goes up to a flat and
- sheltered area with room for more than one tent and
- a great elevated open view west towards Maple Mountain Ridge.
- It also makes an excellent base camp for the paddle over to Tupper Lake and the hike to the top of Maple Mountain.
Access Points For Tupper Lake and Maple Mountain:
As we drove back east, we considered the various put-in points we could start from.
Starting at the end of the Lake Temagami Access Road was crossed off the list right away. It is the furthest away from Maple Mountain, and having already paddled up Lake Temagami from the Access Road a few times, we were keen on something else.
A closer access point to Maple Mountain is Mowat Landing. Only one portage – the easy one around the Mattawapika Dam not far from where the Lady Evelyn River and the Montreal River meet. [See here for a view of the portage.] And only one possible drawback – the long stretch of lake paddle to get to the west end of Lady Evelyn Lake. Given the prevailing SW or NW winds, crossing can sometimes be challenging.
It is about 40 kilometers from Mowat Landing to Tupper Lake and the start of the 3 km. trail to the top of Maple Mountain.
An alternative access route is the Red Squirrel Road to Sandy Inlet on Ferguson Bay on the NE corner of Lake Temagami. We went with this choice. It took us about an hour from Temagami to get to the parking area at the end of a rough side road that runs from Red Squirrel Road towards the water. Then it is a 300-meter portage from the car to the shore. Camp Wanapitei is visible to the south as you walk onto the beach.
[See here for a detailed map of the area. it is from the Ottertooth website.]
Our choice of entry:
- added three kilometers to the 40 km of the Mowat landing route,
- included five portages instead of the single easy portage around the Mattawapika dam across from Mowat Landing.
- meant we didn’t have to drive another 60 km up to Mowat Landing.
We accepted the three extra kilometers and carries as the price of avoiding the potential drama of a bad day or two of wind on Lady Evelyn Lake.
Day One: Sandy Inlet To Diamond Lake
- distance: 14 Km
- time: 1:30 p.m. start – 6:15 p.m. end
- weather: overcast; strong N/NW wind (20 kph)
- portages: two
– 740-meters, the one we thought was the Napoleon Portage;
– 220m the short portage from Sharp Rock Inlet into Diamond lake
- Natural Resources Canada 1:50000 topos/click on map title to access: Obabika Lake 041 P 01; Lady Evelyn 041 P 08
- Google Earth 3-D View: see here
- campsite: island site; multiple 2-person sites; 4-person not so much, water access was ok but a long walk depending on where you set up your kitchen; fuel stove needed unless you paddle to the mainland to look for wood
Portage Trail Confusion!
We were on the water at 1:30 p.m. We paddled across Ferguson Bay with a strong NW wind blowing. That, and the fact we were not 100% clear on the Napoleon Portage’s take-out spot, had us end up too far south on the west side of the bay. As the map to the left shows, we headed up along the shore to the Napoleon Portage take-out.
We figured we were there when we saw the tree with four bright orange bands. We had only been on the Napoleon once – six years previously when we came at it from the west side on Whitefish Bay. The initial steep part was there. What wasn’t there was a portage trail that has existed for 100 years! We explained it away with reasons like a string of blowdowns and ice storms since our last visit.
Given the presence of new blazes and marking tape, we somehow got sucked into the “trail.” And once we were in, the only thought was to get to the end. Somehow it made sense and didn’t make sense at the same time! We’d hit a stretch or two that seemed like a portage trail – and then we’d bushwhack through another section that had us shaking our heads in disbelief.
N.B. we only found out that it was not the Napoleon Portage four days later coming back. On that day as we approached the take-out landing for the “mystery trail” we spotted what looked like a portage landing about 100 meters north of where we were heading. Going up the shoreline to take a look, I hopped out of the canoe, walked a few meters into the bush from the landing area and came back to announce – “This is the Napoleon Portage!” We are still confused about that “mystery trail’ we followed on Day One – see here for some possible explanations offered by fellow canoe trippers at the Canadian Canoe Routes forum.
Below is the picture we took four days later when we walked the actual Napoleon Portage to Ferguson Bay from the west. The Napoleon Portage comes out at the bottom right. Dangling on the branch is some tape I had just put there. Other than my fresh tape, there was nothing at the Napoleon portage other than the well-used trail itself!
The “mystery trail’ begins on the left-hand side on the edge of the image. Enlarge the pic, and you should see the four bands of orange tape. Five days before, when we approached it from the south and saw the tape, we wrongly figured that we had arrived at the Napoleon Portage take-out.
From the Canadian Canoe Routes poster comment to my thread, we were not the only ones to make that mistake that week!
To make matters worse, we added to the confusion by putting up our marking tape in certain “difficult” sections as we walked “the mystery trail.” Seeing that tape will, unfortunately, reassure some poor canoe tripper who makes the same initial mistake we did.
With the portage done, we got down to paddling, and by 5 p.m., we were at the far end of the Sharp Rock Inlet Portage. We had already seen twelve canoes in the first three hours of our trip, mostly belonging to the various summer camps on Lake Temagami. That was twice as many as all the canoes we had seen in five previous summers of Wabakimi and Woodland Caribou tripping!
We paddled by the two small islands on the map above just after the portage. We landed on the west side of the second one and walked up to the top of the sloped granite outcrop. We found a reasonably flat area for our home for the night. We had started the morning at the motel in Iron Bridge. Twelve hours later, we were at the east end of Diamond Lake in Temagami!
Our next target was Hobart Lake and one of our favourite campsites.
Day Two: Diamond Lake To Hobart Lake
- distance: 27.2 Km
- time: 9:15 start – 4:15 p.m. end
- weather: a mixture of cloudy and overcast, sunny and warm, N/NW wind (15+ kph)
- portages: three
– 40m Diamond L to Lady Evelyn Lake – the main portage is on the west side (left as you’re going down); we just ran it and scraped through. It can also be easily lined on the right.
– 220m Lady E to small lake (shorter due to beaver dam activity and higher water)
– 510m small Lake to Willow Island Lake (Lady Evelyn River (South Channel)
- campsite: Hobart Lake – awesome! multiple 2-or 4-person tents, “thunderbox”; easy access to water; great swimming opportunity; great view of Maple Mountain all day.
N.B. Follow the following three maps from the bottom map up to the top one.
Passing By the Diamond Lake Pictograph Site
We set off shortly after nine. After passing another group of summer camp teen trippers on the way up the north arm of Diamond Lake, we looked over to the pictograph site we had visited the previous October.
It looked surprisingly small and unimpressive from the other side of the arm. We decided to leave a visit to our return a few days later.
The Lady Evelyn Lift-Over – A Bit of History
Instead, we headed right for the Lady Evelyn Lift-Over. The name “lift-over” has always puzzled us because while we have portaged it on the left, lined it on the right, and run it down the middle, we have never managed a literal lift-over. Seeing it in the image below, it is difficult to picture the Lady Evelyn Falls that was once there.
It was the construction of a dam at Mattawapika Falls near the confluence of the Lady Evelyn River and the Montreal River across from Mowat Landing – a smaller one in 1915 and a higher one in 1925 – that raised the water level of Lady Evelyn Lake by some five meters. It also caused the falls to all but disappear! It has been reduced to a one-foot drop!
Thanks to a reader of this post for the following detailed explanation of the dam’s history and purpose:
The dam was put in by mining companies operating in the area to supply water for power plants on the Montreal River. A canoe trip on the Montreal River below Latchford will have you pass over and around all of these ancient dams and compressor plants that used to be there to supply air to the mines of the area.
These days the dam holds back water to help operate the string of hydro plants on the Montreal. Many of these plants are peaking plants that operate only intermittently. The water on Lady Evelyn Lake gets drawn down over the winter to supply hydro operations.
If you go to Lady Evelyn Lake in the early spring, as soon as the ice is gone, the lake level with be about 15 feet lower than in the summer months. The water level has to be raised by May 15 or so to permit cottagers and others to enjoy the lake.
The Diamond Lake into Lady Evelyn Lake spot – i.e. Lady Evelyn Falls – was not only massively impacted by the Mattawapika dam 30 kilometres to the northeast. Another dam – a six-foot timber dam – was built across the stream at the point shown in the above photo. It was constructed in 1942 by a lumber company to help move its logs from Diamond Lake into Lady Evelyn Lake and down to its mill in Latchford. The dam remained there until 1973, when it was removed by a Ministry of Natural Resources work crew. Apparently, the water level on Diamond Lake went down by some 4.5 feet after its removal.
Forgotten in all this was the Ojibwe family whose hunting territory this was and who had lived in the area since 1800, if not longer. Among other landmarks, a few pictographs at the Diamond Lake pictograph site were partially submerged during the dam’s existence. Check out Brian Back’s Ottertooth article here for a well-researched summary of the two barriers and their impact.
Unclear (to me) is if the dam remained permanently closed for 30 years or if it was opened each spring to flush down the logs that had been cut in the winter into Lady Evelyn Lake. Send me a comment if you know how this setup worked! By the 1970s, logging roads had become the preferred way to haul logs, and the dam was no longer necessary.
Meanwhile…Portages into Willow Island Lake
There was some scraping as we slipped down the “rapids” into Lady Evelyn Lake. Then it was a short paddle up to the first of the two portages, which take you from Lady Evelyn Lake into Willow Island Lake (a part of the Lady Evelyn River system).
An initial fifteen-meter stretch on a creek bed made up of boulders made for some awkward walking. It soon led to a well-trodden trail that came out to the marshy area at the end of the high-water portage. We did a double-take since the area had changed some over the past decade. The spot where we had pitched our tent on a previous trip was now on the edge of a beaver-created wetland.
With the 220-meter carry done, we loaded the canoe and set off down the pic you see below to get to the small lake and the start of the next portage. Running along on the north side is a trail that may be used during lower water periods. We were happy to paddle through.
The next portage was easy to find and do. Near the end, there is a bit of a diversion to deal with recent blowdown; the orange tape guides you through the slight change to the route.
From Sucker Gut To Hobart
Down Willow Island Lake, through the narrows into Sucker Gut Lake and then a hard left, we paddled into what you see in the picture below. The first time we came through here, we didn’t know anything about the Mattawapika Dam near the mouth of the Lady Evelyn River, where it meets the Montreal River. It raised the water level of the entire lake by four or five meters – all for the convenience of the mining companies. We had learned since that as a preliminary step, fires would often be set in the area to be flooded. The charred trunks of the pines and spruces stand as silent witnesses to those times.
As we paddled westward, we also saw the Maple Mountain ridge and the faint presence of the fire tower again. We had been here in 2009 and hadn’t forgotten.
When we saw a canoe on Hobart Lake, I figured the premier campsite we hoped to get was already occupied. We were busy formulating a Plan B as we paddled up to the site, one of our favourites, and found – well, nobody was there!
This post’s second and third images show the site and two happy campers sitting in their plush Helinox chairs, taking in a late afternoon view of Maple Mountain. We’d spend more time as the hours rolled by, sipping on tea and Crown Royal and snapping pix of the sun setting over Maple Mountain.
A few of them follow –
Day 3: Hobart Lake – Maple Mtn – Lady Evelyn River
9.5 km (Hobart L campsite to top of Maple Mount back to Tupper Lake
12.6 km Tupper L to Lady Evelyn River (south channel) campsite
- time: Maple Mtn 09:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Tupper L to campsite 1:30 p.m.-5:15 p.m.
- weather: sunny and warm; S wind (20 kph) adding to the work,
- portages: none
- campsite: poor to fair; easy access to water but a long walk. room for multiple 2-person tents, nothing really ‘flat’; also hard to find one good 4-person site; thunderbox
Unlike the overcast day we had six years previously, this one would be clear and sunny. After our usual oatmeal breakfast, we savoured the mugs of coffee and the morning view of Maple Mountain. And then it was off – first paddling the 3.5 kilometres to the start of the Maple Mountain trail. The map below shows the route – about 1.7 km to the “confluence” of Tupper Creek and Willow Island Creek and then up to the beaver dam and Tupper Lake.
Maple Mountain Background History
Maple Mountain at 642 meters is not, contrary to what some may think, the highest point in Ontario. It actually ranks 13th. according to this well-researched list of the province’s high spots. (See here for the Ottertooth article.) There is only a 51-meter gap between it and Ishpatina Ridge, the #1 point at 693 meters. Ishpatina is located just twenty-seven kilometers to the west.
Robert Bell of the Geological Survey of Canada gave it the name “Maple Mountain” back in 1888. However, the ridge with its dramatic rise in elevation has supposedly been on the mythological map of the local Anishinaabek (i.e.Ojibwe) for a while, known to them as Chi- bay-jing, “The Place Where Spirits Go.”
Maple Mountain ranks #1 in Ontario in terms of vertical rise. It is 351 meters higher than Tupper Lake below, while Ishpatina, for example, is 317 meters above Scarecrow Lake. For more reliable information on Maple Mountain, Brian Back’s in-depth look here is your best bet.
The Trail Up To the Top of Maple Mtn.
As we approached the landing and the start of the trail, we spotted a canoe sitting there. We were obviously not the day’s first. Given that we had not seen anyone paddle by that morning, chances were good that they had camped on Tupper the previous night.
The fire ranger’s cabin ruins are at the beginning of the trail. Nearby is a spring where we filled up our water bottle. And then it was on to the trail.
The first 500 meters are quite flat. A long stretch of 10′ boards takes you over some mushy terrain. I counted 35 pairs of them as we walked along; we came to seven more after a short gap. It made for easy walking.
However, some altitude needs to be gained, and it comes soon enough, beginning with a gradual ascent and the giving away of all the “up” you just gained as the trail heads downward for a bit!
The trail also gets somewhat less groomed. We counted at least a couple dozen places where a chainsaw would help to re-establish the path. As it is, deadfall across the trail has hikers walking around the obstructions. We often spent the first half-hour stopping to clear smaller trees and branches from the path, but we realized that it would take forever to get to the top if we were also going to be doing trail work as we walked up.
It was somewhere near the lake that we met the two paddlers and their dog, an older Labrador who was having trouble with the blockages on the path. They had decided to turn back without getting to the top. Given what was coming up, the obstructions on the trail were more than the Lab would have been able to handle.
A six-meter steel ladder takes you up an almost vertical section of the trail and leads to more scrambling before the summit. In true mountaineering fashion, there are a couple of points where you think you are there, only to realize that wishful thinking alone does not make a summit!
Update: A recent thread at the Canadian Canoe Routes forum dealt with the state of the trail up to the top and the safety of the metal ladder pictured below. My assertion that the ladder was bolted to the rock was corrected by a couple of subsequent posters! Also dealt with in the thread was the location of the spring up top. The advice was not to count on it as your water source if you plan on camping up there for the night. See the thread here – Temagami – Maple Mountain – Questions
The ladder is secure and safe to use, and we scampered up and down without a worry.
The Fire Tower On Top
Seeing the 30-meter high Fire Tower means that you are almost there! On our 2009 visit, it was overcast, and the bugs were so bad I climbed halfway up to the cupola to escape while I snapped some photos. This morning, we would have no such problems – no clouds, no bugs.
There was another change since our last visit. The first seven meters of the ladder have been removed, making access to the rest somewhat awkward. I am sure some will still be up to the challenge! There is one complication. Even if you do get up to the ladder and join the elite crew who have climbed up over the decades, you will end up at the bottom of the cupola with no way to get in. It has been locked! The sign at the foot of the tower hopes to discourage you from even bothering to do the climb.
Update: More recent visitors have noted that the lock on the cupola floor door has been removed! Getting up to the top is obviously (for some people) an essential part of the Maple Mountain experience!
As we read the sign, we wondered why the Ontario Parks folks didn’t just take the thing down. We figured that the expense probably encouraged someone in an office in Toronto to come up with partial ladder removal as a cost-saving alternative.
Well, we were wrong about that. Check out this Ottertooth news brief, “Adios To Fire Towers” from August 6, 2015. You’ll read –
With the exception of Caribou Mountain*, a municipally-operated tourist site, above the town of Temagami, the rest of Ontario’s towers are on the chopping block. That includes two in Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park: Ishpatina and Maple Mountain, both popular backcountry destinations.
See here for the full article. If seeing that fire tower is a major reason for your visit to Maple Mountain, better get there sooner than later!
As iconic as the fire tower, there is something else much more majestic up on Maple Mountain. The images below – minus the feel of the wind and the sun as you sit there and take it all in – give you an idea of what you’ll see after spending one and half hours on your canoe trippers’ pilgrimage. It is a “wow” moment for sure.
The experience of walking up to the top and taking in the view trumps all the statistics and the tower. We watched two eagles in the skies above the mountaintop as we approached the top. Eagles were often associated in the traditional Anishinaabe world with the manitou Animiki, the Thunderbird. Next to Gitchi Manitou, he was the most powerful of spirits. They were swooping back and forth, riding the winds and surveying their domain, and we were under their watchful gaze!
You just know you’re in the right place when you see eagles.
We spent forty-five minutes taking in the views, chillin’ and refuelling for the walk back to the canoe. If it takes 1 1/2 hours to get to the top, it takes maybe an hour to get back to the canoe. Instead of an extended bit of aerobic exercise, now your knees and leg muscles get to be stressed. A pair of trekking poles – not part of a typical paddler’s kit – would help.
Checking Out The Tupper Lake Campsite
Before paddling back to Hobart Lake, we stopped at Tupper’s east side campsite. It has a beautiful view of the mountain and the fire tower. While the site is not in the same class as Hobart’s, it would be a good alternative if the other one was already taken. We had lunch there and then retraced the route that got us there.
That afternoon we paddled as far as the narrows between Sucker Gut Lake and Willow Island Lake. After having wind from the northwest for the two previous days, now that we had started paddling south, the wind had changed too; it was coming from the southwest.
The campsite we found there was average at best but did the job. The tent was nicely tucked away in the woods, and there was an open area where we set up our cook gear. The canoe on its side provided a nice windscreen, and we soon had the two butane stoves going. Since it was past 5 p.m., other paddlers had also probably stopped for the day since we didn’t see anyone come through the narrows after setting up camp.
Day Four: Back To Sharp Rock Inlet
- distance: 21.4 km
- time: 07:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
- weather: sunny, cloudy, and overcast, then rain – SSE wind (15 kph)
- portages: four – we lined the one from Lady Evelyn to Diamond Lake (same as previous days)
- campsite: island site in the inlet, nice site for multiple 2-person tents or a couple of 4-person tents; other campsites on the island; thunderbox; easy access to water; some firewood maybe; a nice view down the inlet
After an early breakfast, we were on the water before 8; we hoped to get some calm water before the south wind kicked in again. We were past the two portages and into Lady Evelyn Lake by eleven. That is when it started raining – spitting at first and then getting more serious as we moved into the afternoon.
We would stop for a cup of coffee under the tarp before moving on to the Lift-Over.
When we got to the Lift-Over, we paddled to the south side and decided to track the canoe up the current. It took a couple of tries to get the nose in just right. However, the effort required was much less than the hassle of emptying the canoe, hauling it and the gear 40 meters, and then putting everything back in again. We spent some time hopping around and taking photos of this historic spot. (See Brian Back’s Ottertooth article here for the story.)
As we entered Diamond Lake, I looked down the shore and spotted the pictograph site on the west shore. As humble as it had looked from across the water as we paddled by on our way up, now it looked even less imposing.
We did paddle by just to be sure that it was the site. You can see it in the image above – the sandy brown bit about two-thirds of the way along the water line running across the middle of the picture. See A Return Visit To Temagami’s Diamond Lake Pictograph Site for more close-up pix and a detailed analysis of the pictographs.
As we approached the Sharp Rock Portage, the rain came down heavier, and we pulled in at a designated campsite and put up the tarp. We figured we would sit out the worst of it and then get moving again. Meanwhile, we fired up the stove and got the lunch and coffee fixings out.
While we sat there, we noticed five specks on the misty horizon – a Temagami camp group was approaching! We would lose sight of them after a while as it seemed that they had paddled up a bay to the north. However, as we took down the tarp and got ready to move on, there they were again! They were looking for a campsite and wanted to know if “ours” was available.
The thing that most impressed us was the toughness and resilience shown by these canoe trippers in their mid-teens. It was still raining, and they were carrying on with their business. We wished the girls good luck with the weather and pushed off, wondering how far we would get. It was good that we had started the day as early as we did.
We didn’t get too far! After the Sharp Rock Portage, we paddled for a bit, but the combination of rain and wind and choppy water convinced at least me that we should just call it a day. Talk about toughness and resilience! Max wanted to keep paddling to make the next day – the one back to the car – that much shorter.
With the classic argument – “Why stress ourselves now when tomorrow morning it will take half the energy to cover the same distance?” – I convinced my brother to pull in at the south end of the island seen on the map below. It was 2:35, and we had covered maybe 3.5 km. since our mugs of coffee. Tent and tarps went up, and the canoe was set up as a windscreen, and we hoped for better weather the following day.
Day Five: From Sharp Rock Inlet To Ferguson Bay (Sandy Inlet)
- distance: 9 km
- time: 07:30 to 09:45
- weather: overcast but no rain
- portages: two
– 770m – the real Napoleon Portage
– 370m or 900m Ferguson Bay landing to car park areas (depends on where you can park your vehicle)
- campsite: home sweet home!!, easy access to water; plenty of flat spots; thunder boxes throughout, etc.!
The previous evening’s major deliberation had centered around which portage to take into Ferguson Bay.
Option A: the Pickerel Bay Portage
About an hour’s paddle down from what we still thought was the Napoleon Portage, another shorter 400-meter one goes into Pickerel Bay. (See the map below for the location.) Then we’d then have to paddle an hour north to get back to the top of the bay. Also, we had no idea about this shorter portage’s shape. For all we knew, it could be in the same shape as the trail we had done on our way in.
Option B: What we Thought Was the Napoleon Portage
Of the “Mystery Portage” that we thought was the Napoleon, we knew it was a hell of a trail. It would take us about an hour to do, and it would save us two hours of paddling down to the other portage and then back up. And that is how we decided to walk a trail a second time we swore we would never set foot on again!
Except – as our Day One trip notes already made clear – we luckily ended up at the start of the actual Napoleon Portage trail and were thus spared both the additional paddling to the Pickerel Bay trail and bushwhacking of the “mystery trail.”
We unloaded our canoe at 8:15 on the west side of the Napoleon Portage trail, and at 9:00 we were already paddling across Ferguson Bay to the beach on Sandy Inlet just up from Camp Wanapitei. We had pulled one big rabbit out of that hat!
Hap Wilson’s Temagami Guidebook
The best introduction to Temagami remains Hap Wilson’s book of the same name. It has seen a few editions, and the sub-titles have changed with the times. Still, it guides you through some choice Temagami canoe routes, giving you not only the information you need to deal with the lakes and rivers – portages, rapids, campsites – but also filling you in on the long and rich history of the area. There are also tips on gear and camping and canoeing skills for those in need of a primer. The first edition, I think, came out in the late 1970s and these days is considered a worthwhile investment as a collectible! The copy of the edition I’ve got is titled Temagami: A Wilderness Paradise – Canoeing – Kayaking – Hiking and was published in 2011, a reprint of the 2004 edition.
Route #14 in the book is “Maple Mountain Loop,” a more ambitious trip than ours. It starts at Mowat Landing and, after the visit to Maple Mountain, heads north to the Montreal River, which it then follows downstream back to Mowat Landing. Of this route, Wilson writes –
A long-time favourite, this route tantalizes the adventure spirit with a congenial medley of lakes, creeks and river paddle. This route can be taken in either direction; however, caution should be employed while travelling the open stretches of Lady Evelyn Lake, as the wind can toss up metre-high waves in minutes. (Temagami, 99)
Natural Resources Canada 1:50,000 Topos:
The topographical maps maintained by the Canadian Federal Government’s map department still provide the most accurate map information for canoe trippers. They are available online for a free download if you want to print them yourself – or the parts of them that are relevant to your trip. For this trip, there are two 1:50,000 topos that cover the entire route. Click on the map titles to access them in jpg format –
The government’s own website, with its no-frills folder-based collection of topographical maps, is the source of the maps. Both the 1:50000 and the 1:250,000 are available in TIF and pdf format. Go to the 041 Folder for the maps above and use the appropriate letters and numbers to get the specific maps. Get started here.
The Now Defunct Jeff’s Map – v.1.0
Jeff’s Maps also had an annotated Temagami map set available – a series of five maps covering the entire Temagami area. They provided the portage and campsite information you need and points of historical interest that you will paddle by. The website has been dead for a few years, and Jeff has moved on to Unlostify. Hard copies of the Central Map may still be available at outfitters in the Temagami area. The 1.0 version of the map does have a few errors that never got corrected in the planned update.
Here is a link to the 169 Mb kml file of the five-map set that can be downloaded and imported into Google Earth. It is useful for route planning though we rely more on the detailed NRC topo maps for in-canoe use.
Friends of Temagami Map:
When we dropped in at the Temagami Outfitters store to buy a copy at the start of our trip, we were told that copies of Jeff’s maps were available – except for the sold-out Central map! Luckily we had downloaded digital copies the night before on our way to Temagami from the end of our Steel River trip.
We bought a copy of the map put out by the Friends of Temagami – a double-sided map with the Obabika Loop on one side and the Maple Mountain area on the other – which did the job nicely. Portage and campsite locations and additional information are there.
Like most maps these days, it is made of waterproof and tear-resistant material. It is meant to go along with – and not replace – the 1:50000 topos mentioned above. See here for the map details at the Friends of Temagami online store.
For more Temagami canoe tripping, check out the two following posts for possibilities: