Recalling what a great time we’d had the previous year, my sister Judy and I had no hesitation in returning to Temagami for a second year in a row and trying out another of its endless routes.
This time we tried out a 93 KM route beginning at Mowat Landing and headed south through both arms of Lady Evelyn Lake toward Maple Mountain; hopping through the ponds and creeks toward Skull and Mendolsohn Lakes; before winding our way through Spray Creek and rejoining the Montreal River back to Mowat Landing.
According to Hap Wilson’s book ‘Temagami Routes’, this particular route normally takes five nights because, well, it’s pretty long for one thing and there’s a lot of wind that can slow you down on Lady Evelyn. And then later when you’re trying to head north to rejoin the Montreal River there’s a lot of snaking rivers and pond hopping to slow one down. Fortunately, Judy and I had the wind at our back through Lady Evelyn and we powered our way through the route in three nights.
Our trip highlights included finding this loon egg. It seemed kind of odd to us to be able to get to within a canoe’s length of what turned out to be a mother loon as we passed by a small bit of brush in Waswaning Narrows. But when it finally dove underwater and left behind this egg we understood why it had resisted diving until the last possible moment.
I admit the thought of an omelette crossed my mind but I resisted the temptation.
We camped on Hobart Lake that second night with a setting sun highlighting Maple Mountain. The next morning the sun was gone and a misty gray mist greeted us as we began pond hopping north from one small lake to another. Distance-wise it was a bit of shock to suddenly seem to cover so little distance now that we were hitting portage after portage after portage. But the three moose we saw helped make the day a pleasant one. Especially the first one we sighted here on Old Bill Lake which barred our way up a creek as we silently approached and argued about what the heck we would do if it charged.
Luckily I was in the stern so I’m pretty sure Judy would have got the worst of it.
Later that day I had the fortune to slip into this muddy quagmire en route and Judy took the obligatory photo. We camped that third night on a mosquito-infested point on Mendolsohn Lake that’s not worth remembering and reached the Montreal River early the next day. Since we were ahead of schedule we paddled lazily untilw e realized the current was strong enough to take us all the way to the takeout that day.