Temagami: Maple Mountain

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Seeing as how our Algonquin trip the previous year had been such a great outing, Judy and I decided to make it an annual getaway. This time we decided to try a more rugged destination: Temagami.


The view from Maple Mountain

Pronounced “Te-MAWG-a-mee” (the word is Ojibway for “deep water by the shore”), this place is the reality that fuels the popular perception of Canada’s great northland: Old growth pine forests. Smooth blue waters. Brilliantly white, powdery snow. Bountiful fish and wildlife. You get the picture.

Judy and I decided to make this a destination trip with Maple Mountain, the second highest point in Ontario, the focal point. Our plan was a four night route beginning at Ferguson Bay on the north end of Temagami Lake through Diamond, Willow Island and Sucker Gut Lakes and back with a hike up Maple Mountain in the middle.

Because of the distance, we didn’t get onto the water until 2PM and not knowing the route all that well, we made the mistake of pushing southward toward the middle of Temagami Lake instead of cutting through the portage at Mount Napolean toward Sharp Rock Inlet. We paid for it too as all the nearby campsites were taken and we spent a miserable first night on Beaver Island.

Day two found us once again spending a lot of times searching for the portage route into Willow Island Lake but we were rewarded with an excellent site at the northern tip of the lake. Using that site as home base, Judy and I packed just a few items for our day trip out to Maple Mountain the next day.


Mmmmmm. Pancake breakfast

What fun. Who knew it would be so difficult to find the little creek leading to Hobart Lake? It was only after wasting two hours following a non-existant trickle and lifting over five beaver dams that we decided we couldn’t possibly be on the right path and headed back to the dead-wooded bay of Sucker Gut Lake and found the right path. Because of the lost time, we climbed hard to the top and were well rewarded with the view. It’s a helluva climb – with an iron staircase embedded into the rock at the top to boot – but from the abandoned forest fire watchtower, you can almost see the whole of the Lady Evelyn- Smoothwater Provincial Park. Day three had us paddling back leisurely toward Ferguson Bay along a route we now knew a little better.

We found a nice campsite on Beaver Island and settled in for the night of our lives. Around 9PM, it began to storm. Thunder. Lightning. The whole bit. That was neat to watch. What wasn’t so great was the increasing wind. At its worst, we found it lifting up our tent with us in it. Scary. But it finally died down and we had only a short portage left back to our starting point to end the trip the following morning.

Would I come back?


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