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 Post subject: 4 M Circle Route
PostPosted: August 6th, 2018, 6:47 pm 
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Joined: April 29th, 2005, 3:17 pm
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Location: Fonthill, On
Has anyone done the 4M Circle Route near Gogama this season?
Just wanted to find out what the water conditions are like.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 M Circle Route
PostPosted: August 10th, 2018, 9:43 am 
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Joined: August 19th, 2007, 5:40 pm
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Location: Timmins
We going in this weekend to do the Dividing Lake Loop portion (-the section going into Gogama). We'll be signing and brushing portages. Can let you know post trip what we find.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 M Circle Route
PostPosted: August 13th, 2018, 10:09 am 
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Joined: August 19th, 2007, 5:40 pm
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Location: Timmins
Water conditions seem normal for August (lowish), and the rivers/streams were not too difficult to travel. You may have to line, wade and pull over in a few sections but travel is generally easy. All portages have now been signed where the old MNR signs were missing. Some campsites as well. The route is in exceptional shape except for the 700m portage into Dividing. It's now more of a 900m portage due to logging reroutes and spits you out into a gravel pit mid-way along! We did not have enough time to clear that portage, so you'll find it bushy in sections, but it is generally clear and easy to follow. Once the trail goes through the pit, it crosses the road and descends through a jack pine plantation and some heavy new deciduous growth to a swampy lake. At one point it intersects with the old trail on the right, but you'll want to keep descending.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 M Circle Route
PostPosted: August 13th, 2018, 3:55 pm 
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Joined: August 19th, 2007, 5:40 pm
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Location: Timmins
Have a gander at this.... IAMGOLD is proposing to build an open pit mine near the canoe route.

The upper portion of Three Ducks Lake would be bermed off and a Transmission line will cross one of the portages. This quiet area is going to get a whole lot noisier if this goes through.....

http://s1.q4cdn.com/766430901/files/doc_downloads/cote_gold_project/newsletters/2018/IAMGOLD-Newsletter-May-2018.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: 4 M Circle Route
PostPosted: September 11th, 2018, 6:56 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2008, 2:06 pm
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Location: GTA
I was though this loop last week. I concur with the comments above from Stajanleafs, but I'd like to add few comments for people considering this route.

First, thanks to Stajanleafs for marking the portages - I recognize your small signs both from one of the videos on your website and from having seen them in Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands a few years ago.

Portage out of the North end of Schist Lake

This portage could be difficult to find, depending on water level. It's to the west side of the bay & it requires some pull-over before reaching the actual portage. If Stajanleafs hadn't posted one of the smaller portage signs that made the pull-over-section visible from the larger lake, it would have taken me a lot longer to find the portage. (Since the larger portage sign isn't easily visible from the larger lake.)

First Set of Shallow Rapids out of the North end of Wolf Lake

At the water levels I experienced, this area was fairly difficult to navigate. It required a fair bit of time wading on slippery rocks and moving back and forth from the front to the back of the canoe to slowly nudge it over and around many sharp rocks. Consider planning for more time through this section.

Final 700 m portage south into Dividing Lake

This portage is a lot different from others on the route. Generally all of the others are basically pretty wide-open and feel like you're in an operational provincial park with well-maintained portages. This one can be followed, but it's a pretty bushy place. It starts with a fairly steep up-hill climb (when going south), then more-or-less levels off towards the gravel pit, then goes downhill towards Dividing Lake.

I was surprised by how badly the gravel pit ruins this portage - there's really no indication of where to go through the pit & it would be very difficult to find the continuation of the portage across the road from the pit if Stajanleafs hadn't marked it with a small portage sign. There is a very large amount of flagging tape in various areas all around the pit, so trying to rely on that to locate the portage would take some time. Here are a few photos of the area with comments:

This is what the gravel pit looks like when coming in from the north:
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The portage continues almost directly across the road from the gate to the gravel pit. If not for the sign placed by Stanjanleafs, it would have been difficult to identify this area as the start of a portage:
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This is the view looking back from the start of the portage (where it continues across the road), towards the gate of the gravel pit. So the portage starts again just a bit right of the gate, across the road. (When heading south):
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These are the signs that are posted that would seem to keep people out of an area where the gravel pit destroyed an established portage:
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temp portage4.JPG [ 284.56 KiB | Viewed 431 times ]


Stanjanleafs mentioned that the trail south of the road splits at one point, where the old trail goes back up the hill, but that you'll want to keep descending. When I was through I didn't notice the split until the trip back to get more gear, and I inadvertently went UP it towards the left (since I was heading north). It's pretty obvious that you're on the wrong trail after a few metres since there's a bunch of large downed trees that need to be crawled over that you won't have remembered having crawled over on the way down, but just be aware to expect to see that trail split.

Finally, you might consider avoiding the whole second part of the portage all together, and also avoid having to paddle through the "swampy lake", and also avoid having to pull over the old beaver structure between the swampy lake and Dividing Lake proper by walking down the road just after the pit, getting your car at the Dividing Lake put-in & driving back to the gravel pit to get your gear. Walking, it would be less than 3.5 km back to the car along the road & would likely only take a bit more than half an hour. This is show in the image below:
Attachment:
temp portage5.jpg
temp portage5.jpg [ 225.56 KiB | Viewed 431 times ]


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