Maple Mountain Non-Loop 1

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Additional Route Information
100 km
7 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
8355 m
Longest Portage: 
2450 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
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Route Description
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Starting at Mowat Landing makes this truly the Mapel Mtn Loop but starting elsewhere with the aid of an outfitter or shuttle provides alternatives for enjoying the Temaagmi area. We were shuttled to Sandy Inlet near Camp Wanapitei.

Technical Guide: 

Portage distances taken from MNR Canoe Routes Planning Map.

Length of trip and daily distances where provided were determined by map wheel on topo maps, MNR planning map and the Chrisma Temagami 1 map.

Day 1
Sandy Inlet
Ferguson Bay
P 450 yards
Lake Temagami North Arm
Sharp Rock Inlet
P 75
Diamond Lake

Day 2
Diamond Lake
Lady Evelyn Lake
P 445
Unnamed Lake
P 550
Willow Island Lake
Sucker Gut Lake

Day 3
Sucker Gut Lake
Hobart Lake

Day 4
Hobart Lake
Old Bill Lake
P 415
Willow Island Creek
P 395
P 140
Anvil Lake
P 75
P 495
P 45
P 825
Bergeron Lake

Day 5
Bergeron Lake
P 85
Niccolite Lake
P 95
P 235
P 425
P 100
Greenwater Lake
P 790
Little Skull Lake
P 80
Skull Lake

Day 6
Skull Lake
P 2450
Mendelssohn Lake
Spray Creek
P 185
Spray Creek
Montreal River

Day 7
Montreal River

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Persona non skilled:
Baron, Czar, Beef (a.k.a., Beef Stu, Beefer) and Jester, plus the haunting presence of the King. Whenever "I" is encountered it refers to Jester. When you read, "they", as in "they failed" or "they broke it", the Jester is not involved. Also, Dick = Baron, Nick = Czar, Stu = Beef, Beefer or Beef Stu. "Hey, you idiot!" could have been any one of this party.

Our original plan many months ago was to start this trip at Anima Nipising Lake and end at Latchford on the Montreal River. Our adjusted plan, implemented on Sunday July 19, was to put in at Ferguson Bay's Sandy Inlet and paddle all week ending up at Latchford. To spare you the suspense, we bagged it at Mowat Landing.

Preliminary events and planning:
During the months after our successful Chapleau trip, we began to meet irregularly and brain-stormed about trips for 1998. One of our out of town friends was mentioned as a candidate for inclusion on the next trip so we kept our planning focused upon trips which would be enjoyable by a wide range of ages and skill levels.

We thought about paddling in the Temagami area as it was a destination where Beef could meet us since he lived in New Hampshire and there are a variety of trip possibilities in Temagami. Vari-ous routes had been taken in the past and with both Hap Wilson's guide and the contacts made over the years, we felt certain that a trip which had a balance of challenge without danger could be designed.

Another reason for paddling in the Temagami area was our encounter with the owners of Lady Evelyn Outfitting while attending the Canoe Expo of 1996. We were discussing their venture and slowly began to feel that somehow there was a connection between us. It turned out that our bush pilot during our 1989 trip was, at that time, engaged to Leona. We knew him as Ted, a 19 year old about to enter the air force, the pilot who was on loan for the summer from Sudbury Aviation. In addition, I knew him as the fellow who let Baron fly the plane with the instructions, "Aim it at that mountain on the horizon."

Having decided upon Temagami for logistic reasons, we began to arm wrestle over food. Meals almost always default to some form of one pot delights based upon Lipton's Rice and Sauce or Noodles and Sauce, with some freeze-dried chicken or beef, freeze-dried peas and spices added to suit our tastes. The big question usually is whether or not to take the King's propane stove with his multitude of canisters or take a few single burner white gas stoves and a couple reserve fuel tanks. White gas won by default since King chose the excitement of a sea kayaking adventure in Green-land.

Having cleared the stove hurdle, the next decision was whether to allow the Czar to win the pan-cakes and eggs debate. We granted the Czar his pancakes, syrup and also planned to bring some eggs for the first morning. (For real reason, see below.)

Arrangements were made with Lady Evelyn Outfitters to provide shuttle and 2 canoes, one an Evergreen Maple 17' and the second one a Swift Temagami 17', which is actually Swift's Algonquin 17' renamed for the Temagami area. Email was sent back and forth as we sounded out various ideas for our trip and began obtaining topo maps, new copies of the Ministry of Natural Resources Temagami canoe routes map, poked around in back issues of Kanawa Magazine, Canoe and Kayak Magazine and checked with people at Canoe Expo during March of 1998.

The Czar agreed to drive his Toyota Sienna, hence the pancake and eggs decision in his favor, al-though a week or so prior to the trip this van was rear-ended in Colorado so Dick's Oldsmobile became plan B. The more I thought of our gear and the fact that Beef Stu was riding up with us and not driving directly from NH I realized that plan C should be ready. I got my 1997 Honda Civic's oil changed and was prepared to function as the trailer to Dick's larger car. If Dick's car was the frame pack, mine was the day pack.

Days prior to our departure, Nick obtained a Ford Aerostar rental from the insurance company so we ended up driving in comfort and did not have to squeeze our gear down to fit in the alternate vehicles. The threat of packing light, however, did have a benign effect: certain redundancies and unnecessary items were left at home which suited the Baron and Jester just fine.

Saturday, 7/18/98, Shaker Heights, OH to Temagami, ON
I met the Baron and Beef Stu at Baron's house and we drove over to pick up Czar. Taking first shift, Czar drove slowly down his street, familiarizing himself with the dashboard gadgets and thinking it would be a good idea to be able to see through the rental van's windshield, attempted to clean the window and discovered that the wipers were faulty. Not the typical bad "rubber com-pound" which streaked the window but actually a bad linkage connection.

Driving to Northern Ontario with the assumption that we would have perfect weather both ways was more far-fetched than was the assumption that we knew how to paddle open craft on the wind-swept waters of Temagami. Beef discovered that there was a loose nut on the wiper linkage and we soon were parked in Czar's driveway and asking Anne Nagy for her tools with which we could fix the mechanism. Fixing our transportation equipment was an activity that would dog us during the week. More later.

Once in Temagami we were excited to discover the actual Lady Evelyn facilities, which when last seen by us was the town center and home of "all you can eat fish fries". A nice job had been done by the Fronchek's in adapting the building to outfitting and the bed and breakfast motif.

After checking in, unloading the gear as necessary, we headed off down the street with no side-walk toward highway 11 and the Busy Bee Restaurant. Since Friar was not with us, we risked go-ing back to the scene of his encounter with Gramma Fat. (request previous documentation on this incident.) Just our luck, there was a private party being held in Muffy's Nook so we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table in the front room. Taking advantage of the opportunity to see the new Food Town grocery and check out the hours of operation, we walked around town until it was time to return for supper. Good thing we checked the grocery as they were closed and would not be open in time for us to purchase fresh eggs for the first morning's breakfast in the bush.

For some reason, Jester forgot he had agreed to bring a small ice chest in order to cool a dozen eggs. Well, as you'll learn later this was not to be the only thing Jester forgot during our trip. "Hey", we agreed, "just don't tell Czar until it is too late. Let him eat pancakes." Actually, we had packed enough pancake mix for the two scheduled mornings and then added an additional two zip loc bags of one cup each "just in case".

The story of our first evening's food-related activities would not be complete without document-ing that "skinny", AKA, Nick Nagy, who said at the dinner table that he was stuffed, or some East-ern European slang to that effect, stopped on the way out to get what he claimed was a half scoop of ice cream. Perhaps the exchange rate pertains to cones as well as dollars, but we suspect that he was feigning fullness at the table all the while checking out the restaurant's front window reflec-tion of the ice cream counter.

After returning to the outfitter we checked and checked our gear, making certain that the Duluth packs were as equal in comfort and weight as could be. In year's past, we have found that, al-though light, some of the packing methods have made carrying the bags difficult as someone usu-ally had some metal object protruding into their back during a portage. We wanted to avoid this type of difficulty and packed the two Timberline 4 person tents into each "equipment" pack to sof-ten the pack.

Sunday, 7/19/98, Ferguson Bay to Diamond Lake
Awake at 6, we had breakfast at the outfitter's B&B, loaded into the van and soon were off for Red Squirrel Lake Road and Ferguson Bay. Although the paddling portion of our 1998 trip began at Sandy Inlet on Ferguson Bay, even if we had not gotten onto the water, our group probably would have considered the trip to have been successful as we renewed friendships with Stu Ross. Years earlier Stu, AKA, Beef, had helped make the King's youth trips to Kipawa and elsewhere so successful. Also, during the drive from Cleveland we learned little known tidbits about the King and those who helped him pull off multi-week trips with 20 or more kids. Further documentation is to follow.

Upon arriving at the Ferguson Bay parking area, after a jostling slow ride down a two rut road the Czar had a deja vu encounter with our first year's trip. It was here in this very parking area that upon conclusion of the 1988 trip, while waiting for the outfitter's van, Czar cleaned out the King's larder of leftovers. Looking closely at Nick we saw a teardrop or two form at the edge of his eye as he remembered those youthful and free-spirited days of the Eighties.

In light of all the story-telling during our drive perhaps the weather greeting us as we stepped out from the wooded trail and onto the beautiful sand beach on Ferguson Bay was highly appropriate. Picture a strong headwind or onshore breeze blowing into our faces as we loaded our canoes and then posed for the obligatory group photo taken by our Lady Evelyn Outfitting shuttle driver. Perhaps the winds were an omen as there would be an abundant supply of group-induced breeze during the week.

We pointed our canoes toward the far shore and everyone was aware that we were to travel to the "point" and then on into the bay where the first portage of 1998 awaited us. The waves were 1 to 2 feet as we slowly moved out into the choppy waters and soon the Baron's canoe tacked toward the theoretical protection of the high bluff off towards the East while the Jester's canoe headed straight for the far side's point. As we labored in the wind and waves the Czar several times excit-edly commented that Jester was steering for the point and should change course left to avoid a collision. This cautionary note was a bit premature, as we were only a few yards off the shore from which we had launched. Also, this is a bit puzzling as Czar usually wants people to move towards the right.

Slowly we crossed the open expanse of Ferguson Bay and as we neared the point the winds would alternately build and fade, making our first day's paddle more memorable than we had planned. The canoe carrying Beef Stew and Baron slowly changed course and came closer to our own line of travel although several hundred yards ahead. Almost as soon as they had crossed ahead of us they pulled into a small island which was not marked on the topo map. I thought that Beef needed a bathroom break due to both the excitement of such a windy crossing and having had to perform as bowman for Baron. There is a rich history of those intrepid paddlers who per-form as bowmen for the Baron.

As Czar and Jester pulled up to the island we could tell that Beef was not dancing around and re-lieving himself but rather reading from a copy of Time-Life's Rope Tricks for the Northern Canoe-ist while Baron was performing some of his rope magic. With the shout, "The seat broke!" we knew that the trip had gotten off to a fanny-tastic start. Having come from New Hampshire, Beef, who had already traveled farther than the others, had suddenly traveled just a bit farther. The pop rivets holding the L-shaped seat bracket to the aluminum gunnal had failed, due either to the wave-induced twisting while crossing the bay or to a poor quality of rivet. Perhaps all of those "senior citizen meals" add up, if not in dollars, then in pounds. In any case, we were soon on the way in search of our first portage of 1998.

Caution! keep your map oriented
Before continuing, I pause to remind our readers that it is always a good idea to orient your map so as to prevent the uncertainty exhibited in our next incident. As we paddled through all the wind and waves, only slowly moving past the point and into a more sheltered body of water, the Jester began to question the exact location and was fearing that with our concentration on the waves we might have missed the bay which led to the Southern-most portage out of Ferguson Bay. It seemed like we had been paddling long enough to see the portage landing, certainly the bay which was tucked in the Southwest corner but it was not to be seen.

To confirm that he was not just dazzled by Baron's rope work, Jester asked the other canoe to ver-ify our location but Dick declared that he could not read his Xerox copy of the map. I reacted in exasperation thinking we may have to retrace part of our route in the high winds and recalled that Dick had made copies of the topo maps last year which were next to useless as we could not tell which lines were shorelines and which lines were elevation contour lines I shouted something like, "That is stupid!" and regretted it as soon as I heard my voice.

We pulled the craft together and everyone agreed that, once the topo map was oriented properly, the picture, which lay before us, indeed matched the map and we were only minutes from the portage. It always helps to orient the map no matter how many times you have paddled through an area or how "simple" the route. We paddled another three to five minutes and found the first portage of 450 yards.

I remember Hap Wilson telling us years ago that although measured in yards, when the Ministry of Natural Resources published the map, the portages were marked as meters without converting the numbers. Everyone was in fine spirits as we adjusted to walking rather than paddling. Cer-tainly, Czar was relieved to be out of the Jester's canoe having come within several hundred yards of crashing into that first point which seemed to preoccupy his mind as we paddled through Fer-guson Bay.

At the end of the first portage Jester stopped everyone and apologized to Baron for having yelled at him for his having made yet another "unreadable" set of maps like last year's black and white topos from hell and made certain that everyone knew that this was to be a friendly trip. According to Jester, even the extra work and frustration due to the windy crossing of Ferguson Bay was no excuse for his behavior.

While at the portage trail landing, we met a man who was solo paddling in a wood and canvas canoe which had the traditional lines of the Chestnut Prospector and Beef, who had owned a similar canoe made by another manufacturer, had a great conversation over the qualities of the canoe.

Clara Pellar Paddling?

Prior to starting the next leg back up Lake Temagami's Northwest Arm, Czar and Beef switched canoes, as Czar was quite a bit lighter than anyone else was and we felt this would save broken the seat from further damage. This switching of Beef Stew also gave rise to the alternate slogan for our trip. 1998's trip became known as the Clara Pellar Expedition, since each day when we were ready to push off someone was heard to ask "Where's the Beef?"

In our two previous trips in the Northwest Arm we had paddled through this are across the top or Northern end of the Northwest Arm and along the Eastern side. During our trip planning I sug-gested that we paddle through the Western channel and then paddle almost due North straight into Sharp Rock. As we stood facing the open water we agreed that paddling across to the other side, perhaps West-Northwest, was a good tactic which would allow us to paddle unencumbered by the winds.

Although not obvious on the MNR map this route turned into one of the special treats of the first day as the small channel was distinctly different from the route taken in previous years. Ap-proaching the opposite or Western shore and paddling North we passed an anchored houseboat just prior to entering what I call the "English muffin" section of the route with its nooks and cran-nies.

This section meandered around and was a nice break from the open windy waters. Just prior to leaving the shelter of this area, we began to make our first "food noises" of the trip. It was ap-proaching lunchtime as it had taken us about 2 hours to reach the portage and then 15 to 20 min-utes to carry the gear over to the Western end. So as we came out of the meandering channel and back into the large waters of Sharp Rock Inlet and faced the wind again we decided to head for the first nice spot on the rocky shore for a lunch break.

Lunch Fit for a King, well, a Czar
Since it took several minutes to determine the best place and method of landing in the strong wind, Stu had time to study an island campsite which looked familiar to him from a trip with King and Queen in the late 80s, perhaps 10 years prior. The more he surveyed the campsite and the nearby island he became more convinced that this was indeed the area where his group had en-joyed an introductory look at Temagami. He was, however, soon distracted by food.

While feasting on pita bread, peanut butter, jelly and honey, AKA, King's All You Can Eat Buffet, we scratched our heads as we could not find either of Jester's two specially purchased spreaders, which were to be the elegant finishing touch to our modern day trail lunch. Plan B pocket knife came to the rescue and amidst blueberry picking and dripping jelly we sprawled on the rocks to enjoy our first lunch in the sun. This almost became a repeat of the lost pot holders which disap-peared mid-trip 1988 and which were only discovered the second last day during the storm on the Northwest Arm of Temagami, just East of Sharp Rock. The spreaders were found at our first campsite, packed away, quite logically, in the set of pots, which are never ever opened during lunch. The Jester was responsible for the spreaders being packed away so lovingly and, to be truthful, he also stuffed the potholders in his rain jacket pocket those many years ago.

Sharp Rock Portage
On the water after an excellent "Pita Delight", we eventually arrived at Sharp Rock Portage to find no one else. Years earlier our first encounter with Sharp Rock proved quite different as perhaps upwards of 75 others scurried in opposite directions, making the portage path resemble a com-muter train station. It was pleasant to not be shoved out of the way and off the path by some hus-tling, burly fellow hauling an overstuffed wanigan.

Alas, Sharp Rock became to site for the Jester's one blunder of the trip. He set his bicycle gloves down and when the loaded canoe was pushed away from shore, they were left behind. This was discovered perhaps fifteen minutes paddle into Diamond Lake so the Jester said something like, "Damn the bicycle gloves, full speed ahead!" Paddling as he was with the Beefer, Jester knew that without the inducement of fresh blueberries he would never have made it back to Sharp Rock, retrieved the gloves and then caught up with the Baron and Czar who were speeding off into Diamond Lake, intent on finding a campsite.

In fact, we began looking for a camp site as soon as we entered Diamond Lake for we knew that there would be competition for sites and the sooner we got a sense of the sites in the Eastern end of Diamond Lake the better for us. Frankly, many of the sites listed on the MNR map have proven to be less than desirable for multiple tents and sometimes impossible to find. The first site marked on the MNR map is on or near a point to the East of the channel exiting Sharp Rock and we found it to be less than AAA rated but filed it away in case we had to return later.

We paddled on both sides of several islands, finding nothing suitable and, unfortunately, the sites to which we were paddling already seemed to have been taken by other groups. As we passed the last island and moved closer to the mainland along the Western edge of this portion of Diamond, the Czar and Baron headed towards a spot which was shown on the map to be at the point on the Northwest corner of Diamond's channel which headed North while Beef and Jester turned back South to check out a last small island to see if it had potential for a campsite.

Almost simultaneously the Czar shouted to Beef and Jester while we shouted back, each claiming to have found a good site. The island site had two or three large areas on which tents could be pitched although the site was open toward the West, which meant any high winds coming down the length of Diamond would roll right into the campsite. With reluctance, Beef and Jester pad-dled back to the site now claimed by Czar and Baron and admitted that, although their site would have been nicer (grin), for the sake of the group they would agree to stay put for the night. Also, it was 5 minutes closer to next day's goal and Beef, who was intent on filtering water for the first time under expedition conditions, was easily distracted by his shoreline duties.

As the sky had been changing frequently during the late afternoon we quickly pitched the two Eureka Timberline tents and then proceeded to gather our gear and erect a tarp over the cooking area. Between 4:30 and 6 P.M., we heard thunder and began to feel a storm closing in on us.

A shirtless Jester had gone down to filter water for supper and in the midst of this operation the rain let loose forcing Jester to abandon his chores. By the time he had "raced" up to the tent area, he was thoroughly soaked. Retreating into the tent with his pack, he attempted to put on his rain gear but by this time it was useless. Sitting alone in the tent he made the best of a difficult time by reaching for his copy of Dark and Stormy Night, by Scott Rice, the author of choice during last year's Pishkinagomi Ivanhoe trip.

Supper brought the first of Beef's language lessons as he was not privy to the wilderness vocabu-lary where "up" meant "down" and "down" often meant "up". As we were finishing off the Baron's Broccoli and Cheese concoction, Stu went to get some tea water and asked about turning the stove off. "Turn it up!", someone shouted, meaning turn the lever up or clockwise in order to turn off the gas supply.

At the same time another voice, speaking with equal authority and a heavy accent, said, "Turn it down!", meaning turn the stove flame down. When indecision set in, the normally unflappable Beef was caught betwixt and between, and failed to translate the instructions into any meaningful action. Stu quickly realized that being a direct descendent of the King's canoe program did not spare him critiquing by the "nineties" version of the King's Canoe Club.

Monday, 7/20/98, Diamond Lake to Sucker Gut Lake
Awake at 6, which became our routine for the trip, we soon were eating the Hungarian Jack pan-cakes cooked up with lovingkindness by the Czar. You may be asking yourself how we could be certain of awakening each day at the appointed time. In past years this has been a problem as we were traveling on KST, King Standard Time, which is self-explanatory and deserves no comment. This year, not only did we have Baron, who often is awake at 5 AM, or so he tells us, we also had Beef Stu, also known as the inventor of BST, Beefer Slumber Time. Having two human alarm clocks ensured an early start each day.

Also, knowing that we would be lightening our packs by eating the heavy pancake batter was an exciting prospect, so who could "sleep in" under those circumstances. Another reason, at least for Jester, was the certainty that he would prove the Baron's memory wrong within the first hour of paddling on Diamond Lake and the excitement was building.

Dropping down and through the slot from the Northern end of Diamond Lake into the Southern portion of Lady Evelyn Lake was a memory come true for the Jester as he recalled this site from our 1988 trip. We had met Hap Wilson earlier in 1988 during a Cleveland Outdoor Show. Hap was guiding a family and during the day or so prior to our arriving at the Southern waters of Lady Evelyn Lake, we had leapfrogged this party a few times and as we were using Hap and Trudy's Smoothwater Outfitters for our food and canoe equipment, we had some nonchalant conversa-tions as we paddled.

That year as we arrived at the lift over from Lady Evelyn, Hap had his video camera poised to re-cord his party's attempt at tracking the canoes up the narrow rocky portal into Diamond. Since the family wanted to see someone try to perform the maneuver prior to attempting it themselves, Hap suggested politely that our group of 9 paddlers go first. Other than getting wet feet, I don't recall anything special about the effort as we worked our canoes up and over the rocks Hap videotaped our efforts.

During the weeks prior to our trip Baron and Jester had a memory jousting match as he felt for sure that this scene was a part of our Sturgeon River trip while I made the case with dripping emotion for the notch between Diamond and Lady Evelyn. I could not help but feel the excite-ment derived from an ironclad memory. In fact, I was so preoccupied with reminding the Baron "I was right" that I forgot to complement the Czar on his move to the left at the bottom of the drop, which was a shift of political magnitude. Czar may have experienced a "rush" of adrenaline as we scooted around the rocks but it was an "anti Rush" politically speaking.

Baron was quick to acknowledge his faulty memory and I was humble in a boastful kind of way, knowing that I had a bad track record for recollecting trail side scenes dating back to our Isle Roy-ale trip where I had stated categorically that the campsite to which we were hiking was opposite an island lighthouse. But that is another story and I digress.

The campsite at this spot between Diamond and Lady Evelyn is a picturesque location but anyone camped there would be subject to a stream of paddlers moving through this narrow gap. Paddling further North, Lady Evelyn widens into a stump-filled lake, and although randomly placed, many of the stumps seem to be more like "pilings" left over from a logging era road or bridge. Further North, approximately West of Walsh Lake, we were afforded another memory stop as we pulled in to look at a campsite at which we had stopped in 1988.

That year we had been looking for a site and a sudden storm drove us up on the shore and we completed setting up our tents and tarp just as the rain began. We smiled at the site, which had provided such welcome shelter for 3 tents and 9 paddlers, wondering how we had managed to sleep in comfort so many years earlier.

Off shore was an island which had provided the Czar with some of his greatest aquatic distrac-tions. Although some claim it was first heard at the Hobart Lake site, I think it was here that the famous "uniformly gray" utterance was first heard. Of course, much folklore has sprung up around the Czar's swimming to the delight of the rest of our group. One wishes that his paddling skills would generate the same degree of excitement.

In 1988, the three sons joined Czar in swimming out to the rocky island and having diving con-tests. To this day, I remain convinced that the young men swam out to the island to escape their fathers, who had dragged them into the bush.

After a water and fruit break we were on our way again, slowly paddling North. Just above this relative "narrows", which was not all that narrow, Lady Evelyn opens to display its majestic beauty but we turned West and wove a path around and through various islands toward the two portages which would lead us toward Willow Island Lake. This area looked entirely different to me as we slowly navigated towards the portage however, I also thought it was much prettier than when we paddled through in the opposite direction during the 1988 trip.

For some reason, to paraphrase Czar, possibly a uniformly gray matter, I recalled one of these portage landings as being tremendously rocky right down to the shoreline. While the Eastern end of the first portage from Lady Evelyn was quite rocky and did have a section of dump truck resi-due, it did not match my image from years ago. This faulty recollection is another reason I knew not to gloat too much in Baron's face at being right earlier in the day.

The bug count was decidedly down due to the heat and early Spring weather so we chose to eat lunch at the end of the first portage. The area was quite nice and was marked by a sandy beach and clear water. Since there was little mud and enough spots to sit without fear of dirtying up Czar's L.L. Bean outfit, we enjoyed our stay, although by the second day, we could not say the same for our menu selections.

The portages were completed without incident and soon we were on our way North through the Willow Island narrows. It was here in 1988, I recalled, that our group became quite playful and paddle-splashed one another and tried to push the other canoes off line. This year we were pro-fessional by comparison and it was only an errant paddle stroke, which brought water out of the lake and into the canoes.

Entering Sucker Gut Lake we once again reminisced about the first year's search for a place to camp. That year we paddled down to an island which is on the way to Franks Falls and found so many others we barely had enough space to sit down and eat lunch. This year we rolled the dice as we had seen so few others, passing up the site used in 1988 and paddled the extra time to reach the "out of the way" campsites. As the wind seemed to follow us along our route we discussed the intelligence of paddling away from the next day's intended destination, Hobart Lake.

Paddling Southwest, we failed to find the two marked sites and our discussion elevated to near debate as we realized the MNR map was incorrect in depicting campsites along the shore. There is no way the shoreline would support any camping and the actual sites are, in fact, on the small island. This year the island and surrounding waters were deserted so we checked out the tent sites and decided that the blueberries made the location fit for both the Czar and Beef.

Speaking of royalty, the MNR-provided "throne" was certainly not in a very private location as the orientation placed your back towards the small "harbor-like" middle of the island. I am certainly pleased that there were no crowds milling about as there were back in 1988.

It was here that Beefer took a canoe out solo after supper and had a ball meandering around the end of the lake nearest Franks Falls. I think Stu headed that direction thinking Franks Falls had something to do with hot dogs.

Tuesday, 7/21/98, Sucker Gut Lake to Hobart Lake
In the AM we paddled back up Sucker Gut Lake's arm back to Sucker Gut's gut and headed West through what I call Sucker Gut Annex. It was here we encountered fishermen from Washington, PA. This portion of Sucker Gut Lake might have made a nice lunch spot but the terrain around the Western portion is a bit different with only one site marked on the map and it is only when travel-ing North again through the narrows toward Hobart Lake that the shoreline once again turns into the traditional pine and rock shoreline. The portion of the water out of Sucker Gut Lake, which is marked Willow Island Creek on the topo maps, runs all the way to Skul Lake, although we did not follow it the full length.

Our habit of awakening at 6 AM or earlier paid off for us as we arrived at our site of choice on Hobart lake before 10AM, which enabled us to set up camp, hang a clothesline and then leave for Maple Mountain with our lunch stashed in fanny packs.

As we paddled North out of Hobart Lake towards the Willow Island Creek opening, we were blown across the lake with a strong tail wind. Maneuvering up the creek was fun and a bit differ-ent from the previous 2 days of paddling which was fairly wide rivers, bays or lakes. However, when we turned up the creek leading to Tupper Lake we began to feel the onslaught of the head winds from Tupper Lake.

This year, the beaver dam or deadfall which used to block the lower portion of the creek. was gone and there were no obstacles until the headwaters of the creek were reached right at the en-trance to Tupper. A significant beaver dam had been built so that we had to carry, push, shove, grunt, whatever the ecologically correct term, in order to gain access to Tupper Lake.

From this point it would normally be a 15-minute or so paddle to the boggy landing and the be-ginning of the trail to Maple Mountain's summit. I don't know how long it took us, but the winds were quite strong and there were white caps to the right, white caps to the left, white caps all around the canoes. In fact, our paddling theories were shot to hell as the gusts would nearly stop our progress although paddling like mad in our attempts to reach the Northern shore of Tupper.

The landing on Tupper Lake our first year was quite boggy, which has been the case each of the three years we have visited. However, the last two trips the water level has been such that we have actually been able to paddle near enough to shore that the bow person could step out on decently dry ground. I smile as I recall the first year when we had to step out into water and muck and literally yank the canoes closer to shore. This year, our shins remained dry and were not dis-colored by nature's shoe polish.

The old cabin nestled inside the tree line near the shore, is each year less and less an architectural delight and more of a crumbling relic of another era. Just past this cabin to the delight of at least three of us, a grouse attacked Baron. Along the boggy sections of the trail we must have startled the grouse walking her chicks. Apparently Dick looked like a threat to her young.

Dick made like a Spaniard in the bullring with his bandana/rag and whooped in self-defense. Af-ter several minutes of waving his hat, hands and rag, the grouse gave up and allowed us to pro-ceed without further interruptions. Dick vowed never to shave his legs on a canoe trip again.

Trudge: step left, step right, water break, blueberry break. Trudge: step left, step right, water break, blueberry break. Trudge: step left, step right, water break, blueberry break. Climbing Maple Mountain in 1988 was easier, the mountain in those days being several hundred feet lower, or so it seemed as we climbed the mountain on the hottest day of the week. Proceeding up Maple Moun-tain on such a warm day, in spite of the wind, was slow going. We all felt the heat and enjoyed those moments when the breeze made its presence felt on the trail.

Although the heat was playing tricks with our memories of the hike, a certain few of us remem-bered the lake part way up the approach portion of the trail as being large enough to be a signifi-cant landmark. Others thought that with the dry summer, the lake was dried up and attempted to convince the rest of our party that we were "almost there". Ha, ha. The King may not have been with us, but the old ruse, "Just one more kilometer!" and its resultant false hopes, was ever pre-sent.

Once up to the last scramble and the iron ladder section we certainly ready for a rest. I tried to ignore the cracks in the ladder's aging welds and it was only after climbing down that I pointed them out to Beefer. Just above this ladder is a section of open rock face along which trails lead to the top which I now call "Billy goat heaven". It was here that Stu began to deviate left and pick blueberries. Normally this would have been fine, except Stu was eating Blueberries all along the trail for nearly 2 hours and my fear was that Stu would collapse from the heat, the climb and the blueberry buffet precisely where there was little room for a landing... well, a safe landing.

On the summit, which is quite scrubby, we were once again exposed to the strong winds and could see that the sky was definitely overcast. Earlier in the trip I had pointed out that often the Northern sky changes from cloudless in the early AM, to small puffy clouds, to moderately sized clouds by mid-day and sometimes to completely overcast skies by mid afternoon. This day was one of those and, indeed, it rained slightly on the way back through Tupper Lake, Willow Island Creek and Hobart Lake.

This day, our typical paddling lunch became our summit lunch of pita bread, peanut butter, jelly, honey and any other surprises that Dick would pull out of his pockets. Did we haul the honey up the mountain? I forget... Dessert was more blueberries and dreams of carbonation as we either laid out on the rocks for resuscitation or investigated the fire tower. No need to ask who went over to the fire tower and attempted to climb the stairs that were marked, "Danger - Stay Off". Appar-ently, New Hampshire English has other words for such warnings.

After eating more blueberries, we posed for the obligatory photos. In the years since our 1988 hike the brush has grown up so that the large rocks which provided a good combination of posing spots plus a firm natural "tripod" for the camera on self-timer were no longer usable. Czar posed for a shot while the others were scarfing up "blue food" and then offered to take the Jester's pic-ture. I think he was trying to butter me up for some favor to be requested later in the trip.

Dick had the nerve to tell us to take off our hats so he could identify everyone. Since we all had different hats, I would have thought they would actually help differentiate us. Really, none of us had shaved, taken a bath or in anyway attempted to remain untainted by the rigors of the North. Well, Jester faithfully used his Shower to Shower powder which he claims rejuvenated him daily and enabled him to keep up with all the younger men during the week.

While scanning the lands below for lakes and other points of significance we noted with fascina-tion the interconnected waters of Tupper Lake which lay below us, Hobart Lake, Anvil Lake off to the North, Lady Evelyn Lake East and the route by which we had arrived at Hobart off to the East and South. We could see the twisted shoreline of Sucker Gut Lake (annex), the route through which made perfect sense from on top of the mountain, but when viewed from the canoe seat often causes paddlers to look one more time at the map when they are seeking out the proper bay or channel into which they must turn.

The wind, which was in our faces as we paddled toward the landing on Tupper, had diminished by the time we arrived back down at the spring near our landing. Unfortunately, the wind picked up as we neared Hobart Lake and once on the lake the skies thickened and grayed to match Jester's beard. As our two canoes approached the halfway point on Hobart a light sprinkle began falling but the wind was strong enough that the water droplets tended to evaporate prior to soak-ing our clothing. By the time we reached camp the rain had stopped and, in fact, we all took time for a swim.

Memories, naps, would the moon be as large as 1988? No silly, there is a new moon during the week. Oh well, the stars would be brighter and plentiful.

Wednesday, 7/22/98, Hobart Lake to Bergeron Lake
Leaving Hobart early the next morning, again heading North, we paddled through Willow Island Creek, past the waters which led back to Tupper, so for two of the group everything from here on was brand new and, hopefully, exciting. Most of the route taken in 1998 was new to Stu Ross al-though, as he recalls, he might have been on the South end of Sharp Rock Inlet. Stu claimed many things during the week but again, I digress. Though Czar had paddled the route taken up until Tupper Lake turnoff, like Stu, the entire route North of this creek, which led into Tupper, was new.

Both Baron and Jester had paddled this route back in 1991, the year when the King traveled with Black Feather to the Mountain River. Though we enjoyed the loop from Mowat Landing through Willow Island Creek and back to Mowat via the Montreal, would our memories fail us? Would the long portage prove more difficult than our imaginations and our egos would allow?

The section of Willow Island Creek between Hobart Lake and Old Bill Lake is quiet and avoiding the rocks proved fairly easy. The portage from Old Bill to an unnamed lake was easy but Czar and I missed the trail although we were the second canoe. We were far enough behind the first canoe that we did not see the Baron and Beef until we had paddled back and forth along the shore. This proved to be a pattern for Czar and I as we either did not paddle far enough up the shoreline on a few occasions, thinking that "they did not paddle this far" or we turned when we should have fol-lowed our instincts and kept the canoe moving further up the shoreline.

After several portages we were paddling on Anvil Lake, a large lake with fine sandy beaches on the North shore. When Baron and I paddled through we arrived in strong winds and chose to stop off at the Northern shore of Anvil and wait out the winds, which is the advice of Hap Wil-son's guidebook.

This year, Czar and I paddled straight for the beach area where Baron and I had camped, less for old times' sake and more for testing my memory. What I found was an interesting campsite as the area for the tent was still usable but where Dick and I had set up our hammocks was so over-grown and thick that I found the site quite unappealing.

Beef and Baron paddled to a site midway along the beach further East where the shoreline con-tained a bluff which rose about 10 to 15 feet above the water. We took a short break when we were all together at this spot, ate some dried fruit and then proceeded to climb the hill behind the beach and check out the view. If you ask an explorer the reason for climbing any hill the answer, "be-cause it is there", would not be truthful. Actually, we irrigated the hill top.

The route out of Anvil Lake
Leaving Anvil Lake provided another bit of uncertainty and the Jester once again proved to be the most agitated. The Northern shore of Anvil has the sandy beaches and as you paddle East, you move through a narrower and shallow spot in the lake and once behind an island, the shoreline becomes lower more grassy

About one third of the way along this shore is a narrow channel which Baron and Beef passed up but which Czar and Jester checked out and when no other opening appeared we back tracked to this location and found ourselves at the Hammer Lake section.

The guide book is clear that here one is to take the small creek and completely bypass the waters of Hammer Lake. However, this year there was a major beaver dam which spanned the opening to Hammer and continued on past a small island to what would technically be the Southern shore of Hammer or the backside of the Northern end of Anvil. This confused Jester and as the matter was discussed, Jester pointed out that no matter which way we challenged the beaver dam, we would be in the waters of Hammer Lake when we finished surmounting the dam.

Beef and Baron, much taller than the Czar and Jester, probably from the tall tales which they had been spinning all trip, could see the small creek just adjacent to the opening to Hammer Lake and so we performed a liftover at the dam and then paddled a few minutes keeping right along the edge of the opening into Hammer, proceeding up the narrow creek which is exactly as the guide details. The confusion was induced by the beaver dam, which again showed us the need for good maps but also, in this case, the ability to reason with what you know to be the course and any sea-sonal alterations.

Without this confusing dam, we likely would have had more work working our canoes up the small creek during this year's low water conditions. In fact, other than lifting the canoes over a few other beaver dams, only one time did anyone have to get out into the creek to push the canoes. The Czar and Jester thank the Baron and Beef for washing their feet on our behalf. Certainly we think such servitude is rewarding.

Between Anvil and Bergeron Lake, our destination lake for the evening, the creek remains small, beautiful and blocked by a few fallen trees and small beaver dams. The creek is quite pretty and was a nice change for the guys who had become accustomed to the larger lakes. Paddling through this section was also a way for the guys to practice their skills, or demonstrate their lack of skills.

This route has changed in a few places since 1991 but it was not nearly as choked as Stul Creek or other small waterways in the Temagami area. The map that the Baron had did not show the newer 495 meter portage but only the 130 meter one described in Hap Wilson's guidebook. Note: it is always a good idea to buy the latest edition of a guidebook.

Again, due to the lack of bugs, we had another lunch break at the end of a portage. I think it was the one marked 495 meters. The quiet pools of water along this section were as restful and inspir-ing in their own way as were the majestic sweeping vistas of Diamond, Lady Evelyn or the view from Maple Mountain.

Bergeron Lake, although not large, is a pretty lake and in some ways one of the more beautiful spots on the route. It is out of the way, scenic and has high rocky shorelines. The ;map of Bergeron shows three small sites and the one at which we stayed proved to be the same one used in 1991. There is a fairly good tent location back near the trees to the right as you stand with your back to the water, facing East. In addition, we used the location "straight in" and to the left or North. There was an area that someone had cleared some time earlier. As our group did not need it, the Baron hung his hammock in the shaded area.

On the opposite shore and South, prior to settling on our spot, the three others checked out an-other location. Though I never saw it from the canoe, which was bobbing on the water below the large rocks which created a natural barrier to seeing the actual camp site grounds, by now I had learned to trust the collective judgement of the others at least when it came to eating and sleeping.

The Czar came up with an engineering marvel when he awakened from his afternoon nap and felt the need for his "hot" beverage. The steady breeze off the lake was a problem for our cooking so Jester volunteered to help the RTA design a wind break consisting of a canoe tipped on its side and balanced by placing rocks inside the canoe. If you can't imagine what this looks like, just pic-ture one of the modern transit stations such as the one at Ohio City.

Thursday, 7/23/98, Bergeron Lake to Skul Lake
Small lakes and short to medium portages mark the route between Bergeron and Skul Lake, our goal for the day. Since our lead party was looking for the portage on the Northwestern end of Greenwater Lake, seemingly in vain, Beef and I drifted slowly along the shore and found an or-ange ribbon blaze marking a newly cut trail.

Although the map showed the trail that we were to take definitely in the extreme Northwest end of the lake, we proceeded to check out this trail. Dick hefted his canoe up and proceeded, but as is my pattern, I chose my pack as I prefer to scout the trail prior to balancing the canoe. I may be ridiculed for my "club sandwich" behavior in small town restaurants but glad I was that I do some things in a repetitive and predictable manner!!

We found a very poor trail indeed and the farther we walked, the more I felt that this was defi-nitely NOT the MNR portage. Upon exiting the woods after several minutes of clumsily walking over, around and sometimes almost under the cut boughs, saplings and natural debris, we found we were quite some distance from a small lake. I put the brakes on, dropped my pack and got out the maps, which were contained in the birthday gift map case. I checked the topographic map and explained where I thought we were, wanting everyone to take note so we could discuss our loca-tion and compare our conclusions. All agreed that we were not where we should have been and this meant retracing our route to Greenwater Lake, back along this pseudo-portage trail, seem-ingly created by machete.

Once back on Greenwater Beef and Jester, who paddled ahead, found the trail exactly where the maps indicated it was to be found. We paddled over to a likely spot and when we discovered this to not be our trail we simply turned North and prepared to paddle the shoreline in order to find our goal. As soon as we turned North we saw the portage landing and yellow plastic letter "P", which was hidden by the forest growth. Apparently, Baron and Czar had stopped just short of the farthest corner of the lake.

Out of courtesy to the Baron I won't mention that Beef and I patiently waited for the other canoe and refrain from mentioning the gory details of his emergency hand surgery, performed by the Czar.

Once on the correct portage we made good progress and at the North end, we chose to have lunch. Since bugs were minimal this year, the portage landings made much better places for water breaks and lunch spots. Often, landings are boggy, buggy and smelly, and though we had a few spots that would have been fairly bad during a more normal summer, the low water conditions during 1998 contributed to low bugs and drier landings in general.

Skul Lake was reached after a short paddle and another short and easy carry and, although it was early, we began to hunt for a campsite. Dick began to suggest that we should consider portaging into Mendelssohn Lake but the group's reaction to that was less than enthusiastic. I believe Crazy Dave's Spice was rated higher than the 2,450-yard portage so we tabled that idea with enthusiasm. Dick has been fascinated by long and arduous distances ever since the Isle Royale backpacking trip where he failed to convince us to hike that island's Northern shore Minong Ridge Trail, de-scribed as "rugged".

Skul Lake has two marked campsites and a beach area on the North shore where Dick and I camped in 1991. The sandy beach looked tempting as we paddled far enough into Skul to see the far shore. In fact, the island site was tempting and closer to our position. However, the winds were high so we checked out the first site that was right at the small bay near the portage leading into Mendelssohn Lake.

Beef ran up the bank to check out the site while I kept the canoe close to shore in the waves. Czar and Baron paddled around the point and found a location to pull in on the Northern edge of the campsite, in more quiet water. Eventually all four of us were scurrying about and waxing elo-quently as to the merits of the location for tents, cooking area and then, after we chose to stay, the proper, politically correct landing and unloading spot.

In addition to the normal balancing act were paddlers often have on foot in the canoe and one foot on a slippery rock, not to mention a foot in the mouth, we had the added problem of the wind and fairly steep shoreline. Oh, did I mention the ant colony that greeted our arrival? As we tossed bags up and out of the canoes, they landed on or near a swarming ant colony and I had several of them racing around my feet, ankles and shins.

Having had the experience of sitting on an ant hill as a child, seemingly only moments earlier as this memory raced through my mind, I danced the Northern jig, shook my clothes and encour-aged all to do an ant check prior to stepping foot into the areas we were designating for our tents.

Eventually we were situated quite nicely in camp and watching the sky change every thirty min-utes. Rain came in the form of showers so we lay in the tents for at least a part of the late after-noon. Since we had chosen to bring our pair of Eureka Timberline 4-person tents we were able, under such conditions, to haul our packs into the tent and still have "wiggle" room.

On sunny days, hikers and paddlers often "fiddle" with their gear - the gear they need, the gear they should have left behind or the community gear, including such vital items as coffee or tea. When rains come, "fiddlers" are turned into "wigglers" by having to fiddle horizontally inside their tents.

Our time at Skul Lake included several bouts of rain plus a wonderfully different sunset. The sky went from dark, to gray, to black and white and to brilliant yellow. A heavy thunderstorm passed several miles North of our position and the contrasting skies were beautiful. Also, it was here that Beef took to the lake for a 9 P.M. swim.

Friday, 7/24/98, Skul Lake to Montreal River
In the morning we were up at 6 A.M. and at the portage landing about 8:15 ready, if not "eager", to begin the "walk". Last year we had a long portage on the Pishkinagami-Ivanhoe River route which was quite rugged in sections. By now, we had eaten enough of the food that the loads were lighter and the ability to carry the canoes was increasing as we had grown accustomed to the balance of the Kevlar canoes. On whitewater trips, the heavier material from which the canoes are designed does increase the difficulty of portaging.

From our previous trip Dick and I felt that, while long, the portage trail was not too bad. The Czar set off with his Duluth pack and walked until he reached the far side of the small creek and spring which Hap's guide indicates is about the half way point. Here he left the first pack and returned for one of the equipment packs. Czar's efforts earned him the "energizer bunny" award for this trail. Dick set out with his canoe and carried it part way down the trail and Jester hauled his Lowe Alpine Morningstar pack approximately ten minutes down the trail.

Noting how refreshed the Jester appeared to be after each previous portage, Beef had subscribed to the Jester's "walk and drop" theory, where one drops the first load and returns for the next. Jester thinks the idea of giving your shoulders and arms a break from one load or one type of load in order to walk back and get a second pack or the canoe, is an effective way of carrying your gear. This pseudo leap frog concept works for us although the canoes we carried this year were in the 50-55 pound range and actually, with the right yoke padding, we could have carried the canoes for longer stretches, quite possibly while wearing our personal packs.

Every now and then one or more of us would report back on what was ahead or, in the case of a few deadfalls, warn us that we might need help. We all kept at it and, apart from a couple dead falls over which we passed the canoes, the walk was a nice break from the days of paddling and shorter portages. Of course, the lack of bugs and the moderate morning temperature made the walk much more enjoyable.

The one mishap occurred at the first, and most challenging of deadfalls, which had nasty broken branches. The Jester chose to make its far side an exchange point for his load and suggested that we double up on the canoes to get around this point.. We helped each other get around such ob-stacles but we could not help Baron from being attacked by the dead tree.

The Baron, apparently thinking that he was 3 feet 8 inches tall, stood up too soon and got a bruise on his head. Coupled with the cut on his hand received while we were orienteering on the wrong portage trail out of Greenwater, Baron easily out distanced the others for this year's Red Cross Award. Jester merely had scraped shins and knees from kneeling on sand in the canoe the first day. Czar was not injured in any way, although he was always cold. Beef, well, what can one say about someone who would not know if he were injured?

We took a short break at the Mendelssohn Lake end of the trail and were pleasantly surprised by the water level which looked promising. The water at this spot is grassy and often too shallow to allow paddling from the landing and the guide book points out that poling or pushing the canoes may be necessary. This year, we had no trouble and were on our way out of the small bay and toward the main waters of Mendelssohn.

Once on Mendelssohn Lake it was an easy paddle to the first marked campsite at which we ate an early lunch. Knowing that there were no really good spots past the campsites at the Southwestern end of the lake, we chose to stop and eat soon after the portage, which proved to be a wise choice. This first spot is on the left hand, or Northwestern side of the lake and has a nice rocky ledge land-ing which made a nice lunch table and rest spot for our group.

The first site proved to be fine for our needs and, while eating, we took a quick look around at the tent sites. This was not a site at which multiple tents would easily fit but it would prove to be a nice site for a layover as the trees provided nice shade while the open rock shore allowed us to sit in the sun.

Mendelssohn Lake looks like a long paddle but with the variable winds it took about one hour. Once at the Northern end of Mendelssohn Lake, we began a meandering slow paddle through Spray Creek, which appeared to Dick and I to be quite different this trip. On our previous trip through the area, the colors and the sky conditions made us think of Spanish moss and the beaver dams contributed to the Southern swamp motif. Well, remember, Dick and I by this time were hallucinating from having spent the week in a small canoe and tent with no other diversions than our own imaginations.

This year, the drop at the first few beaver dams was close to two feet and we were part way down Spray Creek before we found "runnable" dams. We kept paddling through the oxbow nature of the area, practicing our turns and beaver dam dance steps. At one of the first dams, Czar and I lifted over at the far right hand edge where we could balance a bit easier but then we labored to drag the canoe back towards the center portion of the dam as the water below was insufficient to paddle the canoe. Like the good team players we were, we shouted helpful instructions to Beef and Baron, encouraging them to make the same mistake we had just made and then we shoved off, thinking, "Heck with them, they left us behind all week long."

With the water conditions being low and our memories being insufficient, we continually thought we were "almost there" when Beef or Czar asked, "Where is this Montreal River?" Just prior to the river there is a small lake which this year we wondered if it had dried up but when we persevered we found that it, too, was blocked by a large beaver dam with perhaps a one or one and a half foot drop.

Once past the small lake we knew that the river was close by as both the topography and atmos-phere were changing. Finally, rounding the last bend we joined the river and began the slow, lazy paddling down river. As I recall it took at least two hours, perhaps much longer, to paddle from Mendelssohn Lake to the Montreal River.

Beef and Baron claim to have beaten the Czar and Jester to the Montreal but such an outlandish claim would never hold up in court...especially the King's court which has been known for mak-ing astute decisions. In fact, the King's decision to go to Greenland appears to have been based upon his intimate knowledge of his followers' inability to get along for a full week.

We were headed for Indian Narrows and the one campsite listed on the maps and mentioned in the guide. To my surprise, the campsite was enough different when viewed from the river that I missed it. I recalled a muddy bank and an obvious opening.

Baron and Beef Stew redeemed themselves for their second-place finish in the race for the Mont-real by spying what appeared to them to be the opening to the campsite. Since campsites are ei-ther few and far between or non-existent (depending upon your needs and standards) they were encouraged them to check it out, as we did not want to go down river and have to paddle back upstream as we had done in 1991.

Once Dick was on the river bank he recognized the site, although the grass had grown up in many places and encroached upon the tent site area. Also, a tree had fallen across the open area creating a "front room" and a "bed room" look.

An adjacent field in which some large groups had setup camp years ago was not so overgrown that pitching tents in this area would prove to be a chore. Out front, where we stayed, perhaps three tents could have been pitched but that would prevent an evening fire in such a confined area. This site was quite grassy in 1991 and the bugs were fierce. In our preparations for the trip we even thought carrying the extra weight of a bug bomb might be worth carrying over the Men-delssohn portage.

Sometime during our tent setup and supper preparation we discovered a snake coiled in the shade of the tree trunk created by the fallen tree. Not to worry, since I was paired with Beef for that last night in the bush, I felt secure. Beef snores so loud that the vibrations would prevent a nighttime visit by any animal, including the snake.

About 5:30 PM. Friday our preliminary supper tasks were interrupted by two fellows who were looking for the campsite so they could stop for lunch. They were traveling without a watch and fit the picture painted in an article King recommended entitled, "Dave's Rules for Timeless Travel". The gist of it was to enjoy the trip without the pressures of having to be at a certain place at a cer-tain time.

These guys finally caught on that something was amiss by our reaction to their asking permission to stop at the site for lunch at 5:30 P.M. One guy finally said something like, "I'll bite. What time is it?" They indicated that they were musicians from Guelph and were heading back to Mowat Land-ing that evening. We guessed that it would be a three hour paddle depending upon the condi-tions of both nature and paddler.

These guys were also paddling without the MNR map, relying only on Hap's book and asked where they could buy one when they saw our copies. Admitting they had missed a turn some-where on their route from Makobe Lake and another party had to straighten them out, they were eager to learn where they could get the more detailed map but they figured when they arrived in Temagami it would be late and the shops would be closed.

Knowing we had a potentially long day on Saturday Stu disappeared into the tent about 8 P.M. claiming he was organizing his pack so he'd be first in the canoe on our last day. I think he was attempting to show us that he was still the "royal first assistant to the King" and we should treat him with the appropriate dignity and respect. Funny, all week long the rest of us thought that we were treating him with the dignity and respect due to one who bought into all of the King's antics in those earlier years. Even Czar parodied Stu's singing, which should provide the attentive reader with sufficient clue that we had a throwback from the past. In fact, I think there were times when we wanted to throw him back.

Sometime between 8 and 8:30, Stu became silent so I thought that he had taken the orange trowel and headed for the woods. No, for as I entered the tent to get an early start on my sleep, I found Stu sleeping. Soon I was laying awake listening to the sound of sawing wood drone throughout the Montreal valley. When the snoring abated, I then had to listen to the Baron and Czar waxing eloquently about the next day's events, including the lashing of canoes and all manner of engi-neering theory.

Soon the conversation drifted to the merits of their paddling with either the Jester, the Beefer or the King. It sounded sinister, at least what I could hear above the roar of the low flying floatplane which circled our campsite. Oh, I just checked my notes and it was not a plane. It was Stu sleeping next to me.

Saturday, 7/25/98, Montreal River to Mowat Landing
This last morning, we planned to get an even earlier start in order to paddle down to Latchford on the Montreal so we were up at 5 A. M. and Czar, within minutes, had his coffee water going on the stove.

Lashing the two Swift Temagami 17' canoes together using three saplings and parachute cord remnants took little time and we were soon paddling down the Montreal River in an upbeat mood despite a sky that was spitting at us. Although many people lash canoes with the idea of wind sail-ing down a lake or river, our aim was different as we wanted to

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
3 National Topo maps 1:50,000 cover this route and it is possible to complete this route with just one of the three. Lady Evelyn 41 P/8 covers most of the critical sections while two maps cover the northern tip. Cobalt 31 M/5 covers the Montreal River and Mowat Landing but this is a straightforward paddle covered on the MNR Canoe Routes Planning Map or the Chrismar Temagami 1 map. Elk Lake 41 P/9 covers the very northern tip of the route which is also covered by the MNR Canoe Routes Planning Map and the Chrismar Te-magami 1 map.
Other Maps: 
Chrismar Temagami 1 covers all but the southern portion near the portage out of Ferguson Bay into Lake Temagami’s North Arm but it is so close virtually all details needed to successfully complete this trip are included.
Special Comments: 

The trip was undertaken in summer of 1998 and we encountered few other parties. We had our pick of campsites on most lakes with the exception of Diamond where we found most sites in the eastern end north of Sharp Rock portage in use.

On Sucker Gut, Hobart, Bergeron, Skull and the Montreal River we were the only group paddling and were able to choose our sites each day.

Comments regarding portages: Although the Skull - Mendelssohn portage is long it is not difficult as it is quite level with few exceptions. During this trip in '98 we had no problems other than walking in the morning dampness after a late afternoon thunderstorm the day before.

In 2002 however, as reported in other trip logs we encountered the beaver flood and in the middle of the portage near the creek which is shown on the Chrismar Temagami 1 map we had to reload the canoes and track them for several hundred feet. There was enough rocks, logs or hard ground to keep us from sinking past our knees and we wore Tevas for this stretch.

Just before the campsite described by Hap Wilson on the north short of the Montreal River at Indian Narrows there is an island site which we missed in '98 but easily found in '02. Though dry and the shore is a mud bank, it provides adequate space for 2 or 3 tents.