View topic - Donald Lake Loop - SW Temagami area

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PostPosted: September 21st, 2012, 2:43 pm 
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Location: Montreal, QC
Donald Lake Loop – 54 km paddle / 3065 m total portage distance over 13 portages.
Leisurely 5 days / 4 nights including 2 nights on one campsite
Start/finish: Sportsman’s Lodge on Kukagami Lake
Waterways paddled: Kukagami Lake, Carafel Creek, Maskinonge Lake, Rice Lake, Lower Matagamasi Lake, Edna Lake, Karl Lake, McCarthy Bay, Gold Lake, Colin Scott Lake, Donald Lake, Kukagami Lake.

This was beautiful early September trip, after the dissipation of the Labour Day buzz. No bugs, warm summerlike weather with a hint of autumn on the way. The water was still very warm for excellent swimming.

The trip started by driving to the Sportsman’s Lodge through steady rain. It kept the dust down on the gravel road in. By the time we hit the water after lunch the rain stopped shortly after. We did not meet any paddlers or campers on the entire trip, and only one boater returning from his cottage on big Maskinonge Lake. All portages were easy to locate and in good shape. The campsites we stayed at were very clean. The reputedly A1 campsite at the north end of Donald on a peninsula on the south shore lived up to the hype, however it appears to be well used but clean. Firewood had to be found from further away.

Day 1 (half day) – 12 km paddle / 790 m total portage distance over 4 portages, campsite on the outlet end of Carafel Lake.

Day 2 – 15 km paddle / 25 m portage, campsite on Rice Lake

Day 3 – 10 km paddle / 1250 m portage distance over 7 portages, campsite on the north end of Donald Lake.

Day 4 – Stay put and enjoy the day. Bushwack hike to cliff lookout over north end of Donald Lake. Exploring the small bay at the top of Donald and woodsy walk to Stanley Lake.

Day 5 – 17 km paddle / 1000 m portage. Return to Sportsman’s Lodge.

As fate would have it the first 2 days had moderate northerly winds as we headed northward. Paddling up Maskinonge required some routing strategy. The last 2 days had very strong southerly winds gusting over 50 km/h, as we headed south on Donald and Kukagami Lake. We earned our stripes fighting our way back to the Sportsman’s Lodge amidst steady rollers and hat removing gusts.

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PostPosted: September 21st, 2012, 2:47 pm 
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Joined: July 2nd, 2010, 8:47 pm
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Location: Montreal, QC
Some more trip pictures:

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PostPosted: September 21st, 2012, 6:26 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Hanmer, Ontario Canada
Awsome pictures . Thanks for posting . scouter Joe


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PostPosted: September 21st, 2012, 8:12 pm 
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Joined: September 8th, 2009, 8:29 am
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Location: Burlington, Ontario
Very nice pics. Thanks for sharing.

Take care,
Cousin Pete

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PostPosted: July 6th, 2014, 9:15 am 
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Joined: September 5th, 2005, 6:31 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Phelpston ON.
We are planning to do this exact route in a couple of weeks.... only we are looking at doing it clockwise. (We have 5 days).

Besides the comment about the steep hill on the Donald-Colin Scott portage, are there any other comments against going CW?

Can anyone give an estimate of travel time between Sportsman's Lodge and the northern-Donald 'peninsula' site that paddle4fun stayed on?

The idea of a double overnight is nice- does anyone have a suggestion on other good double locations (good site/swim/hike area) besides the Donald site?

Just looking for some experiences.


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PostPosted: July 6th, 2014, 3:47 pm 
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Joined: July 2nd, 2010, 8:47 pm
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Location: Montreal, QC
Doing the same route in the clockwise direction shouldn’t be a problem. The steep hill on the portage into Donald from Colin Scott Lake is a smooth incline of solid granite. Perhaps it could get greasy if wet?

On our last day from the northern Donald Lake campsite to the Sportsman Lodge, it took us about 6.5 hrs total time. It is about 17 km paddle with one 1000m portage. That included stopping to explore a campsite at the south end of Donald, double carry portage into Kukagami Lake, leisurely lunch and swim on Kukagami Lake and fighting 50 km/h head winds from the south paddling back to the Lodge. We even took the short cut “lift over” at the south end peninsula to escape some of the strong winds. If in a hurry and with favorable winds it could be done in less time, say 5 to 5.5 hours maybe.

The other interest area that could be “double camped” is along the rocky falls and pools between Karl Lake and McCarthy Bay.

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PostPosted: July 6th, 2014, 4:23 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
A few years I camped on Donald Lake at that spooky camp. From there it was about 5 hours solo..in the pouring rain. Ergo I didn't sightsee.

The steep portage is a potential disaster slide going down.. Coming back up for the second load was way easier. Either way you will have to deal with down and up on it as single carrying it isn't a great idea.

The 1000 meter portage was very nice.. I even stepped in bear poop cause I saw the pooper but he fled. I was paying attention to him..not it.

No wind to fight in my case.


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2014, 8:38 pm 
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Joined: September 5th, 2005, 6:31 pm
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Location: Phelpston ON.
Thanks guys- sounds decent.
littleredcanoe... "Spooky camp"?. I'm listening.... Lol


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2014, 8:22 am 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
There was a cabin that had a woodpile but the cabin was not in good shape The woodpile was.. and there was a very large quilt outside that looked like a bear had torn it apart..feathers everywhere.


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2014, 8:50 am 
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Joined: September 5th, 2005, 6:31 pm
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Location: Phelpston ON.
Interesting... nothing like an up-kept woodpile beside a dilapidated cabin to make you go 'hmmmmm'.

I'll file a report on our return... unless a bear shrouded in a featherless blanket has his way with us ;)


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PostPosted: July 13th, 2014, 12:42 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2006, 12:32 pm
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Location: Peterborough
We camped at the peninsula site on Donald a few years ago. One of our trip members had horrible dreams that night and swears up and down that Donald lake has bad juju. He said he will never camp on that lake again. Another Donald "spooky" story to add to the collection....


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PostPosted: January 5th, 2020, 10:24 am 
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Joined: August 8th, 2017, 4:03 am
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https://www.canoedaddy.com/Donald-Lake-Loop-6-Days/


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PostPosted: January 8th, 2020, 10:38 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2008, 2:06 pm
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Location: GTA
Sperras' linked trip report is a good one. Thanks for posting/linking. Crazy that in July you saw so few people on that loop. I've only been through once, but it appeared that the north site on Donald Lake would be constantly occupied.


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PostPosted: January 11th, 2020, 6:50 pm 
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Joined: January 5th, 2020, 10:11 am
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Here is a trip report of the same route that I made:

https://www.canoedaddy.com/Donald-Lake-Loop-6-Days/


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2020, 5:26 am 
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Joined: January 6th, 2020, 8:03 am
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great photos. Love the loop.

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