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tripping beginner paddlers 7 days
Lake Temagami
Sunday, August 19, 2001 to Saturday, August 25, 2001
length: 65.0km, 7 days
difficulty: beginner

leader: Keith
participants: Beth Baskin, Keith Nunn, Liam Nunn, Morgan Baskin,

August 19
Beth: We left Toronto early this morning after taking all of saturday to prepare, but we are becoming more efficient believe it or not.

By five o'clock we still had not heard from our travelling companion, Olga (a recent joiner) so called her and left a message. By ten o'clock last night we decided it was a family only trip. We had to do a bit of repacking, but not too bad.

August 20
Keith: We drove to Finlayson Point P.P. outside of the town and stayed there Sunday night. On the way up we saw pretty unbelievable traffic heading south. It was almost completely stopped around Barrie.

We hit the water in the late morning after doing a bit of last minute shopping (including an attempt to find a wee paddle for Liam). The Central Lake access road is gravel, but is otherwise indistinguishable from a highway.

Beth: After some waiting for others to clear the landing we got out on the water.

We had a brief paddle to Mattagama Point for lunch which was a pretty stop. We paddle up into Kokoko Bay spotting houseboats, power boats and a few canoes. The wind came up in the late afternoon testing my stern skills. I feel more confident, but not skilled. Working on blisters too.

Stopped at the next available site, much to my relief. Good camp, a chance to catch up on lost sleep from last night. That is until Liam woke up screaming.

At least we are on holidays and have lots of time to relax and we did hear an owl once it was quiet again.

August 21 morning
Beth: Our second morning out started with great excitement as a family (later reading suggested that they were probably a group of adults abandoning the youngsters to figure out breakfast on their own - Keith) of five loons were in the water right off our campsite. Keith and Morgan saw them up close and took some photos. Meanwhile, Liam created his own excitement in the tent by peeing over things.

Beth: It is nice to be on our own. We had a slowish start this morning, but there is no need to worry about anyone else's schedule.
We paddled to the end of Kokoko Bay and made the portage in Kokoko Lake. It was a short, pretty portage, but littered with aluminum boats.

After lunch on a nearby island it was onward to the portage out of Kokoko Lake into Ferguson Bay on Lake Temagami. We found a good site and got most things done before dark.

There was a beautiful crescent moon. One night when we stay put 2 days we will keep Morgan up to see the stars!

August 23 afternoon
Keith: A pleasant afternoon after a stormy night.

Looking back two days to the portages into and out of Kokoko Lake, it's nice to know that we can do it with just us. Portages mean a double carry with me double packing one trip and take as long as a triple carry because we can't leave Liam with Morgan yet, but it was fine.

Morgan named our first site on Lake Temagami "Devil's Campsite" because we were camped across from Devil Mountain. She felt a need to paint this on the rock at the landing. this kept her busy while we broke camp.

Cous cous delight (from the Wanipitae cookbook 2) made a great breakfast, but I think I added too much ginger. it could also do with raisins or something when served as breakfast.

The wind had come up quite a bit, and although Beth is doing great in the stern, we agreed that I'd stern this morning.

We cut across the mouth of Ferguson Bay and found a rocky passage behind Redpine Island. we had to get out and wade, but it was a beautiful spot and got us out of the wind for a while.

As we paddled up L. Temagami we passed a couple of islands across from Raccoon Point. we never agreed as to why Raccoon Point was so named. However, the islands were dubbed Garbage Is. and Compost Is. by Morgan because of their proximity to Raccoon Point.

We did some point-hopping as we headed north which led us into a beautiful little bay on the western shore for a rest stop.

The wind made us reconsider our planb to cross the Sharp Rock portage and we found a great site just before the last leg up to the portage. The only thing that detracts from it is the close proximity of a cottage. Mercifully, no one is there right now so we can ignore it.

We had pan-baked pierogis, an excellent, but time-consuming and dish intensive meal. We also cooked the chapatis for breakfast.

Thunder approached, so we washed, packed quickly and battened down the hatches for the storm. Morgan found the process very funny from her vantage point in the tent. She made up a little rhyme about my toing and froing around the tent:

"He goes from door to door,
carrying things galore."

The storm was a doozy. Not quite as bad as our last night at Frontenac in spring 2000, but load, driving, and nearly overhead. We all jumped a number of times. One can get kinda scared sitting on a point in a thunderstorm. I read to Morgan to provide us all with a distraction. I had to shout to be heard over the storm.

This morning was grey and grim. A good hot breakfast of scrambled tofu and chapatis and we set off for a day trip over the Sharp Rock portage.

Upon arriving at the portage, we changed our minds. The portage is extrememly rough and low water has lengthened it considerably. To top it off, the sky was clearing. Suddenly, returning to the site for lunch and a swim seemed much more appealing.

Morgan was bow paddler on the return trip and Beth and I took turns in the stern seat. We may be ready to take two boats next year.

August 24 evening
Keith: We had our longest paddling day today. About 16km under beautiful blue skies.

Last night we had a great meal of three kinds of mushrooms and tvp in a mustard sauce with couscous and mixed veg. A bottle of red wine topped it off. A very fine repast indeed.

As we paddled from Squirrel Point to Witch Bay (our site tonight) we cruised some amazing clifs. there was, of course, lots of pretty rock, but the lichens were really incredible. The orange ones were especially beautiful. The reflection of the water on the rock set everything off nicely.

Our site today is very nice in many ways -- close to the beach, beach is shallow and sandy. However, moments after we arrived, so did a houseboat and eight guys. They are trying hard to be quiet, but are hard to ignore. I crossed the peninsula to ask the boat over there to turn off their radio. They seem to have complied and I can hardly hear them.

It's been a great trip and I really can't complain, but it is disheartening to land in the midst of Sauble Beach after a week of relative silence and having paddled 16km to get there.

Undoubtedly, Dave and some other VVs would be over there making friends, talking fish and bumming smokes and beer, but I just want to ignore them. I'm not sure which of us has the healthier attitude.

August 26 morning
Beth: Yesterday morning we paddled to the sunny side of Witch Bay peninsula for a photo session -- specifically of Liam in wetsuit with boat. He was much more interested in playing with stones: taking them out of the lake and putting them in the boat. Keith tried the timer for some family shots. We then paddled to the take out with a couple of wind and snack breaks. The children mostly slept.

I sterned for all but the crossing of the Northeast arm. The wind had picked up and it is about a kilometre of open water. I am feeling much more capable and confident in the stern, but there are some times when I would rather have Keith back there.

Just before the landing we met a chatty fisherman who had been coming up for 14 years and thought it was the best place to fish. At the take out we arrived in the midst of a camp leaving. There were people and luggage everywhere.

The transition from wilderness to people is always hard. We headed into town for groceries which we ate for lunch outside the information centre. Had a bit of a wander on the waterfront and headed to Finlayson for the evening.

When we were packing up at Witch Bay yesterday I picked up our hats to take them to the canoe and startled a mouse. Keith took some pictures of it between Morgan's feet as it figured out where to go next.

Keith: It's gone from pissing to pouring over the last hour and soon we're just going to have to face it and get out of here. I'm glad we have a car to sort it out in. It would suck to have the last day out on trip be like this.

We were very lucky with the weather on this trip. Pretty glorious paddling weather for the most part. And the Temagami area really is a beautiful place.

posted by: Keith Nunn

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