09-Oct-2002 -- According to the topo maps I had (41-I/16 is the most useful for this confluence), we planned to camp nearby, and make use of a portage trail that went almost right to the confluence for a round-trip hiking distance of about 6km.
We started out by canoe from the town of Temagami late Monday, but only made about 2km of progress, as we were paddling into strong winds. We camped at N47 03.389 W49 49.134 for the night. It was a very chilly night too, with the temperature getting down to -8C, and a bit of snow fell after dinner.
Tuesday morning started off with a beautiful sunrise, which made up for the frost which covered everything in camp. We were on the water by 9am, headed towards the confluence. The day was sunny and comfortably warm, and we kept a leisurely pace as we made our way down the Northeast Arm.
We camped at N46 58.515, W80 00.442 around 4pm, and scouted the area by canoe for the start of the trail we would use tommorrow. The maps indicated that the trail started from shore, but a short canoe trip past the likely area didn't produce any results, so we changed our plan: we would hike west from camp until we popped out on the trail, then follow it up to the confluence.
Wednesday morning started off rainy and cool, and we left camp at 11am. The forest was much thicker than we were expecting, with many deadfalls and swampy sections. Two hours and 600m later, we were just about to give up when we finally came across what might be an old unmaintained trail, but we weren't sure because of all the growth. It was then that Jen suggested that the map may be using old data, and that the mapmakers didn't know the trail was no longer maintained. We decided to give it a shot, anything to get out of the swamp and deadfalls.
Once on the trail, we moved much faster, although there were areas where the trail seemed to disappear for 10-20m at a time, and it would take us a few minutes to find where it resumed again.
The farther north we went along the trail, the more overgrown it became. At first, it was 4m wide, with some small leafy plants on the path. By the time we were near the confluence, there were 3-4m pine trees and many other tall plants obscuring the way and the trail had narrowed to just over 1m wide.
We also passed through several small boggy sections, with Jen getting an extra helping of mud over the tops of her boots :( In the end, everyone's boots were completely soaked through, regardless of how well waterproofed they were.
We followed the trail until we were approximately 500m south of the confluence. We were at our deadline to start returning before dark, but as we were so close, we decided to push it. We left the trail and headed directly north, hoping to hit the confluence within the next 30 minutes. It was in this area that we encountered the very densest of the trees, and many four letter words were uttered by me during this section.
About 150m from the confluence, the trees opened up again, and I was able to keep a lock on the gps all the way until we reached the confluence at 3:30pm. Yay! Nature cooperated as well, as the pouring rain that had dogged us all day stopped and was replaced by clear sunny skies :) We took our pictures and immediately headed back for camp. It took us a bit to find the trail again, but once on it, we made very good time.
We decided to follow the trail all the way to its southern end, just to see where it did come out. What we found was that the trail did indeed come out to the shore at N46 58.511 W80 00.975, but that the trail post had been cut down by a chainsaw many years ago. The area was also littered with bottles and rusted cans :(
Remembering the fun we had crashing through the bush, we opted instead to walk along the rocky shore back to camp. Some sections were a bit tricky to avoid getting a wet foot, and Jen would simply walk right through these sections, where I would climb over trees and do just about anything else to avoid the water. I may as well have done the same as her, we both had soaked feet, and it would have saved me time.
Tired but happy, we got back to camp, ate our dinner, and got some well-deserved rest.
The next day, Q playfully brought up the idea of renting a small outboard to get back home with, and I immediately jumped on it, as my shoulders were a bit stiff and I wasn't looking forward to more paddling. Jen and Sally also agreed. It took us a while to find a place that was still open this late in the season, but we finally found one that was, Can-USA Vacations. They had already put their boats into storage, but were kind enough to take one out and prep it for us. We tied up the canoes to the boat, and were back in Temagami in no time :)
Since it was still light out, we decided to go for the geocache in the area as well. We thought we had taken the wrong road at first, but after the consulting the maps, we continued down the road to the cache area. The road was a bit rough for the car we were riding in, and the underside of Q's car got bumped pretty hard a few times. We found the cache just as it was starting to get dark, so we entered our log and started our long journey back home.