Day 3

Sunday, September 16, 4:17pm Anima-Nipissing Lake

We're here. Opposite the portage to Whitewater Lake from whence we came today. It's sunny, with a strong wind blowing up from the south. Probably 20C. Gorgeous. Our site is beautiful, if well-used. Anima-Nipissing is a really big lake but we seem to have it all to ourselves today.

This morning we were up at our usual 6:40am. The sky was looking blue and the rising sun burned mist off the water.

We spent a little extra time drying condensation off the tarp and the tent fly. But we were still on the water shortly after 8am.

A quick paddle from Turner Island brought us to the first portage of the day. Go round the north side of the island in the inlet with the portage. The south side is too boggy to go through. Apparently there is a put-in that's beside this inlet that gives you another few hundred metres to walk. We didn't spot it.

The put in is quite mushy. But once you're away from it the trail is a fairly civilized one and only 150m long. After that, we did a short paddle across a nameless lake whereupon we came to the 1520. It's the longest portage on this trip though not truly all that long. It was Hap's writeup that had me worried:

The trail is strenuous, passing over several small knolls, through minor wet spots and through an open marsh area.

It's the last bit. That "through an open marsh area" bit. Because I was thinking of Chiniguchi and McConnell Bay-Laura Lake. I feared the open swamp area would be nasty if you had to actually go through it. See in Algonquin, you come upon that sort of thing and think "I must be lost because there's no way they would ever expect me to go through that." But these are the Nastawgan and so of course they expect you to go through that. And Hap's writeup is silent on the question of whether you can skirt the swamp or whether you must slog through it.

So the knolls were hilly. The wet spots minor. But when we got there, travelers had found a muddy if human-supporting path skirting the worst of the open swamp area. All that anxiety for nothing.

Eagle Lake is lovely. We didn't check out the campsite though. Nor did we do the scramble up to the lookout.

The route out of Eagle is a bit of a slog. The Chrismar map indicates an 'L/O' (liftover) of negligible distance. For us it was a stretch of about 200 metres of several beaver dam portages interspersed with walks through a shallow creek dragging the canoe. And that's what we did. Your mileage may vary.

Then there's the 1360. Hap calls this... of the most difficult portage trails, you can expect some ups and downs and a bit of fancy footing over the rocks.

And that was accurate. Martin told me later it was here he learned that 2k is about his limit for portages.

We crossed a logging road on the 1360. Gated and locked no less. I couldn't find it on the map or on the GPS. I wonder what it is. Is it the access road to the lodge we encountered later? Maybe Eagle Lake Road itself?

Eagle feeds into Little Eagle and from there into Whitewater is a bit of canoe calisthenics - short paddles through small lakes punctuated by half kilometre or so portages. The trails were easy enough to find and follow but again they were overgrown when we did them and there was a fair bit of deadfall.

There's some sort of hunting/fishing lodge on the second unnamed lake between Little Eagle and Whitewater. This Ottertooth forums thread explains it (Hat tip to Sid Bredin). An ATV trail competes with the portage for your attention. We took the portage. We don't know where the ATV trail goes.

We were on to Whitewater Lake around 1pm after a pause for our peanut butter and jam on wraps lunch. No cutlery, no clean up lunches FTW!

At the east end of Whitewater there were enough fishing skiffs to equip a small armada, reminding me that this part of Temagami is a mixed use area, but the lake itself is lovely. Separating Whitewater and Anima-Nipissing was a 200m portage - our last - that is well maintained, probably because that's how people get to their fishing boats.

An easy but bouncy 20 minute paddle across the wind brought us across Anima-Nippissing to this site by around 2:30pm.

The site surveys the lake both to the north and south. It's well used, with a lot of evidence of tree cutting and a lot of garbage, people carving their names on the rocks. Particularly bits of rope around trees. It looked like some sort of rope farm. Some campers were clearly in a hurry and frustrated by their knots to they just cut all these lines tied to trees (to do what I have no idea). I took them all down, collected a few tatty bits of clothing and burned them all. There's also a car tire at the site. I drew the line at burning that.

And there's also a trained chipmunk. A very shirty, annoying trained chimpunk.

Dinner is dahl with rice. Hope the chipmunk likes spicy.

Hope the wind holds for tomorrow's paddle.

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