The Lady Evelyn trail is a beautiful canoeing trip with breath-taking scenery, great fishing and even greater photo-ops. The highlight of the trip is the hike (climb) to the top of Maple Mountain (Ontario's third highest peak) where one will find an old fire tower still in good enough condition to climb. Standing at about 30m above the top of the mountain, which is about 300m above the lake at the bottom, the view is spectacular, you can actually trace your path back through the lakes from the top of the tower.
The trail starts at Mowat Landing, crosses the Montreal River to the first (and only) portage (250m around a dam) and it's smooth sailing from there down the Lady Evelyn River, across Lady Evelyn Lake (both parts - see the map) through Sucker Gut Lake, into Hobart Lake and around the creek-bend into Tupper Lake at the bottom of Maple Mountain.
Aside from the first portage, the only other hitches in paddling come between Hobart and Tupper where you have a lift-over a beaver dam into Tupper. A real treat if you love to paddle without interruptions. The trip I have just explained is an in-an-out type trip where we traced our steps back out the way we came in to avoid portages. Hap Wilson's "Temagami Canoe Routes" book details a loop style trip that continues up through Anvil Lake and back around to Mowat Landing (see map) but has considerably more portages (as in more than one).
There are nummerous campsites all along the trip, all of which are very comfortable. My perosnal favorites are:
1)At the mouth of Lady Evelyn River and,
2)On the Eastern side of the narrows leading into Sucker Gut lake.
Smoothwater/Lady Evelyn Provincial Park's boundaries start at the second body of Evelyn, so about the first half of the trip into Maple Mountain is on Crown Land and during busy seasons, you can expect to see many people out and about until you hit the motor-boat inaccesable "back-waters" of Sucker Gut, Hobart and Tupper.
A group of friends and I went in the early spring (first week in May) and saw no-one the whole trip. Very remote, very beautiful.
The trail to the top of Maple Mountain is a tough climb - Uphill most of the way until you get to the top then it turns sharply downhill from there... There is a lake about half way up aptly named Half-Way Lake where you can filter water for the rest of the climb. We took our lunch with us the first day we climbed it and had a great picnic at the top. It took us about 2 hours to climb at a leaisurly pace. We went back and climbed it a second day to see how fast we could do it - the fastest of the group did it in 53 min. Second fastest was 1 hour.
The weather on the way in was unbelevable - 30C eveyday with bright sunshine. On our way out though, we found out how fast the waves on Lady Evelyn can pick up in a good stiff wind. As we were paddling across the top of the second body of Evelyn, the wind was blowing up from the South and really pushing us around. It can really get gusty too.
Overall a great trip and very enjoyable and relaxing with only one portage.
Hwy 11 N to (just south) of New Liskeard, West on Mowat Landing Road to the end (about 45 min) and get wet! I highly recommend getting the topo and Hap Wilson's book - both are great assets on this trip.
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