By Brian Back
It is easy to understand how this secluded route, paralleling the portage-lite Wolf-to-Chiniguchi canoe highway, got no respect. The sweat of one portage, over the Wolf Lake Ridge, just seemed too much — and the route was forgotten.
Mike McIntosh of Friends of Temagami contemplated tackling it for years. Like so many other routes resurrected in the last decade (e.g. Solace-Hamlow), this one got attention after the publication of Craig Macdonald's Nastawgan map in 1993. This summer McIntosh went in with his axe and re-cut the portages.
Lakeland Lodge on Lake Wanapitei was the primary canoe outfitter in the area in the 1940s and 1950s. This nastawgan was one of its primary routes. It was likely used for trapping until the 1960s.
It lay abandoned until Bob Henderson, leading McMaster University trips, travelled it four or five times from the mid-1990s to 2001. In 2007, Sid Bredin soloed the route. He found most of the trails, though heavily grown over.
Both pathfinders used a new logging road over the ridge and bushwhacked to and from the water. McIntosh uncovered an old shorter route over (southern one on map), though some of it is now under the road. In 2011, the nastawgan was found and restored in 2012. It is the shortest and easiest passage, particularly as it no longer climbs the top of the ridge.
If you are a fan of white quartzite lakes like Wolf, you will find two — Rathwell and Laundry — and virgin pine forest on this getaway from the busy Wolf-to-Chiniguchi corridor.
BACKGROUND: Wolf Lake Old Growth
POSTED: 11.03.08 UPDATED 06.08.2012