Stopping for beer and chips on a portage!

We didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of the legendary “Mugwump” or Old Tessie” of Lake Temiskaming, but after four days of paddling the gigantic lake we didn’t doubt the existence of such a monster. Lake Temiskaming achieves a maximum depth of 720 feet and averages out at 120 feet; a natural habitat for a creature first described in a 1979 article in the North Bay Nugget by the Mayor of New Liskeard, Jack Dent, as a very old Native legend about a “mugwump” (meaning fearless sturgeon) measuring over 20 feet long.

Needless to say, we were happy to reach where the lake narrows prior to the town of Temiskaming. Not only was the rough waters finally easier to content with – and the likeness of meeting Mugwump greatly diminished – we were also closing in on where we could resupply our evening campfire “refreshments.” The town of Temiskaming had a gas station and corner store on the Quebec side – and as anyone from Ontario would know, you can buy beer at any corner store in Quebec. I love Quebec!

The stopping for supplies matched the route as well. The town of Temiakaming marked our only portage of the trip where we had to carry around the hydro dam. The kids loved the idea of stopping along a portage for chips, pop and ice cream. What kids wouldn’t?

The shortest way around the dam was to hug the Ontario shore, cautiously paddle over the protective floating buoys and creep along a few hundred meters to a rocky take-out. From there it’s only a 110 meter portage along the road to the dock at the base of the dam. This short-cut had a couple of problems, however. The kids didn’t want to paddle over the safety zone marked by the floating buoys and the Quebec corner store was on the opposite shoreline. So we played it safe and took out at the public marina and docks on the left shoreline, carried along the road and park on the Quebec side, crossed the bridge, cut through the municipal depot area and finished off at the public launch not far from the Algonquin Canoe Company and Outfitter store.

The carry measured over 700 meters and care had to be taken crossing the busy road. But stopping for chunk food and beer between the first and second carry for the ultimate treat for everyone.