Trip Reports

Chiniguchi 2012

Chiniguchi August 2012

Chiniguchi is crown land to the east of Sudbury with beautiful scenery and old growth red pines.  With no parking or camping fees, it is popular with private individuals and with many kids camps.  With no campsite reservations and limited parking at the put-in, you keep your fingers crossed that things will go your way. (See photos at end.)






The Chiniguchi trip had 6 cancellations (including the original trip leader).  So it became a trip of 4 paddlers including 2 new members.  Just back from French River trip, I unpacked, cleaned and immediately repacked all my camping gear in preparation for Chiniguchi.

We set out at 7am on Sunday August 12.  It sprinkled on and off  during the drive up.  It did not rain, however, at lunch or at the Matagamasi Lake put-in and it stopped raining by the time we reached the first campsite.  At the put-in, there was no problem with parking.  A group of girl campers,  after a two week paddle from Temagami, were waiting for their bus. They were grimy but proud of their accomplishment.  At our campsite, a group of boy campers across from us were going out the next day.  A group of 20 or so girl campers plus leaders paddled by us at the start of their trip.  We would be seeing this group repeatedly over the next week. 

I quickly discovered that I was paddling with a team of efficient, enthusiastic and hard working campers.  Tents and the tarp were quickly pitched and firewood was rapidly gathered.  

The first campsite had a very impressive fire pit.  The fire ban was lifted the week before so we were able to have a nice campfire each night.  

Monday, it was completely calm and the lake was like a mirror.  We saw no one on the lake or on the first two portages, a 350m followed by a 360m.  The first portage was somewhat wet and rocky.  The second portage was uphill most of the way.  After completing the second portage, we went for a most welcome swim at Paradise Lagoon with its emerald waters and a waterfall split by a pyramid rock.  We then had a typical lunch of cheese, dried sausage, sun dried tomatoes and wraps before continuing on our way.  We met the girl campers coming back to swim at Paradise Lagoon.  We lined our way up from Silvester Lake into Wolf Lake.  Since the campsites on the west shore were taken, we headed for the cliff campsite on the east shore.  We found that the girl campers had taken the north end of this campsite but that the south end was still available.  We decided to leave the 80 pound food barrels down by the canoes rather than lug them up to the top of the cliff.  It was a very nice campsite with views over the lake and large red pines behind the campsite.  After we arrived, we saw many other groups looking for a campsite.  We decided to stay 2 nights since we had been lucky enough to get such a nice campsite.  The next day we hiked up the ridge behind the campsite and then returned to try our luck at fishing.  Four small mouth bass were quickly caught.  They were delicious for lunch!

Wednesday, we packed up and paddled for a few minutes over to the next portage, a 190m one.  The start was steep, but then the rest was no problem.  We paddled up Dewdney Lake to get to the 540m portage.  Some parts were rocky and a bit wet but quite level.  We then paddled up Chiniguchi Lake and from there into McConnell Bay.  McConnel Bay has a spectacular sand beach with three large campsites.  One was taken by the girl campers who were working on their tans.  We took the eastmost campsite since it was a bit more private, was somewhat above the beach and had more shade.  The male leader of the girl campers seemed desperate for male company so I had a long chat with him about the life of a career camp councillor. He said that the beach had been packed with campers the previous night.   A few of the girls (while holding Barbie dolls!) told me that they were at the camp for two months and were really enjoying this 8 day camping trip.  They were from either the US or England.  A fox appeared and managed to steal a bit of food from the campers.

Thursday was a rest day for us.  The girl campers left to continue along on a circular route.  We had the beach to ourselves.  We had a lot of leftover watery porridge from breakfast so I mixed it with a portion of biscuit mix and half a bag of gorp and then baked it for an hour.  It was delicious with a late morning coffee.  The afternoon was spent fishing, with no success.

Friday we retracted our steps to Wolf Lake but camped this time on the east side.  Many large red pines were admired.  Fishing again was successful and we had the fish for breakfast on Saturday.

Saturday we continued back to Matagamasi Lake and camped about an hour from the take-out at a very nice campsite.  It drizzled on and off but we were blessed with a wonderful rainbow.

Sunday we paddled out in very calm conditions and had an uneventful drive home.


Breakfast Monday.


Calm conditions Monday on Matagamasi Lake.


Paradise Lagoon.


Campfire at cliff campsite on Wolf Lake.


Hike up the ridge above Wolf Lake the next day.


Fresh fish at Wolf Lake.


A shore lunch.


Completing the 540m portage.


Fox at the beach campsite.


Wading out for water at the beach.


Baking a snack from leftover porridge.


Tarp being held out at Wolf Lake using poles left behind by campers at McConnell Bay.


Lining the boats out of Wolf Lake.


Rainbow over Matagamasi Lake.


Mist on water the last morning.


Preparing lots of hot coffee for breakfast.


The paddle back to the take-out, again in very calm conditions.