The Perfect Launch Pad for Your Temagami Paddling Trip

By Jennifer McCartney March 27, 2017

Smoothwater Outfitters & Ecolodge has been in the wilderness business since 1985—it’s the Temagami region’s longest continually operating canoe outfitter. Located on James Lake just off Highway 11, it’s situated amidst some of the best fishing, camping, hiking, and canoeing Ontario has to offer.

“It is a beautiful, remote, highlands region filled with lakes and rivers and Ontario’s two highest points of land,” says Johanna Kilbridge, co-manager of the lodge with partner Francis Boyes. Which is why the area a must-visit destination for travellers from all over the world. And Smoothwater Lodge is ready for them—with its light-filled, cozy guest rooms, locally-sourced cuisine, and even a reference library, it’s the perfect launch pad for a paddling adventure up north.

A One-Stop Shop, Great for Beginners

Smoothwater offers a one-stop shop for everything you’ll need on your canoe trip. That means in addition to convenient lodging on site, the company offers varying levels of outfitting services for visitors including an “all inclusive” option.

Beginners, rejoice! This means your food, gear, and canoe are all provided at daily, per-person rate. Homemade “cuisine packs” will keep you satisfied at the end of a long day of paddling and practical, essential gear will ensure that you’ve got everything you need to get by—including all your kitchen supplies, a first aid kit, and water bottles along with water purification tablets. And don’t forget your whistle—the Coast Guard mandates that every canoe must have one on board. In addition to the gear, canoe, and meals, the lodge offers a number of other handy services to make your trip planning easier.

Hesitant about taking your car or truck up those remote logging roads? Smoothwater’s shuttle service can transport your group over the rough terrain to your departure point. Need a Park permit? Permits for the six nearby Provincial wilderness Parks are available for purchase at the lodge. And remember to check out their library of maps and guidebooks to help you plan your trip–or let the knowledgeable staff do it for you.

The longtime Temagami residents on staff will help you design a trip according to your timeline and abilities. This includes Johanna’s father John Kilbridge who helps out when he’s not busy constructing and repairing canoes for his Temagami Canoe Company.  The co-owner, Francis Boyes, is also lifelong canoe-tripper and founding director of the conservation organization Friends of Temagami. These experts can answer questions and ensure that your trip goes off without a hitch.

A restful sleep and Canadian cuisine

Smoothwater Lodge offers a variety of comfortable accommodations. Choose between the animal-themed rooms like the Bear Den or the Otter House (wild animals not included) or book a bunk house or tent platform for as little as $10 per person. During the day guests can hang out in the main hall that’s outfitted with comfortable leather chairs and sofas, art and antiques, and floor to ceiling windows overlooking that famous Temagami scenery—which is the reason you’re here, right?

The lodge strives for delicious but unpretentious food. The cuisine is Canadian, seasonal, and locally sourced when possible. Sit down to dinner and your carrots, rosemary, or lamb shank may all come from just a few kilometres away—or even from the lodge’s own garden. So be sure to sit down and enjoy a big breakfast before you head off onto the water. You’ll be preparing your own meals once your camping trip begins!

Racing toward 2017

The lodge also organizes and sponsors the White Bear Challenge Canoe Race, part of the yearly Temagami Canoe Festival that takes place in July. Check the company’s website soon for offers and packages relating to the 2017 event. Participants must paddle (and portage) a 16 kilometre route.

Register in advance for $50 per team…and start dreaming of a Northeastern Ontario adventure! Or feel free to take it slow. Plan your own trip at your own pace through some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery. As the Smoothwater website puts it, “Stars, pure water, old growth pines, a canoe – it doesn’t get any better, or more Canadian.”

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