Monday, October 4, 2010

Trip #13 Sunday Lake to Sproule Lake and back September 2010


 
To say the least 2010 thus far has been a a year of change and being able to adapt to these changes presented a couple opportunities for Blake and I to get into Algonquin park and explore some lakes we had not yet experienced. Just getting back from our August trip we really had no idea we would get another chance to head North this year. It all started one evening when Blake and I were sitting around at my house and we started to talk about doing a short weekend trip and then after a look at the calendar it looked as though we could fit it in this year. Blake was interested in getting some pictures from some of the trails along the highway 60 corridor and and I was interested in checking out a couple lakes. We looked at the map it became obvious that Sproule and Sunday Lakes were going to be the destinations this trip.

Sunday Lake at the put-in from the logging road

Our Mom and Dad had headed up to the park on Wednesday to camp at Rock Lake campground so this was going to work out good for us. Blake and I packed up on Thursday after work and headed for Rock Lake arriving around 22:50 just in time to say hello and get to bed in anticipation of the adventure the following day. We got up around 06:20 on Friday and after a cup or two of coffee we headed to the East gate to get our permit. It had rained hard all night and everything was soaked. We were instructed by the permit office staff to park at the Big Pines Trail parking lot so we drove up the logging road and offloaded all the gear. We decided to both drive the car back to the lot and walk back to the 150m portage that leads down into Sunday Lake. We couldn't`t help but notice that there was at least enough parking at the portage for 4-5 vehicles along the logging road well out of the way of any passing traffic but wanting to do the right thing we obeyed the instructions we were given.

The 150m portage to Sunday Lake was very steep at the beginning but short enough making up for that section. The put-in was great and given that the wind was non existent the short paddle across to the 500m portage into Sproule was smooth. We did stop at the island site on Sunday Lake to investigate for a possible destination on the way out for the last night.


View of sun shining on Sunday Lake from the island site

We made the 500m portage a two tripper due to the muddy conditions and slippery log bridges. The wind picked up considerably between leaving Sunday lake and putting in on Sproule. We paddles straight for the camp site to the North of the Opeongo Lake portage and started to set up camp. Once camp was situated and some lunch was had we decided to head out and try to bushwhack our way to the Big Pines Trail. This proved to be more of a challenge than we were willing to take on and the beaver dams forced us to take a detour and in the end we had to head back to the car to drive to the trails we wanted to hike through. We walked the Spruce Bog Trail first and then the skies opened up putting a damper on Blake`s picture taking.


Sunday Lake looking toawrds the 500m portage into Sproule Lake

Rather than give up on the trails for the day we opted to check out the Visitors Center and this was worth it. The center is a great place for people to get a sense of what a bear or moose would look like up close. The rain didn't let up so we decided to head back to the Sunday lake portage and back into the interior to our site on Sproule.`The rest of the day was spent gathering fire wood and exploring the woods and bogs behind our site. I spent some time fishing and paddling the shoreline looking for animals and birds. Blake worked on a tarp shelter and organized his gear.

Friday evening the fire was going and we waited for the moon to rise so that we could check it out with the spotting scope. Jupiter was also up and with the scope it was easy to spot three of it`s four moons. After awhile the wind picked up and we decided to call it a day. I thought my tent was going to blow clear of the point and end up in the lake with me in it! I have never experienced wind that strong from inside a tent.

Saturday I got up around 06:00 and decided to try some fishing as Blake tried to catch up on some sleep. I trolled the shoreline for about an hour with no luck but I did enjoy the peace and quite. After some breakfast we decided to spend the day hiking and we started with a trip to Titmouse Lake with a side trip on an old logging road to check out a few clearing Blake had identified on Google Earth a few days before we left home. Later in the day we decided to paddle to the 1340m non-maintained portage into the Sunday Creek area and walk it. This portage was more like a game trail but it was really cool to see log bridges covered in an inch of moss as if not to have seen humans for years. The trail had lots of ups and downs and went from spruce bogs to rolling high lands covered in colourful maples. We were greeted at the Sunday Creek by a large blue heron but we spooked it before a picture could be taken.


Sunday Lake from the island site looking back towards the 150m portage

Saturday afternoon we packed up and made our way to Sunday Lake for our last night. Once out on the lake it became clear that someone else had set up on the island site we had scoped out the day before. We decided to stay on the site along the Eastern shore. This site was well protected and would turn out to be a perfect site for our last night. The site had a large rock at the water edge that had served as a backing for the fire pit. We managed to get a small fire going and the rock helped to reflect the heat from the fire back towards us. The rain moved in and we called it a night.

Sunday we got up to more rain and a cool 6 deg C morning. We packed up and headed back to the 150m portage which gets us to the road that leads to the parking lot at the start of Big Pines Trail. Blake took the keys and headed back to get the car which was about 1.5 kms away. I made a few trips bringing the gear up to the logging road. To our surprise there were four cars parked at the start of the portage in the area we were told not to park. If there ever is a next time we will definitely be leaving the vehicle at this spot.