Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trip #18 Linda Lake October 13th -15th 2012

Trip #18 Linda lake October 13th-15th 2012

This trip was out of Source Lake which was our first trip from this access point. We started our trip from the West gate where we obtained our permit. The office staff Kevin was a great help and to make things even better the office was open a hour earlier than we expected. Permit in hand and with great antisipation we headed off down hwy 60 enroute to access point #7 (Source lake). We arrived at the access road which was well marked and was a colourful road with what remained of the fall colours on the trees. The access had plenty of parking and the putin was great as well. The dock at the putin was still covered in the morning frost and I had to remind myself that slipping on the frost and falling either on the dock or in the lake at this point of the trip wouldn't be a good thing. With this in mind extra care was taken to load our gear and ourselves into the 16' Alchemist Myth. Alast we were off on another Algonquin adventure.

Source lake was easily crossed and the first takeout was also nice and sandy. The first portage was a 550m long easily hiked trip into Bruce Lake. We took some time at the start of this portage to figure out how we would proceed with portages this trip. Blake would be the pack and paddle guy and I took the canoe and lifejackets. I decided to utilize a good sized fanny pack this trip to lighten the load in our pack for Blake. I was able to load the fanny pack up with first aid kit, tackle box, some portage snacks, my head light, camera and many other small items. It worked well and made easy access for many items that I would use frequently on this trip.

Bruce Lake was the point at which the skies started to look a bit dark and the wind started to pick up. We stopped briefly at the only site on the lake just out of curiousity. The site would be a nice place to stay for a one nighter if someone was short on time but wanted to experiance backcountry. We crossed Bruce and started off on the 920m portage into Raven lake. This portage brought us through some low lands and some rolling hills and each section provided something differant to take in.

Raven lake was a long narrow lake and was also easily crossed. We spent more and more time looking back at the skies behind us as they grew increasingly dark. Nevertheless we pushed on and hoped for the best.

The next portage was a 550m into Owl lake.
The Owl lake portage was very slippery and presented some log bridges that with wet leaves and frost became hazardous to say the least. Near the end of the portage we encountered two moose along the left side of the trail. I lifted the bow of the canoe and turned to catch a glimpse and just as I did they both ran off up the adjacent hill.

Owl lake was another small lake and we crossed it quickly again keeping a close eye on the clouds moving in behind us to the South.

The last portage of the day was a 1320m into Linda lake. The portage had many wet spots and the leaves made locating slippery roots almost impossible. We arrived at Linda to find very dark clouds over the lake and lots of wind luckily at our backs. We put-in and headed for the site on the horn. The site was nice but was facing the oncoming wind and rain so we took some left over fire wood and headed down to the island site. We set camp and prepared for the rain which was surely coming. It is worth noting that tripping with my brother is really neat because the two of us have tripped together so often that we can set camp without really even talking to each other. We both no what we need to do to get it done and we just go into cruise control. Before long camp is set and we are ready to relax for a bit. Blake took along his Gopro camera and videod making camp in time laps mode.  Blake the photographer didnt take along his good gear this trip so for the most part I took stills with a small point and shoot Cannon hense the lack of quality in my shots. I just wasnt able to convince Blake to pack in his heavier camera gear. He now regrets this descision.


Picture of island site take out
On Sunday we got up and were surprised that the over night rain had stopped. We headed out to investigate a site just up the lake from us. I paddled there at first light solo and enjoyed the peace and quiet the early morning had to offer. I returned to camp and picked up Blake and we headed back to the site to explore our options of moving and trying it out. Blake was not in favour of moving so we decided to stay put.

That day we also headed into Iris lake to check out the lone site on that lake. The 870m portage into Iris is one of the more difficult portages I have ever done. Iris is a strange lake with an eerie feel to it. The site was large and surrounded with new growth spruce trees. The site boarders Iris creek and is scenic and would be a great place for a weekend trip to get away from it all. After exploring the shoreline of Iris lake we reached the portage back into Linda and the skies opened up. We portaged back in the heavy rain and returned to camp in the down pour. I dropped off Blake at camp and grabbed my fishing gear. I set out with antisipation of catching some SM Bass. I trolled accross the lake in the down pour and sort of just zoned out and took in the moment. I landed three good sized SM Bass on a spinner. The second and third fish which were the larger two felt like snags at first but soon I realized a fish was on the line. The first Bass jumped clear out of the water twice before I managed to get it into the boat. I was excited about this because I have returned home so many times without so much as a bite. To top it off I actually had pictures to prove my curse was over!
Blake checking out Iris lake site
                                          Fire pit on Iris lake site

                      Just heading into camp from one of our outings

Sunday evening we attempted to get a fire going but due to the fact the canoe was what we were using to cover the wood from the rain and we had been out exploring all day the wood was dripping wet. We attempted to use all the fire starting trick we had learned from watching Survivor Man to no avail! We spent much of the remainder of Sunday wandering around the island and looking at the terrain it had to offer. We turned in early and cooked up dinner on the camp stove under the tarp just outside the tent


Monday we were up at 06:00am and started by packing the gear that was in the tent. By 07:30 we were all packed up and we couldn't help but notice the extreme wind coming from the Southwest. We loaded up the canoe with our pack and gear and headed on down the lake. It was a difficult paddle to say the least. We made quick work of the first portage also the longest one. By the time we reached owl lake the skies opened up and we paddled the next two lakes in the pouring rain. We reached the start of the portage to Bruce lake and I realized that my fishing pole bag was missing. Blake had taken it off the top of the pack to get out his rain gear so it was sitting somehwere two lakes back on a portage. The good thing is that my pole was not in it as I had decided to keep it handy in case we stopped on the way out to cast a few times.

At this point the sun was peaking out from between the odd cloud. Blake had videod a salemander on one of the portages which was a first for both of us in the park.

We reached the putin on Source from Bruce portage and looked out to the South to see large white caps and screaming wind. We started off on course and we aimed for the point directly across from the small bay. The wind was gusting to over 50km/hr and at times we found ourselves going backwards even when padling as hard as we could. Blake contended with the odd wave coming over the bow and I attempted to stay our course. We rounded he point and made it into the protected cove at the access point.

To sum up this trip I would have to say it was a great trip and one to which we really got to push the limits of a our paddling and portaging skills. We learned a great deal about what we were both capable of and I believe we are stronger trippers because of it. Regardless of the poor weather, wind, rain and cold camping in AP interior is awesome no matter what mother nature throws at you. I find that heading out knowing the forecast is aweful allows you to put aside expectations and really just embrace the time in the park. I have more confidence than ever in my gear and really am glad I spent the little bit extra to get gear that can stand up the elements such as this.

                                                       Fish #1

                                                      Fish #2

                                                   Fish #3

              Blake checking out the tarp setup on Linda lake island site
Our island paradise looking from the West to the East the take out is to the left of the camp site sign
Blake and I just before heading back across Source to end the trip

Trip #16 - Burnt Island, Otterslide, Joe April 27th- May 1st

Burnt Island, Otterslide, Otterslide, Joe April 27th May 1st 2012

This trip was a chance to try the backcountry in a new month for us. We tried for an April start and April proved to be cold! We headed to Huntsville on April 26th, Thursday night in order to get a good rest before our long first leg of this trip. That nite the temperature dipped down to a very cold -12 with a heavy frost. We were up early and out the door of the hotel to head to Canoe Lake Access. This was the coldest I can remember ever heading out in a canoe which made it interesting.

From our island site on Otterslide

Grant's Joe lake tent location

A handy tool we made on Burnt Island site for gathering fire wood

As we headed out up Canoe lake we were faced with a pretty strong head wind and we noticed that the water dripping of the paddle was freezing to the gunwales. The first portage was not eventful and before we knew it we were away from cottages and lodges and finally crossing lakes with no signs of man.
 One portage which stuck out was the one from Little Joe to Baby Joe, we discovered that the woods were considerably colder within the shadows of the trees, and there were still areas with several inches of snow on the ground even though ice out was almost a record early date this year.

We portaged into Burnt Island and stopped at end of portage for some lunch and to review the map to get an idea of possible 1st night sites. We headed out and managed to make it about 1/3 of the way up the North shore before settling for a site for the night.

We broke camp the next morning and the wind was strong out of the North as we headed to the portage to Little Otterslide, we approaced the vast expanse at the East end of the lake and the North wind was howling as we rounded the corner, the whitecaps filled us with fear of dumping into the ice cold water.  We both got as low as we could in the canoe and braced ourselves as we paddled hard across the open water to the 780m portage to Little Otterslide.  We made it safely across, however Blake did a little wet from a few waves that splashed over the bow.

The portage was covered with downed trees but other than a few detures it was a nice hike and before we knew it we were coming down the rocky slope to Little Otterslide.

We paddled against the wind up the lake through the narrows into Otterslide lake. Mike and Mike put-in ahead of us and thought they knew better so they left us behind at the put-in and headed around the corner out of site. As Blake and I reached the narrows we realized that they were nowhere to be found. We backtracked to locate our friends and low a behold there they were at the East end of the lake pretending they weren't lost.

We regrouped and headed up the remainder of the lake to find a site for the next two nights. We chose the island site with a South facing site and we set camp. That night was even colder than the night before.

Morning of Day 3 after a delicious hunk of peameal bacon that Mike C roasted over the morning fire, we decided to go on a day trip to Big Trout, down the Otterslide creek.  Along the way we decided to run a beaver dam and almost dumped the canoe on an open stretch of Otterslide creek. Grant just wanted to put his conoe in on Big Trout so he could say he did.  Upon the return to camp we had some food and then Grant set off on a solo hike to the top of a large outcroppping due south of our site on the mainlind.

Grant also spent some time fishing around the large island on Otterslide, with no luck as usual.

That evening, just before dark we were stading around the fire when Mike D noticed something land in the tree directly over our heads.  We looked up to find a fullgrown Great Grey Owl staring down at us from a branch no more than 10 feet above out heads.
Though numerous attemps were made to grab a pictue of the large bird we had no success. After a few more minutes we watched it fly away without a sound back to the mainland to the North of the island.

Day 4 was a long travel day, 18 km in total as we went to Joe lake.  The weather was calm and slightly warmer around 7 degrees as we crossed Burnt Island

By the time we reached Little Joe we were jacket less. As we made our way across the East arm of Joe lake we started looking for our 4th night site.  We chose the large site at the base of Gibralter rock.  We spread out on this vast site and set up camp.  The two Mike's setup back near the woods, Grant setup on top of a rock and some moss close to the lake and I set up about 10 feet from the lake in a low landing between two good hammock trees.

That afternoon we had a competition to see who could start fire with nothing but rubbing sticks.  Surprisingly we had some good smoke going but we lacked really dry tinder and failed to start a fire this way. (Video)

Later that afternoon we hiked to the top of Gibralter rock to watch the sun set.

On the way back from Gibralter rock we observed a grouse on the trail to the privy.

That night was much warmer, the warmest of the trip. You can see how I have enclosed my hammock within my nylon tarp. This tends to keep the heat in and also the wind out.

Day 5 we broke camp at 6:30 am.  we pushed off from our site at 7:30 and headed back to Canoe lake.  The sun was shining and the lake was calm the entire paddle back to the car.

Various pictures taken throughout this trip.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Trip #15 Pinetree Lake Oct 7th-9th

Dawson Brothers trip #15 Pinetree Lake Oct 7th-9th

This trip was planned as a Fall weekend trip to check out the colours as well as a new lake for the group. The trip started from home in Haldimand county at 03:00 on the 7th. I picked up Blake and we headed to Hamilton to pick up Mike. We stopped for a coffee and a bit to eat at the Huntsville McDonald’s. We drove to the East gate as it opened at 08:00 and Access point #12 is very close to this gate. Thanks to the Algonquin Adventures forum we were able to gather information ahead of time as to the best way to locate the parking lot at the start of the portage into Pinetree. The first thing we noticed was how bright and amazing the leaves were. Before long we were loaded up and heading down the 1890m portage towards Pinetree lake.

The portage was long and has many small ups and downs but was not what I would consider a difficult one as portages go. It is key to take the trail off to the left near the end of the portage as the trail to the right leads you to a swampy area adjacent to the lake.

At last we came upon the lake and it was a great sight to see. The water was like glass and the bright coloured trees all around cast a reflection on the water like a mirror. The water was crystal clear and one could see the lake bottom from depths over 12 feet. The put-in was full of large grounded logs and made for loading and getting into the canoe a bit of a challenge. By around 09:30 we were pushing off and heading South down Pinetree lake.

We pulled out the map and Mike navigated from the middle of the canoe as we headed for the first site to scope it out. The North most side is elevated from the water and appeared pretty rocky. Blake ventured up onto the site to give it a once over and given that this was all new to us the temptation to push further into the lake had us back into the canoe and pushing onward within minutes. Heading South we came through a narrow channel and the lake opened up into the largest portion which was home to the last two sites on the lake. The South most site was taken by a solo camper so we headed around the point and pulled up the our site for the weekend.

We made quick work of unloading and setting camp. Mike and I were tenting and Blake was using a hammock this trip. I located a level spoke about 30’ from the fire pit and Mike set up in the back of the site about 25’ from the privy. Blake setup beside my tent and by 11:00 we were all setup and we took a few minutes to check out the surrounds as Blake snapped a few pictures. We sat around, had some snacks and planned our day.

We jointly decided to plan an afternoon treck to Bud lake to try some Splake fishing. Bud lake is a small lake to the North and East of Pinetree. After a brief look at the map we grabbed our fishing gear, some snacks and some water and headed out in the canoe to try and pull along the shore close a hiking trail the we thought would help cut down on the bush whacking the we knew would be required to get to this lake. We walked the trail for about 45minutes and then decided it would be a good time for Blake to set our coordinates in his GPS. We walked off the trail about 25’ and sat down for a break while Blake attempted to find some satellites to allow the GPS to work its magic. About 3 minutes into this we heard large feet charging at us from the trail. Being mid October we all feared the worst and expected to see a large bull moose heading at us when we stood up. I was the first to stand up as my heart was pounding there in front of us was a couple people on horses out for an afternoon adventure. As we said hello to the couple and laughed about how we were scared of what we thought we heard we watched as the couple trotted off around the corner. At this point we realized that we had another 1500m to go before we would be able to leave the trail and head down the incline towards the small creek the flows from Leaf and Bud lakes into Pinetree lake. The bush was very dense and carrying fishing gear proved to be a challenge to say the least. We located Bud lake from the hill top and made our way down to it only to discover that we were at the beaver pond at the extreme West end and had to bush whack another 500m to get to the actual lake to attempt any fishing. The beaver pond had many prints around its banks including some medium sized bear tracks and some large moose tracks. Around 14:00 we finally got a chance to cast into the waters of Bud lake. Blake spent this time setting a route on his GPS to help us get back to the hiking trail. Mike and I tried a few spots but this end of the lake was very shallow and it was not panning out for us. We met back up and headed back into the woods following Blake and trying to conserve our water to make it back to our canoe with becoming dehydrated. After a long 2000m walk due South Blake stopped and said his GPS was telling him that the hiking trail was within 9m of our position. It became clear pretty fast that we were nowhere near the trail. We stopped and had another look at the map looking at the geography we decided to reprogram the GPS and set a coordinate 500m past the trail which was to our South. This was surely going to have us cross the trail at some point in the near future. Almost exactly 300m from this point we located the trail and started heading back towards the canoe. The walk was long and full of steep hills and switchbacks. We made it to the top of the lookout and stopped for a well deserved break but we were out of water at this point. We took some time to admire the sun as it seemed to be making a quick decent towards the Western hill tops past Pinetree lake. We made it back to the canoe and returned to camp to tend to our wounds and sore feet. Blake and Mike made the pact that they were not heading out for anymore adventures under my direction this weekend.

That evening we were all pretty tired so we had a small camp fire ate some dinner and after a short recap on the days events we all retired to our tents and hammock for a well deserved sleep. The weather was amazing and the low on the Friday night was 9 deg C which was much higher than we had anticipated and we all were hot that night.

Saturday we woke to the sounds of wolves howling in the distance to the S/W. lake got up and setup for some sunrise pictures. I pushed off with my morning tea and headed into the westerly section of the lake to scope out some wildlife. At the narrows I came upon a mink that was crossing the channel. Shortly after the mink I came upon two beavers that were swimming across the lake. I coasted between them and they both slapped their tails on the surface and disappeared out of site. I headed to the South and paddled towards the sounds of the wolves. I found myself at the take-out to Fraser lake. The wolves sounded pretty close at this point and being alone I was not prepared to walk the Fraser lake portage with Blake and Mike not knowing where I was. I sat in the canoe and listened to the wolves until they were quite. The sun hadn’t reached this side of the lake yet and I was cold as I hadn’t dressed warm enough to out this long in the shadows. I headed back to the camp to help Mike cook up a brunch.

Brunch was a large chunk of back bacon sliced up into ¼” thick pieces and some potatoes and scrabbled eggs. We all shared the meal and spent the rest of the morning lounging around camp and gathering fire wood. Fellow AAer Tess had informed me that she would attempt to make a day trip into Pinetree for a visit that afternoon. Around 14:00 or so we noticed a canoe heading towards our site. Within minutes I recognized that it was Tess and her husband Norm with their three dogs. This was the first time we had ever met in person and it was a real joy. We spent a couple hours sitting around and talking about the park we all love so much. Tess had brought some refreshments and some snacks and we all shared in consuming these treats. Before it was too late Norm and Tess packed up and made their way back out to their vehicle.

Saturday night we spent some more time relaxing at camp and I went out for a short paddle around the glass like waters looking for wildlife. I returned to camp just as the sun was falling behind the western hills. A fire was established back at camp and we enjoyed the night and turned in around 21:00.

We all woke up around 06:30 to another beautiful day and started to pack up camp. By approx. 08:30 we were heading across the lake back towards the portage out to the car. I loaded up and headed down the trail while Blake and Mike sorted the packs and loaded the remaining gear. I was able to one trip the portage without stopping and I started to fasten the canoe to the car while I waited for Blake and Mike to arrive.

Here is a video that Blake made of this trip:

The drive back out towards Hunstville was uneventful but the traffic coming in for the weekend was crazy. I have never seen this much traffic on Hwy 60 ever. The parking lot at the West gate was full and people were lined up on the turning lane trying to get in and get permits.

Trip #35 Pen and Rock Lake August 2017

Trip #35 Pen and Rock Lake August 2017