Mike's Algonquin 7 Night 2011 Solo Trip

Aug. 18 to Aug 25, 2011 . . . by Mike Burns

Days 1 to 4       ..       Days 5 to 8       ..       All Days

Mike's Algonquin 7 night 2011 solo trip.
Access # 4 Rain Lake.
Aug. 18 to Aug 25 2011.
Total portages: 29.4 km
Total water travel:163.0 km (approx.)
Total distance covered over 192.0 km
-All single carry portages. Pack weight approx. 65lbs and my cedar stripper weighs in at 46lbs, but with extra paddle, bailer and life jacket bumped it up to 50lbs.

Quick overview.
-First time using SPOT, GPS tracking device for family and friends.
-Left Windsor area 7:00am, stopping in Huntsville at Algonquin Outfitters, get fuel, picking up a sub for supper and at the Permit Office at Kearney.
-Ready to leave access Rain Lake at 3:30pm
-Weather is sweet! Itís sunny with temps around 26c with a slight tail wind on Rain Lake.
-Lets go!

DAY 1 - THURSDAY, AUG. 18, 2011.

PORTAGES TO DO: P310, P550, P450, P185, P440, P590, P430, P1030

I had someone take a picture of me before my late start on Rain Lake Access.

Looking back on the Rain Lake at the Island on the portage to Sawyer.

The Sun going down and it gets dark quick on the portages.

I arrived on Misty at 8:22 pm. I paddled across the bay to a Island near the north shore for a campsite. I put up my food bag and hammock in the dark. I was eating my sub I picked up in Huntsville as I was setting up camp. No fire, went straight to bed.

I arrived on Misty at 8:22 pm. I paddled across the bay to an island near the north shore for a campsite. I put up my food bag and hammock in the dark. I was eating the sub I'd picked up in Huntsville as I was setting up camp. No fire, went straight to bed.

I pushed hard to make Misty Lake by dark in about 5 hours. As I made my way, I passed many Boy Scout groups. The sites on Sawyer, Jubilee, Moccasin, Bandit and even one lone site on Wenona Lake were full of people.

I saw one bull moose on Jubilee Lake in the west marsh. A swimmer called out to me to see the moose. I'd missed it as I paddled east. I looked back to see its silhouette with the sun going down. Jubilee had many young groups .. all having a great time.

DAY 2 - FRIDAY, AUG. 19, 2011.

PORTAGES TO DO: P850, P155, P195, P160, P80, P200, P300, P40, P75

The nights were cool, with temperatures around +7c. I had to get a jacket on during the night. I only had a plus 10c sleeping bag and no pad with my hammock. I still slept great though.

I was up around 7am. It was a perfect day, with a slight tail wind to help me along to Burntroot Lake.

Two loons greet me as I was loading up my canoe to start the day.

At the end of Misty on the Portage to Petawawa River, a old saw blade from the lumbering days.

Algonquin Park typical rock action on the Petawawa River.

By noon I was at the ranger cabin on White Trout Lake. I had lunch and went for a swim off the dock. No one was around on White Trout, not one site taken! I knew of the fresh water spring beside the cabin and filled my water containers. Nice, sweet cool water!

I stopped at the narrows between White Trout and Big Trout. Here's looking towards B.T.

The landing on Longer Lake ... It is a long lake to paddle!

My campsite on Burntroot Lake. I took a site on the eastern side midway up, on the second point. It was a nice site! I got there around 5:30pm.

Sunset on Burntroot Lake

My chicken-on-a-bun meal being cooked. I could not find a grill at all. I did find a long bolt and put this across the pit. I found some fresh beaver cut branches along the shore to make a grill. it worked great!

I was up until 10:00pm watching some star action and someone across the bay on Anchor Island trying to play the "signal game" with a flashlight with me. I finally gave in and gave a few flashes.

End of the night thoughts.

- This was a real nice relaxing day. I saw hardly anyone. No moose today.

- A little cooler today around 24c range.

- As I left my site on Misty, a canoe approached me and a man and older woman asked me if they could go on my site, which I told them I was leaving. There canoe loaded with thunder-boxes unassembled. Good to see sites are getting worked on. This was before 8am!

Day 3 - SATURDAY, AUG. 20, 2011

PORTAGES TO DO: P155,P390,P85,P425,P365

Morning overview:

- It was a really nice cool night for sleeping. I was not cold at all. But I did go to bed with a jacket on and wool hat. Loons woke me up a few times. But that is fine with me!

- Very strange weather with sun and storms...and wind on the way.

- Another relaxing day of tripping.

I left my campsite on Burnroot at 7:20am. I had a typical quick breakfast of oatmeal, small pita with peanut butter and coffee. Notice the clouds and waves? Well, this would be pretty much the typical weather from here on to the end, with many thunderstorms. SWEET! At least I still had a tail wind for much of the day.

Behind the campsite on the portage to Perley is a old root cellar from the logging days. It was very interesting to see. I like the campsite as well and would have camped here if I knew how nice it was....it is beside the portage and may get traffic though, if you don't mind.

Finally, there was a bull moose feeding on Perley, near the end of the lake. I stopped and got closer. i just sat still watching him eat for about 15 minutes and then left him in peace.

I happen to be taken some pictures when this fellow decided to land on my knee.

10:50am .. Raining hard here on the Petawawa River, before Catfish Rapids. Thunder is getting closer. Right after I took this picture I bottomed out in gravel. I got out to pull the canoe and I hit a rock and cursed. I looked up to see a bull moose bolt from the river bank. Must of been something I said?

On Catfish Lake's marsh .. still raining and the lightening was getting bad. It looked like an all-day affair and the bugs were bad on the portage. No way I could stay there and wait out the storm. I stopped at a campsite near the mouth of Catfish with marsh all around...crazy for anyone to camp there and get eaten by skeeters. I did not stay long and retreated back in my canoe in a hurry.

12.00 pm .. I stopped at the island campsite called by many "Shangrla" for lunch and rest. A very nice campsite but open with Red Pines. I had to go down to the northern side rock face to get out of the driving rain. I sat under a tree and had lunch. I could see Turtle Island that the natives use to worship.

By 1:00pm I was on the island with the 'alligator' used in the old lumber days. The steam-driven boat only had metal components to look at. Rangers have cleared some brush at the landing and around the area. All the portages in the area have been maintained recently and the campsites had raked fire-pit areas as well. Good work!

At the rapids on the P80m to Narrowbag Lake, there'a an old log-chute from logging still hanging in there barely. Boy, I wish I could have seen these back in the days still intact.

This is looking south from the campsite at the far end of Catfish Lake, near the portage. I was going to go into Narrowbag, but I spied a weedy campsite nearby when I checked out the portage. I decided to "hunker-down" there and battle the wind gusts. Someone was camped on the point on the left side of the picture. Notice my SPOT on the rock shore "checking in".

My campsite, while fighting the wind. The sun did come out for short periods. I went for a nice swim and laid in the sun while I could. Supper was rice and tuna. I went to bed just after dark. It was still windy and no stars came out. However, it was nice and warm.

Being solo when I carry, I do spend that little extra effort to be careful not to twist an ankle. As I carried over a board walk today, my left foot slipped off and landed on solid ground. My right knee collapsed and my butt hitting the plank. I was able to keep my canoe on my shoulders. If this had been a more elevated board walk, I would have fallen right over. Some board walks have bits of shingles nailed to them for traction....great idea!

Day 4 - SUNDAY, AUG. 21, 2011

PORTAGES TO DO: P80, P170, P2345, P300, P715

Morning overview:

- Nice warm night. No jacket needed last night.

- I got a late start again sleeping in till 6:30am, late for me anyways!

- I was looking forward for today as my buddy Sean Rowley and his boy Mackenzie were meeting me on Cedar Lake for one night. I met Sean thru another AA'er Markus awhile back during a fall trip to Tom Thompson.

- Another grey day with light winds at the moment. I hope they stay that way at least until I get to the East side of Cedar! I hate to be wind bound today.

On Narrowbag Lake after a short P80 at 7:45am.

Unicorn Hill portage .. this portage has a steep hill going up and up and up from Cedar Lake, going up toward Catfish Lake. It's tough, but I found that during the climb there is plateau that gives the old ticker a rest between climbs. I stopped at the top of the hill with a canoe rest supplied by junior rangers. I rested my shoulder blades for 3 minutes and continued the portage all downhill from here.

Water falls pictures from the Unicorn Hill portage to Cedar Lake. Very nice. I stopped for lunch beside some falls and loved the sound. My typical lunch is pre-packed everyday in zip lock bags which consists of granola bars, dried fruit and gorp.

On Cedar Lake at 11:00 am. Across the bay is the Brent Store. I wanted to see the store and meet Jake, who runs the store that I heard so much about. I was happy to have light winds and little wave action. But the weather was very unpredictable. I paddled across quickly before the wind picked up....which it finally did!

The store.

Sean and Mackenzie fishing off our Island campsite 2:30pm. (sorry for a bad picture!)

When I left the store, the wind was picking up and was hitting me at a head-cross angle. I was bouncing around a bit and stayed along the shore, making way to the large eastern island. We agreed to meet/camp here. Not the case. It was taken! I moved on to the next island campsite on our list. No one was there and no Sean. Was he on Cedar? He said later that day when he came by this site, that someone was still on it. So I stopped at this site to stretch my legs and look at the map and area to see where he might be.

I could see far away someone in a canoe with a red lifejacket .. real far away, near 2 little island campsites. Not sure, I decided to paddle halfway into the bay between the islands and the portage beside the Petawawa River. I stopped and could hear someone calling me. It was them indeed! I greeted Sean and Mac. I sure was happy to see them. I went to his site to set up camp, swim and relax while they fished .. with no luck.

Sean was very nice to cook supper for me. We had steaks, couscous with chocolate cookies and 'Joe's' for desert. Or were they called 'Wagon Wheels'?. Thank-you sir! It was great to have fresh meat indeed. We moved the tarp around to block the strong wind. Dark clouds were rolling in. Rain came in around 8:30 to 9:00pm and we decided to call it a night. Stronger rain came in later with Sean setting up another tarp over his tent.

End of Part 1 (Days 1 to 4)

Days 1 to 4       ..       Days 5 to 8       ..       All Days