Managed to get to Algonquin Park at the end of June (June 18-21st). Great, if short, trip.
Here’s the run down:
- Jim and Elsie’s Diner on the way up to the access point was superb. The big breakfast is… big.
- Relatively easy portages into North Tea.
- Great little creek paddle.
- Amusing light post/street light in front of a cottage just where the river merges before heading to North Tea.
- North Tea was pretty calm – nice long paddle across North Tea to Biggar.
- Bugs were worse than last year’s Dickson Loop (at about the same time of year), but not severely so.
- Camp site was pretty good, though I picked a slope-y patch of land to pitch my tent and woke up several times in the middle of the night. Bob paddled around the rest of Biggar while we setup to see if there was a better site. As we predicted would likely be the case before he left, but we were too lazy, tired, set-up, hungry to move.
- An older group were across the way were at what was likely the best site on the lake. When we put in, the park staff assured us we were the only booking on that lake that evening and they certainly didn’t pass us on North Tea or beat us from some other access point. Which leads me to believe they were squatting. Ah well, I hope I’m still as active when I’m that age! It isn’t as though we all haven’t not-quite-made-it-as-far-as-we’d-hoped on some trip in the past…
- Salmon and veggies for dinner. I’m told the wine was pretty good too. It’s as heavy as bricks, but we eat like kings!
- Tasty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast.
- The day was spent crossing puddles where we could see the next portage at the put in to the previous ones. Bob often didn’t bother properly putting his kayak’s holds back together properly as he was just going to have to take it all out again in two minutes.
- These portages were mostly uphill, mostly buggy, though at least one was significantly along a logging trail. I finally lost my mind and threw my bug jacket on.
- We made it to Three Mile Island where nesting ospreys made it very clear we weren’t welcome.
- The site was spectacular. It had it all: easy pull up for canoes, large flat area for the tents, a great campfire area complete with benches, and a big rock to go swimming off of.
- Steak and veggies for dinner. And more wine. Hard liquor was also available. You know, given that I don’t drink, I wonder how much lighter all our packs would have been if we weren’t carrying in so much alcohol…
- Up near the campfire, while we were eating breakfast, we found a turtle trying to lay eggs. She’d managed to turn up the soil a fair bit, but in the couple of hours it took to eat, pack and leave, she hadn’t managed to lay a single one.
- Another day of uphill portages.
- On the final portage into North Tea Lake, Dave spotted a fishing cabin across the waterfalls and went to inspect.
- Dave had a flight to catch and I had a dinner to be at in the city the evening of the 21st. Not wanting to be late for either, we pushed through to the west arm of North Tea Lake where we stayed on a little island. You can tell from the GPS track that we tried a site on the north shore first. It was so infested with bugs I think we would have summoned the energy to make it to the cars had there not been other options!
- Bob went out in his kayak to scrounge the shore for firewood.
- Food was dehydrated Chillimac & cheese and Cashew Chicken. Tasty, but not as good as real food. Thankfully we had a few veggies (and more alcohol…) left over!
- Back out the way we came in. Pretty uneventful until the end. Bob threatened to drink the remainder of the drinks at the outfitters if he got there first. I threatened him with his life if he did. We were both a little dismayed – the outfitter outdid us both and was closed when we arrived!
- In need of calories, Jim and Elsie’s diner again! I had a grilled peameal and cheese sandwich. Best I’ve ever had. I’m sure the food was good, but I give most of the credit to the fact that pretty much anything tastes good after you’ve been in the backcountry for a few days!