Algonquin central lakes 8 days July Aug 2013

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Sep 8, 2012
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I already posted this report on Algonquin Adventures website, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to link to it here, for anyone who is curious about that area.

I've been getting into canoeing recently, slowly getting acquainted with Algonquin Park to start, with a plan to travel further afield once my rusty tripping and canoeing skills improve.

The route was Opeongo..Happy Isle..Big Trout (2days)..Burntroot..Hogan..Big Crow..Proulx..Opeongo.
I took a water taxi up and back on Opeongo.

By the way, when I booked the watertaxi, I was sharing with strangers. On the way in, the cost was $30, but on the way out, when the boat showed up, I found out that the other people had cancelled their reservation, so I was the only passenger, and had to pay the $85 minimum. Fair enough, that's the posted rule and they have to pay for gas, wages, and depreciation. But it is something to keep in mind if you are solo and booking the taxi--you can't really rely on other people. Come to think of it, that fits for the whole solo experience!

Anyway, I had a great trip, and can't wait to go back in mid-September!

http://neelands.smugmug.com/Trips/Canoe-trips/Algonquin-big-lakes-tour
 
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Hello Sturgeon: Great pictures! I am planning to do that basic route as a solo trip next year. I was going to do it this fall but I will be doing a different route now: North Arm Opeongo, Proulx, Big Crow, Crow River, Lavieille, Dickson, East Arm Opeongo. Were you doing single or double carry on the ports? How long were your typical travel days? Take care, Cousin Pete.
 
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Did that loop some eight years ago. I think that if you pack in collapsible bags and not a barrel and take five days and do it clockwise by the time you get to Bonfield Dickson portage your food weight will be gone and you can get it all what is left in your pack.

We were able to single carry (there were two of us though) on that last portage whereas starting at Opeongo to Proulx we were 1.5 carry portaging.
 
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Hello Sturgeon: Great pictures! I am planning to do that basic route as a solo trip next year. I was going to do it this fall but I will be doing a different route now: North Arm Opeongo, Proulx, Big Crow, Crow River, Lavieille, Dickson, East Arm Opeongo. Were you doing single or double carry on the ports? How long were your typical travel days? Take care, Cousin Pete.

Thanks for looking.

I always double carry. I take my time, build in extra travel days for windbound situations, dawdle, etc. Usually on the water around 7:45 or 8 a.m. and setting up camp in the early afternoon, between 2 and 4 p.m. Generally five or so hours a day. Part of me says, "Do longer days, push on, see what those other lakes are like!" and the other part says, "what are you thinking? This is your vacation! Relax a little!":confused:

Fourth day Big Trout to Burntroot north end was a long one, just because I stopped an extra 1 1/2 hours during a storm, and dawdled, and then had to tour the whole lake to find a free site..maybe 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.? You could do it in much much less.
The next day down Burntroot across La Muir to Hogan, maybe 6 hours. Next day was double carrying Hogan-Big Crow, 3750 m x 3 = 11 250 m, over 6 miles, maybe 1 hour total in Canoe and almost 4 hours portaging.

The rest of the days were very short. Big Crow to Proulx, no portages, 2 or 1/2 hours maybe? Proulx to the north end of Opeongo, just a portage (1 hour 15) and maybe one hour in the canoe total.

I didn't add the Laveille-Dickson-Bonfield part. Glad I didn't. The Hogan-Big Crow portage was long and hilly enough for me. Maybe next year.

Don't know what the point of a barrel is. Just seems extra weight to me.
 
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Point of a barrel is of course food protection. I love mine. With a harness it is so handy and not at all uncomfortable. But on this trip when single portaging at least the last most lengthy portage, having collapsible food bags makes more sense.

I use the barrel because it gives food protection where there are no trees to hang from or spindly black spruce that wont support a full food pack. Kind of depends if you are exclusively camping in Algonquin mixed forest with thick pines or camp in a variety of places.
 
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Great documentation and stunning photography, thanks for the effort in putting it together. A good trip report will have one studying a map; I'm going to my cartographic collectionright now.
 
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Point of a barrel is of course food protection. I love mine. With a harness it is so handy and not at all uncomfortable. But on this trip when single portaging at least the last most lengthy portage, having collapsible food bags makes more sense.

I use the barrel because it gives food protection where there are no trees to hang from or spindly black spruce that wont support a full food pack. Kind of depends if you are exclusively camping in Algonquin mixed forest with thick pines or camp in a variety of places.

If you mean protection from mice, chipmunks, etc. I get it. But if you mean protection from bears, I was under the impression that barrels are not bear-proof. Maybe I'm misinformed?

I saw a lot of people using them in Algonquin, so I don't doubt their utility as storage. In the 90's my friends and I used wide-mouthed olive barrels for that purpose. It's funny, we didn't think or worry about bears. Just screwed on the top and left it in camp. Must have been the time and place (Northwestern Ontario, 1990's).

When I recently got back into canoeing and hiking, everybody (Southern Ontarians) said you have to hang your food.
My first response was, "How are you going to hang it in a " spindly black spruce?" as you say. They looked at me strangely. Then I got to Algonquin and saw my first really big trees (I'd never seen a hemlock, for example) and understood. So I hung a food bag.

The inability to always find a good hanging tree (and my pathetic rock-throwingskills) has now led me to go the Ursack route. Tie to a tree. Still, if I were up in Northwestern Ontario again in the boreal forest, a dtermined bear would probably make mincemeat of 80% of the trees I could tie an Ursack to.

Maybe I'll come back round to a barrel at some point...

And there are two olive barrels in my storage locker calling my name!

edit: @yellowcanoe: just reread your post...I misunderstood your point, by not properly reading the sentence about "protection when there are no trees to hang from." i was needlessly bashing barrels. Sorry. I'll let the post stand as a description of my thought process and testament to my inability to read. :)
 
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Great documentation and stunning photography, thanks for the effort in putting it together. A good trip report will have one studying a map; I'm going to my cartographic collectionright now.

Thanks for the high praise. I absolutely agree about the maps...am disappointed when reports don't have them.

BTW a fellow traveller referred me to some excellent overlooked campsites (hidden gems). Out of respect, I altered the location of some of the campsites I used, to prevent overuse. So don't necessarily trust the locations of campsites given in the report unless I mention them specifically.
 
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I like your plant photos.. something about the object placement is just right. The blue barrels can be opened by a bear I suppose and the plastic can be chewed on. Had some plastic cups in a backpack in Yosemite that a bear chawed on.

I have had some trouble with chipmunks and red squirrels in Algonquin, shinnying a hang line. Now I just stash in the barrel. Food is uninteresting and pretty odor free to me. BTW the purpose of a hang is not because it protects your food. But it removes you from your food and hence can help you stay safe. Same for a barrel in the woods. Whatever the method, the chances of being raided are small unless you move into a historically dirty campsite.

I switched to barrel when I started tripping in Wabakimi and found nothing with other than 1/4 inch diameter branches for fifty feet up.. Switch tactics! Bagging and hanging makes sense if you can do it. particularly in Algonquin which is a hiking park with a canoeing problem. Barrels empty still take up space. Bags can be collapsed.

Now..please give us a tutorial on how to share our map notations. It seems to me, a computer novice , very time consuming. I am guessing you scanned your noted maps and then posted the scanned images.

I too am a fan of Gamma Lid Buckets in Florida. Those darn beaches lack sitting logs! Sure there is plenty of driftwood but it is always in gnarly places.

Maybe it belongs in another thread.
 
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Now..please give us a tutorial on how to share our map notations. It seems to me, a computer novice , very time consuming. I am guessing you scanned your noted maps and then posted the scanned images. .

I'm just learning this stuff, too. I don't have a scanner, but I recently got an iPad and got some applications on sale recently from the App Store.

I took a screen shot of the map section I needed. (On an iPad, by simultaneously pressing the contol button and the on-off switch). The resulting image goes to the iPad's "camera roll."

Then I opened a new (for me) application called Penultimate (Ghostwriter is similar.) It permits me to write on any image by fingertip or stylus on the touchscreen. So I just imported the screen shot, wrote on it, and then saved it, again, on the camera roll.

Now I have an annotated image, which I can send to a photo site, or share by e-mail, etc.
 
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You can open a picture of a map in "Paint" (pretty standard on most computers) and use the text and graphics functions to make your annotations. However, I personally am very fluent in Powerpoint, and sometimes find it easier (especially if it's a complicated annotation) to insert the picture into a ppt slide, make the annotations, and then select the whole slide for copying, drop it into Paint, and save it there as an image.

Picasa might have graphics features too, but I've not been able to find them. any input from the collective?
 
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Loved the pictures, very well done.

You did not have to make reservations for sites and routes? I talked to some people who were just up at Algonquin and they said they had to wait to do their trip because it was so crowded and they hadn't reserved. They said they usually go in the fall to avoid this.
 
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Loved the pictures, very well done.

You did not have to make reservations for sites and routes? I talked to some people who were just up at Algonquin and they said they had to wait to do their trip because it was so crowded and they hadn't reserved. They said they usually go in the fall to avoid this.


No you don't HAVE to reserve but you have to have alternate routes in mind. Anything along Route 60 is popular and apt to be booked full in July and August. The north side of the park is for me much more accessible and less apt to be jammed. Sounds like the folks you talked to were determined to do "their" route. If you do less maintained routes you can almost always get a permit on site.

You make reservations for lake, not a specific campsite.
 
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Yeah, I reserved all the lakes for that trip.

BTW Apparently they only book about 60% of the sites on any given lake to make room for windbound folks, etc...

Next week I'm going to algonquin again, but I probably won't book ahead as it is a weekday trip in the fall. Saves the reservation fee.
 
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