Wow, what a camping adventure we had in late June and I’m just now getting around to recapping it. Let me first start off my saying that we were completely off the grid, away from our cell phones and unreachable for a whole S E V E N days in late June and it was glorious. Leading up to the trip, I was getting anxious because that meant I couldn’t check my personal iPhone, nor could I check my work iPhone and frankly, the volume of emails I was going to face coming out of our camping trip was enough to send anyone over the edge (first world problems, I know), but I persevered and we survived seven whole days out in the wilderness in some pretty nasty weather, with many pockets of good weather and sunshine. We made the most of what we were given and that’s the thing with weather, that’s the one thing that we humans cannot control. Anyways, welcome, welcome to my paddling and camping adventures recap post. I will be a bit wordy but this will be mostly a post with pictures and I hope you enjoy it. If you’re interested in reading about Camping Essentials or Things You Need to Learn in Order to have a (more) Enjoyable Camping Experience, then check out those posts. As I’ve previously mentioned, no two camping or paddling trips will be alike, but those posts can help you use as reference as to some of the items that are essential to your trip, as well as tips on how to make your trip more enjoyable.
Let’s start off on the night before we headed out on our 7-day adventure… Perhaps I should have broken this post up into several parts, but I did not. Please be forewarned that this post has almost 200 photos.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
We both worked today but let me tell you, isn’t it SO hard to work or concentrate the day before you’re going somewhere or going on vacation? I find I just want to get the hell out of work and START that business. I’m sure I’m not alone at all in my sentiments. Thankfully we’ve been packing bit by bit all week but literally, every.thing. is packed up and ready to go for morning. Now, we wait.
Friday, June 23, 2017
We had a late start to our morning. We drank Tito’s last night to kick off our holidays and yeah…. we slept in. LOL. We were planning on leaving around 6 a.m. but no deal, we were driving out of town around 9:30, which still wasn’t too bad. We’d make it up to Kearney, where the park registration office and canoe rental place was, by 11:30/12 ish. We made it up to Kearney in great time and we were loading the canoe up on the car by 12.
The above three pictures are just the views on the logging road on the way to the Magnetewan canoe launching point. Aren’t they incredible?
We went in on access point #3 and the other map is a map of our portage/canoeing route
Forty-five minutes later and down an old logging road, we arrived at the Magnetwan park entrance. We dropped all of our gear, parked the car for a week and then loaded up our canoe for our 7 night, 8-day camping and paddling adventure.
Jeff had been watching the weather all week and was following the patterns and for two weeks leading up to it, nothing had changed. I wasn’t checking it simply because I had a feeling we’d have a lot of rain, but unfortunately weather is one of those things we cannot control or change, so I didn’t feel the need to stress out or worry. about something beyond my control. I had the attitude of “it is what it is” and we were prepared to expect any element. But, true to the weather forecast, it was raining and didn’t look like it was going to get better, so we resigned ourselves to that reality and set out on the lake to find where it was we were going to spend the night. We leave the dock and paddle a short distance to our first portage, 135 metres and reach our next lake, Hambone. We then paddled around a 55 metre portage (yes to not having to unpack the canoe!) which then led us to a 450 metre portage into Lily Pad, which then led us to a 420 metre portage into Daisy Lake, our destination for the night.
We paddled around Daisy Lake, saw a group on an island with two campsites and then checked the vacant one, which turned out to be junk, so we kept paddling along. Around 3:30/4 p.m., we found our little slice of heaven.
The bugs are horrendous and I’m getting eaten alive, even through my bug net. This makes me angry and sad. LOL. We set up our tent, sleeping arrangements and collect wood in the rain, and then we basically just blew on the fire/stoked it for hours just to keep it going. The dehydrated food was pretty darn good and later in the evening, we collected water from the lake, filling all six nalgene bottles. Drying out was difficult but we managed to by the time we went to bed. It was a great day, despite all of the rain. Tired, and in bed by 10:30, Jeff read til about 11:30.
Key memories of the day: The bugs are BRUTAL and loving my pale skin. LOL. I’m going to be eaten alive come the end of the trip. The weather is drizzly but oddly, refreshing.
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Today, we go to Misty Lake. We got up around 6:30/7 a.m. We awoke to a beautiful sunshine, completely unexpected and unforecasted, so-said Jeff. The bugs were, of course, horrendous and I looked like a Kling-on for most of the day due to swelling. LOL. They hurt so bad that at one point I was getting 2-3 bug bites over on top of existing bites (hence the Kling-on comment above).
We had coffee, breakfast and then went out on the lake to fill up our six nalgene bottles. We then packed up all of our gear and were off the campsite by noon, leaving it in better condition than when we’d got there.
The afternoon sunshine was beautiful, hot at times, but no complaints whatsoever. It was certainly better than all the rain we had gotten the day before. We did two portages, a 135 metre and a 450 metre one. They were both hot and buggy from what I remember and I was just irritable because of all of the damn bugs. We got to Little Misty Lake fairly early on in the afternoon, maybe around 2:30 p.m. and got right to it and set up our tent, etc.
on our first portage, a fallen tree and its roots system
Around 4:30, Jeff was looking off into this distance across the lake and lo and behold, it was a young Bull moose. I quickly grabbed the binoculars and for the next hour, we watched the young male munch on food and wade in a marshy area. It was beautiful. After, we gathered wood, ate like kings, went out and got more water from the lake and had a really nice afternoon/evening. We came across a pretty cool turtle nest with eggs in it also on/near our campsite were two families of geese, 1 with three downy babies and the second with just two downy kids.
Key memories of the day: When getting to our campsite, I went over on his ankle into the water/on a rock in true fine clumsy Lindsay form. I ended up sitting down on the rocks feeling sorry for myself but I did bloody myself, but not too bad. The bugs were also horrendous today/on the campsite and I think I’m into the hundreds in terms of bug bites at this point. LOL.. I took Benadryl today because swelling is an issue and it’s really upsetting/annoying me. The sky at night was clear and free of clouds, and wow, the sky was just an explosion of stars, it was as every bit of incredible as I remember night skies in Algonquin Park. It was breathtaking. 🙂
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Destination: Little Misty Lake to Queer Lake. I’m identifying where we’re going because today was the day of the 2.4 kilometre portage and we were kind of dreading it. [Foreshadow:It wasn’t all that bad in hindsight]
Jeff woke up at 5 a.m. and read for a bit before falling back asleep. I woke up at 8 a.m. and the clouds situation was looking pretty grim. Eventually, it started to pour and the two geese families came scrambling for refuge – even they seemed fed up with the weather. It was around this time that I found the nest of turtle eggs that Jeff later built a refuge for.
We ended up staying around camp until 10:30/11 a.m. and then just decided to go for it, the weather wasn’t letting up any. We packed up, kicked off and paddled down the lake a short distance to an ugly portage that had a distance of 2.4 kilomtres.
We talked about doing it in no more than two trips because that would then add up to 7.2 kilometres right there. It wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be, but it was no walk in the park either. Jeff hauled the canoe on the second leg of our journey and we made it over on to the other side, Queer Lake, at around 3:30 p.m.
While pumping water on the Queer Lake, before picking our campsite for the evening, it was then that we saw a lone bull, which we later discovered as we got closer was a cow. We sat and watched her quietly and she didn’t seem to mind us one bit. She then started to turn and walk away while munching on some long grass and up stands in the grass in a caramel-reddish colored baby. It was a female and her baby, how rare was this?! We slowly paddled away and let her be, knowing that somewhere close-by was likely Big Poppa, a bull moose. But what a cool sight, it was really such a treat to have seen her and the baby. 🙂
We sat there so still trying not to spook the two — aren’t they just beautiful?
We eventually found our campsite on a point with decent shelter, campfire and fallen wood. We ended up eating a very late lunch, but we were both angry from that having done that portage earlier in the afternoon. We had coffee to also warm us up/give us some energy. Afterwards, maybe around 6 p.m. we foraged for wood, made more coffee, pumped enough water to get by for the night, and then we both tried to dry out by the water for the rest of the night. By 10 p.m., we realised just how late it was and remembered we hadn’t eaten dinner yet so we got to it and ate a really tasty dehydrated beef vegetable stew.
We later hung our food bag from a tree and then decided to go to bed around 11 p.m.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Today, we go to Little Trout Lake today. We both woke around 5 a.m. and had a peek outside and the fog was pretty thick, so much so that you couldn’t even see the lake. Jeff thought he heard a moose early this morning, and later on he confirmed that when he found a pile of fresh dung. Eek! We talked awhile, laughed that we were so up early and then fell back asleep until 9:30 a.m.
We got up and made coffee, then breakfast. By that time, it was about 11 a.m. by the time we’d warmed up in front of the fire. I suggested we eat an early lunch, which we’d be grateful for later on when we’d be stuck setting up camping in the pouring rain.
We paddled off to our one and only 175 metre portage that would lead us to Little Trout Lake, our destination for the next three nights.
We settled on our campsite by 3:30 p.m. and just as well when we did as it start to rain for the next 4-5 hours. We set up our tent, set up a tarp over the fire, I got coffees made (essential!!) and made us oatmeal to warm us up from the chill. After a long while, Jeff got a steady fire going despite the monsoon But I am not surprised, Jeff can literally do just about anything, I’m so lucky to have him by my side.
We ate dinner at 8 and then Jeff gathered wood and the fire was pretty toasty by 10:30 p.m.
It’ll be interesting to see how much weight I lose in a week when this is over. We’re constantly exerting energy and I’m constantly hungry but the thing with meal planning, you don’t have spare food around to munch on. We’re regimented with what and when we eat it sooooo that makes things difficult for hungry Lindsay.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
We are wide awake at 4:30 a.m. and having to pee like senior citizens. We laugh about this. So we talk, and laugh some more and then fall back asleep until 9:30 as we listen to the light drizzle of rain. Looks like the weather is on a streak of rain but we’ll get by. We summoned the courage to get out of the tent by 10 (rain) and by 11 a.m., we ‘d had coffee and breakfast going.
Jeff got the fire going again while we figured out a game plan for the day. We needed water as we’d used the last of it making coffee and breakfast. Around 1ish, we ventured out to fetch water, the rain drizzling off and on. We trolled around the lake until 2:30 or so, pumping water and gathering some firewood for the rest of the day.
Once we were back, I made coffees and we ate dehydrated south-western chicken nachos (pretty cool, eh?) and we shared a three-berry crumble with oreo between us (so yummy!). We then just sat around the afternoon fire, just relaxing and enjoying eachother’s company and the day. It started to rain pretty heavily around 5:30 p.m., a huge storm came in from the west but it thankfully didn’t last too long and passed within an hour.
Around 6, we gathered more wood and ate some dehydrated chocolate and strawberry cake (two separate “cakes”). The cakes were yummy and were more like a moose, but they both tasted like cheesecake and was the perfect sweetness to quell a sweet tooth. We went out to pump more water for the night and I of course took many pictures of the sun setting over the calm water. We got back to our campsite around 8 p.m. and Jeff got the fire stoked again while I made (more) coffee and turkey tetrazini for dinner. We ate around 9:30 in front of a roaring fire and it was wonderful. 🙂
We later crawled into our sleeping bags around 12:30 after enjoying some drinks in front of the fire. Jeff brought vodka and he mixed that with grape kool-aid and I had sangria with dehydrated strawberries.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 – Our NINTH Wedding Anniversary
Today is our last full day on Little Trout Lake. We (of course) woke up at 3 a.m. and proclaimed it was too early for this non-sense. I woke back up later on at 7 a.m. but didn’t actually crawl out of the tent until 8. I was too warm and cozy to leave it. Jeff had gotten up just before me and was already trying to get a fire going to warm me up. By 9 a.m., we were sipping coffee on our front patio, a huge rock out front of our campsite.
By 10, we were eating our breakfast of granola with milk and berries – very yummy, seriously, we were not disappointed with any of the dehydrated/freeze-dried food we brought.
At noon, we ventured out to get some water and to paddle the east end of Little Trout Lake. It was super, super windy and really hard to paddle in the wind, i.e. read: it was hard on the shoulders and upper body. We had found some fallen deadwood and decided it would be a good idea to bring that back with us. We got back to our campsite and decided to air out our sleeping bags because it was a sunny and windy day and it had been raining for days. We didn’t want any of our stuff to smell musty or damp.
Two o’clock and I decided to make some mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon for us to share. In hindsight, I’d bring more lunches for each of us instead of sharing Jeff didn’t mind but me being leaner than he is, I burn more and don’t have much fat storage. He would always give me the last bites knowing that if not, I’d likely get hangry. hahaha!
Jeff hung out in the tree hammock for a couple of hours. It was the nicest and only day really where we could have strung our hammock, so Jeff was glad he was able to hang out and just enjoy it. Around 3, I decided to wash my greasy hair (at that point, it had been five days since washing it!!). I don’t know if you guys know this but with bears and wildlife around, you don’t want to attract them with any smells, and that includes: deodorant, toothpaste, and anything, ANYTHING scented. I couldn’t forego brushing my teeth for a week but I did nix the deodorant and hair care. Anyways, we set up the camp shower earlier in the day and had hoped the sun would generate some heat to make the water inside warm, which it did. I then washed my hair and rinsed and oh man, afterwards, man did I feel like a million bucks. One simple thing and I felt so much better about myself and life. LOL. It’s the little things, people, trust me.
Finally at 5, Jeff got out of the hammock and we had coffees. We had also talked about possibly leaving the next day because we knew bad weather was coming, we had also had a great 7 days already, so what would cutting the trip short one day do? We’d be able to get home and see the dogs and hopefully see how Charlie was doing, thinking he may have had acl surgery on Tuesday, July 4th (which we later found out once we got out of the park, that that was not the case and his surgery would be the following Tuesday). If it was decent weather in the morning when we got up, we’d carry on to our last lake and last full day in Algonquin, otherwise, we’d just carry on to Magnetewan and go for home.
We ate dinner at 6:45 p.m. and then went out to get some water at 7:30. We packed up for the night and enjoyed our last evening on Little Trout Lake. 🙂
Thursday, June 27, 2017
The rain had started around 2 a.m. and it was relentless. We awoke at 6 a.m. It was not a light rain but a steady downpour. Jeff broke down our tent as I made us coffees and breakfast. It was pouring and we had taken down the tarp the previous night when we were packing up our things in anticipation of heading out today, so I had no shelter. Even with rain gear, we were just drenched. We ate and then left, figuring why bother waiting around when the rain was clearly not going to let up. We decided to just keep paddling on through Ralph Bice Lake (formerly Butt Lake), to Hambone and on to Magnetewan, where our sweet and WARM/DRY car awaited. We watched several loons fish in the warm rain and that was pretty neat.
Both Jeff and I just wanted to get out and get dry and we finally made it back to the car by 1 p.m. Had we stayed, we likely would not have been able to dry out and we may have gotten sick as a result, so we just decided to give ‘er and go home. And go home we did. But first, we changed into dry clothes and blasted the heat to get the chill out of us and we were homebound, 2.5 hours south, back to reality and the every-day fast pace life.
It was a good seven days. Thank you for reading this post if you made it to the end. 🙂