Cache Lake - Tanamakoon Lake - Cache Lake
Day 1 - Cache Lake to Tanamakoon Lake
Ready to go: The access launch at Cache Lake
This was a quick two night solo stay on Tanamakoon Lake, via Cache Lake(Access#8). I arrived shortly before 9:00 am, after acquiring my permit at the Canoe Lake permit office. It was a warm sunny morning as I prepped my canoe and gear for the short paddle over to my lake of choice for the weekend. The setting was near perfect; an almost dead calm lake, warm sunshine, with a touch of frost in the air, and a local on the dock(I've seen him in town before), fishing the morning away. This was my first time on Cache Lake, yet I couldn't shake the feeling of Déja-vu that persisted, as I paddled across the lake towards a cottage laden island. As continued along, passing cottage after cottage, the feeling intensified. After about 30 minutes, the feeling vanished as I came upon the channel that led to Tanamakoon Lake.
Paddling the channel from Cache Lake to Tanamakoon Lake
Paddling through the channel was very relaxing and comforting, for here in the channel, the water was shallow, and the opposing shorelines, very near. Trepidation is the feeling i can best describe that I feel when paddling Algonquin Park's waters just after ice-out. Extra care must be taken when paddling such dangerous waters. So paddling along the channel put me at ease just a little as I truly began to enjoy my short weekend of solitude. About half the distance of the channel, the route takes a shallow turn to the right, where the channel continues on. As I emerged from the channel onto Tanamakoon Lake, the narrows there are even more shallow, and marked with buoys to guide motorboats through. Just past the shallow narrows was the island campsite, that I had chosen as my weekend destination. Tanamakoon Lake had an inviting appearance; calm waters, natural shoreline, birds singing in the forest, and not a soul in sight. As I rounded the island's north shore, a few structures along the lake's western shoreline came into view. The vision of camp Tanamakoon in my view distracted me long enough for me to paddle right by the landing for my campsite, as I began to paddle out into the open expanse of Tanamakoon Lake. I quickly turned around, and made my approach to a perfectly sculpted landing. Some flat rock beneath the water turned to a shallow sand beach landing with a fire-pit mere meters from the water's edge...perfection!
The landing and view from my island campsite on Tanamakoon Lake
At the landing there was a bench system set-up around the fire-pit and a extensive flat grassy area...suitable for a tent or two. I un-loaded the canoe, then set-off exploring the island. The island itself is not very big, and on foot, it took me less than a minute to reach the island's east side, where it faced the narrows of the channel that I had emerged from earlier. Here the land rose, with small flat spot, and rocky and grass covered slope to the water's edge. It was here I decided to pitch my tent, atop the rise. Facing east, my tent would be warmed by the rising sun. As well, any parties arriving at the lake from the channel, would know immediately that the island was occupied, thus avoiding those 'last minute' surprises that myself and others have experienced in the past. This is a practice I have endeavored to make common place in my travels throughout Algonquin as of late. To make your campsite occupancy known, from a distance. During foul weather, this can be a real blessing, helping those in need of shelter, avoid wasting precious time paddling to an already occupied campsite. I use a Canadian flag, usually hung at the campsite landing, that can be seen from the lake.
After my tent was set-up, I went about the business of setting-up my kitchen. It was a simple affair utilizing the benches around the fire-pit. No tables, not even any tarps...the weather forecast called for light winds and sunshine all weekend. I decided to trust the forecast for once and decided against setting up a tarp. As it was, I was lucky, as the forecast held for the whole weekend, and no tarp was needed. Next, I searched the island for firewood. It appeared that I was the first occupant of the season on the island, as there was much in the way of fallen branches and even a few larger fallen tree limbs lying around on the forested floor of the island. However, there really wasn't much in the way of firewood. I had enough for a Friday night fire, but none for Saturday. I would have to paddle around and look for more firewood later on. by about noon, I was sitting down in a chair I had brought along, relaxing and reading a book. after an hour of this, I decided to set-up my fishing rod, and head over to the island's east side(facing the narrows), and try my luck.
Tangeled Fishing Line: My fishing frustrations continued
After a few casts, my line became hooked, onto possibly a rock or sunken log. I ended up having to get in the canoe and paddle around to un-hook my line. Once this was accomplished, I landed my canoe where I fished, just in case my line became hooked again(which it did). After another paddle out to rescue my hooked line, I decided that where I was fishing was not a good area. I tried one more cast(a mistake!), and watched in dismay as my fishing line went all weird. It coiled up on itself, and made a mess of my fishing rod. I threw my fishing rod down in disgust. Another fishing weekend, down the tubes as it were. I realized that part of the problem was cheap fishing gear, and the other was my in-experience at fishing; I had left the line on my reel from last year, and I had used it the last time to troll for trout...the line was most definitely spun.
As I sat there trying to unsuccessfully untangle my line, a solo canoeist appeared, coming from the narrows. It was a fellow, perhaps in his fifties, paddling a very beautiful Cedar-strip canoe. As he came closer I hailed the fellow. The look on his face was one of 'wonder'. I asked him how he was. The fellow replied, "In Geologic Shock". Certainly not an answer I had expected! The fellow went onto explain, that he was from Saskatchewan. Ahhh! I had never been there myself, but many images of that fine province came to mind...no need to explain further. I hear northern Saskatchewan has great paddling country though, yet I figured it must differ greatly from what the fellow was seeing now. If this fellow was in geologic shock from Tanamakoon Lake, I wondered what he would think of other locales deeper in the interior of Algonquin Park, for to my mind, Lake Tanamakoon was as plain as Algonquin could get. The lake was nice, but there was nothing spectacular about it, not like Opeongo or Hogan lake for example.
The sunset during my first night on Tanamakoon Lake
I decided to have lunch over the fire...hot sausage with some cool iced tea. for the rest of the afternoon, I roamed my small island, with camera in hand. By mid-afternoon, a large pontoon boat floated by stacked with lumber and supplies. For the rest of the weekend, I'd experience hamming and sawing, and many other noises associated with building, as supplies were ferried to Camp Tanamakoon, across the lake from me. It was a new season and they were gearing up for it. By dinner time, It had started to cloud over a little bit, and what little breeze had developed in the afternoon, died down, the lake became calm, as I sat down and made a pot of minestrone soup served with sour dough buns and butter. I had a nice fire going, as the air became chill with dampness as the sun set. The night grew quiet, except for the first loon calls of the season! After a long winter, it was a joyous moment, to hear life return to The Park once again. Suddenly, my fire seemed more alive, my cheeks rosy, my mug of hot chocolate frothy and tasty. What a way to end my first day back in The Park!