Access#29 Kiosk(IN) - Maple L - Ratrap L(2) - Maple L(2) - Kiosk(OUT)
Day 4 - Maple Lake
It was the most beautiful morning in Algonquin this day. After breakfast(oatmeal & coffee), we packed up and headed back to Maple Lake. Once again, we did the 440m portage back to Maple Lake. Arriving back on Maple Lake, we were greeted to the most beautiful view of the sun rising over the lake. It was as if the world had just been born. So quiet and fresh looking. The lake was like glass, as we paddled along we could see aluminum canoes in the distance or was it sun bleached logs?
Day 4: Waters of glass await on Maple Lake
Eventually we came to the middle of the lake and 3 canoes were heading towards us...it was boy scouts..something like 8 to each canoe.
We headed over to the double island in the middle of the lake, it looked like the scouts had just disembarked from the island.
'Paradise Isle': south island site on Maple Lake
After an amazing paddle, we arrived onto the south site on the island. What a score!
It was a beautiful island campsite, There was a nice rock wall close to ten feet high in most places, above the water. We christened it 'Paradise Isle'.
This was one of those dream sites...it even had an outhouse.
A forest in the back, lots of exposed area on the rock for a breeze to keep the bugs at bay, or sunbathing, and quite a panoramic view..from north to southeast.
The scouts had left the site spotless, save for some burned tins in the fire pit(tisk tisk). The scouts did leave quite a supply of wood pre-cut, and that came in handy!
There were 2 fire-pits, one under the shade of some cedars and skeeters, and one out on the rocks. We stayed on the rocks of course!
Morning shot on Maple Lake
Early morning paddle on Maple Lake
The Island is almost like two islands. There is a south island, with a site on the southern tip of the island. Towards the north end, the island becomes very narrow, and rocky and filled with bush. No wider than 5 meters, you have to hop rocks and jump down to get to the north site. It's almost like a 2nd Island. The terrain there is different, it is higher up above the water, and has a slope leading down to the water. Also this site has much more exposure to a north wind, while the south site has more exposure from either the south or west.
A great morning in Algonquin!
The weather was fantastic, clear sunny skies, mid to upper 20's°C. This site was simply amazing. We lounged around all day and night. Happy to be free of the rain, and closed in forested site of Ratrap Lake.
Day 5 - Maple Lake
Wandering around the small island grew old really fast. We decided to sneak over to Erables, just to the portage. It was an 80m portage(now 175m..don't ask me why). The portage was flat and short and believe it or not there is a campsite there as well, almost right next to an AFA road!
Yes there is an AFA road that runs between Erables and Maple Lake. We didn't see or hear any motor traffic the whole trip. For lack of a anything better to do, JP & I decided to walk down this road, to see where it lead.
As we walked down the road, it began to curve more and more and then it became bushy and more bushy. The next thing you know we were surrounded by flying insects of all kinds. Well it seems we pissed a few of them off, for all of a sudden JP cried out in pain. She was stung by something.
That's it, I grabbed JP by the hand and we ran back the way we came. John and Norie noticed us running towards them, half-expecting to see a horde of bears coming after us, asked 'what happened'?, I replied sheepishly 'bee sting' , and jerked my thumb in JP's direction. With no first 'aid kit' with us(back @ the site), we headed back to treat JP's sting.
Back at the site, I think we were all just tired, me and my back and broken tooth, JP and her 'bee sting', and probably too much heavily oxygenated air!
Taking a peek at Erables Lake
I tried to go for a swim and everyone else was suddenly interested. Man! The water was cold! Maybe because it wasn't 30°C+ but the water was shallow and cold and i don't know why. I jumped in swam around a bit, JP got in, and then i though t I saw a leech swimming towards me.
'LEECH!' I yelled, even a bear couldn't make JP swim/clamber onto shore so fast!
It ended up being a twig, I climbed back in, did anybody else? Nope.
Boy, did I know how to spoil a party. However I made up for it very early the next day.
Lounging around on our site on Maple Lake
Later on in the afternoon, I felt something.
Thunderstorms, no else seemed to notice it, but I did and kept feeling it for a good hour before we all began to hear it.
Now I love thunderstorms. In Algonquin, I find them exhilarating and scary. Scary because there is no where really safe to hide from lightning strikes.
The other thing that freaks me out about thunderstorms in Algonquin, is that they have a tendency to circle around you and sneak up behind you.
Here was a classic case, the storm was to the northwest of us, and it tracked north of us in an easterly direction. Eventually it went out of our sight and beyond the island, seemingly east of Maple Lake. I relaxed and settled down to read a book, everyone was lounging around.
After about 15 minutes, we all heard a loud rumble of thunder directly behind our campsite, we got up and walked over to the east side of the site, and looked. I was shocked!
The sky was black with boiling clouds and getting close fast...very fast!
Suddenly a squall of wind sprang up, it began to rain leaves and needles. Into the tents we went, a few drops and then...the storm blew right by us. We were lucky, the storm moved on down to Erables..booming all the way.
Last Night on Maple Lake
The sunset that night was amazing, our last night on Maple Lake, our last nite in Algonquin!
The next day, back down Maple Creek and back to reality! Cars, people, noise, cell phones, pollution. Why does it have to be so modern & destructive?
This night was a good one, we relaxed around the fire, the bugs were almost non-existent, and off to bed we went.
Around 4:30am I woke-up, mother-nature calling to me. I stepped out of the tent and looked around, then up.
It was the Northern Lights.
They covered the entire sky, horizon to horizon. The colour was not good at all, a pale blueish white(Ghostly looking). The display size was incredible, the entire sky was filled with it..and it lit up the campsite. It was like there was a full moon out. It was that bright.
Norie catching some rays
I woke JP, then John up, John in turn woke Norie up. I think I made Norie's day that morning, for when she came out and looked up, she was in total AWE! The stunned 'whooooa' that followed her out of the tent, sent shivers up my spine. Probably the same way the lights sent shivers up hers. Speaking of shivers, I was getting them as well from the temperature. We stood around for 10 minutes or so, then we all went back to sleep knowing that in a few short hrs...we'd be leaving.
Day 6 - Leaving The Park
Day 6, was out day. It happened to be the best day of the them all.
Every time I've come to the park, the last day always seems to be the best day,weather wise.
One last look upon Maple Lake
Today was no exception, temperatures were in the high 20's°C with a moderate breeze.
As we left Maple Lake, I looked back one last time upon the lake and vowed that I would return to this lake one day. I took a picture and we started off on our first portage.
On the way out I don't remember much, except for some reason it seems that the beavers have been really busy since we came by here 6 days ago, because it seems that there are now twice as many dams as there was before!
John started to complain about his tripod.
He brought along a regular heavy-duty tripod. No backpacking type, but a big fat heavy thing that clanked around on the back of his pack.
John brought the tripod and a Nikon F5 I believe, 'just a hobby', John says. Uh-huh, quite a thing to drag that tripod all thru those portages and the camera and all that film and lenses. Quite a hobby indeed, and me? Just a little crappy pocket camera.
Arriving back on Kiosk
Heading down Hwy.11 - on to Webber's!
We got back to Kiosk probably in about 6 hrs(record time!), and hopped into our cars and headed out. We stopped in at Webber's of course, for some real food(those awesome char broiled burgers!).
Remarks about Maple creek and area:
Going up Maple creek is not for the faint hearted. It can be quite a struggle in some spots, a few narrow points in the trails, one really steep incline. Also there are a few awkward rocky landings. Maple Lake itself has some nice islands, all with sites on them.
This area of the park is quite secluded compared with the south end, so if your looking for a challenge and some seclusion this is the way to go.
I don't recommend staying on Ratrap for more than one nite, unless you have to, it's a bug trap.
Health problems aside, this trip, awoke up inside me a desire to spend more time in Algonquin. In the years following, I spent more and more of my free time in The Park. Since then, I am happy to report, I've managed not to duplicate the the physical circumstances that so hampered my first trip back into the park in 7 years. I now bring Toothache relief medicine...because you never know!