Tim Lake - Tim River - Rosebary Lake
Day 1 - Access#2 to Rosebary Lake
A bull moose browses just west of the Tim River access point
Tim Lake Access#2 is a new access point for me, having never been there, I was in for a few treats. I was not going in alone either, as I brought my friend Sean along for the trip. I had planned a two night stay on Rosebary Lake, mainly 'cause this was all the time my friend Sean could take off from work. The Access point itself lies a several hundred meters outside of Algonquin Park. The launch is on the Tim river, right beside a large bog, in which the Tim river passes through on it's way to the access point and further on to Tim Lake. As Sean and I loaded up our canoe, we spotted a bull moose over in the bog, just northwest of the launch. The moose was feeding in the weedy shallows of the Tim river. It was a beautiful sunny and warm morning in early July, and both Sean and I were itching to hit the water. Shortly before 9 am, we were on the water. The winds and water were calm, as we paddled our way towards Tim Lake. The landscape here had the appearance of having been flooded in the past(possibly for logging purposes), as there were many stands of dead pine and spruce standing in water filled bays, along the river.
Some of the standing dead wood along the Tim River
Within 30 minutes we were crossing Tim Lake a leisurely pace, the lake itself sits 448 meters above sea level, though not the highest, Tim Lake does sit pretty high in the dome that is the Algonquin Highlands. As we passed the southern shore of the large island in the middle of Tim Lake, we got a good look at the campsite located at the islands' south eastern tip. The campsite was occupied and it was pretty much on a slope, it also had quite a large open area. We paddled on, and at one point, I looked down into the blue-greenish waters, and spotted a big leech swimming by. Having a leech on me doesn't bother me at all. It is the anticipation of the slimy little blood-sucking worms latching onto me that creeps me out...swimming towards you, ready to lunge onto your unsuspecting feet...ewwww!
Canoeists paddle ahead of us, heading for Rosebary Lake
With Sean in the bow, we trailed behind a group heading for the portage
We paddled out of Tim Lake and back into the river system. Here the river became a marsh as it widened and twisted it's way to the only portage of our trip. As we came around the second bend after exiting Tim Lake proper, we spotted a cow moose among the vegetation on the river's edge, she was feeding and barely paid us any notice as we drifted by. A group of two canoes passed us by, as we came within sight of the 120m portage. I had a feeling they were going to scoop the one campsite on the lake I had a desire to try and secure for the weekend. Sean, wasn't in shape to move at any great pace, a sore shoulder and an ankle injury from the past year, I had selected this route, with minimal portaging, and with it being mainly a river route, minimal wind. This route was more for comfort than breaking any speed records. We watched and waited as the group arrived at the portage and began to unload at the landing. When it was our turn, we pulled up on a rock ledge and then I happened to look down and saw a school of leeches!
We waited nearby, as a group unloaded at the portage landing
ewwww! a Leech: These slimy bloodsuckers seemed to be everywhere I went
I had never before seen a school of them...there was perhaps six or seven of them. I did not know leeches traveled in schools, but the sight of them gave me the willies...I could tell they were just waiting for me to put my foot in the water. I decided to test this theory, and put my foot in the water about a meter or so from the leeches...right away, one of them headed for my foot, then another and another...God they were ugly, brownish-green with bright orange spots running down their backs. The first of the bloodsuckers was just arriving at the dinner plate when I yanked my foot out of the water. Ha Ha! The leeches started breaking up...each going around in different directions wondering were that succulent foot had gone to. I picked up my canoe and trudged down the leech free trail to the other end of the portage. The short 120m trail is heavily shaded and is a bit of relief when coming of the sun-drenched waters of the Tim River. The last 15 meters or so is a steep staircase (no shade here), and if you have long legs, is groovy to traverse. If you have short legs, it can be awkward. From here on in to Rosebary Lake, the Tim river meanders for a few hours. Laced with many switchbacks, and beaver dams. At the time, we encountered six beaver dams. The last one before entering Rosebary lake, merely a mud flat we were able to paddle over. The rest of the dams though, were large enough to warrant getting out of the canoe and dragging it over the dams. Some held back significant water, and in a few cases there was a substantial drop in the levels along the river, a direct result of the damming. At one point Sean had to get out and climb the river bank and lined the canoe with me still in it, to get around some very shallow spots.
Pickerel Plant was abundant along the Tim River
I had developed this bad habit of looking down into the water over the gunwale of the canoe. Normally, this wouldn't be considered a bad habit, but every time I seemed to do this, I spotted a leech. I thought it safe to do so, as we lined our way through a section that was choked with mud and floating beds of grass. As I looked down, I spotted a big fat leech rolling around on top of a grass bed. I had the feeling this thing was sun-bathing. I looked away from the horrid sight. Finally, we were clear and Sean got back into the canoe, we continued on, what next? More dams, that's what. I like beaver dams, despite their sometimes less than savory odor, beaver dams can give the observer a chance to witness the marvelous handiwork of a single species. What is more important to note here is that the beaver is a keystone species. Keystone being that, the beavers actions affect the surrounding ecosystem, where many flora and fauna come to depend upon the beavers' actions, both in the dam's immediate vicinity as well as upstream/downstream from any given dam, sometimes up to many kilometers distant.
Portage finished: Sean was happy to be back in The Park again
One of many beaver dams along the Tim River
Sean and I climbed out of the canoe and stood atop of the dam, stretching our legs and looking around. It was at this point, about an hour or so after the portage, that the Tim river really started to widen it's banks. The switchbacks continued, yet they were more easily navigable. A couple more dams and about an hour later, we came to a small lake. This widening of the Tim river is called Litt Butt L. The lake, oblong in shape was easy to cross, and at it's eastern end, is cluttered with beautiful water lilies. After passing the small lake, the riverbanks start to close in, the switchbacks return with a vengeance, and I started to feel tired. Not physically tired, but mentally. The river was starting to get to me..we've been at it(since launch), nearly five hours, and I was just getting tired of the winding twisting river. The deer flies were starting to get to me too. I wanted big blue waters, lake breezes, sandy beaches, a campsite, and a thunder-box to sit on. Soon the dams stopped, the banks melted away into several channels and became a large marsh, loaded with Pickerel Plant(or 'weed'...depending on how you feel about it). We could see a hint of blue waters on the horizon...we paddled faster. We passed over our last dam, a mere mudflat, and 5 minutes later passed one of the most bushy & mosquito laden looking campsites I had ever seen. The campsite resided on the edge of the marsh, as it opened up onto Rosebary Lake. We came upon the lake proper and turned north. Right away Sean could see that the campsite I had intended we camp on was occupied, and it was in fact occupied by the same canoes that had over-taken us just before the portage. Oh well. We headed east across the lake towards the next campsite. Between these two campsites, was a large beach that ran along a good portion of the north shore of Rosebary Lake. We glanced at the beach briefly(more on the beach later) as we headed to our campsite. The campsite just past the east end of the beach was unoccupied. It was treed-in pretty good with a very flat open area, and a small red sand beach, where we landed our canoe. The trees here were of a deciduous variety mostly, there was hardly any pine, subsequently firewood (in good quantities) was a little harder to find.
Almost there: Rosebary Lake comes into view
as we paddle the last few meters of the Tim River
It had taken us nearly 5 and half hours to reach our campsite. No record there, and I have read others doing it in four hours. Nevertheless it was a nice day of paddling, and we were ready to wind down and relax. Once the firewood had been collected, I got a fire going right away, so that I could get some coals going. I joined Sean down at our small beach, camp-chair in hand, beer(in plastic bottles) in the other. It was a very warm July afternoon as Sean & I relaxed on the beach drinking in the the scene as well as several cools ones, I stuck some potatoes in the fire, as we continued to watch the afternoon progress. About an hour later, a leech swam by, I got up(a little too fast), and went to the fire-pit, and threw some steaks onto the fire.
Sean was all smiles as he fed on the tasty supper,
that I had prepared for ourselves
mmmm good: Steak with onions & mushrooms, baked potato with sour cream
By 7 pm, I treated Sean to a real good meal; T-bone steak and potatoes with butter and sour cream to boot. Oh yeah...I had mushrooms & onions to go with the steak too. Sean was in heaven as was I, there's nothing like a great meal with some cold ones to wash it all down. We watched the sun go down and the colours of the sunset progress into the dark evening sky. I had neglected to wash the dishes after our meal and now almost an hour after our meal was done, and darkness had settled in, I could hear a commotion going on over where our plates were. Walking over with a flashlight, I soon discovered the source of the noise. A mouse was dining what little scraps were left on our dinner plates. I should've known better, but I was having such a great time, I had grown careless. Sobering up, I gathered up the plates, cups, and the cutlery, and set about the task of cleaning our mess. Next I took the remaining food scraps and burned them all in the fire. We spent several more hours around a dying fire, telling tales, recalling the days of our youth. It was a great way to finish off a great day.
Picture perfect: Sunset on Rosebary Lake our first night
We had a nice fire our first night on Rosebary Lake