Mark's Algonquin Park Sampler - Triplog#23 - Access#27 - Cedar L - Day 12

Triplogs / Triplog#23 / Days 3&4 / Day 5 / Days 6&7 / Day 8 / Day 9 / Days 10&11 / Day 12

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Cedar L(IN) - Petawawa R - Catfish L - Perley L - Burntroot L - Lake La Muir - Hogan L - Philip L - Little Madawaska R - Radiant L - Petawawa R - Cedar L(OUT)

Day 12

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A heavy fog rolled onto Radiant after the sun rose

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Mergansers led the way


Both Derek and I got up early, it was just before 6am, when I stepped out of the tent. It was an unusual morning in that the sky looked more like a sunset than a sunrise. The fog was just starting to roll in. Derek, getting some water from the lake for morning coffee and tea, scooped up a crayfish in the kettle. By 7:00 am the fog thickened along the east shore of the lake, it was a tranquil scene which was suddenly shattered by the sound of a gas powered generator starting up. The day before in the late afternoon, we saw a few canoes go by heading east, landing on the Sahara desert campsite. One of the largest stern men I'd ever seen, was in one of the canoes, his partner in the bow, was a big person as well, but not big enough, as the bow rose quite high up. I guess the people weren't just big, but had lots of extra(and unnecessary gear), weighing down their canoe. Why anyone would want to lug a gas powered generator down the Petawawa, along it's mountain like portages, I'll never understand. Our entire trip was excellent in respect to noise. We never heard any logging operations, and only encountered noise on 3 occasions. Once the rangers' chain-saw on Burntroot(understandable). A float plane taking off on Burntroot(cool, bring me a beer please!), and the annoying generator.

We packed up, and were on the water by 7:30 am. A flock of mergansers led the way as we paddled west. As we entered the mouth of The Petawawa, a cottager pulled up in his canoe. The fellow was collecting water from a spring that was on the verge of running dry. The fellow was the guy I mentioned earlier who told us about the abandoned cabin, and the graveyard area as well. We thanked the fellow and bid him well and headed up the river. Within a min. or two we came upon a campsite. It is very rugged and has an awesome deep water landing...with a shallow rock shelf that drops off into oblivion. The Petawawa is an interesting river, on many occasions we'd see tiny islands and even 'fingers' of solid Canadian Shield rock protruding from the waters surface. Even thousands of years of erosion and many decades of river log driving seemed to have little effect on the hard rock that littered the river. I could definitely imagine the dangers of canoeing down-river in the spring. If the cold water didn't kill ya, the immovable rock would rip anyone to shreds.


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Along the Petawawa: Derek walks on water!

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10 minutes up from Radiant, the Petawawa looks more like a lake than a river


By 9:30am we reached the first portage, an 860m portage of the most unique nature. It was quite a steep climb, and as I passed one downed tree, a loose piece of string from my tent got snagged on a tree limb. The effect was startling, it was like trying to climb up stairs, when someone from behind suddenly grabs you. I almost lost my balance and tumbled down the trail. At this point in the trip, Derek's food barrel was lighter than my pack...we had eaten alot of food and were in fact short on food and fuel was getting low. My pack had all the other stuff, tents, sleeping bags, tripod, clothing, etc..so my weight did not diminish throughout the trip. Once I got un-snagged from the tree, I moved forward once more, and another tree limb lept out and sliced my shin, and in the ensuing chaos got tangled in my sandal. The damn tree wasn't going to let me go anywhere. I took off my pack, cleared the tree and geared back up and continued climbing the steep slope up to the abandoned railway bed. There used to be a trail across the tracks and through the forest to the next leg of the river, however since the railway had ceased operations in 1994, the portage had been moved onto the railway bed. Hey! Flat level terrain for carrying canoes is very handy! Reaching the end of the portage, I was startled to discover the steepest descent I'd ever seen. Complete with loose gravel and sand, the descent was about a 18m straight down plunge to the water's edge at the most steep gradient. Not waiting around for an escalator to be built Derek and I tackled this last leg, then went back to investigate a huge rail trestle that crossed the river. We also followed the river, and bushwhacked for a bit, to get to Devil's Chute with it's 8ft falls. Derek and I took separate paths, I ended up in another channel, that I guess was swollen in the spring, but was now dry. The right channel(if you're going north to south), was essentially like walking back in time. I was walking on a dry river bed, although it was no ordinary river bed. It was pure Canadian shield rock, rugged and even in the state that I was walking through, still very dangerous, as at one point I tripped and nearly split my face in two on a sharp edge of exposed rock.

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North of the rail trestle, the trail drops right off into the water


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A frightening angle, of the trail drop off into the river


After a time I finally made it to the falls. Perhaps in the spring the falls is 8ft, but at that time it was a mere 2 feet, if that. I bushwhacked back to the railway bed, through some of the most difficult terrain I'd ever whacked my way through, after what seemed like hours I emerged, with many scraps, all kinds of twigs and spider-webs in my hair, and I had nearly knocked over a bee nest, while reaching for a hold on a tree. I joined Derek on the bridge, and soon we got back in the canoe and continued our paddle up the river. Just before we reached the 685m portage, we spotted a cow moose and a calf, they were walking along the water's edge and left the area upon spotting us. We landed at the portage at 11:30am. If I thought the last portage was tough, this one was even worse. It wasn't that steep, yet all the trail did was climb, climb, and climb some more. I complained to Derek that someone had lied here. The portage wasn't 685m, it was more like 1300m! As we neared the end of the trail we meet up with a group of people who were doing a trip across The Park, From Magnetawan all the way down to McManus Lake. Now that's a trip. By 12:30pm we were back on the river. By 1:40pm we had completed the first pass of 960m portage to Cedar Lake. Derek volunteered to carry the canoe all the way on the second pass. We stopped at one spot and showed Derek a trail I'd been on before, taking him down to show a cliff face and some rapids. Well with it being August the rapids weren't very impressive, I had seen them in May and the water was fast and furious. Also in the month of May, the dam at the end of Cedar Lake isn't really visible. Here in August, you can walk all the way on the dam to the other side, which is exactly what Derek did. It's amazing the difference in water levels, year to year, season to season.


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The abandoned rail trestle over the Petawawa


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Overlooking the river from the trestle


We launched onto Cedar just before 3pm. We were to stay a nite on the lake, possibly two before heading out. I had wanted to show Derek a specific site, that I'd been on before. It is an amazing site, with lots of sandy beach, resident moose if ya will, and it's on a big island. The site was occupied, by someone with a motorboat, I almost tore my hair in frustration and disappointment. I asked Derek if he just wanted to leave. He seemed taken aback by this request. But I just didn't want to stay anywhere else on the lake but the site I wanted and it was taken. We were very low on food, and fuel was getting low, if the weather turned nasty and we became wind-bound for a few days, we could be in trouble. I guess Derek thought about this as well, for he agreed and we headed to the take out. On our way there, two Otter planes passed overhead...two not one...wonder if there was a forest fire somewhere? They headed southwest across the lake. After paddling a rolling lake and landing, packing up, taking a swim and changing into clean cloths, we drove over to the Brent store.

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The right channel: Dry but still treacherous to walk thru

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Moose along the Petawawa

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The last portage of the trip: Derek carries the canoe to Cedar Lake

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Cedar Lake near the dam at the outlet to the mighty Petawawa


If you've never been to the AO store run by Jake Pigeon, it is worth a visit. The place is a veritable museum of Algonquin Park and logging history. We spent about 30 min inside going through a scrapbook. We had reached the permit office at 5:30pm, and talked to the staff there, and both Derek and I bought new maps. We left and drove all the way back down to civilization, stopping at a busy Weber's on the way down for a hamburger. I had a great trip with Derek, and learned many things from tripping with him, I think I learned alot more from him than he did from me. More importantly though, we got along fine, and I made a new friend, someone who appreciated The Park in the same manner as I did. We promised to keep in touch and possibly link up on some more trips. Since then I've been fortunate and have met Derek twice on 2 separate trips, and always look forward to tripping with him, he is a good friend and an excellent person to trip with.

 

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Brent, Cedar Lake, Algonquin Park

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The Brent Store - Algonquin Outfitters

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Inside the Brent store: Relics galore from a past era

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The new permit office just off of hwy#17, servicing accesses#25, 26 & 27

 

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