Triplogs / Triplog#23 / Days 3&4 / Day 5 / Days 6&7
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)
It was another lazy relaxing rest day in Algonquin, and on this day we went off exploring some more. The sky was overcast, but it did not rain. We paddled over to the northwest corner of Parks Bay, passing by an island where a pair of loons swam nearby, crying their disapproval at our presence, we moved on and explored the bay. We came back out, and landed at the campsite in the northwest corner that sits high on a rocky point. The site is very nice, with fresh cut cedar benches, most of the sites on the lake had them that year. The thunderbox, situated well back of the tenting area, most likely can give one a view of the sunset earlier in the summer. I mention this because there is nowhere else on the site to view a sunset, as the site itself is east and south facing. There is also a memorial plaque on the site. I'll not show a close-up of the plaque, if ya want to read it, go see for yourself. I think that posting it here, would somehow take way the spirit in which it was placed. Reading it on the web, it's meaning I think would be lost. Here the site was great for swimming too. With high rock and deep water below, I couldn't resist the urge to swim, not a leech in sight. In I went, Derek soon followed. The water was great!
Derek checking out a firepit on a neighboring campsite
Memorial plaque on Hogan Lake
As we headed back to our site, we stopped by the island(we had passed by earlier) to explore. To our surprise, we found a MNR canoe cached in the bush. We envisioned MNR staff being dropped on the lake via float plane, and then paddling to each site, working maintenance or perhaps doing studies. This island was another nesting ground for birds as well, many abandoned nests, broken eggshells and even bird skeletons too, chicks that never made it, by the size of some of the specimens Derek gathered. We also discovered an un-attended Loon nest. We guessed that the two loons who were nearby still in the water, were the parents, although I thought with it being July 31st, that it was a little late in the year to be producing young. Since the loon wasn't incubating the nest, I wondered if it had given up. We closed in on the nest to take pictures, but never disturbed the nest or touched the eggs. The loons at this point were quiet and didn't seemed to disturbed by our presence, nevertheless we didn't hang around long and left within moments. While walking along the shore of the island, making my way back to the canoe, I found a shard of a coke bottle in the sandy shallows. Of all the places in the park, on a bird nesting island, with no campsite(doesn't look like there ever was one), I never expected to find signs of human pollution, it was a bitter disappointment.
Derek relaxing with a book on Hogan Lake,
notice how the tree looks similar to the one on Catfish Lake?
A baby Blue Heron that never made it
That night the sky cleared up enough, for us to have a another colourful sunset. Derek made bannock bread over the fire, and later on we had popcorn as well. As we sat on the beach watching the stars, we heard an owl in the distance hooting away. We think we heard wolves too, although the sound was so distant and so faint, it was hard to make out.
This part of the trip we pulled a No-No. We were supposed to move to Big Crow Lake for a nite, then Lake Lavieille for two, then Francis Lake, and then onto Radiant, and eventually Cedar Lake to finish our trip. Derek really liked Hogan and our site too. Looking at the canoe routes map, we decided to continue down the Madawaska, and camp on Philip Lake one night only then move onto Radiant. I didn't like the look of all those portages down the crow river either or going up the Petawawa. We'd have to go up the Petawawa at some point, but in my mind the shorter the better. I had no river experience, although Derek did have white-water kayaking experience, I felt the minimum exposure to the unknown was best. We were going upriver, but still, I wanted to be as safe as possible and well I have to admit I wanted to relax more. I didn't feel like doing that long portage to Big Crow or all those portages in one day from Lavieille to Francis lake.
So the new plan was to spend one extra night on Hogan, one on Philip, and an extra 2 days on Radiant.
We weren't proud of what we considered as being unwise, but we were content with our changes. As it was near the end of the day, a party showed up and camped on the point where we were swimming the day before. In our minds we satisfied ourselves, by thinking that we were in the heart of the park, and as such, there was very little traffic, and our change in route had almost no chance of displacing other parties. I'd never try anything like this in the hwy#60 corridor of The Park, interior tripping volume is too high, and the likelihood of displacing a party for their promised lake is very probable. Another reason not to go off route is obvious...safety.
Wussing out on the portage to Big Crow,
we got to see this cool root system of a long dead tree
Some really tiny fungi: Hygrocybe nitida(Nested Waxcap)
We went out for a paddle, exploring the bay southeast of our site, and came upon a vast bog, at one point we spied a large object on shore. We paddled over, and came upon an upturned tree, with it's massive root system reaching some 12 feet into the air, it was really cool. We noticed the shoreline here and the waters were caked with an almost sawdust like material. Grabbing a handful, we noticed it was thick mud layered with wood dust. We imagined hundreds of life-cycles of trees and forest fires, before any white man came to Algonquin. Maybe it was logging in the past 150 years. Who knows, it seemed odd how the whole bay seemed composed of the sawdust like mud.
We separated and explored the bog land. It was quite a challenge to walk thru, as the mosses and lichens were more than a foot thick in places, and it was like walking on a waterbed. Eventually I reached a forest and bushwhacked for a bit. Eventually, Derek and I linked up, reporting to each other what we had found.
I had discovered several colourful mushrooms, and Derek had found moose bones. Derek was finding all the good stuff on this trip!
Derek shows some moose bones he found
An adult loon and a chick on Hogan Lake
Our campsite on Hogan Lake: Derek's tent on the beach
Next we headed over to one site we hadn't been on in Parks Bay, the island campsite. It is a dismal one, carved out on a hill, the back end of the island isn't in clear water but a thick marsh from the mainland to the island(bug heaven). There was a stiff breeze on the point of the island, as you sit there, you get a good view looking westward down the length of Hogan Lake, but that's it, the site isn't good for much else. We paddled some more, going west behind another island, and eventually landed at the site on the north shore west and outside of Parks Bay. The site is in the forest with a small gravel beach landing, complete with a picnic table that's rotten and about to fall apart. We continued west, and noticed a break in the forest. We landed hiked in and to us, looked like a plane crashed in the forest. There was a straight line pattern of many trees that had fallen, but not plane debris. However, we did find a plastic water jug..so someone else had been here, but no plane. We paddled up into the bay where there is a portage that leads to Manata Lake. We saw a loon with a chick, and turned back and headed back to camp. All in all it was a pretty productive day, lots of paddling and exploring were had, and not one portage had to be done!