Mark's Algonquin Park Sampler - Triplog#23 - Access#27 - Cedar L - Day 8

Triplogs / Triplog#23 / Days 3&4 / Day 5 / Days 6&7 / Day 8

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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 8

We broke camp just after 8am, and headed east out of Parks Bay. We arrived at the first portage of 295m, just after 8:30am. I don't remember the portage much, except that the skeeters had decided to ambush me on that one, and as a consequence, I finished the portage in record time. We also hung around for a bit on the river, as there was remnants of an old dam there. by 9:30am we had reached the beginning of the 1495m portage to Philip Lake. It was a beautiful August morning as we paddled down the little Madawaska river, and emerged onto Philip lake at 11:10am. The last section of the Madawaska, after the 1495m portage was shallow in a few sections, and Derek had to get out and pull the canoe thru the shallows. It was deep enough though, for me to remain in the stern, and enjoy the short ride. There was an area of Alder trees crowding the banks of the river, and with an experience I had on Maple Creek a few years ago, seeing Alder trees puts fear and annoyance into me, Alder is my nemesis. That day the the Alder was quite manageable as it did not block our passage in any way. At 11:35am, we stopped in at the first site on the north shore. It was located at the bottom of a sandy point, complete with beer bottles in the firepit. Neither of us liked the tenting areas much or the swimming possibilities of the area, and within minutes we were off again.

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Paddling the Little Madawaska out of Hogan Lake

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Old dam along the Little Madawaska

At 11:50am we landed on the site on the south shore, it was a very nice site, with a big sandy beach. We had spied the site on the east end of the lake and decided to move on to check that one out as well. We didn't bother to land on the second site on the north shore, spying it from a distance it looked to be potentially buggy. Within in 20m of the landing, we had to get out and walk the rest of the way. Unbelievably the water was hot, "like bath water", Derek remarked. It certainly seemed that way...The site was very sandy and very hot. There was little in the way of a kitchen. I don't think Derek liked the site much, and neither did I, I wanted to go back to the south site but was too tired and couldn't be bothered moving again. So we stayed, and now it was my turn to camp on the beach.
Setting up my tent under the noon day sun on white sand proved to be very taxing indeed, as it felt like I was in the middle of the Sahara desert. It was hot, too hot. Crawling into my tent to ready my bed, I was pouring buckets of sweat, running into the water offered no relief as it was hot too. This site was a trap!

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Emerging onto Philip Lake

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The south campsite on Philip L

By almost 3 o'clock, we were bored and decided to check out the historical zone east of us at the beginnings of the 1075m portage along the Little Madawaska, also to scout out the portage too. There is the remnants of a dam at the east end of Philip lake, and ya have to drag your canoe a few meters over grassy banks to a suitable launching area, by passing a deep pool of water, where many fish could be seen. Neither of us had brought fishing gear, and we wondered what type of fish were in that pool. On our way to the historical zone, there was one area of the river that was very shallow and we both had to get out and walk the river shallows for about 60m or so. This was a relief as cool waters massaged our feet, after the scalding of the white sand on our campsite.

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We camped on the east beach site on Philip L

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The Little Madawaska has a few shallow sections

The historical zone lies west of the beginning of the 1075m. you have to bushwhack a little bit, thru the remnants of an old road. Soon we came upon large crunchy lichen covered rocks, and fragments of logging equipment laid about here and there. There's not much to see really, and eventually we came upon a field that had been cleared a long time ago. In the middle of this field was a huge raspberry patch(with lots of animal trails) in which there was a crumbling foundation, with a few trees growing inside. After gorging on raspberries, we made our way back to the portage. The beginning of the portage has a campsite on it, and the site itself has a very level clearing. The portage itself is simply an old road, very flat, worn with a slight downhill incline, heading east. Along this road we noticed very tall pines growing along the trail. Some of them were the tallest I'd ever seen, although their trunks we not as thick as one would expect them to be. I guess this area had been reforested many years ago, and the result was thin trunk ed trees, hopefully if they aren't logged anytime soon, they could grow to be very large pines indeed. The landing at the end of the 1075m portage is below a 2 meter eroded muddy bank, into the mucky waters of the Little Madawaska. I think for the length of the portage, it had to have been one of the easiest I had ever done. It was quite a pleasant walk back, until Derek, spotted something to the north of the trail. It was a clearing, and looked out of place. We bushwhacked our way over to a ridge, which we ascended, and came upon an ugly sight. A whole field of trees had been logged, and the devastation was complete with chaff prevalent everywhere. We had both heard that supposedly clear cutting does not take place in the park, but more of a managed selective cut, in this respect though, this did not seem to be the case, and was within view of the portage. Seeing the scene of devastation so near to a canoe route/portage, led me to believe that the logging companies are getting desperate, all the good timber, far from canoe routes are gone...I hope one day it will not come to a point where canoe routes are closed or removed to accommodate logging! I only hope that one day logging will cease in The Park, however it has existed in The Park, long before The Park was even established. The only way I can see a feasible end to logging in Algonquin is a 40 to 50 year phase out, that would span 1-2 generations of loggers, thus giving families and business a chance to get out of the business & re-locate. Yeah like that is gonna happen.
We headed back, and arrived back at our site before 6pm. Derek fired up his stove and prepared dinner.

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The historical zone west of the 1075m portage

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When was the last time you ever heard anyone
use the word 'nice' to describe a portage?
the 1075m portage...really nice!

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Not nice at all: Visible logging within sight of the portage, chaff everywhere

We became aware of another party on the lake, who had camped on the second site along the north shore. Almost immediately, they were out fishing the weedy waters out from their site. Hearing them, I had wished I had brought my fishing rod. "I got another one", one person exclaimed. Minutes later, "Another one, bigger!". "wow, they just keep getting bigger and bigger, woohoo!" This went on for almost an hour...the folks obviously had had great success...seems like Philip Lake is the place to be. I suspect it is speckled trout that is in Philip Lake, but I don't know fer sure. That night the sunset was fantastic, and shortly after the sun had gone down, I ran to my tent as the skeeters came out in full force. Mere minutes into my self-imposed imprisonment, I heard some splashing, and looked out of my tent. Sure enough, a few minutes went by and a big bull moose came into view. He was walking thru the shallows of the lake. I dared not call out to Derek, but there was no need, within seconds of spotting the moose Derek was there beside my tent. "Hey, see the moose?" Derek asked. "Yeah, big guy too, nice to see. I'm not coming out of my tent though, there's a horde out there waiting to get inside here." I said, paranoid as hell at the vast number of skeeters, bashing themselves to death on my tent netting. We watched for a good 10 minutes in the fading light, me inside, Derek outside braving the onslaught. It was a real treat, as we had previously complained to each other that being where we were in The Park, and for the length of time, we really hadn't seen that much wildlife, where was all the moose and deer and such? After the moose was gone, I went to bed, as we had a long day the next day including a long portage.

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 Heading back to Philip, we walked up one stretch of the river

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Awesome sunset on Philip Lake

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