Mark's Algonquin Park Sampler - Triplog#11 - Access#29 - Kiosk - Days 12-16

Triplogs / Triplog#11 / Day 2 / Days 3&4 / Days 5&6 / Days 7&8 / Days 9-11 / Days 12-16

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Kiosk(IN) - Maple Cr - Ratrap L - 3 Mile L - Wahwahtaysee L - 1 Mile L - Erables L - Maple L - Kiosk(OUT)

Days 12 to 16 - Erables Lake to Maple Lake


It was about 8:00am, when I left my site on Erables Lake. The fabulous weather continued! I paddled up the lake early, to avoid the wind. I passed the group of 12 campers I saw the previous day, they were camped on the west shore, opposite a big island in the middle of the lake. They were already up, having their breakfast. I nodded good morning and kept going. I was staying close to the western shore as I paddled up the lake, and as I got closer to the north end, I looked over to the first of only 2 campsites on the eastern shore. I was too far away to make out specific details, but this site looked awesome. A large area of sloping rock, right down to the water. Farther up the rock, the tent was hidden under a forest of pines. This site had full exposure to the south, west, and north. It looked to me, like it was a great place to swim too. Personally, I like to swim where there is lots of rocks and the water is deep. However I wasn't close to the site, so I couldn't be sure. Definitely though, the site was perfect for sunsets and sky-watching at night.

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         North end of Erables - portage just around the bend

In the last bay before I hit the portage to Maple Lake, the lake it self becomes very shallow and weedy. The lake bottom is sandy, no rocks here at all. If your into fishing, it's probably not a good area to fish, just too shallow. I made my way round a large fallen tree, a tree that I could see from the portage up ahead of me, 4 years earlier.
I landed at a weedy beginning to the 175m portage to Maple Lake.
Even with the shortness of the portage, this trail had a lot to it. There was an AFA road that crossed the trail, and there was a campsite here as well. This was not a good location for a campsite, so I have to assume it is an emergency site. Whether it is inclement weather, or the lateness of the day, I can see no other reason why anyone would want to camp here.

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                               Arriving on Maple Lake

I arrived on the Maple Lake end of the Portage.
Here it was muddy and very shallow. I had to walk out about 4 or 5 meters, before I could get in the canoe. paddling the remnants of Maple Creek here, as it spilled out into Maple Lake, is tricky, there are lots of 'Hippo' rocks, as the water is still shallow.
As I emerged onto Maple Lake the water became a little choppy, as there is a channel to the left. The double island next to the southern close enough to the mainland, to cause the waves in some places to back-splash, thus the choppiness of the water there at times.

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             Approaching the south island site on Maple Lake

I paddled thru the channel, looking up to the campsite, to see if it was empty.
It looked empty, but I was unsure. The site itself sits high above the water, at least 9 feet up. I came around the the flat rock landing on the west side. Got out and walked up. Oh BABY! This site was mine for the next 8 nites.

Now I was on vacation! no more hard work for 8 days, nothing but lazing around in the solitude of Algonquin. I set up camp, and was very, very happy to be on my old site. I lazed around all day and evening, exploring the island, and the shoreline, napping in my hammock, and just generally enjoying myself. It was hot that day, with the lake breeze I felt no humidity, with no clouds in the sky, I had a bright summer sunset.

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                             First night on Maple Lake

Day 13

One day 13 it was a windy day, great for keeping the bugs away, but not great for me canoeing solo. I was hesitant to go out, but made it across the channel to the mainland for some much needed fire wood. There was a family camped on the north island and I saw what I assumed to be a brother and sister, head over to the mainland, and come back with a canoe load of wood. I soon followed suit. My island had very little in the way of sizable wood, just twigs. So I gathered as much kindling as I could then headed over to get the 'good' stuff. I was able to grab enough for about one and half's nite's fire, and had a great fire that night.
During that time, around sunset, the waters were dead calm, hardly a bug in site, and another beautiful sunset occurred.


                                    Firewood patrol

While admiring the sunset and drinking a little of my rationed supply of good spirits, I was treated to the most amazing rendition of Vangelis's 'Le Singe Bleu' from the album, "L'Apocalypse Des Animaux". Whoever was over there, had brought a trumpet with'em and played the entire song, 'bout 10 min's worth.
I've never heard anyone play like this while in the interior. Not to mention the fact I'm a big Vangelis fan, to begin with. The guy playing was less than perfect, but man! What a treat, and the acoustics of the the surrounding lake and shoreline was perfection. Awesome!!

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                                Small fire at sunset

Day 14

On day 14 it was overcast, the clouds hung low, and it was much cooler. The kind of clouds that look like it might rain any minute. After noon, I saw the occasional blue patch of sky peek thru the clouds. I hung around, waiting for the rain I guess, but it never came. Just another lazy day. I was re-reading the first book I brought with me, seems I didn't bring enough to read. It never did clear up and I did have a cloudy sunset that night, as the sun managed to show itself for a few minutes before going to bed for the night.

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                            Campsite: lots of open space


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                 Closeup of shoreline along the north site

Day 15

Last night my one and only flashlight died, while in my tent at night reading a book.
It wasn't the batteries, but the bulb. I always bring spare batteries, everybody does. Who thinks to bring a spare bulb? I didn't. However I did bring my mini micro light, which is useful for night excursions from the fire pit to the tent and the outhouse, but not much else. Doh! It wasn't till after the trip, that I realized, that my marine safety kit contained a functioning battery. I had checked to make sure it worked before the trip, yet I completely forgot I had it. I also heard another tree fall in the forest. Sheesh, if they only grew as fast as they were falling, logging in the park, wouldn't worry me so much.

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            Bird image in stone - Happenstance by nature


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Exploring the island - I noticed this 'Pitchfork' tree

The skies this day were still gray and hung even lower. The wind had died down, still there was the occasional breeze that hinted at the possibly of rain yet to come.
I jumped into my canoe and went for a 3 hour tour of the eastern side of Maple Lake. While paddling around the shoreline, I found out where all the loons on the lake had been hiding. I saw them in the south east corner of the lake. There was a gaggle of 10 of them. Even though I was quite a distance from them(well over a hundred meters), they still voiced their alarm at my intrusion, and dispersed from the area.

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                One of three sandy beaches on Maple Lake


I stocked my canoe to the brim with driftwood, finding a few very old remnants of beaver huts, along the shore. I paddled to the creek in this side of the lake that is shown on the official canoe map. There was no way I could paddle up it, it was just a trickle, however there was a very nice sandy beach here, and I got out and scooped up some more wood, while studying animal tracks. I saw a few moose tracks here and there. One set of deer prints, and some I couldn't identify. No bear tracks though. I paddled up to the 2 campsites on the east side of the lake.

First the mainland site. It had a small sandy beach, and a wooden step way leading up to the site. This site didn't appear the get a lot of action. It had a big open area under the forest canopy, and the thunderbox was up on top of a hill. I didn't like the idea of camping here alone. The back of the site gave me a feeling of malevolence. I could just picture a bear coming thru there.

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    Eastern most site on Maple Lake - complete with sand beach


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                   Walkway up to the heavily forested site

The island site here, is quiet different, it is on the western side of the island, with a view of the west and the islands that I was inhabiting at that time. It had a smooth pebble beach, that you'll need sandals for, and the site it self was high above the water.
The tenting and fire pit area was a sand pit. Here there was no coverage from rain above, and to the west of the site, there was a big sandy outwash down an incline to the shoreline. Still not a bad site. Excursions to the mainland might be required for firewood.

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 Looking for firewood, I stumbled upon a 'bone yard' of dead timber

Paddling thru the north east corner, the waters appear dark and are filled with sunken timber here and there. I saw a few Blue Herons there.
Paddling back west I came upon a marsh in a small bay, and a shallow weedy zone as well, along the shoreline, as I approached the entrance to the north end of the lake.
I got back onto my site for lunch, and while sitting there eating, I noticed a Stable fly on the bench. A few minutes later I noticed 2 more, then 9, than 2 dozen, then they started landing on my ankles and feet. Yup it was August. Stable Fly season. It was a hot day that day, and the flies were coming out in droves! Unlike skeeters, which are easy to slaughter, Stable flies, fly away at the slightest movement, thus they kept attacking me while I ate, nearly impossible to kill.

On this day I noticed algae build up in my juice container. I wasn't sure how to remove it. So the next time when it was empty, I put hot boiling water in it, and gave it a really good shake. This did seem to remove some of it, but for the most part, it was still there.

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             Shallow waters precede a timber strewn shoreline

Also at this point I'd been here for more than 2 weeks, I noticed that I had lost more weight than a week ago. Combined with lots of exercise and low fat diet, I was continuing to lose weight. I felt great though, and was unconcerned, I needed to lose some anyways.
My pen ran out of ink, while writing down in my journal. Things were starting to happen. Flashlights dying, pens running out of ink, me losing weight, algae in juice container. I had pencil, so I continued to write. My food pack was much lighter by then, and I was thinking of carrying it while portaging the canoe on the way out. I'd have to wait and see.

I got drunk this night, which was a shame. I had saved quite a bit of rum, not drinking it every day. I had a great day, and just as sunset approached, I dipped into my supply. It was tasting great that day, and I had more and more. The shame was, that it was a very nice evening, water like glass. I desperately wanted to go out for an evening paddle, the evening colours beckoned to me. But I couldn't, drunk people in canoes rarely come back to shore. I had to satisfy myself with a few parody shots of myself in a canoe on land, looking like I was about to go over a cliff.
Harmless, but safe and fun.

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                         Another sunset on Maple Lake


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                            Feigning a fall over the edge

Day 16

It was another beautiful day in Algonquin. I just can't believe the luck I've been having with the weather. In the morning, I was doing laundry, and was about to go for a swim, when I heard some splashing around the corner of the rock wall. I also heard some animal noises. As I was going over to investigate this, I was 2 minks swimming for the mainland, calling out and swimming fast. What could spook them so?
I had my answer soon enough. A big turtle came gliding into the picture, A BIG UGLY snapping turtle. I watched him for about 40 minutes, as he swam around, he kept looking up to me, he was just as curious about me, as I was him.

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     This snapper kept me out of the water for quite some time

I waited till about an hour after he was gone, before I went in for a swim, and even then it was short lived. I was pretty nervous thinking that the turtle might come back.
There was no humidity that day, and I had one of the most beautiful sunsets I'd seen so far, that night. Not a bug in sight either. Perfection.

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              A peek at some of the sunset colours in Algonquin


>Next Page - Days 17-20

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