Mark's Algonquin Park Sampler - Triplog#11 - Access#29 - Kiosk - Days 5 & 6

Triplogs / Triplog#11 / Day 2 / Days 3&4 / Days 5&6

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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 5 & 6 - 3 Mile Lake to Wahwahtaysee Lake

At 2:00am this morning, I was awakened by a 'waaaaaaa' -ing sound, over and over again. It seemed to be coming from the water. I laid there for several minutes more listening to it. this was followed by wet slap type splashes . It started to give me the creeps. I got dressed and went outside, and made my way towards the water.

I couldn't see a thing. it was overcast. Shining my flashlight out on the water, I see a beaver. This guy is swimming up and down along the shoreline 'waaaaa'-ing, and occasionally slapping his tail and then dives and comes back up, and does it all over again. Hmmm...knowing there was no one else around, I tried talking to the beaver. "hey man, relax, your girlfriend ain't here. it's just me all by my lonesome, go check the campsite down at the other end of the lake!" Thoroughly calm and relaxed now, back to bed I went. Not 10 minutes later the beaver disappeared and I fell back to sleep.

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                           Unidentified Fungi

I woke up at 5:30am(I brought an alarm clock with me), then broke camp @ 8:00am. It was cloudy and humid when I woke up, but by the time I headed out, the sky cleared up, yet another fine day in the park!

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                  Along the portage - Near upper Kawa Lake

Two really kool things have happened to me that day.
My ears stopped ringing. They have gotten used to the silence.
Also, the skeeters didn't seem to bother me anymore. Yippie I was finally immune!

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                             Smooth and root free trail

In short time, I landed at the 1125m portage to Upper Kawa Lake. 'A walk in the park'. This trail is, simply beautiful. The trail it self is well worn, broad, and very little if any tree roots, rocks, etc, lurk underfoot. Most of the hills, and there aren't many, are long slow gentle climbs, low impact, I'd say. Another great thing about this trail was the mushrooms. I spent alot of time photographing fungi on that portage. There was quite a large variety of them. Arriving on Upper Kawa, I noticed the water was reddish coloured, and the landing itself was pebble and mud.

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                        Sturdy boardwalk along the portage


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                                     Upper Kawa Lake

Upper Kawa itself is a pretty little lake, dotted with a few islands. The campsites themselves, observed from a distance, didn't look to appealing for summer camping.
The portage(763m) from Upper Kawa to Totem Lake, was buggy to say the least.
It is not a difficult portage, but it has the look of being seldom used.
Ferns cover the trail, and in a few spots there were long tracts of muck to overcome.
Overall this portage was even easier than the previous portage, no hills to speak of here.
Heading back for my second pass, I came upon a French couple. We exchanged greetings, and learned that they were headed to Erables Lake that day.
I was aghast. they still had 8 more portages to go, after this one. However, this couple were doing single carry. Oh, to be so efficient! One year I will attempt this. Soloing single carry will be my biggest achievement, but not this trip. Triple portaging was the worst.

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                                         Totem Lake

Paddling Totem Lake was a pleasant paddle, with a big hill lining the horizon, were the portage was located, at the far end of the lake. There is also an island here on the southern end of the lake. On older Algonquin canoe route maps, a campsite was indicated to be on this Island. The island itself is small, covered with grass, and only a few trees on it, so there was obviously no overhead protection there.

Arriving at the 805m portage to Wahwahtaysee Lake, I took a break. I was getting tired again. Yes, I'm going to say it, yet again, triple portaging SUCKS!
Get my drift?

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              Thank God for portages - impossible paddle ahead

I carried the canoe over first, figuring I needed a change of ways of doing things.
I was not to pleased when I discovered that this portage was vastly different then any of the preceding portages. It is quite hilly, and near the middle of the portage, the trail becomes very rocky. This section seemed to go on forever, when in fact it was probably only 250m or so, nevertheless when climbing the rocky hill, it seemed like a lifetime.
Every step was awkward and off-balance.
During my second pass, I developed a weakness in my left leg, behind my knee.
I don't know what it was, but my leg just kept wanting to buckle.
During my third pass, I struggled to the summit of the rocky section, Once there, I collapsed against a tree, for a good 20 minutes. I was so close to finishing this portage, I was exhausted, and I had to remember, that I was still all alone. If my knee buckled at the wrong time, I could twist or even break an ankle, then I'd be in big trouble!
As I rested, I ate half a power bar and greedily drank some water. It was another humid day, and I had to be careful not to dehydrate myself.

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             Timber clutters the landing at yet another portage

Finally, I arrived and launched onto Wahwahtaysee Lake, just before 2:00pm.
Getting onto the lake was tricky, as there was a mess of sunken timber blocking my access to the lake. I wanted to check out the island site, and headed straight for it. I circled it, then came to the landing, and was pleased to notice a sandy landing leading up to a rocky shore. The water was 2 feet deep. As I stepped out, my left foot sunk down into the sand, and kept going. My! underwater quicksand.
I quickly withdrew my foot, steered the canoe along the rock, and hopped out.
There was more sunken timber here, and thought it looked unsuitable for swimming. Then again, I'm a chicken when it comes to swimming alone, and rightfully so!
I walked up and looked the site over.
What a terrible site!
It was very small. the fire pit hadn't been used in decades, and as I wandered around, I was shaking my head, wondering where in the hell do you put your tent?
what open ground there was, was all rock, covered with sun baked lichen.
Sitting down on the lichen was a crunchy affair, and I didn't sit long, as the heat from the rocks and lichen radiated up my body. It was hot! The ground was hot, and uneven. Under the trees lead a path to the thunderbox, and that was it. there was no room really to speak of, to pitch a tent, unless you decided to block access to the thunderbox in the first place. Off the island I went to the mainland site. I landed at the site, that was virtually hidden from the lake. There was a big sunken timber, that I used to walk onto shore, or rather up to camp, as there really was no shore to speak of. This site was roomy, and had a nice sizable fire pit, with a large flat rock on one side, as the back of the pit. There were 2 good places to pitch a tent. One farther back in an open area, and one up near the water, under a big and very low hanging cedar tree. I chose the former. I fired up my stove, to make some coffee, while I set up my tent. Some chipmunks appeared, curious to see what life had shown up on their doorstep. These little critters, would prove to be an unnerving bunch later on. Once I was settled in, I had coffee and some chicken soup. I broke open the licorice, and guzzled my daily 2oz shot of rum. It was pretty comfy here, except I really couldn't see the lake that well. I was definitely shielded from any winds that might come along, *sigh*, there's always trade-offs to every site, I thought to myself. As darkness came, I put out my fire and went to bed early. I was dead tired. While trying to sleep though, the chipmunks were having a party.
Mating season I guess. They were making quite a ruckus, running back and forth thru the foliage. Creepy sounding it was, for every new scurry that I heard sounded different. I hated to do this, but I couldn't stand my own fear anymore. I got out, and with my flashlight wandered over to where the noisemakers were. I picked up some sticks and threw them into the bush, where I thought the little guys were. Then I feigned running into the bush after them. This seemed to scare-'em off, and I returned to bed. Once during the night, I was awakened by them again, but ignored them, and fell back to sleep.


Day 6

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                          Campsite on Wahwahtaysee Lake  

I woke up at 6:00am, I didn't even set my alarm. I like waking up early in the park.
You get to see more. Wildlife is usually more abundant at that time. I got up and not bothering to get dressed, paddled around in my underwear and a pfd. It was another gorgeous morning in Algonquin! The humidity of the past few days was gone too. Paddling around the shoreline of the lake, I saw a few loons, and some wood ducks, and that was it. This lake was very small and cluttered with lots of timber. I didn't do much else this day, except read, study some fungi, and sleep. My left leg felt better today, but my right knee throbbed a lot around my kneecap. I think I might have wrenched it a bit the day before. Worrying about it didn't help. So I chose to limit my movements. Just another lazy day off.

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                     Slime Mould(Fuligo septica)

I stumbled upon something interesting on a rotting log.
A 'slime mould'. This thing is half animal, half plant. It moves..migrates along a surface consuming wood matter in it's path. Now you cannot see it takes days, weeks to move...but it does move. I didn't see it move, so I knew I was still sane! I didn't see another person at all this day. I really was in a secluded part of the park. Back at my site, I had a fire going as day turned to nite. There was no sunset viewing here, as I was hidden in the forest. I went for a stroll down to the water.


                        Island of Doom - Campsite on far side

I watched and listened to a pair of loons, and looked up and down the lake. I could see the portage signs at both ends of the lake. Here in the silence as I watched, nothing moved. I had a sense of being a silent witness. Watching the trees with the portage signs stuck to them. Trees waiting for someone to come along, to guide them thru their journeys. The trees sat there like sentries, watching, waiting, guarding the path thru the forest.
Well, that tree didn't have to wait long. I went to bed early, and the next morning I was headed to One Mile Lake.

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                        Small isle on Wahwahtaysee Lake


>Next Page - Days 7&8

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