Mark's Algonquin Park Sampler - Triplog#13 - Access#12 - Pinetree Lake

Triplogs / Triplog#13

pinetree lake logo image

Access#12(IN) - Pinetree L - Pinetree L - Pinetree L - Access#12(OUT)

Day 1


The short drive in from highway#60

This was a 3 nite solo trip to access#12, Pinetree Lake. I drove through the park on hwy#60, to the East gate office, arriving shortly after 8:00 am. It was a beautiful, warm sunny morning. The drive across the park, was fantastic, with the sun rising over the highlands, I was treated to some memorable views. I also was quite blinded on a few stretches of the highway, with the sun being so brilliant that morning. Once my permit was acquired, I drove to the area where the access point was supposed to be. I came upon Brewer Lake, and turned around. Then I came upon, the parking lot for the Leaf lake trail. I saw lots of beer cans littering the lot, so I turned around and headed back down the highway towards Brewer Lake again. Just as I came upto a curve that headed down a hill towards Brewer Lake, I spotted on my left, a hole in the never-ending green canopy. I also noted a gravel road leading into the dark forest. I turned around at Brewer Lake and headed back, turned into the lot, and drove for probably about 60 m or so, where I came upon a parking lot. Getting out, I walked down a trail, for a few meters to a tree that had a portage sign affixed to it. Sure enough, I was at the access point. There was just no signage out on the highway to indicate that this was the case, for all I or anyone else knew, this was a logging road.

portage signage

Finding the above sign was a blessing in disguise

fall colours

Some early fall colours along the trail to Pinetree Lake

I breathed in the fresh air emanating from the forest. It smelled great! I geared up with my backpack and camera first, and headed down the trail. Barely 3 minutes into my trip, I met a couple coming out, with a canoe. They remarked that they were just day-tripping. It was before 9:00 am in the morning, and they were coming out already? I must've mis-understood them, yet they didn't have any gear with them either. They did offer me some very helpful information, that I'd like to pass along here; with about a minute to arrival at Pinetree Lake, one comes upon a fork in the trail. The left fork, goes to the put-in at Pinetree Lake. The right fork takes you to an un-named swamp. I do not know what time I started my trip down the trail, but I do know my first shot of the day with my camera was taken at 9:23 am, upon my arrival on Pinetree Lake. Ahhh, it was the long weekend in September(Labour Day Weekend). I hoped that I would get some peaceful times ahead. I put my pack down behind a rock, thus keeping my pack and it's precious food, out of the heat of the sun, and headed back to pick up my canoe. The hike back to the car and my canoe, was relatively easy. For a trail that is almost 2km, there was very little in the way of rough terrain. The trail itself was very well maintained, easy to follow, and the terrain it covered was of a very shallow and long descent to Pinetree Lake. So shallow is this descent, that hiking back to the car, even though it technically was an uphill climb, was not over-taxing, and was quite an enjoyable walk thru the forest, mainly filled with hardwoods. Chugging along the trail with my canoe upon my shoulders, I came across two snakes, one that I had to dance around to avoid stepping on, as it slithered away. I went non-stop, as I felt great, and made it to the lake with no aches or pains. If only every portage could be so painless!

pinetree lake

View from the put-in on Pinetree Lake:
the first narrows
can be seen directly ahead

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Some of the timber clutters the shoreline,
near the Pinetree Lake put-in

pinetree lake

A point before the second narrows.
Although there is no campsite there,
the location looked somewhat suitable for one.

I loaded up and launched(no time recorded)onto Pinetree Lake. Right from the start, I could see that this lake was interesting. I paddled towards a narrow channel, where upon my arrival, a pair of otters made their presence known, hissing and mooing at me. I mooed back, made a left turn around a point, and continued now in a southerly track. Minutes later, the lake opened up, into a long stretch, heading westward. I turned right and straight into a stiff headwind. The waves were quite manageable, but it was the kind of wind that just never lets just slows you down. I squinted across the lake, to see if I could spot the lone campsite in that part of the lake. With the sun in my eyes, and having to turn my attention back to the wind and waves, I could not see the campsite from my canoe, nor did I ever. It was 11:30 am, when I approached a another point, an outcropping of Canadian shied, covered with red pine.

I turned left(south again)and entered a another narrows. These narrows were longer, and at one point became very shallow at their narrowest. I thought at one point I might have to get out and walk the canoe, but I managed to paddle around one floating log, and another submerged log. Once past the narrows, I emerged onto the main part of Pinetree Lake. There were loons on the lake, calling to each other, as I paddled through some light cross winds, to the south shore campsite. Besides myself and the loons, there wasn't a soul on the lake. As I approached the campsite, I heard more hissing behind me. I turned sideways for a look, and saw a family of five otters, swimming in the middle of the lake, they were taking their turns hissing and diving, they were taking a track that was parallel to mine. I hissed at them and as if on cue, they started to moo at me. I mooed back and that sent them into a dive, collectively. By the time the otters resurfaced, I was long gone and no longer a threat or an amusement to them(one never knows what an otter is thinking). It was just after twelve noon, when I arrived at my site, finding a suitable landing was a bit of a puzzle, but I soon picked one out that was relatively sheltered from winds. It took me almost three and a half hours from launch to campsite arrival.

second narrows pinetree lake

Entering the second narrows on Pinetree Lake

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emerging from the second narrows,
I came upon some of the exspanse of Pinetree Lake

The campsite itself is spread out over a large area of mainly paths to and fro, with lots of rock slopes to sun bathe on. There is perhaps only one good tenting spot near the fire-pit. I found a less suitable spot(but would do in a pinch) for another tent, towards the east end of the campsite. Therefore I'd classify this campsite as a small one, suitable for one tent, possibly two, but not good for large groups though. I set-up camp, had lunch, and lazed around for a bit, soaking in the silence. By 3:30 pm, I was out exploring the fringes of the campsite with camera in hand. After a bit, I came back to my site, and mixed a drink and sat down(I had carried in a camp chair). The stupid thing was, that on my way to The Park, I had a very strong urge, a lust if ya will, to have a cigarette around a campfire. I had quit smoking(cold turkey)ten months previously, and during all of my trips that past season, I had always wanted to have a smoke around a campfire. So I broke down and bought one pack. Well, one smoke turned into another, then another and another. By the time bed time came, I had already smoked one quarter of a pack of smokes.

pinetree lake

One of the views, looking east from my campsite


Tenting areas are at a premium on this campsite

I watched the sunset under a cloudless sky shortly after 7:30 pm. By 10:00 pm I retired to my tent. The winds having died around sunset, and the air acquiring a slight humid feel to it. I had neglected to put the fly on my tent, and as I laid there, staring up at the beautiful star covered sky, I saw flashes of lightning to the northeast. Oddly, the flashes seemed to be getting closer, a storm travelling southwest? It happens, but I refused to put my fly on, for I could still not hear any thunder. I fell asleep to the flashes of lightning and the hum of mosquitos as they bashed themselves senseless against the wall and screen of my tent.


Sunset on Pinetree Lake - so, so peaceful!

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