Mark's Algonquin Park Sampler - Triplog#15 - Access#4 - Rain Lake

Triplogs / Triplog#15-Day 1

Rain Lake triplog Image

Rain(IN) - Islet - Islet - Rain(OUT)

Day 1

This trip was just a quick 2 nite Solo to Islet Lake thru Access#4 - Rain Lake.
I had never been thru Rain Lake before, nevertheless I was looking forward to being in this part of the park again(West side), as it was autumn, my favorite time of the year. Once again, Algonquin did not fail to please.
Even the drive up to the access point was stunning.
The colours were vibrant everywhere I went!
After picking up my permit @ the office in Kearney, I went left out of the parking lot and over the bridge, on my way to Rain lake.
I was warned about logging trucks, and to watch my speed.
As it was, I saw only one lumber truck(parked), all the way to the access point. The road was in excellent condition, a soft sandy surface. Almost too soft in some spots, as at one point I went into a deep depression in the road, this caused my canoe to bob up and down, thus my front tie-down, went slack. I got out and re-tightended my lines, and continued on my way. Good thing I was warned about governing my speed!

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                   Rain Lake Access road - A beautiful drive

It was a pleasant sunny Friday morning, as I arrived at the launching point around 8:45am. I loaded my canoe, parked my vehicle, and as I was about to disembark, two older Men joined me on the dock, as they were about to go out as well.
One of the men, remarked how he was pleased to see me wearing my pfd.
I was surprised by this, but after talking to the gent for a few minutes I came to the realization, that this fellow, had been going to the park far longer than I had existed.
I remarked that wearing a pfd is important and doubly so, when solo..because no one might be around to help if I happen to unexpectedly take a dive into the drink. The fellow nodded his head in approval.
I was anxious to get started, we wished each other well, and I shoved off.
The water was dead calm, with a light mist on the water in places, as the sun was burning off the remnants of a heavier mist.
I wasn't 50m away, when I spotted 3 canoes full of young kids coming in, surprisingly, they were very quiet.
Maybe they hadn't discovered the secret of coffee yet.
They all seemed tired and asleep.
What happened next was enough to wake anyone up.
The electronic buzz and hum of logging machinery.
This was truly annoying.
I had checked the area before hand, and there was no logging scheduled here(as far as I knew), however it seems that the logging might have been outside the boundry of the park(the park boundry was very close), so info i had would've been useless in this case.
The noise spurred me on to quicken my pace.
They say sound travels well over water(at least at night) certainly did this morning.
It was around the first portage to Little McCraney Lake, where Rain Lake starts to open up, that I lost the sound of the machinery.
I paddled on.

rain lake dock image

                  Ready to go! - The launch point on Rain Lake


rain lake image

                     Looking down the length of Rain Lake

The first few campsites I passed were empty, then upon reaching the opening in the main body of water of Rain Lake, I saw signs of life;
Sites occupied here and there. People stirring from their tents, morning chatter, mixed with swigs of warm coffee. A canoe at the far end of the lake, coming my way.

Looking north, I was stunned to see the colour of red overwhelm my vision.
The hills beyond the shoreline, was just a sea of red. The water was pretty calm still, as the wind had not woken up yet. I decided to cut across the lake to the portage to Hot lake, rather then hug the shoreline.
As I neared my destination, the wind started to pick up, and I almost beached myself on a weedy mini island, as I tried to decide how to go around it.
Looking back at the shoreline, I realized I had been fooled, and almost missed the portage sign. With the sun in my eyes, and the angle I was to the portage sign,it was difficult to spot the sign.
I landed at a good sized gravel/sand mix beach, nothing that a pair of sandals can't handle.

red hills image

                        Along the north shore of Rain Lake

Looking up the portage I was amazed to see the abrupt steepness to the beginning of the trail. I threw on my backpack, and clambered up the incline.
At the top, the trail intersects the Western Uplands backpacking trail.
I've heard that some of it follows an old railway bed.
It certainly seemed that way...some of the trail still had old railway ties embedded into the soil, and the fact that I could see quite a distance in both directions, spoke of the 'straightness' , in which some rail corridors exist.
The morning air smelled of autum, as I entered the forest.
Leaves of every colour littered the ground and above glowed with the morning sun shining thru them.

island image

   Entering the main body of Rain Lake - Island ahead, left of centre


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                     Portage to Hot Lake - steep beginning

This portage was fairly easy(700m), with a few dips in between, there was one spot were there was some moose muck I had to hop across.
Other than that, the portage was in excellent condition.
Arriving at Hot lake, I took off my pack, took a swig of water, and admired the view, before heading back to grab my canoe. The return and subsequent trip with the canoe, was quick and passed without incident. I was a little fooled by the landing here. The most favorable place was partly blocked by sunken timber, so I elected to walk over to the trampled grasses and launch from the banks there.
As I stepped upto the sandaled feet sunk down into mud...surprise!
I was slowly sinking into the lake. I quickly placed the canoe at a hazardous angle into the water, then as softly as I could placed the pack in it's usual spot in the canoe.
with my feet thoroughly covered in mud, I shoved off and simultaneously hopped into the canoe, almost tipping the craft. What fun!
Once under way, I paddled across Hot Lake, it was short and sweet, less than a 15min. paddle. Hot lake is a beautiful small lake, with no campsites on it. Such a shame.
The 455m portage to Islet lake was shorter but more rugged. Just a short and small up and over trail.

hot lake

                                          Hot Lake

Soon with the downhill trend in the terrain, I arrived at Islet lake.
The landing was hampered by the fact that I had to steer around a sunken timber, while avoiding rocks. Soon I was in clear waters.
There is alot of sunken rocks here, some rising to the surface, more sitting just beneath, just waiting for heavy laden canoes to scrape by.
My intended destination was the island campsite to the SW end of the lake.
I never made it.
As I came around the rocky outcropping of the first campsite out of the portage, I became exposed to a strong wind coming up Islet lake.
The waves weren't big at all...but I was too lite.
I paddled furiously, and I could barely make headway. Stopping, instantly sent me backwards. Looking over to the other shore, it appeared just as windy, there was just no 'lee-side', no shelter from the wind on this part of the lake.
I turned around and landed at the first site. I was tired anyways.
It was 11:45am..lunch time.
I broke out a few granola bars and some water flavored with Crystal Light. The best way to flavor water in the bush.
I ate and rested, and had a look around.
The site had a look of being abandoned for a long time.
This might be due partly to the fact of large copious amounts of pine needles everywhere, as well, it was obvious the last party here, were 'good' campers, and practiced 'no trace' camping, except there was no firewood to speak of, so I had to gather it myself.
The site it self was roomy, and I found an excellent pine to string my food pack up in.
The site was well treed, especially along the shoreline, but my tenting locale was open to the matter, I brought my tarp with me.

trail image

        Autumn leaf litter covers the 455m portage to Islet Lake

There was a few trails leading SW towards the expanse of Islet lake, but could never make it that far...too much bush. there was some mushrooms here, in which I had the pleasure of studying and photographing. Around 3pm, as I was lounging about on the rocks, I heard a thump, as someone dropped a pack. Soon I heard the sound of chopping wood, as some folks were preparing to camp for the night.
It was a Backpacking site, directly across from me on the opposite shoreline.
I tried exchanging greetings, but was ignored.
It certainly looked good over there...they had the benefit of the afternoon and setting sun, I did not. No op time again. To the north end of the lake I could see what looked like a rock wall...covered in places by shoreline trees...I thought I saw something walking along it's length, and consulted my canoe map. I noticed that the Backpacking trail looped there at the far north end of the lake.
I'm not sure but I think the old railway ran along that rock wall. I wonder if it is where that islet Lake railroad trestle used to be, in days long gone?

Hericium americanum image

                        Tooth Fungi - Hericium americanum

Later in the evening, I watched the stars and moon come out an had a pleasant evening, by both the fire and the water as I traversed between the two. Not a bug in sight! I went to sleep around midnight.

fire image

             Warm fire on a cool October evening


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