5 Day Solo starting May 16/2017 – Day 4&5

I finally decided it was time to get up after a couple of hours of tossing and turning in my sleeping bag. I had no idea what time it was but it had been light out for awhile at this point, but I had no interest in leaving the warmth of my -7 mummy bag… but enough is enough. As I was getting dressed I checked the time.. it was already 8AM! Normally I don’t sleep in this late but I would be camping on Louisa for one more night so I wasn’t in any rush.

When I crawled out of my tent the wind instantly blew through my many layers and gave me goosebumps. I was camped on a point on the South side of the lake and the wind was coming directly from the North.. not exactly an ideal spot to be on a day like this!

I had issues lighting my Kelly Kettle to get my morning coffee on the go, even dry birch bark didn’t want to light with a lighter because the wind kept blowing it out. After a few attempts and a longer wait than usual I had a hot cup of coffee. I sat under my tarp which was useless this morning as there was no rain and I set it up as a wind block from the South-West wind the day before, so now it offered no protection what -so-ever.

I started loosening all of my guy-lines for my tarp so I could re-position it to offer at least a little protection. I decided right then and there that I need to change campsites all together. I wanted to move down closer to the East end of the lake today anyways, so that I would have a shorter distance to paddle the next day before doing the dreaded 3KM portage back into Rock Lake.

Again I made quick work of taking down camp which I believe I have down to a fine art at this point. From the time I wake up it can take as little as 30 minutes to be on the water, that includes making coffee, oatmeal, and having my tent/tarp and everything else packed up.

I had some issues getting my canoe loaded up because the only real put-in/take-out at this site was completely exposed to the North wind. As I was trying to load my gear into the boat the waves were smashing it into the rocky shoreline. Of course within 5 minutes of being on the water the wind seemed to die down and the whitecaps turned into gentle rolling waves.


Paddling Lake Louisa on a cold, windy morning.

I tried to take shelter behind the islands as I made my way East, after I passed the small island with two campsites I headed directly for the Northern shore so I could scope out some of these more sheltered sites. This was my first time on this lake, and I was honestly surprised how un-inviting most of the campsites are. I’ve been told that the ones on the West end are the nicest (I never did see most of these ones). I only recall seeing one site on the North shore that was decent looking, but of course it was already snagged.

I ended up at the campsite closest to the 3KM portage, it was vacant so I figured I’d give it a shot. I noticed as I approached the site that the lake was very shallow here, and fishing from shore would most definitely get me a few snags. Overall the site wasn’t terrible, it surprisingly didn’t have that ‘overused’ feeling to it, aside from the fact that there was a stash of crushed up beer cans. I made some tea here and relaxed while the hordes of people finished the portage and paddling their way across the lake.

Around noon I decided enough is enough, there was a steady stream of people coming in from the portage and allot of them were very loud and obnoxious (it was now the long weekend, after all). The wind had died down by now, and the sun was out so I decided I would load up the canoe again and check out the 4 campsites by the bay that goes into Pondweed Lake.

One of those sites were occupied, one was missing a sign, and one didn’t exist that I could see. I ended up here :


Map courtesy of Jeff’s Map

This was a fairly decent site. It had a nice rocky point that looked great for fishing, but the campsite itself was fairly high above the water tucked back in the bush. This would be my home for the night. There were a few downed trees within sight of the fire-pit so it didn’t take me long to process an obnoxiously large pile of firewood.


My huge pile of firewood on day 4. The next people to stay on this site were probably pretty happy with what was left behind. 🙂

I made sure to eat supper and have all my camp chores done fairly early so I could dedicate my evening to fishing. I have yet to catch anything on this trip and there was one main reason why I chose this route : the elusive Algonquin Park Trout!

Right beside the campsite there was a small bay with tons of structure so this is where I casted my line for the first time. As soon as my Little Cleo hit the water right beside a fallen tree I had a hit. I knew right away it was a Lake Trout because it kept trying to dive deeper. After a good fight I finally had my first trout of the trip landed.


First (and not the last) trout of the trip!

I let this beautiful fish go as I had a good feeling about catching some more. The hook came out cleanly and it seemed very happy to get back in the water. 🙂

A few more casts later I had another one on the line, this one was roughly the same size. He swallowed the hook pretty deep, and started bleeding upon extraction so this one would be a keeper.


Zeus loves trout!

I fished for roughly another hour until sunset, catching and releasing another handful of Lakers.


Just another Laker


Yet another..

One more Laker must have been really hungry as he really swallowed the hook, causing allot of damage to the inside of his mouth. I decided to put it out of it’s misery before pulling the hook.. I guess Zeus and I will be feasting tonight!


My two keepers under the sunset.


Ready for the fire!

I decided I would smoke both of the trout over the fire, and eat one this evening and have the other while on the 3KM portage tomorrow. I seasoned them with a generous amount of salt+pepper and put them over the fire on a stick.


Mhmm.. smoked Lake Trout!

After I put the first trout over the fire I decided to go down and take another cast. Again as soon as my lure went under the surface I had a fish on! This one fought a little differently, as as I got it to shore I realized it was a beauty brook trout! Some people say Lake Louisa doesn’t have Brookies but obviously at least a few have made their way in.


Beautiful Lake Louisa Brook Trout

I let this one guy as quickly as possible and decided to quit fishing. I already had way more fish than I really needed, I didn’t want to injure another and be forced to keep it or release it back to have it die in the lake.

I think in total I caught 9 Lakers and the single Brookie, but I wasn’t really counting and I didn’t take photos of all of them.


Final sunset of this trip

I finished smoking and eating my fish at around 10PM and was in bed by 10:30. The low tonight was 0 degrees so I stuffed my sleeping bag with all of my extra clothing to eliminate dead space so I could hopefully stay nice and toasty. It was fairly calm overnight and I slept like a baby; I don’t even remember waking up to pee in the night!

Day 5

Again I was up at the first signs of light. I took my time this morning with my coffee and breaking camp, I didn’t really want to go home and I wasn’t looking forward to the long portage. I got on the water around 7:30AM and was at the portage put-in by 8.

I had walked this portage once before 2 years earlier, but didn’t take a canoe or pack. I was actually in search of a Badger Paddle tied to a tree. 😉 For the record I didn’t find the paddle on that day, but I did find it a week or so later on the Pen to Night Lake portage! If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out The Paddle In The Park Contest ! I knew there was nothing to it, no significant elevation changes, just very long!


I was very surprised to see these signs in the ground on the portages every time they crossed a logging road!

I stopped at a few of the streams that cross the trail along the way for some long exposure photography.


Small stream that intersects the 3KM portage into Rock Lake


Small stream that intersects the 3KM portage into Rock Lake

I was on the Rock Lake side of the portage shortly after 10. It only took me just over two hours to double carry it.. not too shabby. When I seen Rock Lake I literally said “Really, that’s it?” out loud! I was expecting it to be grueling, but it wasn’t bad at all.. Just a walk in the park as I always say!!

It was another beautiful sunny day in A.P.P. so instead of heading straight to the Access Point I decided to bee-line across the lake to the old Barclay Estate campsite for a bit of rest, relaxation, and of course a cup of tea! I munched on the rest of my smoked trout on the way.. delicious! 🙂

I was back to the car sometime in the early afternoon. The Access point was completely nuts, there must have been hundreds of people about, I had to wait for a spot to clear on the docks to get off the water! I got out of there as fast as I could.

While driving West-bound on Highway 60 I seen my first moose of the trip! There were people literally stopped in the middle of the highway to watch and photograph him.. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t witness an accident. Gotta love the long weekends in the Park! I wasn’t going to stop, but decided I might as well get at least one moose photo this trip!



He got hit pretty bad with a tick infestation this past winter, but he seems to be doing okay and within a couple of months his fur will be full again.. just in time for the cycle to repeat itself next winter! Poor moose! I’d call that a great way to end a great trip!

Thanks again for reading, I hope you enjoyed the write-up and photos! I will be posting many more of this summers ‘ATventures’ so stay tuned!

The End

<–Day 3|

5 Day Solo starting May 16/2017 – Day 3

…As per usual I was awake  at approximately 3AM with the sudden urge to urinate. When I got out of the tent to take a leak I noticed that it was still very warm out, as a matter of fact I slept in my underwear on top of my sleeping bag the whole night and was still borderline uncomfortably warm. As I fell back asleep I told myself that I need to get up as it gets light out this morning.

I had no alarm of any sort, but I’m typically a morning riser and had no issues waking up at 5AM. Just like the previous two mornings I started a fire in my Kelly Kettle and as it reached a boil I packed away my sleeping bag, extra clothes, sleeping pad, etc.. Then while my coffee cooled I packed up my tent. I skipped breakfast this morning which isn’t uncommon for me.

I got on the water just before 6, just in time to watch the sun rise above the horizon!


Sunrise on Harry’s Lake


One last look at last night’s campsite on Harry’s Lake. The moon was a nice touch!

The short paddle across the rest of Harry’s didn’t take long. The river going into Rence Lake was very similar to the one between Welcome and Harry’s.. a decent current but nothing serious. I think there may have been another beaver dam or two in this section that I floated over with ease. Again I was hoping to see some moose in here, but again I got skunked!


Along the river between Harry and Rence Lakes

Although I didn’t see much of Rence Lake it looked like a beauty! When I reserved my trip Rence was already all booked up but when I went through both sites looked vacant. Both reservations must have either been no shows or they didn’t make it as far as intended.

To reach Frank’s lake you have to paddle through a marshy section on the North-East side of Rence. There is little to no current here and its a very nice paddle. Again it looks like prime moose habitat for this time of year, but I seen nothing!


Paddling through the wetlands towards the P320 into Frank’s Lake. That small yellow speck is the portage sign.

The P320 into Frank’s lake has a bit of an elevation gain in the middle of the trail, but nothing more than a slight inconvenience. I made quick work of this portage and was paddling on Frank’s Lake by 7:10AM.


A very scenic Frank’s Lake

Frank’s Lake has one lonely campsite on it. It looks like a pretty good site, but I’d imagine it would be very buggy this time of year! Apparently the fishing is good here, but I didn’t catch anything as I trolled across the lake.


Looking through the narrows to Florence Lake. This was a beauty paddle!!!

I reached the P1725 into Lake Louisa by 7:30. I decided to relax here at the take-out for a few minutes to take in all the marvelous scenery. I love this area!


Getting ready to start the P1725 to Lake Louisa.

I wasn’t sure what to expect on this portage. The only thing I knew is it crossed a logging road a couple hundred meters in.


Crossing the logging road on the P1725

Thankfully this was a very easy walk in the park! It seemed like most of the portage followed a very old grown-in road, but it would have been so old it was hard to tell for sure. A few hundred meters down the trail from where my canoe sits in the photo there was some mud with bear tracks in it, but I didn’t stop to take any photos. There were a few small climbs, but nothing major. It took me exactly 70 minutes to do a double carry.

At the end of the portage there is a steep hill going down to the Lake Louisa put in. Here I met up with two older gentlemen who were camped on Louisa but were doing a day trip into Florence and Frank for trout fishing. We chatted for at least 20 minutes. The guy carrying their canoe was 64 years young and does all these long portages in one carry without a single break! I hope I’ll still be able to do that when I’m that age! I wished them luck and we went on our separate ways.


A very big and very beautiful Lake Louisa.

I took another small break before hopping in the canoe and starting my journey across Louisa. I got on the water shortly after 9 and I was happy I arrived at my destination early. 10 or so minutes into my paddle the wind really started to pick up from the South-West. Luckily for me I didn’t have too far to go, I was hoping to snag the site on the Eastern Point right as you enter the main part of the lake. A friend of mine told me about this site and how good the fishing is here from shore. The water is up to 120ft deep within casting distance of shore, which is great for trout fishing when the water is warm, but not so important this time of year.


My home for the night on Louisa

Luckily the site was available, which I was pretty happy about because now there were white-caps rolling across the lake. While I got my camp established I decided it wouldn’t hurt to throw my line in the water. All I used was a single hook with half a worm, a couple of sinkers and a bobber. I didn’t even get a single bite in a few hours, I was surprised my worm lasted that long! My expectations weren’t very high anyways considering the time of day and the weather.

Again I spent quite a bit of time lazing around in my hammock reading and eating. It was a very hot and sunny day. According to the thermometer built into the whistle on my life jacket it was around 29 degrees Celsius… without the humid-ex. The lake water here was still ice cold (I’m assuming because of the extreme depths of the lake) so I took this opportunity to have some Tang mixed with Vodka. Normally I don’t bring juice powders because I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners, but I found Tang recently at the grocery store and it contains real sugar. Obviously you pay for that with the weight but it was worth it! It sure went down good under the hot sun! I applied sunscreen 3 times today, and still felt like I was burning to a crisp, but luckily I didn’t.


My new tent for this season. After lots of research I decided to purchase a “NatureHike Cloud II”. I found this tent on Amazon for $150 CDN. Its an exact replica of a $300+ Big Agnes Tent. According to the reviews the build quality is almost identical between the two. I’ve used it for 11 nights so far, and I absolutely love it! For more info on this tent send me a message.


Somewhere around 4PM the wind started howling even more, and the sky was rapidly getting darker and looking much more ominous. Luckily the two guys that were day tripping into Florence/Frank’s just got back to their camp across the lake.


There’s definitely a storm brewing up there!

I started hearing thunder in the distance so I figured now would be a good time to setup my kitchen underneath my tarp and get supper on the go. Not long after I fired up my MSR Dragonfly stove the rain started. It started off light but soon started coming down in literal sheets blowing sideways in the extreme winds! This would be the ultimate test for my new tent. I’ve used it during two nights of rain so far, but nothing like this! There was lots of thunder but I didn’t see any lightning at all. All in all this lasted about an hour and a half.


Cooking supper under the tarp, waiting for the storm to pass.

When the rain finally let off the sky cleared up again rather quickly. The temperature was now only 12 degrees according to my thermometer. I went and checked the inside of my tent and thankfully not a single drop of water made it inside! I hope the material continues to stay this waterproof through the test of time!

By the time I got my various camp chores done (dishes, collecting a bit of firewood, etc.) I was greeted with another great sunset. As I watched the sun disappear I threw my line in the water. I was casting and retrieving a Mepp’s Aglia but had no luck, which again didn’t surprise me because those intense winds stirred the lake up pretty good.


Sunset on night #3 – Lake Louisa

As soon as all the light was gone (approx. 10PM) I went to bed. Tonight was very cold and windy. I woke up multiple times in the night from either the sound of the wind howling through the trees or because I was shivering in my -7 sleeping bag. The wind had shifted and was now coming from the North and boy was it ever cold!…

Stay tuned for day 4!

<–Day Two |Day 4&5–>


5 Day Solo starting May 16/2017 – Day 2

I didn’t wake up as early this morning as I normally would (usually I’m up when the sun comes up). I think that is mostly due to the amount of portaging and paddling I did the day before. That’s okay though, because today was going to be a very easy day, I only had to paddle 4 or so KM to get to my next campsite on Harry’s Lake.. no portaging necessary today!

I was out of the tent and had coffee on the go at around 7:30AM. While my Kelly Kettle is heating up and then while my coffee cools I normally take down my tent/tarp (as long as it’s not raining) that way as soon as I finish my coffee and oatmeal I can get on the water. I have always preferred to get on the water as early as possible and arrive at camp a bit earlier than most. This way I can collect firewood and setup a good campsite and not have to worry about the time! And besides early morning is usually the best time for fishing anyways!


I relaxed and drank my coffee on this surprisingly comfortable stone chair out on the rocky point of the campsite I was at on Welcome Lake.


All ready to go once I’m done my cup of Java!

For anyone curious what campsites I stayed on for the first two nights here they are on Jeff’s Map:


Map courtesy of Jeff’s Map http://algonquinmap.com

I got on the water close to 9AM, and trolled across Welcome Lake again without any luck.


Looking across Welcome Lake on my way to the river going into Harry’s Lake.

I was really hoping to see moose going through this small, shallow river into Harry’s Lake. I even made sure to switch to my telephoto lens so I could get some shots as fast as possible if I do come across any wildlife.. but unfortunately I saw nothing! The current in places was a little bit hard to fight with, but again it was manageable. There were a couple of beaver dams but the water was high enough to allow me to float right over them!

The wind started to pick up as I hit Harry’s Lake so I decided to stop at the first campsite on the lake for a little break and to snack on some beef jerky. This campsite isn’t the best I’ve ever come across that’s for sure, but it had a great beach and a super nice view.


Beach campsite right as you enter Harry’s Lake on the East Side.


Looking across Harry’s Lake from the East side beach site.

Paddling across the lake was a bit challenging and took longer than expected. By the time I got to camp there were whitecaps rolling across the lake. I didn’t fish along the way so I could concentrate more on my paddling. I had seen pictures of the campsite on the North-West point on the lake and it looked pretty impressive but unfortunately it was occupied. No big deal though, as I scored an awesome site for the night, and mine was more sheltered from the high winds anyways.

I didn’t do much on this day other than lounge around in my hammock reading, and eating more of my food than I probably should have. In the evening the people camped across the lake were out fishing from their canoe, shortly after sunset I could hear them cheering from across the lake so I’m assuming they landed a trout… I was a bit jealous but I knew I’d probably catch some on Louisa (more on that later ;-))

The sunset was pretty impressive for the second night in a row, I love watching the sky slowly change colors! I went to bed fairly early again on this night, probably around 10. I used my InReach to get a weather forecast for the next day, looks like I’ll be dealing with high winds and a thunderstorm. Because of this I wanted to get an early start, so I told myself I need to get up at sunrise the next morning…


Sitting in my hammock watching the sunset

<–Day 1|Day 3–>

5 Day Solo starting May 16/2017 – Day 1


I just got home from an amazing 5 day solo trip starting from Rock Lake. The weather was fantastic aside from a steady wind throughout my whole trip. I only had one calm evening which is unusual, and the only rain was during an awesome thunderstorm Thursday night on Lake Louisa, it was a great test for my new tarp/tent.. and they both passed!

I was on the water around 10AM on Tuesday the 16th, Rock lake was super calm which was a great start! As I paddled by the many vacant cottages on the East side of the lake I was greeted by an older gentlemen taking photos of me as I paddled past his dock. He remarked at how perfect of a model my dog and I were as we paddled across the perfectly still water. I ended up giving him my email address so he could send me a few of the photos (Thanks again!!).

About to set-off. The water level was fairly high but not the highest I’ve seen it here:

Here I am paddling away after a brief chat:

Doesn’t get much better than this eh!

A few minutes after I passed the lone cottager I could hear a guitar and singing. As I got closer to Rose Island I realized it was a fellow soloist camping with his dog on the Island, he was out on a rock playing his guitar and singing away.. he was actually quite good too. I stopped paddling and took it all in for a few minutes then carried on.

Not much has changed on the portage into Pen. It’s a very easy walk, and the bonus is the fresh water spring. The waterfalls sure were gushing!

Here you can see the high water at Pen Lake. Again not the highest I’ve seen but it makes the dock pretty useless!

Pen Lake was an un-uneventful paddle. I knew I would have cell service in the middle of the lake so I called my girlfriend one last time to say bye for a few days! Again the lake was like glass so I talked to her on speaker phone for a few minutes while I paddled down the lake.

The current on the Galipo river going towards Welcome was not welcomed at all! It was a major PIA trying to fight with it, I almost thought I was going to have to bushwhack around! It’s amazing considering in the Summer/Fall you have to walk through due to lack of water!!

First portage on the way to Welcome:

A very easy portage with the most scenic set of waterfalls I think I have ever seen!?

A few minutes after finishing the P275 I arrived at the P2170. Again the current between was decent but manageable.

Just a walk in the park eh!!!

The P2175 was a pain but again totally manageable. I don’t remember anything overly challenging about it. I arrived on Welcome Lake at around 4PM.. and what a welcome sight it was!!

I stopped at the landing and had a snack, changed into shorts and sandals and went and played in the water with Zeus for a bit. After that portage the water didn’t feel that cold after all, it was rather refreshing!

We took our time making our way to the campsite slightly north of the portage. I trolled for trout along the way but no luck! Zeus looks pooped after a long day!

We made quick work of setting up camp and getting supper on the go. Supper was Italian sausages and a Lipton SideKick (I can’t remember what flavor). Decent firewood was easy to find, I had a decent pile processed by around 7:30. I then decided to go fishing until sunset, but again had no luck.
Here is the sunset on night 1:

I had a small fire when I got back to camp. It was an early night however, I retired to my sleeping bag at around 10PM and had no trouble falling asleep after a long day on the water/trails!

It’s taking me forever to go through the 1,600 images I took (some are for a time lapse), I should have day 2 up tomorrow morning!!

Day 2–>