4 Days Solo – Kiosk-Manitou-Maple Loop – Day 2

When my alarm sounded at 5am ‘excited’ wouldn’t be the best word to describe my feelings for getting up. I had a good sleep, but for some reason I was still very drowsy. I tossed and turned for 30 minutes while thinking about the long day I had ahead of me. I finally decided to retire from the tent somewhere around 5:45. The first thing I noticed when I unzipped the fly of my tent was the beautiful sky over the vast, calm waters of Manitou Lake.


Sunrise on Manitou Lake

I follow the same routine every morning while I camp. First I grab my food bag which I always hang from a limb a good ways away from camp, I then collect water for coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. While my water comes to a boil I pack up everything inside my tent (clothes, sleeping bad, etc.) I then make my coffee, and while it cools down I take down my tent. This gives me some relax time to enjoy my coffee, which is my favorite part of every morning! As soon as I finish drinking my coffee I make 3 packets of instant oatmeal, then while that cools I get my pack ready for the day, so as soon as I’m done eating I can give my cup a quick rinse, pack it up, and off I go! This whole process from the time I wake up to the time I get on the water usually takes around 45 minutes, or closer to an hour if I have a short day.

It was approaching 7am as I took my first paddle strokes of the day. I knew I had one of my longest ever days ahead of me, but I still wasn’t in much of a rush. I find it very difficult to rush on a beautiful morning like this; and besides I wasn’t very excited to do the 3km portage into Three Mile Lake anyways.


Beautiful morning on Manitou Lake


Looking back at Manitou Lake from the 2905m portage into Three Mile Lake

I didn’t know what to expect on this portage. I only really knew two things about it.. It’s the second longest portage I’ve ever done and it gains just over 60m in elevation in the first kilometer of trail! How bad could it be?!

I lashed my paddle in the canoe, threw my pack on my back, threw my canoe on my shoulders and off I went. The portage didn’t look too intimidating from the landing, but about 100 meters in the gain in elevation started. I tried not to look up the massive hill in front of me as I struggled to climb over the many rocks and roots. Finally I had enough, after only a few minutes of single carrying I couldn’t do it any more. I threw the canoe to the ground and decided I would take two trips up this mountain. When I looked back after dropping the canoe I noticed I could still see Manitou Lake, which wasn’t very encouraging at all.

When I reached the top of the mountain I dropped my pack and went back for the canoe.. it was much more manageable this way, and I’m glad I made the decision to double carry. After getting the canoe to the top I took a little break, sitting down on a freshly fallen tree. From here the trail was very easy and straight forward, I powered through the rest of it with both my pack and canoe on my back, taking only one single break at a canoe rest along the way. Close to half of the trail follows an old logging road, making for easy travel. In total it took me just over an hour to complete, which I was pretty happy with.

Three Mile lake was quite inviting, like Manitou it is a very large lake but the water was as smooth as glass. About 5 minutes into my paddle I crossed paths with yet another solo canoeist. We weren’t close enough to exchange greetings, but I couldn’t help but notice he was trolling as he slowly made his way down the lake. Just after passing by him I heard some splashing, and when I looked over I noticed he had caught a fish (probably a lake trout). I immediately put my line in the water and trolled the rest of the way to the portage into North Sylvia Lake, but unfortunately I wasn’t as lucky. This would be the last time using my fishing rod on this trip.


Trolling across Three Mile Lake

The 550m portage into North Sylvia Lake started with another steady incline, which  became the norm for the rest of the trails today. I single carried it in just over 10 minutes.

I don’t remember anything about North Sylvia Lake aside from a family of loons that were playing in the middle of the lake. It was amazing to watch them as they splashed around in the lake together. I think I counted 8 of them in total. I sat in my canoe for a good 30 minutes watching them.


Family of loons playing on North Sylvia Lake – This was the most memorable experience of this whole trip


Family of loons playing on North Sylvia Lake – This was the most memorable experience of this whole trip


Family of loons playing on North Sylvia Lake – This was the most memorable experience of this whole trip

After watching the loons I made my way towards the 660m portage into Boggy Lake. Again this trail started with an incline but leveled out approx. half way through for the rest of the way. Boggy lake wasn’t all that exciting so I didn’t even bother pulling out the camera.


Portage from North Sylvia to Boggy Lake

Next came the 1490m portage from Boggy Lake to Dahinda Lake. The only thing I remember about this trail is.. well you guessed it.. another steady incline to get your heart rate up for the rest of the trail. Another thing I noticed here was the bugs were absolutely terrible! They weren’t bugging me as much as Athena, she was not a happy pup! I single carried the first half, but I was getting very tired so I decided I would take two trips for the rest. I arrived on Dahinda Lake at around 1PM.

Dahinda Lake was similar to Boggy Lake, essentially that’s all it was.. a large bog. I had trouble finding the narrow channel into Ratrap Lake, but once I found it it was a quick and easy passage.

I’ve always been curious about the campsite on Ratrap Lake so I paddled close to the Island as I made my way across. The site looked decent, but far from spectacular. I would definitely stay here in a pinch with no complaints, though.

I was very happy when I approached the final, and smallest portage of the day.. a short 390m into Maple Lake. I was very tired at this point and couldn’t wait to get it over with. I single carried this trail in under 10 minutes.


Maple Lake.. at last!

Just after arriving on Maple Lake I noticed Athenas eyes and face were starting to swell up considerably. She must have had a reaction to the deer and stable flies on the Boggy to Dahinda Lake portage. Half of a Benedryl capsule was on order for her as soon as we reached camp..

I had been to Maple Lake in the past, but never ventured into the Southern section of the lake. I had only previously camped on the Island near the Maple Creek portage. I had read online that the two Southern most Island campsites were amazing, but for some reason I wasn’t overly impressed with either as I paddled by. I kept going for the other island to the North-East. The campsite here has a massive staircase from the landing area up to the actual site itself. Again I wasn’t overly impressed with this spot but I was too tired to explore any further, so I setup my hammock and gave Athena a Benedryl. At this point she could hardly open her eyes! I felt very bad for her so I let her nap in the hammock for a good hour while the medication worked its magic.


Poor Athena resting in the hammock.. She couldn’t open her eyes any wider than this

When she woke up the swelling was almost completely gone which I was thankful for (I think she was too). I decided I actually preferred the other sites I had checked out earlier over this one so I packed the hammock back up and made my way back across Maple Lake. I ended up snagging the Southern Most Island site. It was very exposed and as a result I got a healthy dosage of vitamin D this afternoon. I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging around drinking Tang mixed with a bit of vodka which was very refreshing.

Supper tonight was hamburger helper with dehydrated ground beef, onions, and mushrooms. I also made bannock to go along with it. For some reason I found this meal rather salty and I actually had a hard time getting it down.

I finished eating around 7PM and finished my camp chores (dishes and firewood) shortly there-after. At around 8 Athena asked me to go to bed so I let her in the tent for the night, and I lazed around in my hammock drinking a cup of whisky.


A pleasant way to spend a beautiful evening

I took a few more photos while watching the sunset, then retired to the tent as soon as the ‘golden hour’ was over once again. I had a very short day ahead of me tomorrow, so I didn’t bother setting an alarm. The last thing I remember before drifting off to sleep was listening to a owl hooting off in the distance.. it doesn’t get much better than that!..

Stay tuned for part 3!


Sunset on Maple Lake

<–Day 1|

4 Days Solo – Kiosk-Manitou-Maple Loop – Day 1

On July 29 I started a last minute trip through the Kioshkokwi Access point in Algonquin Park. I had a 6 days off work so I figured what better way to spend my time off! The plan for this trip was to visit some lakes that I had yet to see, and with the weather forecast looking almost too good to be true, I decided to take on some big water which I don’t normally like to do when I trip solo. My last minute decision would have me travelling from Kiosk into Manitou Lake, then down to Three Mile Lake (via the 3km portage) and then over to Maple and down to Erables for a night.. from here I would head down Maple Creek back to the Access point on the far side of Kiosk Lake. The only lakes on this route I have previously paddled were Kiosk and Maple.

On Saturday morning I got a later start than I normally like too, I didn’t have my permit in hand until shortly after 8am. Luckily it was a beautiful morning and the notorious winds of Kiosk Lake were a non-issue. I made quick work of loading my canoe and setting off across the still waters of Kioshkokwi Lake.


Time to get going! After a little swim of course.

For this trip I had borrowed a canoe from work (Algonquin Basecamp) but after trying it out a couple of times I realized it wasn’t the right fit for tripping with my K-9 companion. The canoe is a Souris River Tranquility which is a great solo tripping boat, but unfortunately it just isn’t wide enough to comfortably fit a 75+ LB dog and gear for 4 days. As a result I ended up using my 17ft Swift Prospector which obviously has plenty of room to spare. I did decide to bring along the double blade paddle that I took with the solo boat just because I was curious how well it would perform in the big boat. I used it for the entire trip across Kiosk Lake, and realized that it was a big mistake. The paddle was simply too short to paddle such a wide canoe and as a result it was very awkward to reach the water with. Not only that but I ended up with lots of water in the canoe, assuming because I had to use the paddle at such a steep angle to reach the water, it was dripping water on me with every stroke!

It took me close to an hour to cross Kiosk Lake, and I passed many occupied campsites along the way. As soon as I passed the Junior Ranger Camp on ‘Sandy Point’ all of the noises from motor boats and fellow campers were behind me. All I could hear now was the rushing water of the Amable Du Fond River, which I would soon be paddling for a few kilometers before reaching the final portage of the day into Manitou Lake.


The first portage of the day (on the left) going across this small waterfall.

The first portage of the trip was only a 265m trail around a small waterfall. This portage is very straight forward and crosses a logging road near the beginning. In low water there is the option to stay on trail and meet up with the next portage just down river, which would add 440m to the trail. Because it basically hasn’t stopped raining all summer thus far, taking the water route was no big deal, as a matter of fact the water is still so high I couldn’t imagine ever needing to use the low water route.


Back on the Amable Du Fond River after the 265m portage. This section of river can be bypassed by an additional 440m portage, but it was unnecessary – Note the double blade paddle lashed in my canoe, that’s where it stayed for the rest of the trip!

A few minutes later I approached the next portage which is a another short one, only 310m. This one goes around a very large waterfall that I wish I took the time to explore… because it is fairly close to the Access point I’m sure I will be back soon. Unfortunately I didn’t even get any good photos of this one. All I remember about the portage is it was a pretty steep climb, which was obvious considering the size of the waterfalls and I was going against the current, but it only took me around 10 minutes to single carry.

Shortly after getting back on the river I approached a small swift that I thought I might have to line the canoe through… but I managed to power through it using my single blade paddle. If the water was slightly higher I don’t think I would have made it. Right after the small swift the river opens up and almost turns into a long, skinny lake with not much of a noticeable current. There are three campsites along this stretch, the first one being on river right. As I passed the first campsite I noticed the yellow portage sign for the 1355m into Manitou Lake. The campsite on river left looked quite nice, probably the nicest of the 3 by far.


The start of the 1355m portage into Manitou Lake

I single carried approximately half of this portage, the first half was relatively flat and easy going, but when I approached a steep incline I decided to put the canoe down and double carry from there. This turned out to be a good idea because it was quite a large hill, but after reaching the top the trail was very easy the rest of the way to Manitou Lake. When I finally reached the lake I was greeted by a huge beach, which is known to be one of the nicest in the entire park! I can see why! I quickly set my pack down on the beach and went back for the canoe.

When I got back to Manitou I could hear what sounded like a motor boat, then a moment later I could see it going across the lake. It pulled up to shore just North-West of the beach, so after checking my map I realized there was a cottage there. What a way to spend a summer! I took a few moments to explore the beach and the nearby campsite (which wasn’t all that inviting). My dog Athena decided to lay down in the lake for awhile to cool down, it was around 30 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, after all. It’s days like this that I wish I knew how to swim!


Athena cooling off on the Manitou Lake beach


The beautiful beach at the end of the 1355m portage into Manitou Lake. The beach extends about the same distance in the other direction as well.

Because I was done portaging for the day I took my boots off and played in the water with Athena for a few minutes, then got on the water. I passed by a few other solo canoeists on my way across the very large lake.


Tired puppy on Manitou Lake

My first stop was the campsites on Pine Island. I wasn’t very impressed with either of these sites, same goes for the sites on the island just North of this one. I decided to keep going for since I’d be heading to the other side of the lake the next morning anyways. As I got back out into the middle of the lake I noticed the very small island with a single campsite, it looked like a great spot so that’s the direction I headed. As I got closer I realized it was occupied by another solo canoeist that I had seen earlier on in the morning. I think he started his trip an hour or so ahead of me. I kept going and ended up at the South-Western campsite on the next island that has 3 sites total. It was a beauty campsite! This would be my home for the night.


The Southern view from my beautiful island campsite on Manitou Lake

As I lazed around camp for the entire afternoon I noticed how scenic this lake was. I was surrounded by mountains off in the distance. I bet this would be an amazing sight in the fall when the leaves start changing color as most of the canopy was dominated by hardwoods. Supper tonight was a grilled striploin steak with a Lipton SideKick. Nothing better than a fresh steak grilled over the fire! I capped the evening off with a small cup of whiskey while watching the sunset, which became a routine on this trip.


A beautiful evening on Manitou Lake

Originally I had planned to sleep in my tent without the fly tonight because when I checked the weather before my trip there was a 0% chance of rain overnight, but I decided I better put it on just in case because the sky started to look rather ominous just before sunset.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow night?


Manitou Lake sunset


Manitou Lake sunset


Manitou Lake sunset

As soon as the ‘golden hour’ came to an end I decided to call it a day and head for the tent, where Athena was already fast asleep. Usually she more or less begs me to let her in the tent around 8 every evening, I guess because she’s still so young she requires a little extra sleep. It never did rain overnight, I wish I never did put the fly on my tent because it was a very warm and humid night, a little too warm in my small tent, a little extra circulation would have went a long way! I had set an alarm for 5am the next morning because I knew I had a very long day ahead…

|Day 2–>

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–>