Modified Figure 8 loop out of Access #3 - July 20 - 27, 2013
by - Andy Wojewodka
After a year of planning and anticipation, we were finally on our way for a 7 day / 7 night trip into Algonquin. This year was going to be a modified figure eight loop, starting and ending our journey at Access#3, breaking camp each day.
Saturday would have us entering Daisy followed by Sunday on Misty then Monday on White Trout. The return would take us onto McIntosh for Tuesday then back onto Misty on Wednesday and portaging through Muslim, Wenona and Bandit with a Thursday stay on Moccasin. Friday would have us re-enter the Petawawa, and back on Daisy for our last "full day" in the park. Saturday morning was packing up, with an 8 hour drive back to my brothers home. (Plus another 3 hour drive for me to get home the following day).
This excerpt from Jeffrey's map lays out our route as well as the camp sites we stayed at throughout the trip ...
After a tiring 10 hours on the road, we finally arrived at Access #3. Weather was beautiful, in the mid 70's F / 21 C. As expected, the parking lot was full but not that many people leaving when we got there, at 4:06 PM. Quickly squaring away and leaving for Daisy to begin our journey.
Arriving at Access Point 3.
Magnetawan Lake, taken from the dock.
Entering Daisy Lake, coming from the 420 meter portage.
We were expecting Daisy to be completely filled up and wondering if we would find at least one site open for our reservation. But for some reason, there were many camp sites open. We ended up choosing an island site for the evening. I was also hopeful to have seen Markus as he was going to be in the area at the same time. However, our paths never crossed.
Monday Evening on Daisy, looking south/west from the camp site.
Sunday would be mostly river travel, down the Petawawa to Misty. I was really looking forward to this part of the trip as I have heard a lot about this section and was hopeful to see some wildlife. (I wasn't disappointed).
Cascades at the end of the 135 meter portage on the Petawawa ...
(Located directly above the large waterfall at the end of the portage)
Rounding a bend after the 450 portage, we were greeted with a Cow and baby moose. This was the first yearling that I've ever seen which made it all the more special. Our problem was that the mother was on one side of the river and the baby on the other. We certainly didn't want to float down between them, particularly with it being so close. Since it was going on lunch time, we decided to turn around and have lunch at the portage we just came from. Thinking that the two would have moved on, after we had lunch.
About forty minutes later, we got started again but quickly found out they didn't move much from where they were initially. We decided to sit it out as we didn't want to come between the two in such a narrow stretch of the river. They must have really liked the foliage there as they were not in any hurry to move along. It got to the point that things started backing up with other canoeists, all waiting in line for an opportunity to move on. Eventually, the mother and calf rejoined each other and moved off.
Entry into Misty Lake from the 805 meter portage out of Little Misty Lake.
Our camp site on Misty Lake .. clean, with plenty of room, a nice fire pit, solid benches and great sunset views.
Sunday evening sunset on Misty Lake.
The next morning we spotted another moose across from our site in the bay. Couldn't help but to jump in the canoe and paddle over to say hello and take some pictures of her. There may have been another moose in the woods as she would keep looking over her shoulder up into the forest. We heard something but never saw anything other than this cow.
Continuing down Misty, we noticed old foundations of what was left of the railroad trestle that crossed over the lake. I couldn't help but wonder how long ago that was and what it was like back then.
There was a lot of variation in the Petawawa below Misty. From wide/deep channels to places that required us to walk the canoe through or over the many obstacles we encountered.
At the end of the P80 portage, we walked up a few meters and got to see a beautiful waterfall. (It's well worth the detour to see this one) - Taylor Shute.
We arrived at our campsite on White Trout around 6PM. There wasn't much of a shore line for the site, requiring us to haul the canoe and kayak's up to the top of the hill.
On top, it was a really nice camp area with gorgeous views. Although I don't think I would want to stay here in bad weather due not having much protection from the wind.
Tuesday morning took us to McIntosh Lake. It was a nice paddle but surprised that we didn't see much wildlife through this area.
Waterfall on McIntosh Creek
The winds started picking up throughout the day and the clouds started rolling in, threatening for rain. We did get a slight drizzle once we set up camp but it only lasted for a few minutes. Just long enough to go through the work of putting up the tarp .. the ONLY rain we had for the entire week!
Tuesday evening on McIntosh Lake
Wednesday was back to Misty via the narrows up Timberwolf. Should you ever decide to go this way, as you get closer to the end of the narrows, take the LEFT channel to the portage. If you end up taking the right channel, you will be doing a lot of backtracking.
The narrows on Timberwolf, headed to the 130 meter portage.
Waterfall along the P130 portage from Timberwolf to Misty Lake.
We were very fortunate with all of the nice sites we were able snag. And today's was just as nice. We ended up on the small island with the one camp site, across from the 1030 meter portage to Muslim Lake. It has a nice beach area (but a little rocky), swimming hole on one side of the island, a nice fire pit and plenty of places tucked away to pitch a tent. There must have been some rough storms in the past as there was a huge pine that came down right next to the thunder box. I couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like to have been on that thunder box whenever that tree came crashing down!
Later in the day, we spotted another moose across the lake from us. (This certainly has been the year for us seeing moose).
Thursday morning on Misty lake, getting ready to break camp
Today would have us going through Muslim, Wenona and Bandit for an evening on Moccasin lake. Surprisingly, the portages were easy and we made good time. Arriving on Moccasin at 1:20 PM.
Moccasin Lake (taken from Bandit portage)
At the entry to the camp site, I noticed this cleat and chain, hammered into the Canadian Shield. I assume it had something to do with the logging industry but can't figure out its purpose. Does anyone have any idea its purpose?
When I got up Friday morning and was in the process of knocking down my tent, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. No further than 10 yards away, was a cow AND bull moose, working their way into camp! (Did I mention how many moose we were seeing on this trip?)
As they moved off down to the water's edge, I quickly jumped into the canoe to get another picture before they left.
Friday took us back onto the Petawawa, re-crossing over all of the beaver dams and heading back to Daisy for our last day in the park.
Rounding a bend we came face-to-face with another cow. I'm certain this was a different one than the one we saw before (with the yearling) as this cow had more weight on her and you couldn't see her ribcage like we were able to see on the other one.
Passing up the island site we initially stayed on Daisy, we noticed the southern end was open and decided to spend our last night there. This was another "primo" site with a lot of character. A large saw blade was stationed on the site and there really wasn't a "fire pit" it was more a huge hearth!
We broke camp early Saturday morning and started heading out back to the access point. Along the way, we passed a solo paddler and struck up a nice conversation. When we were saying our farewells, he looked at me and asked ~ "By chance would your name be Andy W"? I was shocked! It was Martin G. A fellow forum member, starting his 10 day trip. It was a true pleasure to have met you Martin and shake your hand.
It was a great trip this year getting back into the park. I continue to reflect over the trip and can't wait for next trip back into Algonquin. So many options and places to go in the park. Time to give my brother a call so we can start planning our next trip into Algonquin.