Algonquin Canoe Trip Log - Pinetree Lake to Sunday Creek

Pinetree Lake to Sunday Creek

May 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2001

by - Gavin Wells



Day 1 - May 3rd.

  • After some major confusion with the outfitters and the other couple we were going with, we managed to meet up and start the trip.

  • We started our trip at Access Point #12 Pinetree Lake, under partially cloudy skies. It was about 25° Celsius ... nice and warm with a moderate breeze.

  • A note when looking for this parking lot. I missed it once. So did our traveling companions. It's not marked, except by a yellow portage sign. The parking lot is located back in the bush about 50 meters. The best way to find it is drive slowly and use the "KM-sign" method.

  • We headed out down the 1885m portage around 4:00pm. This portage is fairly level with no major climbs. The terrain is fairly smooth and the trail is easy to follow. We did the portage in two trips so we could enjoy some of the scenery on the way back. We saw a few snakes, butterflies and lots of birds. The woods are mostly deciduous with some spruce and hemlock stands mixed in. The end of this portage can be deceiving. When you get to the water hang a left. The end is about 50 meters further down with a much easier put in.

  • Once on the water we encountered a nice head wind, which kept all bugs away for the duration of the paddle. We checked the campsite on the eastern end of the lake but decided it was a little exposed to the wind. We proceeded down the lake to check out the other sites. At the end of the lake is a narrow channel connecting the two arms. This was sheltered from the wind and here thrushes, warblers, sparrows and grouse serenaded us. There lake also has some beautiful red lichen growing on the rock along the shoreline. Had the lighting been better, we would have stopped to click a few pictures.

  • We decided on the site located on the southern side of the lake. The site holds two tents with a nice view around the fire pit for sunsets. The latrine is located a little close to the campsite if you like privacy, but for most it is fine.

  • After setting up camp we decided to start dinner ... one of my favourite times of the day. We had marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts, sautéed peppers and mashed potatoes (a frozen bag that only needs to be heated.)

  • While dinner was cooking we decided to find a food hang. The other person I was with tied rope around the rock a fired a nice loop over a limb. It was then that the rope with the rock still attached swung by my head. I managed to duck just in time and breathed a sigh of relief. This was short lived, The pendulum affect caught me off guard and it hit me on the way back. I saw a few stars and said a few choice words. Then I took off my hat to check out the damage. A good stream of blood ran down my head and face. Fortunately I did not get knocked out and proceeded to put the bag of frozen mash on my head. This stopped the bleeding, after we cleaned and dressed the wound. I thanked the thrower for not picking a larger rock. (Make sure someone knows first aid or has a book to reference as accidents can happen). We monitored my symptoms all night until we were comfortable there was no internal damage.

  • We continued with dinner cleaned up and enjoyed a fire with apple cider and listened to the loons on the lake.

    Day 2, May 4th.

  • Awoke around 4:00am to the patter of little feet on the tent. Turns out a deer mouse decided to clamber up the screening of the door and have a peek inside. He stayed and watched me for about 10 minutes then ran over top of the tent and left.

  • Got out of the tent about 8:00am and proceeded to start a fire for heating water.

  • Had breakfast of eggs, peameal bacon and bagels. Never take regular bacon as it creates too much grease and can be a pain to clean up .

  • Did some fishing from shore but no luck.

  • The day started off with showers and remained that way all day until the evening.

  • We set out around 11:00am for the first portage of the day. Took our time and paddled for about an hour.

  • The portage sign to Rose Lake is located at the end of an inlet and is easy to find even without the yellow sign being present. We found it nearby in the bush and tried our best to put it back up.

  • The 990m portage into Rose Lake was considerably more challenging than the portage the day before. This has a few steep hills and is quite rocky. The on and off rain made the rocks slippery. Again we did this in two trips. I can’t remember how long it took but be prepared. My daughter hurt her ankle on the first crossing, increasing the load for the three who went back. We figured we would need her for the upcoming portage into Fork Lake. Again this was a very scenic walk but you have to watch your footing. There could be a few wet areas in a not so dry spring but we were lucky. Once at the end we noticed that the yellow sign had been ripped in half and was also lying in the bush. We did our best to put it back up. It should be noted that there were a number of fallen trees making it a little more challenging.

  • Paddled across Rose Lake and had lunch prior to starting the next portage.

  • The 1550m into Fork Lake proved to be just as intense as the previous one. With much the similar terrain as the prior one and a few dead falls across the path this took all the energy we could muster to complete. I was exhausted by the end and slipped on the final hill down to the lake, it hurt like hell but we were done with portaging for the day and that’s what counted.

  • We started out onto Fork Lake to find the campsite and were greeted by some fishermen on the island who informed us this was our campsite. This was great since they already had a nice fire going. They packed up and left us to ourselves.

  • Take note! The maps all show the site, as being on the mainland. this is not correct.

  • Upon arrival we noticed the island had been burned over sometime in the recent past. We could not determine if this was a natural or man made event. Most of the larger pines survived. However a vast majority of the spruce and cedar was killed. This created a rather open looking area directly behind the campsite. The campsite itself was spared and our tents were pitched under the pines and cedars creating a nice waterproof canopy.

  • Upon further exploration of the island, I located some old rusty leg hold traps probably used for small game. A little reminder of things past.

  • Toward evening the skies began clear and we enjoyed a wonderful meal of Ribs and Rice.

  • We spent the duration of the evening by the fire enjoying the evening.

    Day 3 May 5th.

  • Awoke around 6:00am to the sun. A little cool but dry.

  • After breakfast we packed up and decided to paddle out.

  • We took our time and explored the area by water.

  • There is one beaver dam lift-over between Fork and Norway Lakes.

  • Broke for lunch on a high site just prior to Sunday Creek and enjoyed the view with lunch. This would be a nice site once you got all your gear up. Nice view for sunsets and of the marsh lands on Sunday Creek.

  • After, we paddled up Sunday Creek and enjoyed the many marsh birds, including an American Bittern.

  • The visitor center is located to east as you paddle through this area.

  • Our trip ended at the Access Point #10. You can extend your paddle for a few minutes further up the creek into the spruce bog boardwalk area if you want.

    Summary

    • This makes a good three day trip if you had two vehicles. I would suggest not reversing the route due to the slope of the portages.

    • The car shuttle takes about 15 minutes (7-8 minutes each way.)

    • The portages between Pinetree and Fork Lakes are not for the faint at heart.

    • Saw six moose while in the park.

    • This area of the park has nice rock faces and lots of pines, lots of places to explore by foot and have shore lunches.

    • The area also does not look like it is well traveled; the only people we saw during our trip were the fisherman camped on Fork Lake.

    • All in all I love every trip into the park.


    Gavin Wells
    valleygourmet@skylink.net