Algonquin Park: Érables – Biggar – Kioshkowkwi

A four day canoe trip through Algonquin’s north end: Sept. 23 - 26, 2016

Saturday, Sept. 24, 8:35pm

Biggar Lake

Woof. That was an arduous day. I told Martin that today was going to be like yesterday, and… well… I was right. We were up a bit later than usual — just before 7am. It’s too depressing to be eating breakfast by headlamp. A cold, foggy morning. We were on the water just before 9am after oatmeal with granola, powdered milk and dried cherries. And coffee. Can’t forget the coffee. Back to Mugmates this year. No regrets.

Today was evidence for those who hate Algonquin Park because it’s got too much portaging and not enough paddling. I hasten to add I’m not among those people. I love Algonquin Park. But it was a long walk in the woods with canoes. Or, were I to dial down the hyperbole a notch, I would say: today featured a series of long portages punctuated by short paddles through tiny lakes except for Three Mile and Biggar Lakes.

None of the trails were particularly strenuous or complicated. A couple of instances of deadfall. And we’ve had worse. But there were a lot of portages. Nine in fact. We were on the water more than we were in the woods – at least as far as distance goes – but in terms of travel time, I’m not sure.

We’re not the only people who found this route a bit of a chore. The cartographers, for example. We paddled through Boggy Lake, Rat Trap Lake and Dismal Bay today. You get the sense they were trying to tell us something.

And I expect when they got through that cheery string of puddles, their guide said “This is bigger,” to which they responded. “Indeed. Thank God. Write that one down, Jenkins.”

We saw no other humans today. None. Not a lot of wildlife either. Ducks, loons, a heron.

We had sun today, but it’s been quite cool.

I moved the two wine tetrapaks to the grey pack to even out the loads a bit. The green one is lighter but it’s still deemed the punishment pack in part because of the weight but also because it’s constantly maladjusted.

We had lunch on Three Mile Lake, around 12:30. There was a brief paddle down Three Mile in the open air then back on to the creek joining Kawa, Upper Kawa and Sinclair Lakes until we arrived at the east end of Biggar at around 2:30.

An aggressive north westerly wind gave us a bit of a chore paddling to the my preferred site on Biggar, but the weather lore says that’s good because prevailing wind means no change in weather for 24 hours. And sunny, mid-to-low teens I will gladly accept in late September.

We pulled into our campsite around 3pm. Not the site for sunsets, this one, but it’s got a nice exposed bit of rock for sitting on, drying things on and has a great view of the lake.

We had plenty of time to set up, stretch a bit, try to dry our shoes, etc before settling down to couscous.

I’m upping my food game a bit this year. I brought actual feta cheese (shrinkwrapped) and toasted almonds to supplement Laurie Ann March’s recipe. And I think it was worth the weight. Though I should check to see what I was meant to do with the spice packet. Not sure I got it right. However, second night, no leftovers. Boo ya! Like the young ‘uns say.

Much as I appreciate not having the world’s heaviest packs during the day, I like good food better. I think the extras, feta and edam cheese, the packet of tofu cubes, two types of cooking oil, vegetable shortening, too much coffee probably added another 1.5kg to the pack. I don’t see myself stretching too much further in the food department, though, not like some I’ve seen.

We hit the tent early fleeing falling temperatures and unimpressed by the stars. I hope it’s not a sign that Monday’s rain is coming early.