Algonquin Park: Érables – Biggar – Kioshkowkwi

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

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


Parks Ontario started offering paddlers online reservations for backcountry camping a couple of years ago but this was the first time I’d tried it. The site is as ugly as ever but the system is easy enough to use. Only it scared me. I plugged in my destination lakes and a window popped up, warning me that I was going too far on my second day.

I was indignant. Possibly a little defensive and insecure. Were we? It seemed on par with what Martin and I had done in years past. Maybe five or six kilometres more. But then, we’re also a year older.


Day 1:wherein we get up crazy early and drive west on Highway 17 desperately hoping the rain stops by the time we get to Kiosk. We paddle under gray skies to Erables.Day 2:wherein we awake to cold and sun, disappear into the woods with our gear and canoe, and re-emerge five hours later on Biggar Lake, having dipped our paddles into the water a few times as well.Day 3:wherein we wake to unbelievable cold and sun and paddle towards Manitou Lake as the temperature rises. Now down to shirtsleeves, we decide to push on to Kioskowkwi for our last night.Day 4:wherein we smugly paddle across Kioskowkwi in rapidly worsening conditions, pleased that we don’t have the Amable du Fond river to travel as well.

Statement of undying love and gratitude

Irene Jansen, my partner and mother of my child, is a most amazing human for a variety of reasons. The one I would like to highlight at this point is the fact that she lets Martin and I piss off into the woods for four days every year.

Admonition against ill-advised adventure

I am telling a story, not providing advice. There’s lots of bad things that can happen to you out there, including some that will alter or end your life. So if you’re new to this — or even if you think you know something about this but get a little insecure or defensive when a javascript or a person tells you might not — seek support from a guide, an outing club or a class on how to canoe trip.