Algonquin Park: Érables – Biggar – Kioshkowkwi

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

Monday Sept. 26, 10:15am

Highway 630, heading north to 17

We were up this morning just after 7am. As forecast, clouds hung low, spitting rain. Rising wind suggested it was a great time to leave.

So we had an extra hurry-up breakfast: trail mix, granola bar, cheese and coffee; then packed up and left.

I put the Garmin’s rechargable back in after the AAs died on startup. I got a bearing and figured I could probably find our way back to the car. Something about a large-ish yellow excavator shovelling heaps of gravel into the lake to shore up the boat launch.

We were on the water just before 9am and got to Kiosk about 30 minutes later. The wind was noticeable, from the southeast, hitting us starboard aft, so it was a bit of a chore coming across, but not dangerous. Splashy, not swampy. I have to imagine a couple of hours later it would have been far worse.

All that to say I think we made the right decision to push on yesterday.

We’re on the road and we should be home by mid afternoon.

Miscellaneous notes: the pack, blisters, the GPS, what to Google

Just waiting for someone to dare carry it.

The Big Green Pack

I am pretty much convinced that the big green pack has seen its last trip. The stitching on the top flap could be repaired, but its straps are rigid and nearly impossible to adjust.

Martin and I switch loads every portage and we’re usually in a hurry to get going so we don’t have a lot of patience for the green pack’s reified straps. We just say “screw it — it’s only a kilometre” and stomp off down the trail. It’s a decision I routinely regret about three hundred paces later.

It does have side pockets for water bottles (cupholders I call them) but even those make the pack awkwardly wide and hard to pull in and out of the canoe.

I’d love to find a waterproof portage pack with cupholders and straps with contemporary adjustment mechanisms.

Wet for three days - the shoes
Closer to dry

Blisters and how to beat them

All trip I’ve been struggling with blisters on both heels that I got last weekend from hiking in the Adirondacks in unkind and suddenly ill-fitting hiking boots. This week I went out and bought every possible variety of blister bandage. What I’ve discovered is that the really goey ones (also sold as being great for serious burns) don’t hold up so well when they’re in contact with… you know… the thing that made the blister.

I’ve also discovered that a change is as good as a rest. My light weight, flimsy heel cup water shoes are much kinder to me than the stiff, durable trail runners that I bring along to wear at night.

I also got a bit of a pleasant surprise from this perforated lycra blister cover which held on tight and provided really good comfort from a thin strip of material. Trouble is, my blisters were so far gone as to be bloody. Which shortened the thing’s life span. But these lycra things might beat moleskin.

Batteries and how to stay in power

My fitbit battery died after two days on the trip. And the rechargable battery that comes with the Montana was showing dangerously low after day 2. The lithium AAs that I brought as backup were almost gone by Sunday afternoon. I must find a way to bring real power next year. Solar? Battery charger?

I can do without the FitBit, but the GPS? I just had a little moment of fear upon seeing the redlining AAs that the unit would switch off and not come back again and we’d be lost in sight of the car.

The Google list

When was the du Fond farm abandoned? When was it established?

Ignace and Francis du Fond worked the farm from the 1880s to 1916. There’s a book written about the area. I’m waiting for it to arrive. It may have more detailed or accurate information than a Google book called Algonquin Park Ramblings.

What’s the planet that appears low over the western horizon around sunset?

Probably Venus.

Why do geese fly at night?

Because they can. Their vision is about 12 times stronger than humans, so often they take advantage of moonlight to migrate south for the winter