Friday 14 June 2013

A.P.P. Rain - Islet Fall 2012

Thursday Aug 30, 2012

Finishing my last shift of the week Thursday morning, I walked out the door from work to the car already loaded with gear and the canoe tied to the roof and was actually able to get a head start on the Weekend traffic for a change.
The drive from Barrie to the Permit Office in Kearney passed quickly with a stop at The Skyway for gas and a large of their finest trucker grade coffee.
Permits in hand I was down the freshly graded Access Road and pulled into the launch at Rain Lake (without getting lost this time) to find a full parking lot.
Hoping for a little quiet at least Thursday night this was not what I wanted to find but by 10:00 the canoe was loaded and I was ready to go.

Put in Rain Lake photo Picture003_zpsdde79475.jpg
Put in Rain Lake

Once again Rain never disappointed me and by the time I cleared the Narrows I was treated to 20+km h winds, but for a change they were tailwinds letting me make great time as I paddled across the North Bay arriving at the gravel beach take out to Hot Lake at 11:00 and not looking forward to the head winds on Islet.

Hot Lake Portage

I have paddled by this portage a few times and always admired the staircase, but had read that over the last few years the wood treads had broken down and as some described, become more harm than good.
Well the Park Staff must have agreed because I arrived to find a washed out trench where the staircase used to be, leading up to the Hiking Trail.
Hoisting my pack it turned out to be not as bad as it appeared, other than the sheer amount of sand and gravel that can work into a pair of sandals is such a short climb.
With the canoe stashed out of the way at the bottom and the sand emptied from my sandals, I took off down the trail.

The “Staircase"

Along the portage from Rain to Hot Lake

After the initial climb the trail is not bad really, at one point, a small boulder garden and climbing slowly for the first three quarters and the dropping down to Hot Lake and a root lined landing complete with black ooze to steal whatever shoe you would like to donate.

Hot Lake end

It felt so good to get back to Algonquin that I triple carried this port, going back one last time for the paddles and my shoulder bag, just because I was enjoying the walk in the woods and once again breathing fresh clean air and re-acquainting myself with the wonders that surrounded me.
The Paddle across Hot Lake is not really long at all. You just get settled and it is time to get back out. I do not recall much about this landing other than it was more of the same with rocks.
While on the Port to Islet I crossed paths with a couple and their two daughters and in conversation they mentioned that they were camped on the South end of Islet and when they came up the Lake was empty but windy with whitecaps.
Great News. Looked like I would get a night of quiet and as it was starting to get to be a long day and with the news of the first site open and the Lake to myself not to mention, avoiding paddling straight into a headwind, I thanked them and with a bounce in my step, carried on my way
Now these times should not be used as a reference for travel, but if you will, consider this a worst case time frame. As I mentioned, I triple carried the first port just because I was enjoying the walk and took rather long breaks. It was starting to get to be a long day and as much as I do not like to admit it, my 48 year old body does not like to act 25 near as much as it used to.
Again I never had time to get comfortable before I rounded the stone point of the first site on the right shore as you leave the portage and approached Granite Point landing.

Unloading, the first thing I noticed was an old weathered log set off to the side and already picked out my spot for morning coffee, all before walking up the path to the site where it opens up amongst the trees measuring approximately 30’ deep by 15’ wide with recently redone log benches around a one of the smaller fire pits I have come across.

Path from the landing to the site

Fire Pit and seating area

The tent pad sits off to the rear of the site measuring roughly 12 X 15 feet and more than large enough for a 5 person tent.

Tent Pad

Finally getting to use my Hammock for the first time I found a nice spot off to the side overlooking the Lake and since they were calling for a chance of rain, quickly strung up a tarp and had camp squared away and coffee on by a relaxed 4:30.

With the Summer fire ban finally lifted I was able to bring my Vital Stove and again I just love this stove. Unfortunately I think I was on the only site in the Park that was not littered with old Birch Bark, or anything else easily flammable for that matter to start the fire. (Okay, I may have not looked a well as I could have lol) With some damp pine cones and leaves I was able to catch some twigs fairly easily and soon had water boiling for coffee. I still find this stove is easier and faster to use than my white fuel stove, comparing the assembly and pumping up of the fuel bottle.

I should explain that there are few things that I will not do without, but a decent morning cup of coffee is not one of them. Until now I had been carrying a small bulky hard to pack stainless coffee perk and finally upgraded to a G.S.I. Coffee Press that worked out rather well, making a decent but somewhat strong morning coffee.
I also discovered that a full kettle of water with enough coffee will just fill my camp mug,

and it is a big mug.
Needless to say, I went through much more coffee than I planned.
Dinner was a simple fare this evening. Knowing I would not be in the mood to cook I relied on the old standby of a Mountain House dehydrated meals and water was boiling for Lasagna and Meat Sauce by 7pm served directly from the bag, resulting in first night dishes of the coffee press, coffee mug and one fork.
With dishes done and camp packed up I sat back to enjoy the silence and listen to the winds blow through the trees, passing on a fire for the evening.
One of the other pieces of gear I was trying for the first time this trip was a Hennessy Hammock. Although I have set this up and tried it out every ware from the basement to assorted campsites, this would be the first chance I would have to sleep in it and I got great nights sleep. I had used 2 light sleeping bags and slipped the Thermarest between the two and never had a problem with anything sliding around.
 It was lightly raining when I woke up and I was pleasantly surprised that even under the standard tarp, I was dry and comfy, but I do think I will swap over to the larger Hennessey tarp I have and see how well that works out.
The evening was spent just sitting back and listening to the sounds of the forest under a Full Moon with the customary Loons and a Barred Owl off in the distance.
By 10pm being awake for somewhere around 25 hours started to catch up to me and I climbed into the hammock for the night.

Fri Aug 31, 2012

The hammock worked out well as I slowly climbed out to face the day at 8:50 and was welcomed by the sun starting to appear from the clouds giving hope that the light rain would soon be letting up.
Not wanting to go through the aggravation of finding something to start a fire, the Dragonfly stove was pulled out and the first rather strong coffee of the day was enjoyed. Breakfast of an Ova Easy eggs and pre cooked bacon was soon dealt with, with dishes done and a rather strong but fresh coffee in hand by 10:30.

This was my first try of OvaEasy eggs and I can say they are not bad. Not doing anything fancy I just threw in some dehydrated mushrooms and peppers and added a little pepper while cooking. I think the more you could add to “distract” from the eggs the better they would taste, but one of the best I have tried so far.
I mentioned that I was trying out a new coffee press this weekend, well I really should have tried it at home first. Not that there was a problem with the function or the taste of the coffee, I just over guessed how much you need to make 2 cups.
When I got home and measured what I had been using per serving, I realized I had enough in there to make 15 cups.  No wonder one person was able to go through a three quarters full zip lock sandwich bag in a weekend.
The rest of the morning was spent just wandering around site, trying my luck fishing from shore with the usual results and ducking under the tarp as rain showers and the sun traded places for most of the day.
About 1pm the sun finally decided to stick around for a bit and left me with no choice but to make a fresh coffee and a sandwich to enjoy by the Lake.

Feeling recharged (might have been the coffee) and ready to face the afternoon I wandered over to the Hammock to tweak the hang a little, move it a little more one way and raise the feet end a bit.
Glancing at the stuff sack I noticed the setup instructions and thought a quick review might not be a bad idea and what do you know. I was sleeping with my feet at the wrong end.
Although having read on assorted forums that it really does not make a difference I swapped the bedding around and fine tuned a few things.
Well for me it made a huge difference. I slept better that night than I ever have in a tent.
The Squirrel and Chipmunks running around under me did take a bit of getting used to.
About 1:30 I head the arrival of a group on the hiking trail across the lake and the usual noises of setting up camp started drifting across the lake.
What can I say, another day just enjoying where I was, spending my time between wandering back into the bush, camp chores and just sitting on a rock beside a lake reading a book.
Dinner prep started around 3 when I suddenly remembered I needed to rehydrate the hamburger and promptly got back to work, pumping water and assembling the ingredients for dinner before getting back to more important things like daydreaming as you look over the lake wondering what it was like to stand in this spot and hear the train approaching from the distance.
Working up a bit of an appetite processing firewood for a fire later I finally got around to rehydrating and heating the home made spaghetti sauce and cooking the pasta by 6:45.
It must have been good because all my trip notes make mention of is needing to do dishes but wanting to go for a nap lol (the dishes won).
By 845 it was starting to get dark and I had a small fire going, burning off the bit of garbage and camp was pretty much cleaned up and put away for the night.

Time to sit back and enjoy the rising Full Moon while listening to the faint call of a Barred Owl, only interrupted by the infrequent call of a Loon.
The day was summarized in my notes as “915pm and I am sitting here by the fire on the side of a Lake and my only real worry is getting back to the car, and that is mostly downhill. Small fire still burning and will for a bit. A GOOD DAY!!!”

Saturday Sept 1st

Another lazy morning after a great nights sleep with coffee finally being put on around 10:30
Although the backpacking group is really not making that much noise, I can still hear them and fell asleep to their chatter around their fire and woke to the sounds of their camp drifting across the water. Not that the signs or sounds of others normally bothers me but for some reason they were really interfering with the quiet I had been enjoying. That and the unforeseen sudden shortage of coffee had me leaning towards pulling out today.
Breakfast was a large bowl of oatmeal and a fresh coffee enjoyed by the lake.
After enjoying a lazy morning around camp I decided that I would pull out today and by 1pm had camp pretty much tore down and was packed and with two Robaxen was on the water by a very relaxed 1:45.
Again taking my time and exploring the shore of Hot Lake I managed to land 3 fair sized Bass as I slowly worked my way to the portage.

The day and trip ended with a quiet paddle down a calm Rain Lake as the sun set, stopping for a break in the narrows before arriving back at the dock by 6:30 and the car loaded up heading for home by 7:00

If you are interested, here is the link to the rest of the photos. Some good some bad and some that should probably be deleted.

More Pictures


  1. I see you've got an Etun weather radio. Did you get good reception on it? And was it accurately.

  2. Reception was not really a problem on this trip with the exception of Hogan Lake where I did have to "Walk" around a little to get a clear signal. Moving a little south to Crow and it cleared right up. As for accuracy the short term (24 hours) was pretty much right on