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Author Topic: Where in Algonquin to go?  (Read 4895 times)

Offline jimdiane

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Where in Algonquin to go?
« on: January 05, 2008, 03:09:19 pm »
Great site!!! ;) ;)
Thinking about going into Algonquin to set up the hot tent, not to Mew lake. We(family) would like to get off the beaten path, but not a back breaker trip. I know the park has a lot of hills but we will deal with it, any suggestions on a starting point off #60? We have winter camped quite a few times with the deepfreeze group, but thought it would be nice to keep a little closer to home.
jim
p.s I was not aware that it was permitted to take down live trees for pole  set up, I thought it was a no-no in thre provincial parks.

Offline Ted

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2008, 09:32:11 pm »
I winter camp 3 or 4 times a year in APP.
Mostly I just pick a parking lot that is plowed and head in.
Check out the various trail maps and use that as a starting point.
Blackfox can be a great starting point, but often the road into the parking lot has been blocked with a plowed snow bank.
I made the mistake  of parking in an unplowed lot once. When I finally got back I spend 4 hours shoveling out that darn plow drift!
I know of only 3 rules for winter camping in APP.
1.Pay your money over the phone and put the registration number on a piece of paper in your window.
2. Don't camp at any summer campsite whether interior or regular.
3. Yes you can cut standing dead wood for firewood.

I know that several people, including those that have high standing with Park personnel, who regularly cut live trees for poles and use the branches for flooring. I do not think that it is legal though, just tolerated if done quietly away from trails, portages and campsites.  I generally use a rope ridgeline as I usually don't stay in one spot for more than 3 nights.
Does anyone have a definitive answer, preferably one in writing?

cheers Ted
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Offline Rick

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 01:27:42 am »
Ted: Where is the closest parking to the Blackfox trail / portage?

Offline jimdiane

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 07:16:29 am »
That 4.5 km portage in off the highway to balckfox and then on to red fox(another 2 kms) is it very hilly? Just thinking about spliting my gear into two sleds for those big hills, makes it alot easier getting over with half the weight :P
jim

Offline Ted

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2008, 02:45:20 pm »
Last year the road into the Blackfox portage/trailer dump site/road was only plowed to about 20 feet off highway 60. I was worried about vandalism and didn't want to leave my truck that close to a major highway. So I dropped all my gear off in the bush at Blackfox, parked my truck at Mew Lake and asked around from the campers if someone would drive me the 5k to Blackfox. No problem. I had to walk back to Mew for the truck after I got back later that week. Again the gear was stashed in the bush for the walk back.

For February I have one of two routes planned.
plan #1. Going into Blackfox through the dog sled trail which starts across from the Rock Lake campground road. It's a big parking lot that they keep plowed. Downloaded a satellite map which shows old logging roads in the area including the ones from the dog sled trail over to Blackfox. I'm hoping they're passable but looks like great potential for routes.  I think Craig McDonald gets paid to keep the dog sled trail(s) open with a snowmobile. So I intend on keeping my ears open for the day I'm on that trail.
plan #2. Park a Mew lake, take the old train/new bike path down to Rock Lake, cross over Rock Lake at the top, down Rock Lake to the 2.9K Lake Louisa portage and into Lake Louisa. Aiming for Sitting Duck Lake but who knows. Reverse to get out.

I'm seriously thinking plan 2 on the hopes of getting gung-ho for next year. Next year's dream is to make a big long loop: Rock, Penn Welcome, Louisa then back to Rock.

As for hills, I've never thought that any of the hills required two sleds. One 60-70 pound sled and one out of shape 60 year old. The hills are all short enough that just taking it easy was the way to go for me.  There's one relatively steep 20 foot stream bank into Blackfox. Was crusty snow that even my snowshoe crampons had an issue with. So I just walked up the bank with a rope attached to the sled and pulled it up after me.
The only big issue with the Blackfox portage is right at the beginning. There is a maybe 100 foot long 45 degree slope that needs to be traversed across. The trail is quite narrow as well. So I just lined it. Two ropes on each end of the toboggan and me above.

Let's all hope for some decent cold weather. Right now it's 8 above in the Park and too dam wet for safe tripping.
cheers and keep dry,
Ted
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Offline lost_patrol

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2008, 11:50:47 pm »
There are lots of places to go in Algonquin Park. 

In the Highway 60 corridor in the south, you can go in from Canoe Lake (the road is open, but there is no parking at Canoe L so park at the Smoke Lake parking lot on the other side of the highway) or from the Minnesing parking lot via the Canisbay L and Linda L snowshoe routes.  From the west side of the park, go in via Round (Kawawaymog) L from South River.  The road and parking lot at Round L are plowed all winter.  From the north, go in via Kiosk.  I don't know about the east side of the park.

If you go in from the highway corridor, stay away from the organized campgrounds and from summer campsites on the canoe routes.  This is not permitted, because the summer campsites are overused as it is.

The Western Uplands trail and the Highland trail are possibilities, but keep in mind that these routes are really intended for summer backpackers.  They are not laid out with skiers or toboggan-hauling winter campers in mind.  Trust me on this.  I tried it once, and my skis didn't thank me for it.

The Sunday Lake dogsledding trail network and the parking lots for the XC ski trails at Fen  Lake and Leaf Lake are also possible entry points, but as with the backpacking trails, stay away from summer campsites per park regulations.  On the ski trails, please don't snowshoe on the groomed tracks. 

Also stay away from the campsites used by outfitters such as Outward Bound in the Sunday Lake area.  They and their students and customers keep the trails open for us, so please return the favour by not treading on their turf. 


« Last Edit: January 14, 2008, 09:15:03 am by lost_patrol »
"Give me winter, give me dogs.  You can keep the rest."  - Knud Rasmussen
"Ride like you stole something." - Lance Armstrong

Offline Rob

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 08:05:16 pm »
The lakes in Algonquin are breaking up. Travel would be most difficult right now until it gets a good freeze again and some more snow. There is maybe 6 inches of spring snow in the trees right now.

That thaw has really made a big mess. I strongly advise against going there anytime soon.


Colder is better

Offline lost_patrol

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2008, 11:02:48 pm »
Further to what Rob posted, conditions have changed a little bit for the better.  Note that I said a little bit, not a lot.

I took my dog skijoring on the Sunday Lake dogsled trails on Saturday, and today did some maintenance work on a trail near my in-laws cottage just outside the Park.

In mid-January, you're looking at spring conditions on the trails:  washouts in wet areas (and the water is still flowing, there's not much of a frost seal), in marshy areas there's shell ice with six inches of air under it and water under that, bare dirt in some places. 

There is some good news.  The lakes I crossed are mostly in good shape:  water levels are extremely high, which has caused flooding and bad ice near the shorelines.  But the main parts of the lakes are still solidly frozen and have a dusting of fresh snow on the ice.  There is no slush.  Skiing is very fast, and if you're walking you won't need your snowshoes.

Just be wary of where you're walking.  If you can't read ice, stay off the lakes until the weather turns cold again.  By the time you hear it cracking under you, it's too late. 

On the other hand, if it's shell ice in a marsh and you know for sure the water under it is only a few inches deep, go ahead.  The next dude to use the trails I was on is entitled to wonder what moron would skijor on trails in that condition.    ::)
"Give me winter, give me dogs.  You can keep the rest."  - Knud Rasmussen
"Ride like you stole something." - Lance Armstrong

Offline jimdiane

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Re: Where in Algonquin to go?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 07:43:36 pm »
thanx for the updates ;) Heading up to killarney and setting up just in george lake campground with a group this weekend. The weather is supposed to get colder ;) hopefully there will be enough snow.
jim