We’ve been off the grid for the last few days…. where do you ask?
We had an amazing time, with great weather, great food, and great company. The trip had the entire TwoCanoe Crew, including André, Ellen, Anthony and Michelle.
We have been waiting for this trip since the canoeing season came to a halt last year when Old Man Winter decided to chill everything out. The trip was originally planned to cover 60 km in 3 days, which included 15 km of portages, but after a few minor route changes we dropped it down to 33 km with only around 8.4 km of portages. This alteration allowed us to relax and enjoy our surroundings a little more, without the pressure to keep moving. If we saw wildlife, we would stop to appreciate it, and we were all looking forward to sighting a moose on this trip.
For those of you wondering what our exact route entailed, here is our map. This map was very detailed and FREE! Thank you to Jeffrey McMurtrie for creating this map and keeping it up to date. The image is a cropped version of the original, to see the entire map click here.
We also purchased the Canoe Routes of Algonquin map, which we barely used, because it didn’t have nearly the same detail as this. Before we left, we made close ups of all the places we were going and printed it off for our map case.
Our journey began in the small village of Kearney, Ontario. Here we received our park permit and picked up our canoes from Canoe Algonquin, the local outfitters. The rental included PFDs, paddles, bailer kits and 2 Scott Elite Kevlar Lightweight canoes (48 lbs). They also provided a drop-off and pickup service so the canoes were at the access point when we arrived, this saved us the trouble of hauling them around. The route we planned was not a loop, which meant we had to do a car shuffle at 2 separate access points. We dropped one car off at access point 3, loaded all our gear into the other car and then drove to access point 2 on the western side of the park. From the time we left the outfitters, to shuffling the cars and putting our paddles in the water, we burned about 1.5 hours.
It felt great when the canoes were loaded, our paddles hit the water and we knew our trip had finally begun. Living and working in the heart of Toronto comes with it’s disadvantages, such as noise, crowds, pollution, and other stresses. It’s a great feeling knowing that you are leaving that all behind and entering the back country where the only noise you hear is from the local wildlife. The only crowds are those people who enjoy the wilderness equally or almost as much as we do. Every canoe trip has their own characteristics that make them unique, but what they all share in common is the feeling you get when you first set off. It’s that feeling of adventure and curiosity of what’s to happen in the coming days.
From access point 2, we made our way into Tim Lake. From that point, until we landed in Rosebury Lake, we had grey skies, fog and misty showers. Fortunately, this meant no bugs and so the bug jackets and bug spray remained in our bags. From Tim Lake we paddled down the meandering Tim River to Rosebury Lake where we set up camp for our first night. The first day’s paddle did not cover much distance and it contained a short 120 m portage, but the winding Tim River slowed us down and it took us 4 hours to make it into Rosebury. We heard many stories of previous canoe trippers encountering many moose on this leg of the Tim River so we had high expectations to see something. To our dismay, the moose where no where to be seen.
Rosebury Lake Beach – Two Canoes, Zero Moose
We enjoyed overcast and misty weather for the majority of our first day. However, after setting up camp on Rosebury, our luck had shifted and the clouds broke revealing a warm and welcome sun. Before dinner, we decided to explore a nearby beach. It was evident that we weren’t the only ones looking to sun bathe as we found some moose tracks in the sand. The sculptor of these tracks was no where to be seen however, and day 1 resulted in no moose sightings for the crew.
Portaging in Algonquin
On day 2 we exited Rosebury Lake with a short jaunt through Long Bow to a small portage (230m) into the Tim River again. This portion of the river meandered more than the previous and contained many more beaver damns blocking the way. Most were not a problem and the canoe glided easily over them along with the current. However, some required a quick lift over to make it through. This portion of the Tim River was equally as disappointing when it came to seeing a moose. We think someone told the park moose we were coming, and they were all playing a joke on us, watching us from the trees as our heads spun from left to right, hoping to spot one.
Navigating the Tim River – Quick Route Check
The end of the Tim River was the beginning of 1330 m of hell, or so the portage sign told us. This portage was painful. If it wasn’t going up hill, it was going downhill. The path was also blocked by blown over trees, and mud from the previous days wet weather. The long winter of inactivity, or should we say hibernation, made us tire quickly. When this portage ended, so did the excessive use of profanity.
We took this portage into Queer Lake, this was just a small crossing which got us to our final portage (175 m) of day 2. This portage landed us in Little Trout Lake. This lake was busy, it contained 11 camp sites, and we would suspect all but 1 were being used. This is a busy time of year for anglers and we saw many people fishing over the weekend. We found a nice site on an island off the south shore of the lake. Day 2 ended with the same great weather we had in the previous evening, and with the equivalent number of moose sightings, none.
Paddling Hambone Lake
Our final day was short overall, with the kind of weather that makes it difficult to leave. There were only 3 portages, a 435m, 295m and 135m trek with paddles through Little Trout, Ralph Bice, Hambone and Magnetawan Lakes. Magnetawan Lake brought us back to access point 3, and our exit from the park. We took our time leaving the park so we could enjoy as much as we could. We also scoped the shorelines to see if we could catch a glimpse of the elusive Algonquin Moose. 3 days later, it appeared that we were leaving without a single moose sighting.
The trip out of the park was the reversal of the trip in. We had locked up the canoes at access point 3 and had to drive back to access point 2 to grab the other car. As we were coming up to the access point 2 parking Michelle felt that it was our last chance to see a moose, and so as we turned the corner just before the launch she literally called to the moose to show themselves. “Show yourself MOOSE,” she pleaded, and that’s when Anthony spotted it. To our SURPRISE, standing in the shallows of the water stood a small moose. The wildlife search was not a failure after all.
“Show yourself, MOOSE!”
Overall our trip was great. We would definitely recommend others to canoe the Tim River, and the Tim River can expect to see us again. We plan on posting more photo’s and even a few videos of our adventure soon, so stay tuned!
Left to Right – Ellen, Anthony, André and Michelle