4 lakes, 3 portages, 5 moose, baby geese herds, mosquitoes, thunderstorms, sun, blue skies, and serene lakes. This is a recipe for a perfect (& not so perfect) easy 3-day canoe trip in Algonquin Park.
This will be my fourth trip with my husband in Algonquin Park and my fifth trip as an adult. I spent my summers at Tanamakoon and canoe tripping as a kid so this place is so special to me. My husband and I wanted a fairly easy trip this year. So I kept the trip to a 3 portage minimum (all were fairly short). We actually could have skipped one because the water was so high).
Previous Algonquin Park Canoe Trips
A Recap of This Year’s Trip
We started out on Saturday. I had pre-paid for our canoes, a lifejacket for me and a paddle for my husband. This allowed us to set out fairly quickly from the Portage Store around noon. After the first portage from Canoe Lake to Joe Lake, we were making good time. We were slightly rushing to ensure we got a good campsite on Burnt Island Lake. As we canoed past Arrowhon Pines Lodge on Joe Lake a canoe coming the other way let us know there was 2 male moose up ahead. We could see canoes veering off to the left and then veering off to the right so we knew where they were.
As we turned to head to the next portage, goosebumps erupted on my arm as a mom and baby came trotting out of the woods to feed. We stayed clear as to not upset mom but wow that was a first for both Mike and I. I’ve seen Moose on canoe trips before but never a mom and pup!
So from Canoe Lake to Joe Lake, to Baby Joe Lake, to Burnt Island Lake was the route. The route about 15km there and back so a decent 3.5 – 4-hour paddle. We decided not to switch lakes and just stay put for 2 nights. The first campsite we got on Burnt Island Lake was visually nice but with no cross breeze, the bugs were pretty bad.
The First Campsite
We set up camp and made lunch while swatting mosquitoes. I pulled the Honey Lime Chicken and the Mushroom Risotto bags out of the food barrel because I was starving but it was way too much food. So I sealed up the Risotto and just heated it up the next day for lunch.
We were getting a little stir crazy in the tent, so I stripped down naked to attempt skinny dipping but the water was way too cold for me so we piled back in the canoe to hang out on the water. As we watched thunderstorms roll by at a distance we eventually headed in when it looked like they were headed our way. We packed down for the night and as the rain started piled into the tent for the evening. It was around 8:30 pm when the rain and thrunder started so we just went to bed.
The Second Campsite
The next morning we packed up and found another campsite on the other side of the lake on a bit of point with a breeze running through it. A recipe for less bugs!
We set up camp mid-morning and I made us some apple cider to sip on while enjoying the breeze and fewer bugs. Mike set up our Hammocks which we struggled to relax in. Every time we climbed in, Rogue would get so upset that we were leaving her and jump up and bark so we took turns enjoying the hammock and entertaining our needy daughter lol.
We had a great 3-hour nap on Sunday and then I made us Chicken Pad Thai for dinner. Sleeping in the tent this year was pretty hilarious. Rogue likes to sleep in between us, so we brought an extra sleeping pad and a flannel blanket for her but she kept trying to sleep on our sleeping bags. We’ll probably spoil her next canoe trip and get her a dog sleeping bag. And yes they do exist.
This was the best meal by far of the whole trip. I had it for a lunch on the last trip and liked it. This time I added Chicken to the Pad Thai bag and measured out the water required for both bags and
just dumped it into the one bag. The key tip, is to actually let it sit for 20 mins after dumping in the hot water, stir, let it sit a little longer and then enjoy. It comes with a small bag of peanuts to sprinkle on top!
The sunset was absolutely perfect from our new campsite and we even got an amazing sunrise as well. While we were sad we weren’t able to snag our campsite from 2 years ago. This one definitely made up for it. And while the bugs were pretty bad, we made the most of it, including constantly swatting them off Rogue.
I had planned to make pancakes for breakfast on Monday. However, I didn’t feel like starting a fire (it’s hard to cook pancakes on the camp stoves because they are so hot). So we opted for oatmeal and really good coffee. For Christmas, I got Mike a new Espresso maker from MEC and we were able to put it to good use on the trip. Including our camp mugs from my friend’s company Crow Foot Media.
Pack In, Pack Out Rule
The rule for any camping trip is always pack out what you pack in. As we headed back to civilization on Monday we picked up any trash we could find on our campsite (that had been left by previous campers). I even grabbed garbage from a few portages threw it in our trash bag. Ontario Parks gives you a yellow trash bag so you don’t leave anything behind. We’ve definitely filled it before on other trips. This year we left with only half a bag. That felt like a nice accomplishment.
Oh, and the 5th moose (antlerless) was seen in the exact same spot we saw the other 4 (so it may have been the same mom) on the last day as we were leaving the park. But all in all, that’s the most moose I’ve ever seen in my life which made it an amazing trip. I almost forgot the geese herds. There was 3 on the last day. Babies flanked by 2 adult geese just crossing in front of our path.
And the best part of my trip… get ready for the cheese… was definitely spending quality time with our pup and my husband 😉