Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in Ontario and is open all year-round. In the winter the Highway 60 corridor, which travels 56 kilometres across the southwestern corner of the park, is regularly plowed. Along this stretch there are plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and even winter camping.
Every year we head into the interior of Algonquin Provincial Park by canoe to backcountry camp for a few days. Last year during one of the toughest portages on our route to Erables Lake, we met someone on the trail that recommended Manitou Lake. Sure, one of the portages is a grueling 1.4km in length, but the guy said it was relatively flat. With the promise that many of the sites on Manitou Lake are reputed to have their own private sandy beaches, we were in. So we decided to give it a whirl, long portage and all.
For our annual trip to Algonquin this year, we planned a rather ambitious route to Erables Lake. Erables is the french word for maple, but shouldn’t be confused with Maple Lake, which is located just north of Erables Lake. Perhaps because our route was so challenging or maybe we had such a great time at Misty Lake last year, but we decided to extend our Algonquin trip by an extra day this year.
We somehow managed to convince my younger sister and her boyfriend how much fun it is to canoe to your campsite and rough it in the wild. Given that C & E aren't avid campers (or canoers), we planned a route that wasn't particularly ambitious. We were secretly hoping they'd have such a great time that they'd want to go backcountry camping with us again.
Algonquin has become an annual tradition for us. For some reason we are quick to forget the (literal and figurative) blood, sweat and tears from our past trips, and are eager for more. More paddling, more portages, and more pain. The forecast was calling for nice weather over the August long weekend, which was great because we planned quite an ambitious route to Misty Lake.
The weather forecast for this weekend was less than ideal with cooler than average temperatures and rain (lots of rain). Today was supposed to be the worst with 20 mm of rain and a severe thunderstorm warning on the horizon for later this afternoon and evening. So we were anxious to get out onto the water and find a decent campsite on Mink Lake before the storm rolled in.