Paddle In

Algonquin out Kiosk

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Last week 4 of us tripped in from Kiosk in Algonquin. In the more remote northern park of the park, this area is less travelled and I’d highly recommend it during the high season of summer. We didn’t see anyone for 2 days on our 5 day paddle in.

The portages are gentle (was able to use my wheels on a 1km. Portage – YES!), the lakes are narrow and beautiful and the campsites are less used. We encountered loads of water birds, called in a Barred Owl and met for a few minutes with a wolf on the head of a trail.

Looking for a little solitude in the park? This is worth the extra drive. Kiosk is on the north end of Algonquin west of Brent…Pete.

Portaging – I smile and wave

During one of our portages through Massasauga Provincial Park we came across a group of five. Two young children and three middle aged adults. They had enough gear, in my opinion, to sink a small battle cruiser. We were lazily lounging around the put in snacking on granola when they pulled up. We exchanged pleasantries, and they began the trek along the portage. Having so much gear they had to make quite a few trips back and forth so on the last trip we decided we had done enough lounging for the day and grabbed all the remaining gear they had and helped them finish the portage. The portage was small and it was no skin off our back to throw out a helping hand so they could get get on with the day.

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Now I bring this up for a few reasons. One, i thoroughly enjoy running into people in the back country and exchanging a few words or swapping fish stories. Two, we are never in a rush to get where we are going when we are paddling. Having to take a few minutes out of our day to help some fellow campers out should be second nature.

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Now I also bring this subject up because during our trip through Massasauga Provincial Park we ran into quite a few people who seemed to of forgotten manners on the portages. Many of our “Hellos” and “Good Mornings” were simply ignored. While carrying my canoe I was even shouldered out of the way by a younger gentleman as he hurried by me. At the time I was a little perturbed.

But this is all I have to say. When you see a canoe coming down the portage, take one minute out of your day and step to the side. Say hello and be on your way. This simple act of kindness will garner a smile and a thank you out of the person carrying the canoe everytime. I have met some of the most interesting and cool people on portages just by simply saying hello.

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In fact we met a very nice couple with a very interesting canoe (23 foot wenonah) . Our relationship started on the portage put in where small talk was exchanged and ended at the take out as we each loaded out canoes up on our cars,chatted and waved to each other as we drove off.

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The back country is supposed to be a place to unplug,unwind,relax,take a load off,dream, ect, ect. Leave the rush rush attitude at home, you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.

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Special shout out to the Park Wardens who checked our permits and fishing licences on site 31. Friendly,informative and generally just nice guys. We’ll be back!.

More blogs to follow this week. We’ll also be heading up to Samuel Du Champlain Provincial Park this weekend with the family. As always more photos and blogs to follow.

Have fun and enjoy your next “Paddle In”

-Matt

Massasauga Provincial Park

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I didn’t know what to expect when we pulled up at Oastler Lake PP gate. This was the first time traveling into Massasauga PP for both Andy and myself. The weekend was packed with wildlife (snakes,lizards,bald eagle,barred owls), great fishing, and some beautiful scenery. The park is great and the staff were very helpful. Here a couple pictures from our travels. I’ll be posting a full trip log this week. We also have a Trip log from Pete about his paddle in to Algonquin Via Kiosk Lake and possibly some food and gear reviews.

Cheers

Matt

 

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Clydegale Lake Trip 2013

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A few weeks ago we once again packed our bags and headed into Algonquin Park. This trip was to be a “fishing trip” so we opted for a shorter than normal route. We paddled out of Rock Lake, through Penn Lake and made our camp in Clydegale Lake.

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We camped on an island which is marked as site “6”, or the furthest southern campsite. The site was great! Plenty of shelter from rain and wind. Lots of firewood,a couple great spots to fish from shore and a very tame red squirrel who loved my turkey stew.

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We spent three nights on Clydegale. Filling our days with fishing , for the smallest perch in the world, hiking, paddling and blueberry picking.

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Fresh blueberries in porridge in the morning cannot be beat.

 

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We found a recently hatched loon egg at the far end of island and witnessed the hatchling and its mother touring around the lake quite a few times while we were there.

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We finished up the trip with one night on Rock Lake. This was our only truly successful fishing day . Andy caught quite a few bass. Myself as always caught a variety of things including trees,rocks,sticks ect, ect.

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Great time had by all hope you all enjoy the photos.

Cheers-Matt

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Grand River Photo Blog

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I had the pleasure of taking a four and  half hour paddle down the Grand River last weekend. My daughter, wife and myself in our boat and my father,mother and a very excitable mutt named Jake in their boat joined us on this trip. We put in at just north of Bridgeport in Kitchener and took out at Freeport in Kitchener. Total time paddling was around four hours and as we stopped to have lunch and let Jake “do his business” on an island just past Bingemans.

The day started out grey,foggy and drizzly. Which soon turned to rain, which turned into a torrential downpour. I was most concerned that my daughter would call it quits once the drizzle turned into pouring rain. Luckily the donation of my large paddling hat was enough to satisfy her, and she continued pointing out all the ducks and herons along our journey.

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Water levels were low in some parts forcing my wife and I out of the boat to wade through the water. I’d recommend water boots as the bottom of the river is full of loose stone which can do a real number on your ankles if you are not careful. The river is alive with all kinds of wildlife even though it sits in the middle of a city. The trees on the river bank block out the roads and houses and it’s only when you pass under one of the few bridges that you are forced to remember that this is a large city.

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The river passes many parks and there are quite a few islands throughout it which make great resting areas and picnic sites.

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We all decided that this should become a bi-monthly event. The size of the grand and the amount of parks and bridges around make putting in and taking out a breeze. So whether you are looking for a short hour long paddle or a six hour trek, the Grand River is an amazing area to paddle.

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Next couple weeks has us doing a few overnight trips to parks across southern ontario, as well we will be hitting the backcountry soon. This is turning out to be a great paddling season!

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Eramosa River

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Quick little photo blog of our paddle down the Eramosa River in Guelph Ontario. We put in near the Scout camp on Stone Road, There is a bridge and a trail there which makes putting in very easy. The paddle took us all the way to the wellington street dam portage. The trip took us about two hours, the paddling is very easy with only a few shallower sections , which I could see being a problem later in the summer.

Guelph is our hometown and it was nice to sit back and take a less traveled route into our downtown. My daughter once again joined us. Donning her Bubble Guppies PFD and this time equipped with a therm-a-rest pad and a small blue Muskoka chair. I believe she had the best seat in the house.

Enjoy! more photos can be seen at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PaddleIn

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I have made fire!

In my early days of outdoors adventuring, I used to take a lot of time trying to light fires with newspaper, or dry leaves, and although fires eventually always got going, some required more cursing and frustration than I would have cared to admit. In my last year of high school, a course on outdoor education was offered, and I gladly took it. It was in this class that I learned a bunch of fire starting techniques that were both cheap and pretty easy to put together. From a simple blob of hand sanitizer, to cotton and vaseline, and steel wool and a battery, I gained all kinds of knowledge on how to get a nice fire going. It was years later that this recipe came back to me after seeing a National park selling fire starters for $2 a pop. I will show you how to make a version of that fire starter for next to nothing with items most people have laying around at home or in the garbage anyway.

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Materials you will need
empty egg carton (the bottom half)
dryer lint
wood chips, or sawdust or shavings (optional)
old candle
knife
empty tin can
pot
newspaper
Step 1.
Set up your newspaper (so the melted wax doesn’t ruin whatever surface you are working on) and place your fire starter materials on top of it.
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Step 2.
Fill the egg cartons cups with dryer lint. I decided that with these fire starters I would use some Aspen wood shavings as well, that I had on hand, to increase the longevity of the flame that will be produced. It is not completely necessary, but trying new things is a great way to find the best way possible to make things work. As you can see in the picture, The cups are filled with a nice mix of dryer lint mostly on the bottom and the aspen on the top.
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Step 3.
The wax melting process goes much quicker, the smaller the pieces of wax are that you are using. I took and old candle, any old candle will do, and shaved pieces of it off into my waiting tin can. It doesn’t matter what candle you use, even the good smelling ones are nice. The one I used this time is cherries and cinnamon. Place a small amount of water in the bottom of a pot, a cup or two should do. If you use too much water, your can will float and tip over once the water starts boiling, unless you weigh it down. Bring the water to a boil, and place your can in it. After a few minutes the wax should begin to melt, with all but the largest pieces only taking five minutes or so.
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Step 4.
Using an oven mitt, remove the tin can from the boiling pot and begin to pour your melted wax into the individual egg cups. Ensuring to coat as much of the lint and shavings as possibleIt will seep down and begin to soak into the egg carton. You don’t want the entire egg carton covered in wax, as you will need a place to light it once you’re ready to make your fire. Your wax level should come just below the highest point your lint or shavings reach. You may need to repeat step 3 a couple times until you get the right amount of wax for all your fire starters.
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Step 5.
Now you can walk away, take the dog for a walk, have a beer, or just shine up that paddle. All you need to do now is wait for the wax to cool and harden. This process can be done a lot faster if you want to stick them in the freezer.
Step 6.
Now using a knife, or tearing if you would rather, separate each carton cup away from the others, until they are all detached.
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Congratulations! You just made some awesome fire starters, that may even smell great. Depending on your materials, and how much wax was used, these little guys can burn big and bright from 10-25 minutes. Perfect for getting even the most stubborn of fires roaring in no time. When I take mine out on a trip, they are packed in a large Ziploc bag, and placed in a dry sac, with waterproof matches, and a lighter. I call it my Fire bag.
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Morning on Ralph Bice Lake

Ralph Bice Lake