Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Late summary of 3 day Algonquin Trip on Rain Lake

Unfortunately it has been two weeks since I returned from Algonquin and as much as I have been busy, it's been nagging the back of my mind that I need to blog about my experiences.

We left Saturday heading north on hwy 400 to the village of Kearney to access the park from gate 4. The drive itself was uneventful, but due to the fact that we were driving with a canoe on the car for the first time, we didn't make it into the park until 3pm, about 4 hours later than I would've been happy with.

On the canoe journey in, we got caught in a heavy rainfall twice, and ended up having to pull over to pull our ponchos out of the bags and get the rain covers on. During this time, I had to get out of the canoe and ended up soaking my one pair of long pants.

We continued out journey until we found an unoccupied site on the edge of the lake and proceeded to make camp.

Priority #1 was to choose a spot to set up the tent, and get our shelter up. The spot we choose was on a slight incline, and had good drainage and was free of any over hanging "widow makers". The last thing we wanted was to set up over an area that would pool water or have a dead branch knocked off and fall on us. After clearing the area of debris and sticks we were pleased to find the ground soft and springy with no rocks or pebbles underneath, so we laid out our ground tarp and set up the tent. The whole process took about 15-20 mins, however we had good tree cover from the rain and manage to not get any further soaked. Once the rain subsided I put up small tarp near the fire pit, and managed to collect and split enough logs to get a good fire going to cook a meal just as it was getting dark. Zatarain's jambalaya mix + sausage gets my thumbs up!

The next day we spent doing chores around camp such as purifying water, splitting wood, and getting meals cooked + clean up. Due to the strong breeze that day, I managed to dry out our gear by hanging it around camping on lines I tied up. One thing i did notice was that Ping's quick dry pants were dry in minutes whereas my pants took nearly half the day. Meals this day were soup, bannock, sausage, spruce needle tea and hot coffee.

Day three was the pack up day, and of course the weather was beautiful. We woke up to the sun peaking out through the clouds and bathing everything in warmth. We ate breakfast of powdered scrambled eggs, and rehydrated pasta (lipton sidekicks pesto flavour).

Overall lessons learned from this trip are:
(1) Invest in a quality pair of quick dry pants. I now own 2 pairs of quick dry convertible pants I got on sale at a Columbia outlet.
(2) Take real eggs next time.
(3) If it looks like is going to rain, grab your poncho and put on the rain covers BEFORE heading out in the canoe
(4) Practice, practice, practice skills! I would never have dreamed of starting a fire in the rain this time last year, and yet here I am having no trouble at all getting one going! This has been a wet summer, and all the practice I've had starting fires with wet wood has come in handy when it counts.
(5) With two people, the camp chores are not overwhelming, but there is very little time to be idle. 3-4 people would make the work go quickly, but there isn't so much to be done that 1 person could not handle it on their own.

Can't wait for the next trip out...I didn't want to leave this time, even with the miserable weather.


  1. What was the bannock recipe you used. Like the tin foil cooking method. Looks simple.

  2. I believed that I used

    1 cup AP flour
    1 tsp aluminum free baking powder (regular stuff imparts a metallic taste)
    1/4 tsp salt

    I packed that in a ziplock and mixed water and a squirt of olive oil.

    If I remember correctly, I think I added more water than I wanted and ended up with a bannock that tasted like a cross between a biscuit and a pancake (haha).

    There are plenty of variations out there, mine was just a plain bread to soak up the soup we were having. A great sweet bannock can be made by adding sugar and dried fruit to the basic recipe!