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Trip Planning » ICE-OUT Prediction 2024!! » 2/02/2024 2:04 pm

Krow wrote:

Im saying march 15th 😎🛶

Wow you beat me to the ides of March! Crazy how this winter has been cancelled, I kept thinking I should go out paddling. Finally went out today Feb 2, Lake Ontario. Great to be out in the middle of "winter"!

For sure this year will be record early ice out date. I was thinking two weeks earlier than record, so I'll now have to go with March 14
 

Equipment » Different way to transport kayaks » 8/02/2023 6:06 pm

If you google "how to carry two kayaks on a car without a roof rack", there are several articles on how to do this, generally with pool noodles or foam blocks. Sorry, can't endorse any one method over the other.

I am also a kayak camper, but at least for my kayaks, due to width, both wont fit flat on the roof/crossbars.  Plus if I have a kayak flat on the crossbars I can't open the rear hatch.  I have to use the J racks, but I don't have folding ones, so kinda a hassle to constantly take them on/off due to underground parking (work, visiting my parents condo...). I'll probably have to buy some folding J racks at some point...

At some point, I'll probably have to buy some folding J racks.

Equipment » Storage Rules » 7/31/2023 10:59 am

I know this won't work for everyone & on portage lakes, but specifically for easy to access lakes like Opeongo (which Christine mentioned is where the ticketing happened & where the Warden said there was a problem) what I use is a Interagency Certified Grizzly Bear Committee Certified Bear Resistant cooler. To be clear, products don't claim to be bear proof, but rather bear resistant, even products like Ursack & Bear Vault.

It's way more convenient to throw everything in the cooler, pop it open when you need something, & lock back the lid again. Even if you're on the site, I doubt people constantly re-hang any food/scented products due to hassle factor, but the bear proof cooler is easy to access & lock back up, so I figure it gives a higher level of safety due to ease of use, which means you use it.

Plus with bear proof cooler, you can also keep food frozen for a few days & cold, so you have more food options... And cold drinks...

Ultimately, whatever method you use to be effective, must obviously be used to be effective & at least for my use case on Opeongo I don't see anything more convenient & effective.

Trip Planning » Lake Opeongo - solo? » 7/29/2023 10:34 am

Yeah, I'm with Martin on this one... I also think Opeongo's notoriety is misplaced. I just came back from 4 days on Opeongo (Mon - Thurs), weather was great during the day (only heavy rain Wed night).  Mon evening there was a thunderstorm with lighting that delayed getting on the water, but I knew about that from the weather forecast so I was in no hurry leaving Toronto & heading up.  There was only a couple hours Wed afternoon as a new weather system moved in where it was windy.  But again, I think both of those situations (lighting & wind) would have affected you whichever lake you would have been on.

My orthopaedic surgeon said don't run anymore, but still be active. So following Drs orders I spent a lot of time out paddling & fishing.  Wind was not an issue except for the couple hours Wed afternoon.  I also went with a couple of family members that have mobility issues, so as Martin said there are lots of great sites.  It is not just that there is no portage to deal with, but there are also several good sites to choose from that are quite flat, if that is important.

I'm sure Opeongo gets busy on summer weekends, but I work pretty well every weekend, it's great on weekdays. Using the SiteScout extension I saw that Monday night there were only 17 sites booked out of the 60 available for booking on the South Arm.  I booked the 18th site, so not busy considering size of South Arm.

To be clear, sure some campers have died on Opeongo by bear attack & also died paddling lake Opeongo (novice, late season hypothermia), but those are quite isolated events, be smart about bear safety, paddling safety & weather conditions... you are probably at greater risk driving up to Algonquin & hitting a moose or getting into car accident, but those don't make headlines...  

The only downside of the trip was some jerks camping somewhere across the lake from where we were, blasting music until 2am two nights, really annoying that people don't realize that sounds travel far a

Trip Planning » Lake Opeongo - solo? » 7/11/2023 11:03 am

Very similar to your situation, I have done several quick two day, 1 night to Opeongo trips. Sure I'd like to go off the beaten path  backcountry a minimum 4 days, but free time is scarce & I need to get in a quick fix in. My opinion, is go for it. Opeongo has benefits of easy in/out, no portage & cell phone access for a good part of South arm if you need it.

Of course one needs to be aware of one's skill level & also weather conditions on bigger lakes, particularly when water & air temperatures are low. Having said that, for all the days I have been on Opeongo approx 20 days over multiple trips (maybe not statistically significant...), but there was only one day I would say was a "windbound" day, in my experience you're much much more likely to have great weather.

Bampot wrote:

Later this week I will be in the area and only have time for a quick 2 day, 1 night solo trip. My plan is to paddle 6 or 7 km hugging the eastern shoreline of the south arm, but I am wondering if this is relatively safe for a solo paddler? Thanks for any insight/advice.

 

Equipment » Minimum Tent Waterproofing? » 6/15/2023 10:17 am

I think in terms of floor waterproofing I think the best/cheapest option is cheap plastic liner (eg Dollarama paint drop sheet plastic) used on the inside of your tent.

Not sure of the waterproof ratings, but a few years ago I bought a nature hike 2p tent, my daughter gave me heck as to why I would trust a no name Chinese tent in the middle of the backcountry, she said don't skimp, buy a brand name, so I bought the Nemo Hornet 2p. Well in my experience the Nemo leaks worse (I presume its through the floor...) than the Nature Hike.  Nature hike tent is also nicely seam sealed for a budget tent.

Yes the Nemo is lighter, but if the weather is going to be rainy, I would rather be in the Nature Hike tent.

Equipment » Ways to improve the taste of plain rice ... » 6/07/2023 9:29 am

I'm sure everyone has their favourites, but in terms of flavour & cost nothing beats Cool Runnings Carribean Spice & roasted garlic. Add about 1-2 tablespoons (your preference) per cup of uncooked rice. I can't eat plain rice anymore.

You can get a big 800g container for $3.49, & this is even at Loblaws inflated prices. I mean, at this price it is practically free. I don't know how they can package that much spice, ship it around the world for so little & Loblaws mark it up... In a way I feel guilty, some of poor farmer somewhere is getting nothing for their labour...

Trip Planning » Bug Report? » 5/19/2023 12:22 am

I just came back from a trip Mon-Thurs, 15-18. First time in 30 years of Algonquin camping that I actually stayed in a campground. My creaky knees were kinda glad given the chilly weather, Tue night went down to -2C with a light dusting of snow. Wed night - 1C. I did day trip fishing trips, portaged into different lakes each day.

Cold must have put the biting insects into a deep freeze. I would rate them as basically insignificant, your mileage may vary...

I brought bug hat, bug jacket, bug spray, bug zapper rackets, didn't need any of them.

Trip Planning » White Partridge via the cart trail from the spur » 5/08/2023 2:26 pm

Sorry can't directly answer your questions of going to WP recently or ever, but I do feel you, with you wanting to extend the tripping days. I'm kinda in the same "boat"...

This is probably unconventional, but similar to your thoughts, there is no question you need to deal with portages to get to prime fishing spots.

So my strategy with long portages (cartable) is I bought the Oru Lake folding kayak, only 18lbs. Also doesn't break the bank account like a carbon pack boat. I also bought a second hand bicycle chariot off kijiji, also folding, and it has much bigger wheels than your traditional canoe cart, so should deal with the off road terrain much better. The bicycle chariot also has handles to push it, which is my plan rather than bike with it. Just load up the gear & folding kayak, and tame those long portages that keep the mortal humans away...

Anyhow that is the plan starting this year, haven't even got the kayak in the water yet as I got it end of season last year off their Kickstarter deal.

If you're interested, let me know and I can give an update on this strategy.

Obviously if you're going to be doing a lot of paddling, this is not going to be ideal, but if you're doing a lot of portaging, I think this will work well.

Trip Planning » Portage Campsite Inventory » 5/03/2023 9:59 am

Barry, I would like to say thank you for maintaining the PCI & to those that contribute!!

I think we need to keep in mind the different levels of abilities, be it young, old, disabilities, etc. With several family members with mobility issues, I can say the PCI has been invaluable!

To those that want to explore & discover, no peeking at the campsite inventory!

Trip Planning » SiteScout » 12/19/2022 1:15 am

Thanks for disseminating the know how.

I just don't understand why Ontario Parks removed the feature to see remaining sites in the first place.

Kinda annoying, but good to know at least we can still find this information out.

ShawnD wrote:

Remember you can always look in the code yourself.

It's a little painful but the numbers are there.

https://old.reddit.com/r/algonquinpark/comments/hh50ra/ive_figured_out_how_to_tell_how_booked_up_a_lake/

 

 

Fishing » Invasive species spiny waterflea alert » 12/17/2022 11:36 am

I'm definitely not a spiny water flea expert, in fact I had never heard of it until I saw the alert.

However in general, I do think that we hugely misunderstand how finely balanced nature is. Small changes can create huge disruptions over time. A 30-40%, reduction in say food supply to smaller fish might not simply mean let's reduce our catch by 30-40% of adult adult sport fish.

I guess what had particularly alarmed me as I googled what this spiny water flea was, is this story referencing the Walleye collapse in Mille Lacs.
https://keepcanadafishing.com/the-spiny-water-flea-a-ticking-time-bomb-for-our-fisheries/

Now I recognize this is just a website article, did not reference peer reviewed journal articles etc, but I do find it alarming. Who knows maybe only the Walleye fishery is severely affected, or maybe there was something else adversely affecting Mille Lacs & the combination with the spiny water flea tipped the balance.

The reality is that nature is in a very fine balance. Even very small changes have huge changes over time. For example if the average woman goes from having 2.1 babies to 2.0 babies, we could say that is a small 5% change, but the result could go from stable population to a steadily shrinking human population & not just 5% less humans (as 2.0 is not enough to account for early deaths, accidents, etc).

So reading about 30-40%, reduction in native zoo plankton, does alarm me. Maybe this results, in non-stable population reproduction rate for particular lakes & particular species of fish. I do hope my alarm is unfounded & hope people take the threat seriously & prevent further spread, so we don't generate real world data to find out how bad (or not) this spiny water flea is.

Fishing » Invasive species spiny waterflea alert » 12/12/2022 2:29 pm

Saw that there is now an alert for spiny waterflea for Kioshkokwi Lk., Manitou Lk., and North Tea Lk. I presume this invasive species will continue to spread. Kinda sad that there will likely be adverse effects to the fishery & ecosystem in Algonquin. I hope we're not the generation that talks about the good old days before the fishery collapsed.

Fishing » Zone 15 Changes are comming. » 11/12/2022 11:37 am

Good point about un-intended outcomes with the survival rate of catch & release due to size limit, more fish caught resulting in higher mortality. I too have wondered about being less selective & just keeping the fish I caught, instead of continuing to fish for the one I want (species or size), especially in a fishery that has a lot of fishing pressure.

I really have no idea, just thinking out loud, but I have also wondered if doing something like Manitoba or Quetico, going barbless really has the desired effect? Is it really effective or is it virtue signaling that has un-intended consequences? Namely, the un-intended effect is a fisherman feels more comfortable continuing to fish, catching & releasing more fish & despite lower mortality rate the higher volume of fish caught & released results in total higher number of mortality? As I prefaced, I really don't know, but the thought has crossed my mind...

Fishing » Zone 15 Changes are comming. » 11/10/2022 11:14 pm

captainchaos2000 wrote:

I don’t live in the area and I only fish in Algonquin.  I noticed the proposed decreased catch limits for Brook Trout.  For me as I largely canoe solo, if I’m lucky I might keep one brook trout for supper so the proposed changes don’t affect me any,  Knowing the government if anything the proposed changes are probably too late…in my humble opinion.

 
One or two fish is enough to get a taste of trout. 5 fish per day seemed excessive. All you can eat buffet or taking home that many, I think the fishery is past sustaining that practice.

The minimum size limit will also have an impact on lake trout catches. Again probably a good thing, let the fish breed several times before they are legal keep size.

Trip Reports » Rain Lake to Islet & Weed Lake, late October » 11/10/2022 9:56 pm

MooseWhizzer Dave wrote:

Enjoyed your report!  In....2017 I think it was, I took my kids on the same route, but we had three nights.  Spent two on Islet (the campsite opposite the island site) and one night on the island site on Rain (on the backside of the island).  That portage from Rain to Hot....I really disliked that climb, and coming down was an absolute caution.  

Thanks, nice you enjoyed the report!

Coincidentally, I actually camped into Islet in 2017 as well, but it was a backpacking 2 night trip, with my sister & nephew (same one with the giardia). That was a really wet summer, lots of mud & puddles on the trail. Perfect for mosquito breeding! The mosquitos were terrible on the hike, even with it being August. I thought my nephew would never go backcountry camping again, but instead it has been the start of a new tradition for him.

I did explore the start of the Rain/Hot portage, from the backpacking trail down to Rain, & I don't remember it being as eroded as it currently is 5 years later. Yes it was always steep, but now you really need to be careful here!

Trip Reports » Rain Lake to Islet & Weed Lake, late October » 11/10/2022 9:25 pm

Rodents chewing through things does seem to be a problem!  I had also lent my Sea to Summit collapsible XPot for the same labour day trip of my daughters & something chewed several small holes into the silicone side of the pot, rendering the pot only useful if you want to boil/cook a small amount below the holes.

My daughter was responsible & bought me a replacement one, unfortunately can't return it since she bought it through The Last Hunt. I told her she should have told me first, as I did not really want it replaced. It was a gift to me & anyhow I think it is kinda gimmicky. Sure other metal pots don't collapse flat, but you can still pack stuff inside them, so I don't think you really come out ahead with a collapsible pot. Not to mention a metal pot is not going to ever fail you on a backcountry trip.

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