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7/06/2020 7:17 am  #1


Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

Hello,

This is my first time going into the back country in 20 years. We are looking to take our 11, 9 and 1 year olds out for a first trip.  We are planning to do a simple first trip to test out what works for us and make sure the kids want to come back again. So, we were thinking of Crotch Lake and Farm Lake since there are no portages.

1) When reserving, the dates are filling up fast and we keep missing dates we want. I assume the reservation system of a given day applies to the afternoon and night of that date. Is this correct? For example, we were hoping to book Friday to Tuesday, but now Tuesday is not available. If we were leaving Tuesday, does it matter that Tuesday is taken?

2) We plan to bring mostly dehydrated foods, but I have read several accounts where people took small amounts of fresh foods for the first few days. In this case, do you bring a cooler and just hang it? I feel like the cooler itself won't provide any smell protection. I read the thread about the bags vs barrels (which was so helpful!), but wonder then if people use these as a partial cooler sometimes? Or put a small cooler into a larger bear bag or barrel?

3) Does anyone have any thoughts/advice about Crotch Lake and Farm Lake sites? Having a one year old, obviously we are hoping to find one without a steep drop, but we are looking forward to the adventure of it all. Our older two thrive in the outdoors and are great contributors at hard work and finding fun anywhere.

I am so excited to get back out there. I haven't been to Algonquin in about 7 years since my grandparents sold their cottage on Smoke Lake. 

Thanks everyone!

 

7/06/2020 7:59 am  #2


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

1. If you're leaving Tuesday then you wouldn't have to make a booking for Tuesday. The Monday booking covers Monday night, and you'd be heading out on Tuesday. 

2. I bring burgers for the first night, which ride up in a cooler that never leaves the car, it's just to keep them cold as long as possible. I know plenty of people who bring frozen food in for the first two nights. With a bit of care in wrapping and storing it to stay cold, it's not much of a stretch for food to last that long in the summer. Beyond that you're probably into cooler territory. I don't imagine many people here ever take in a cooler, but I've certainly seen people do so. A very small cooler like those zip-up ones might be reasonably practical as you could hang that without too much trouble. 

3. I doubt it's going to matter to your kids, but Crotch Lake has a power line that runs through it, which for me is a turnoff. Can't comment on the campsites on either lake, sorry!

 

7/06/2020 8:30 am  #3


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

Depending on the trip and how many portages (and the length) we'll often bring a cooler.  We tend to do trips with minimal portaging and we base camp so it's nice to be able to bring some more creature comforts.  I know I'll likely get mocked for that but to be honest I don't care.  It's nice to have fresh food for a 4 or 5 day trip. It's a total pain hauling a cooler and food pack up into a tree at night though so that's something to consider as well. 

 

7/06/2020 6:56 pm  #4


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

If the 9 and 11 year olds really are up for helping with the hard work then why not take the 1 km portage into Shirley? The trip will still be simple, the adventure factor will be upped, the bigger lake should be more scenic, and the sites are better spaced apart. You would also find out how well your family handles a medium length portage.

 

7/06/2020 7:27 pm  #5


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

1) Like Uppa said, if you want to head out on Tuesday you need to make a reservation for Tuesday. You can arrive at your destination lake at any time, but if you get there super early there's a chance other campers haven't packed up / left yet. 

2) As you can see from the first few responses, this really comes down to personal preference. Personally, I eat really unhealthy when I trip and eat all shelf stable foods with little to no prep involved. I spend enough time cooking in the city, I don't want to waste hours preparing and cooking food in the backcountry. But most people have the opposite opinion and enjoy the prep/cooking process when tripping. So no cooler for me. Although the group I used to trip with we'd bring coolers with dry ice... incredibly inefficient especially with several km portages but it's what the majority wanted. If you want to bring meat for the first night, just keep it frozen up until you get in the car and it will slowly defrost throughout the day.

3) Can't comment on those lakes, but you could look into Pen Lake as well. Seems to be a popular lake for family trips. One short portage with nice falls in the middle... you can stop at the falls for lunch and one parent stays with the kids while the other carries the gear across. If the older kids wanted to help it wouldn't take long at all, but given how short it is, it would be manageable for you to do alone if needed.


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7/06/2020 7:54 pm  #6


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

solos wrote:

If the 9 and 11 year olds really are up for helping with the hard work then why not take the 1 km portage into Shirley? The trip will still be simple, the adventure factor will be upped, the bigger lake should be more scenic, and the sites are better spaced apart. You would also find out how well your family handles a medium length portage.

We are planning to do a day trip up to Shirley this time and scope it out. Having not done such a trip before, we don't have ideal equipment for a light trip. We are investing in some gear for this first tester trip and will get a better idea of what works for us then get more portage-able equipment for the trip we hop to do later in the summer/fall. We were very tempted to go to Shirley though after reading people's accounts!

     Thread Starter
 

7/06/2020 7:58 pm  #7


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

Uppa wrote:

2. I bring burgers for the first night, which ride up in a cooler that never leaves the car, it's just to keep them cold as long as possible. I know plenty of people who bring frozen food in for the first two nights. With a bit of care in wrapping and storing it to stay cold, it's not much of a stretch for food to last that long in the summer. Beyond that you're probably into cooler territory. I don't imagine many people here ever take in a cooler, but I've certainly seen people do so. A very small cooler like those zip-up ones might be reasonably practical as you could hang that without too much trouble. 

Thank you to you and TrippyThings for the idea of frozen meat! Such a simple idea once someone points it out. My husband makes amazing homemade burgers so we will do that for the first night!

     Thread Starter
 

7/06/2020 8:09 pm  #8


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

Just be prepared for the fact that you may not be able to cook your meals over a fire.  I would anticipate a fire ban coming into effect any time now.  Not sure when you are planning on going but that may change what you want to bring for food

 

7/06/2020 8:53 pm  #9


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

I like your planned route/idea for Farm Lake.  From farm, if your older kids are truly adventurous,  you can maybe work your way to the Booth Depot Farm Remnants (probably easier if you stay on the campsite closest to the remnants) - and that particular campsite will give you the feel of being alone on the lake since nobody really paddles by within any kind of range to crowd you in (although I don't know what that site is like).  You can also take a day trip to Booth and paddle around, maybe have lunch at a campsite there.  Booth is a really interesting lake to paddle, the two portages on the way there aren't bad at all, and the first one has a little mini-rapids the kids can ooh and aah at that.   There are several nice sites on Booth for base camping, so maybe you stay on Farm for Day 1, head out to Booth, spend a day or two, back to Farm, then out.

 

7/07/2020 7:45 am  #10


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

2) I've seen people bring in coolers before.  Even on Crotch Lake (as Park staff watched).   I don't think they are a big issue on these lakes as they are popular, and you canoe right to the site. 

I bought this prior to my trip 3 weeks ago and it worked great.

https://www.costco.com/titan-deep-freeze-26-can-backpack-cooler.product.100659654.html
We put Meats/Cheese/Eggs/Veggies etc.

3)  I've camped on Site #1.  It was very nice but you might share the island. 
I'd avoid site #3 (on hill) and site #11 looked small. 
Sites #4 to #9 are big but very close to eachother. (It's like you are car camping close)  low lying and good beach.
#10
http://www.algonquinadventures.com/PCI/lakes/Crotch/CrotchCS10/CrotchCS10.htm


  http://www.algonquinadventures.com/PCI/lakes/Crotch/images/CrotchMap.jpg

 

 

7/07/2020 8:01 am  #11


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

I just got back from a two nighter to burnt island with the family. We carried a cooler bag in with frozen steaks and bacon and a bunch of veggies.  I wouldn’t recommend it for long portages, but it wasn’t bad for the short ones in between Canoe and Burnt. Hanging it was fine. I usually just put all my food into a dry bag and hang that. Keeps things dry if it rains and I like to tell myself it keeps the smell of the food contained.

 

7/07/2020 11:04 am  #12


Re: Questions from a first timer, reservations, safety,

We usually freeze steaks for the first night and back bacon and sausage for the next day.  If you keep them together and out of the sun they will stay cold just fine.  Don't take a cooler with us, sometimes a cooler bag as it's easy to hang. But we keep everything frozen in a cooler for the car ride.


New old member. 
 

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