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7/09/2020 4:51 pm  #1

July 5-7 - short trip on 3rd loop of WUT

It was a real last minute thing... the forecast looked very hot, and I figured Algonquin would be a great respite from all of the work I have doing lately in the heat. I was flipping between a three and four day trip, with my original plan being four...Finding sites was tricky to say the least, with everything being over 95% booked - ugh. Miraculously though, Little Hardy was open for the 5th. South Pincher was available for the next night, but only Gervais or West Otterpaw was available for the next night (Rainbow and everything south of there was booked). I decided to book Gervais, knowing it would be a long walk out on the final day. After some reconsideration, I checked the map again and noticed a spot on Brown was open on the 5th. Figuring the 3rd loop would be much less busy, I changed plans and decided to go to Brown, South Pincher, then out, changing my hike to three days.

I arrived at Rain Lake at 3pm, raring to go. The forecast promised lots of sun, with a slight chance of rain Sunday night. As I started on the section of trail along old rail line, I could see the sky was getting greyer and I decided to keep up a fast pace. The mosquitoes and deer flies weren't great, but mostly tolerable. I passed a couple other backpackers, then another solo backpacker along the way, not stopping for any breaks. I could hear the rumble of thunder as I got near the end of the flat section and prepared myself for the possibility of getting soaked.

As I neared Brown Lake, I met another solo backpacker with his dog. He was clearly exhausted and was looking forward to getting to the lake as he was also camping there. Lucky for both of us, the lake was only about a km away. I bolted to the southern site on Brown as the sky turned darker and the thunder rolled. I quickly setup my tent and threw my pack inside. I then changed into my sport shorts to try and sneak in a swim. No sooner was I in the water when lightening started, and I figured it wasn't the smartest place to be. As I got back to shore, the rain began. Based on the forecast, I expected very little. As I waited it out in the tent, eating lunch food for my dinner, it was likely a couple of hours before the rain stopped. Everything was thoroughly drenched, and their were puddles around the fire pit. No fire tonight - after hanging my food bag, I went early to bed.

The next morning was mild and sunny, although everything was still very wet. After breakfast I hung everything out as best I could, particularly my tent which was drenched. After a relaxing morning including a swim, I packed up the mostly dry tent after everything else, and headed toward South Pincher. I was curious how the park would indicate the closure of the trail section leading to East End and Loft Lakes, and it didn't take long to get there and see caution tape and a sign at the old entrance. My pants were soaked from brushing against the wet vegetation, and the mosquitoes and deer flies were thick due to the damp, still environment. I can't even begin to guess how many bites I got on this trip! After a sad reflection, I continued toward Gervais Lake where I stopped for a bit of lunch. Although a bit exposed and heavily used, I kind of like that site - likely due to fun memories camping there a number of years back.

The hike from Gervais to Pincher South was uneventful, and I decided to camp at the eastern site - it's a bit more rugged than the other South site, but it offers more sun exposure. I didn't realize how early I had gotten there, and it felt kind of nice lazing around, going for multiple swims in the warm water, and just taking everything in, including a loon which swam by several times. (I had nothing with me to tell the time, I only found out afterwards based on a SPOT signal indicating I made camp ok). I foraged a bunch of firewood (maple - my favourite!) and eventually found a good spot to hang my food bag. For some reason, I had a really hard time finding a good tree there, not helped by how overly cautious I am with where I hang.

I had an early dinner (apparently) and the day went slowly. The weather was absolutely perfect, and I was thankful that it wasn't as hot and humid as the GTA. After one final late-day swim, I relaxed by a small fire until dusk when the mosquitoes became super bad. I turned in at dark, and had a pretty decent sleep aside from a few noises that startled me (everything sounds larger at night!)

The next morning was beautiful again, and I took an early morning swim to start my day. I had a long hike out today, but I wasn't in any particular hurry - besides, the days are wonderfully long this time of year! As I set out, I noticed that the deer flies and mosquitoes weren't as bad as yesterday, due to things being dryer and a slight breeze blowing through on occasion. I stopped for a snack at Stutter Lake - which always seems so serene and peaceful no matter when I pass by it - and was happy to hear and see the small waterfall nearby tricking out again. It had dried up the previous fall and I feared the water may have been diverted to due beaver activity - thankfully not!

The hike past Stammer Lake is a tougher section with considerable uphills. I took my time to prevent exertion and sweating, and made sure to keep drinking lots of fluids to combat the heat. After a short break at the summit, it was off to Islet Lake where I would have my lunch. On the way there, I met another solo person who was clearly an avid backpacker who knew his stuff. He was doing the 'big' loop from highway 60 and was had gone over the top and was now heading to Maggie Lake. He told me that there was no indication at Rainbow Lake that the upper 3rd loop had been decommissioned, and being unaware of such he had hiked through! I felt a tinge of envy... Soon after, I arrived at the first site at Islet, which was unoccupied. After some lunch and water re-supply, I headed on my final leg of the journey.

I soon encountered a party of three with two dogs who were looking for a swimming spot. I told then about the site where I had just been, less than a couple hundred metres away, and could hear a shout of joy as they arrived there. The rest of the way out was uneventful, and the old rail bed hike was quite warm in spots, but I knew it wouldn't be long before I was back at my car. Aside from a party of four, I didn't encounter anyone else, although I did see a lot of activity and occupied canoe sites on Rain Lake. The first thing I did when I got back to the car was change my socks and shoes - ahhh! I was shocked to see that it was only 1:30, and it felt good knowing I would be home well before dinner, with enough time to enjoy a cold afternoon beer! It also felt good knowing that I'd be back at Algonquin soon again for a canoe trip. Lucky me!


Board footera

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