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6/01/2018 2:49 pm  #18

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

two stand out ...

We were late getting going from big crow in an early june fishing trip .. .headed toward the crow river and it was really early ... lots of fog and mist ... it was so thick that it was hard to know here the turns to the river were until you were pretty much on them.  As we were on this one stretch I was in front watching for rocks, turns, etc. and I was slowly starting to see what looked like the outline of a moose ..  we were drifting and not making a sound so it didn't see us and we didn't really see it until I was about 20 feet away ... I said quietly said "moose" but the funny thing was my fishing buddy's nickname is Moose so he just said  "yeah" ... thankfully the moose bolted the other way but had he decided to charge us we were toast.  Would have made one heck of a youtube moment ...

The second was on Sec ... I was up late with my daughter on the great island campsite ... we were just about to go to bed and I suggested she put on her headlamp and take a quick look in the water for mudpuppies or other nocturnal creatures .. .so she does and she whispers "daddy get over here" ... and there in the water was a huge snapping turtle ... x-large pizza size ... it was actually eating a burnt hotdog that someone had thrown in the lake ... it was incredibly quiet and gentle in the water.  So when it got turned around and had its back to us we got a chance to touch the shell and for a girl that was already crazy about reptiles this was a big thrill.  Since that experience we have camped on Sec a few times and always look in the water at night and we have always seen turtles (and always watch for our opportunity to touch their shell) ... 


6/01/2018 2:51 pm  #19

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

oops .. I didn't realize I had already told one of those stories earlier in this thread  ...  


6/01/2018 6:21 pm  #20

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Three come to mind. One is watching a huge bull moose wading in the bay 30 feet from us on Bug Lake and then swimming across the lake.

Catching my first Laker ever and it was 7 pounds.

Hearing a pack of wolves howling from the shore adjacent Shangri-la Island late at night during a full moon.


6/02/2018 7:36 am  #21

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Almost walking into a moose on the portage into Little Otterslide. I had a pack on my back and a barrel on my stomach, so I had my head down and my eyes fixed on the ground to make sure I didn't have any missteps. I stepped on a branch and heard a loud noise in front of me, I looked up and saw a moose maybe 10ft in front of me; I scared her and she moved off beside the trail. I spent a while watching and taking pictures, but the whole experience was pretty amazing.

Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures

6/02/2018 7:38 pm  #22

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Lots of memorable experiences, two of which stand out (I have touched on these in posts a while back)...

During a solo hike on the WUT in 2014, I was just practically at my camp site at East End Lake after an extremely long hiking day and heard a rustle near the water's edge. I stopped, and two bear cubs climbed a dead tree between me and the lake and started making noise. I decided to turn around and get out of there. With my adrenaline pumping, I made it down to Otterpaw to camp there instead.

The first weekend in May of 2015 - the park had just opened and my wife and I did the second loop of the WUT. Night one was spent at Susan Lake and we enjoyed dinner and an amazing sunset at the Lookout spot close to the camp site. The next morning we were treated to the view shown below - it may not seem all that spectacular until you realize that I flipped the pic 180 degrees and what you see is actually a mirror image in the water. Seeing this was incredible beyond words...



6/03/2018 10:08 am  #23

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

A couple come to mind.
1st was a Thanksgiving weekend on Shirley camped on the south end with one other group set up somewhere in the North end. Felt like I had the lake to myself. Anyway, about 7pm dinner was done and I was sitting down by the lake enjoying my evening tea when across the bay by the port back to Crotch I head a single Wolf, followed by a couple more. I stood there for a half hour listening to a pack go off and counted at least 9 different voices travelling across the water. Very very cool until I realized it was about 10 minutes travel through the bush to me. that was the point that the hair on the back of my neck really started to stand up. 
Another that seems to stand out to me was half way through a solo trip where the plan was to combine the Happy Isle Big Big Trout Hogan loop with the Big Crow Dixon loop exiting at Farm Lake.
this is a bit of an excerpt from the trip report. 

Having spent Saturday night camped with some friends on Big Crow and due to some issues I was having with my knee, the decision made to modify my route to avoid a 5.3KM Portage. Sunday had just went from a long day down the Crow River to an easy day to the North arm of Opeongo and saw me pushing off from the sandy beach around 11:30AM.
Heading into another headwind I pointed myself towards the narrows leading to Little Crow and dug the paddle in a little deeper making fair time following the East shoreline of Little Crow.
Spotting a small rock cove at the bottom South East of the lake I headed that way to take a bit of a break before heading down the Crow River.
As I was approaching a solo in an old weathered pale blue Prospector style canoe appeared out of nowhere heading for the same spot, landing and getting out of his canoe just in time to grab the bow of mine until I got ashore.
Now I know I daydream sometimes when I am paddling but I have no idea where this guy had come from as it was about a 15-minute paddle from the mouth of the river and in plain sight of me for the paddle down the lake.
Like any two strangers that meet up on the side of a lake the conversation started easily and we both settled in for a bit of a break from our days.
In conversation (as he pulled out a piece of smoked meat) he mentioned that he was in the area for a few days and was just out for a day paddle and lunch, snacking as we chatted. Mostly about the, and I quote “The most spectacular steak dinner” he had the previous evening cooked over the coals from the afternoons fire and the site he was staying at on Proulx.
At one point he picked up a stick and looked off across the lake before looking down and almost drawing the shapes of the hills in the distance onto the ground in front of him, glancing off to the horizon and then back to the stick as we chatted.
Well some of you know that I have had the odd supernatural experience while camping in Algonquin and I truly believe that they are associated with the artist Tom Tompson who died on Canoe Lake July 1917.
Ya I know and I can not give you a rational explanation or describe it to you and you ether believe or you do not. And either way is OK.
Anyway by now I was really wondering and decided introductions were in order so while he was drawing away, I looked at him and casually asked “So what do they call you?”
Well he looked at me straight in the eye and answered “They call me Tom”
Yes the hair on the back of my neck stood up at that moment and being me, I had to push it a little further so I relied “Sketch much Tom?”
Well he looked at me and softly said “Ya, I used to.…. But that was a lifetime ago.”
Ok even I am seriously weirded out at this point and am seriously wondering if I am really sitting here talking to who I think I am.
This had pretty much put an end to the conversation as we both started to pack up and head down to our canoes to carry on with our day.
Before getting into the canoe I turned to him, offering my hand said “It was a pleasure to meet you Tom.”
He took my hand and replied “Pleasure to meet you to Rob, enjoy your journey”
Just as he was pushing me off and stepping into his canoe, it occurred to me that I had never told him my name.
Heading across the South bay towards the Crow River I purposely headed a little more North than I needed to so I could keep the landing in sight and about 2 or 3 minutes later I looked behind me and there was no sign of him or his canoe.
Swinging around I paddled back towards the shore to give me a good look around and almost hoping that I would see him, and ya, he was still nowhere to be found.
OK so now I am really curios, pretty sure he is not behind me heading the other way and knowing he could not get past me on the river, I take of with a new determination towards Proulx heading to the site he said he was set up on.
Anyone who as heard of Proulx Lake In Algonquin is familiar with the site he said he was staying on and as described by him at the Grandest site on the Lake.
Coming around to the huge site on the point in the Pines there was no sign of a tent or tarp or anything else for that matter. So deciding it was time for a break I landed and walked around the empty site before ending up at the fire pit and there was no way that anyone had cooked anything in this fire pit in a few days.
For those who are curios;
Pale blue faded Kevlar Prospector style canoe with weathered but looked after wood trim and caned seats with an old paddle that was just about as weathered and worn as the canoe.
He was somewhere between 5’9ish and 6 foot, probably around 160 to 180lbs. Short dark hair and the most piercing eyes I have ever seen.
I do not recall much about his clothing, long sleeved shirt and dark pants.
Friendly enough guy but also the type of person that you get the feeling they have been in the bush just a little to long.
Just before heading down the Portage to Opeongo I looked over my shoulder back up the lake and shook my head a little as I smiled and thought.
“Yup, pleasure to meet you to Tom.”


6/04/2018 7:59 am  #24

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Rob -
I've read that story before, and it is one of my very favorites.  Difficult to follow that, but somebody has to, so I guess I will! 

In the early/mid-90's I took a trip with a friend, and we had a wolf encounter while on the Tim River between Queer and Shah.  There's a point along the way where one of the S-curves takes you around a ledge, maybe 20 feet high, just high enough that you can't see atop it.  As we came up to the foot of the ledge, just starting the S-curve, in the middle of the day, a single wolf let a very long howl go.  It stopped us cold because it was so unexpected and so close.  When that howl stopped, there was maybe a two second pause, and then the rest of them started.  They couldn't have been thirty feet from us, but we couldn't see them at all.  There weren't many voice in there, and while it was incredible to be that close to them, the unique part was two or three pups up there who couldn't howl just yet.  So mixed in with these long howls were a couple or three pups "Yip! Yip! Yip!"-ing right along.


6/05/2018 5:10 pm  #25

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

I too have had a few supernatural experiences in Algonquin.  Here are 2 non-supernatural ones.

​One that really got my adrenaline going was chasing a bear from my site when I was camped on Big Trout Lake back around 1980.  Needless to say, not much sleep that night and yes I did change campsites for my next 4 nights on Big Trout.  I rarely see a bear these days when I am camping and no more bears in my site that I have had to chase away.

​The other one happened on Sec Lake.  I was camped on the big island that has a small sandy beach looking towards the portage to Wet Lake.  I was fishing with a bobber with a worm on a spinner from the small sandy beach and then my bobber disappeared.  To be honest, when I pulled I figured I had the biggest pike and/or bass that ever lived.  The tug on the line was huge and I couldn't control what was on my line.  My drag was on and my line just kept running off my spool and then whatever was on my line went around the point of the small island just off shore and regretfully my line snapped.  A few months later I was camped on Sec Lake again, but on another campsite.  I was about to go for a swim when I saw these huge eyes of the biggest snapping turtle I have ever seen.  It looked to be the size of a car tire.  Then it donned on me that just perhaps this huge turtle was the thing that was on my line at the other site.


6/05/2018 6:35 pm  #26

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Awesome stories everyone!  Love hearing all these....boknows you gonna share your supernatural experiences?

     Thread Starter

6/05/2018 6:56 pm  #27

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Steve, I wasn't going to as a few of them are in some trip logs that I have posted on this site.  Check my trip to Burntroot Lake starting from Tim River.  All my supernatural experiences have occurred on Burntroot, Booth, Rock, Traverse, Crotch, Manitou and Kenneth Lake (my name).  I don't tell this one very often because it is personal.  So here it is.....it is rather lengthy.

​I took a friend on a canoe trip starting at Crotch Lake and our destination was Dickson Lake through the portages from Booth Lake up to Round Island Lake and then the huge portage to Dickson.  Well, it was pouring rain when we started and I wasn't thinking clearly obviously as I mistook the portage to Bridle Lake thinking it was the portage to Chipmunk Lake.  If you look at the map,  the lakes (Chipmunk and Bridle) are quite similar.  We finally came to a lake that wasn't on our route so we were somewhat lost.  We paddled down the lake and discovered we were on Shirley Lake.  I couldn't convince my friend to spend a night here, get dried out, and continue on in the morning.  So I drove him home and the next day I came up by myself to the Highway 60 corridor with no idea as to what lake I was going to trip to.  This was way back in 1978 and would be my very first solo trip.

​I stopped in at Opeongo to get some information on a lake that has trout in it and not too far of a portage to get there.  A man at the permit office suggested Kenneth Lake to me.  Well, seeing it was my name, why not. I paid for my permit for 5 nights on Kenneth Lake. I started at Cache Lake, portaged to Head and then another portage to Kenneth.  Back then, the campsite on Kenneth was right on the portage from Head Lake.  And no other sites on the lake either if my memory is correct.

​Realizing this was my first solo trip, I ALWAYS carried my axe and knife where ever I went.  I was a little bit afraid to say the least with this solo experience.  I fished all day, got nothing, and went back to camp.  I gathered quite a bit of firewood for my campfire that night as I really didn't want to go into my tent to sleep.  The campfire to me made me feel safe as I had heard that wild animals do not like fire.

​Eventually, I  burned up all my wood and there was no way I was going to go into the woods to get some more.  So ​I knew it was time for the tent.  With axe and knife in hand, I went to the lake to get some water to put out the coals that were still burning in my campfire.  I was looking at the ground on my way back to the campfire with a pail of water when I looked up and there sitting at the other side of my now almost out campfire was my dad.  My dad died in 1966 at 57 years old so that was 12 years previously.  I remember saying to him and I quote "What the hell are you doing here"?  He said he was just checking on me and asked me about my mother and siblings. My dad loved Algonquin Park and introduced it to me at a really young age. I was almost in a state of panic with what was happening.  Then, just like that, my dad was gone.....didn't say goodbye or anything.....he just vanished.  Now I thought I was hallucinating (no drugs were involved) and I was petrified as this was my first supernatural experience, if in fact it was one.

​I put out the fire and quickly made my way to my tent.  I don't even know if I slept that much that night but all of a sudden, it was daylight outside my tent.  I started to think about last night and decided in my mind that I had a dream of my dad, rather than a supernatural experience.  I got out of my tent, again with axe and knife in hand, and went to the lake to get some water for coffee.  I knew also that I needed to go into the woods to get some wood for my fire as I had burnt all I gathered the day before.  Walking up to my campfire with my pail of water, I froze and dropped the pail of water as there right beside my tent was quite a bit of wood that had been cut up, and split into pieces.  I would estimate it was close to half a cord of wood.....and I knew I did not cut it and put it there.  AND I KNEW I DID NOT HAVE A DREAM ABOUT MY DAD.  Then, I had an eerie feeling and I started to  see all kinds of animals running behind my camp.  I saw bear, wolf, deer, raccoons, and other animals all running in the same direction.  My first thought was there was a forest fire so I ran to the lake and searched the sky for smoke but saw nothing.  Well, that was it for me and I have never left a campsite so quickly as I did this one and made my way back to my car with nothing uneventual happening.  And I have never returned to Kenneth Lake.

​Flash forward about 1 year when I was at the family cottage with my younger brother Randy (Raccoon),  I had not told what happened to me to anyone because really I wasn't sure whether it was supernatural or not, whether people would think I was crazy, myself hallucinating, or who knows what.  I decided to tell my brother over a beer about what happened to me a year ago on Kenneth Lake.  He looked straight at me and asked if the date I saw our father was May 19.  I was shocked and asked him if I told him the story.  He said I hadn't but he did tell me that our father was in his kitchen that same night!


​So Steve, that is my first supernatural experience and I kind of wish I had never written what I did.  I do not believe that I am crazy or seeing things that do not exist.  Now, should I have supernatural experiences on my Algonquin Park trips, they do not spook me.  But to be totally honest, I wish they didn't happen at all but I now just accept them as part of my life.


Last edited by boknows (6/05/2018 8:58 pm)


6/05/2018 8:27 pm  #28

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

I have just thought of another one reading Steve's post re fire flies.  And this one is really cool and gets you thinking what just happened.

​Mark Rubino and I were camped on Opeongo Lake some years ago on Labour Day weekend.  All of a sudden in the afternoon we witnessed quite a few loons on the lake and they were all swimming to a certain spot to be all together.  Mark and I counted 58 loons that gathered for no more than 1 minute, and then they went their separate ways.


6/06/2018 10:58 am  #29

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Ok, this is a little weird- I too met a man with a pale blue-grey canoe! It was on the Long" portage from Smoke to Parkside bay (via Claude lake) As my wife and I approached Parkside bay we caught up with a man carrying a somewhat beat up blue-grey canoe. Again he was maybe 5'10, and thin, wearing a faded red flannel shirt, and old canvas pants and carrying a woods-style canvas pack. We chatted for a bit and he told me he'd been paddling in the park for deacades (mind you he looked to be mid 30's) and said that there had been many changes since he first came up by TRAIN! He was very interested in our gear, and after looking at my canoe (a kevlar Kippawa) remarked that they "sure have changed", and seemed interested in my red canoe pack. We parted ways, and he headed for the put in. We were at the most, 2-3 minutes behind him, but as we approached the bay, he was nowhere to be seen.
After our trip, we stopped at the visitors centre, and all of a sudden my wife calls me over to a picture hanging on a display, and there he was- flannel shirt and all, Tom Thomson, the guy we had talked to!
A few years later, I took some Scouts on the same trip, and two of them said that as they were crossing the portage (we'd spread out a bit), a man had come out of the bush and asked how they were doing, mentioning it was nice to see "youngsters" canoeing in the park, and that usually he only saw them around the "hotel". as the next pair of kids approached, he looked at them coming down the trail, and walked back into the bush. The second bunch  stopped to talk to the first ones, and when they were told about the man, they said "what man". They'd never even seen him! We looked for a while and there were no tracks, no trail, and no disturbed branches. Again it was a worn pale blue-grey canoe that he'd been carrying!
Nobody slept very well that night!

Last edited by scoutergriz (6/06/2018 10:59 am)


6/06/2018 3:04 pm  #30

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Griz thanks for sharing that one.
Nice to know that I am not crazy and for what it's worth, you are not the only one who has told me stories of running onto what sounds like the same person in the park only to have him "Vannish"
There are quite a few stories out there. A few years ago I toyed with the idea of putting together a book bringing all the stories together, unfortunately a death in the family pushed the idea to the back burner and I never got back to it. Nothing big but something that could be read around the evening fire with any profits being donated to The Friends of Algonquin Park.


6/08/2018 6:17 am  #31

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Coolest experience by far, since it was freezing cold at 10 below in a canoe at High Falls on Carcajou Bay... I was floating there at the base of the falls watching the white cakes of ice swirling around in white foam, when a otter's furry face appeared out of the foam and looked at me for several seconds. Then snorted and disappeared not to be seen again. There must have been fish down there.

Uncool experience on Opeongo on a warm midsummer evening...  having a barred owl swoop down silently and grab my jitterbug surface lure while fishing for bass. Of course the talons got tangled up in the line and it fell into the water, then it swan/flew into a dense spruce thicket on shore where I had a very scratchy time from sharp twigs and talons freeing it. Finally picked up the owl keeping the wings closed (not easy) and tossed into the air where it flew away, again in total silence, no wingbeats heard. Also uncool was we didn't catch bass, only an owl which couldn't be eaten for dinner so catch and release.


6/13/2018 8:18 pm  #32

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Great thread Steve , real interesting ta read , better than reading a book .
Rick , I can't imagine having ta wrastle with an owl in the bush , I'd be scared shatless .  A tip of the hat to ya fer doing the right thing !

A few years back while camped @ Buck Lake , near the end of Basin Lake road .
I heard a car stop just up the road around the bend near a beaver meadow. Shortly after a door closed I heard this most amazing deep baritone wolf howl , right off the bat I said to myself , that's gotta be Mike Runtz.
For a moment in a mischievous way , I thought to return the howl , glad I didn't cause my wolf howl sounds more like a soprano coyote .
I walked up the road , and sure enough there was Mike Runtz ,standing beside his car with his  hands cupped around his mouth .
I was at first reluctant to approach and bother him , but this was my Bobby Orr moment .

He was so engaging to talk with , and we spent the next 20 minutes walking down a sandy gravel road , with me asking about the many experiences I've read about from his numerous books , we talked about wolves and moose , and he was like a radar , pointing out all the interesting butterflies , plants and birds along the way .
I was in my glory !
He was quite keen to see the fawn hoof I'd seen in some wolf scat , on a walk I enjoyed earlier that morning  .




Last edited by John Connelly (6/13/2018 8:20 pm)


6/21/2018 11:45 am  #33

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

Had many cool experiences over the years but one of my favorites came last summer while paddling from Opeongo to Oxtongue lake. Cool due more to historical value . We were paddling a Meanest Link leg when we were invited to spend a night at Camp Pathfinder. We arrived around dusk and were greeted by staff, Shown to our quarters for the night then had a tour. What an amazing palce. Founded in 1914, it was incredible to experience a camp environment so rich in history and tradition.  Sitting at a table in the main hall looking out at the sunset over source lake I couldn't help but wonder how many thousands of kids had enjoyed the same view before us. We just sat there inhaling the history. Our stay was short lived but would love to get back there for a visit. We ate dinner, got a good nights sleep and left early the next morning setting out on a glassy, pristine Source lake.  If you ever get the chance to visit, take the opportunity. You will regret it if you don't.


6/22/2018 12:31 am  #34

Re: Coolest Algonquin Experiences?

frozentripper wrote:

Coolest experience by far, since it was freezing cold at 10 below in a canoe at High Falls on Carcajou Bay... I was floating there at the base of the falls watching the white cakes of ice swirling around in white foam, when a otter's furry face appeared out of the foam and looked at me for several seconds. Then snorted and disappeared not to be seen again. There must have been fish down there.

Uncool experience on Opeongo on a warm midsummer evening...  having a barred owl swoop down silently and grab my jitterbug surface lure while fishing for bass. Of course the talons got tangled up in the line and it fell into the water, then it swan/flew into a dense spruce thicket on shore where I had a very scratchy time from sharp twigs and talons freeing it. Finally picked up the owl keeping the wings closed (not easy) and tossed into the air where it flew away, again in total silence, no wingbeats heard. Also uncool was we didn't catch bass, only an owl which couldn't be eaten for dinner so catch and release.

 A tip of the hat indeed.  I had one grab a Zara Spook once.  As he was flying away I put it on free spool trying to figure out what the hell to do.  Thankfully he dropped the bait.  I have to admit I'm pretty sure he wasn't coming in to the canoe under any circumstance. I was a full days paddle from the car and had nothing but a fishing pole in the canoe.  

Last edited by Chuck Enwinde (6/22/2018 12:32 am)


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