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Algonquin – Rock to Clydegale – June 2020 Part 2

Part 2 of 2

We woke up pretty early the next day, even though the crazy chupacabra owl kept waking us up through the night! The sunrise was spectacular! The songbirds and Chester (our camp chipmunk) were awake in full force and, in the distance, you could hear the morning call of the loons making their way to eat breakfast in the middle of Pen lake.

After breakfast and a brief reprieve in our tents to try and escape the bugs, we were packed up and got ready to roll. We thought we were being smart by leaving early, thinking we would make our way to Clydegale, like we originally intended. However, the wind on the lake had other ideas about how we would enjoy our paddle.

As always on an Algonquin lake, the wind seemed to change directions so that, no matter where we paddled, we were always against the wind! I was faring okay in the Cruiser. Being a pack boat, the seat is situated at the bottom of the canoe with foot pegs to brace yourself, so I didn’t feel tippy, as I thought I would. My cruiser is 14.8 feet and super lightweight (a total of 21 lbs). I was worried that the high winds would make my ability to paddle difficult but, with the weight of the packs in the front, paddling was not as hard as I would have experienced in a standard canoe. She cut through the whitecaps pretty effectively and, even though paddling against the wind was a lot of work, it didn’t feel like it was as much as I’ve had in the past.

A girl and her canoeWe found our way to a campsite close to the last major peninsula. The location was high up on the cliff, the wind taking care of any mosquitoes that tried to make their way toward us. We were surrounded by cliffs and many of the trees surrounding us were hemlock and cedar. We were happy with our choice and decided to make camp.

We were busy getting the site organized for much of the day, which included sawing a large felled hemlock that would provide a lot of great burning wood! After all that hard work in the afternoon sun, we went swimming for a bit to cool off. Well, it wouldn’t be entertaining if there wasn’t another mishap on our list!

The next adventure was the attack of the leeches! Amelia got a leech on her ankle while swimming –  her first! We laughed and managed to get rid of the leech but not without some dramatic first-aid efforts. Amelia’s lesson learned for next time; don’t rip the leech off! There are better ways to get them to fall off without blood.

After all of this adventure, it was another early night for both of us. The next morning, we got up bright and early again and decided to make our way to Clydegale for a day trek and some fishing. Paddling wasn’t too bad and the portage to Clydegale from Pen was right on our doorstep! It was uphill to the next lake but it was only 275 metres. I was happy to spend some time exploring the rapids. It really was a beautiful spot.

We spent the afternoon fishing. We got lots of nibbles but had no catches. We knew our odds were low, since we got to the lake in the early afternoon, but we were happy to have a couple of hours of fishing solitude with nothing but loons serenading us. Begrudgingly, I couldn’t help thinking of my “fish whisperer friends” – the ones who can throw just about anything in the water and bring up fish with no effort!

We ate lunch by mooring beside each other and, once we were done, we made our way to the portage and back across to Pen. The portage down was much easier! We made it to camp and enjoyed another night of good eating and an epic sunset.

We ate very well and, even on our little MSR stove, managed to be as gourmet as one can get in the woods. Between tenderloin, eggs and sausage, penne pesto and campfire pizzas, I think we hit home runs every meal during this trip. The last night was especially epic. I had joked that, technically, a granola bar could be considered a dessert. Amelia was adamant that any type of granola or trail mix bar could not be considered a dessert. It was then that I decided to concoct what I called the “raspberry dream crumble.”

I crumbled up a Hidden Valley granola bar and mixed it with butter and peanut butter. I added what was left of the dehydrated berries and coconut granola with a little bit of water, then let it sit to soften it up. About 20 minutes later, I popped the batter in the pan and cooked it slowly on low until everything warmed together and a nice crisp was formed. I dabbed a few dollops of what was left of our raspberry jam on top and VOILA! The “raspberry dream crumble” was born. We ate the entire concoction right out of the pan.

Once every bite was devoured, I asked Amelia, “So, what do you think about granola bars for dessert?” She agreed that, if served like that, she’ll take it any day of the week!

The next morning, we woke up early, hoping to beat the wind as we began our trek back to civilization. The wind wasn’t terrible but it was still a lot stronger than we would have hoped for during an early morning trek. The most exciting moment of the day was on the portage back to Rock Lake; I got attacked by a territorial grouse! This bird literally eyed me on the path and decided to fly at me and chest bump me on my shin! I couldn’t stop laughing even though I was slightly terrified! Even with the angry grouse and his territorial “mosh pit” tendencies, we made it safely to Rock Lake.

I made a beeline to the pictographs. The sheer cliff beside the lake is pretty amazing. I could definitely see many rust-coloured spots but couldn’t make out any actual pictographs. I have been told that they are very close to the water line, so they are sometimes visible but not always.

The last leg of paddling was largely uneventful. I’m already looking forward to our scheduled eight-day trek in August!

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Natalie Zieman

Natalie Zieman is an avid hiker and is an outdoor enthusiast. You can find her spending her time regularly in Algonquin Park as well as many other adventures which include other Provincial/Nationals parks such as Banff and Jasper Parks in AB. She currently working on completing the Bruce trail E2E here in Ontario and of course planning canoe trips regularly in Algonquin Park and other areas.

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