Backpacking Trip Log #1:  Algonquin Park, July 13-16, 1997 


Round Trip --
First Loop of the Western Uplands Backpacking Trail (Highway 60 Access)
Sketch Map of Route


Lucie, Margaret, Lucie's Cocker Spaniel and Margaret's Springer Spaniel

DAY 1 (Sunday)

Travel: Western Uplands Trailhead on Highway 60 to Maggie Lake

Distance: 11 km

Terrain: Rugged with steep hills from the Trailhead to Maple Leaf Lake; Steady uphill from Maple Leaf Lake to Leach Lake; Steady downhill from Leach Lake to Hardy Creek; Gradual uphill from Hardy Creek to Steeprise Lake; Steeper uphill and then a flatter section leading from Steeprise Lake to Maggie Lake

Weather: Extremely hot and humid

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. = 5 hrs, 30 min.
(minus about 1 hour worth of lunch / rest / water filtering stops = 4 hrs, 30 min.)

Rate of travel: 2.4 km per hour

Travel events: No black flies and few mosquitoes in evidence, but deer flies buzz around our heads throughout the trip... deet-based repellent doesn't seem to deter them, citronella oil seems to help a bit; 1:15 p.m.: Lucie tips over backwards while swatting a deer fly off her dog's snout... Lucie lands sitting in a creek, waist-deep in water!; The Maple Leaf Creek crossing is very scenic... good photo op.

Quote of the day: "Is it okay to start complaining now?"

Camp: South shore of Maggie Lake, first site off the main trail, after the side trail
(An "okay" site with room for two small tents; Adequate swimming area; Drawback: very close to the main trail)

Supper: Pita pizzas

Camp events, evening: To bed at 8 p.m.!!

Overnight: Warm and humid... no sleeping bags needed

Camp events, the following morning: We oversleep... it is already getting hot when we arise at 10 a.m.

DAY 2 (Monday)

NOTE: Most of the campsites between Maggie Lake and Ramona Lake are not very good... marshy, small, etc. We recommend going straight through from Maggie to Ramona or Guskewau to camp.

Travel: Maggie Lake to Ramona Lake

Distance: 13 km

Terrain: Relatively flat, plus a couple of steep hills, along the east shore of Maggie Lake to Mink Creek; Long uphill and then a flatter section from Mink Creek to the west junction between the first and second loops; Steep uphill after the junction and then relatively flat, plus a few really steep up hills, all the way to Dace Lake; Coming into Dace: a few steep up hills and then a steep downhill to the lake; Long, steep uphill from Dace Lake to the east junction between the first and second loops; Gradual downhill from the east junction to Ramona Lake

Weather: Extremely hot and humid... again

Time: 11:15 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. = 6 hrs, 45 min.
(minus about 1 hour worth of lunch / rest / water filtering breaks = 5 hrs, 45 min.)

Rate of travel: 2.3 km per hour

Travel events: We stop at the west junction between the first and second loops, for lunch and a visit with a couple of Western Uplands Trail veterans... a man and his teenage son... after lunch we head off to the east along the first loop, they head north onto the second loop; We get really discouraged between Oak and Dace Lakes... it's soooo hot and humid and these hills are just too much to take today!! Dace Lake appears before we expect it... this event spurs us on to hike the final uphill to the east junction, and the rest of the way to Ramona Lake, without any further whining!

Camp: Ramona Lake, first site in from the main trail
(Really pretty little lake; Very nice site with room for two or three tents; Drawbacks: no decent swimming area at any of the four sites on Ramona; Sites are close together)

Quote of the day: "I love you, Ramona!!"

Supper: Macaroni and cheese

Camp events, evening: We invite "neighbour" Susan over for hot chocolate and to use our repair kit to fix her pack strap

Overnight: Warm and windy; Bullfrog chorus at dusk and dawn to the west of camp

Camp events, the following morning: Lucie wakes up to find a red squirrel hanging from our food pack, gnawing a hole in the dry bag containing our lunches... a harsh word sends him packing. The squirrel did not have time to eat too much food. The dry bag is cleaned-up and patched with duct tape.

DAY 3 (Tuesday)

NOTE: Today was set aside as a rest day in the interior... we only traveled 4.5 km to Guskewau Lake. Instead of stopping at Guskewau, we could easily have hiked the final 8 km from Ramona Lake to the Trailhead today in about two-and-a-half hours.

Travel: Ramona Lake to Guskewau Lake

Distance: 4.5 km

Terrain: Easy stuff... mostly flat, or with a slight downhill grade

Weather: Warm and breezy... nice to be rid of that heat and humidity!

Time: 9:35 a.m. - 11 a.m. = 1 hr, 25 min.
(minus one 5-minute rest break = 1 hr, 20 min.)

Speed of Travel: 3.5 km per hour

Travel events: We can't believe how quickly we are motoring through this section of the trail!! :-)

Camp: Guskewau Lake, second site in from the trail
(A huge, flat site with a small sand beach and a view of the lake... exceptional!; The other two sites on this lake are also nice; The third site in from the trail is the most secluded)

Afternoon Events: Napping; Reading; Margaret: writing postcards; Lucie and Margaret's dog: swimming

Supper: Soup, cheese and crackers, blueberry turnovers

Camp events, evening: Reading; Margaret's dog: swimming

Overnight: Nice and cool!; Margaret gets up at 1 a.m. to see why the pots and pans are making a rattling noise... it turns out NOT to be the pots and pans at all, but rather a large number of frogs singing in unison in Guskewau Lake... a sound very much like noise a lid on a pot makes when the pot is about to boil over... odd... will have to research what kind of frog makes such a sound!

DAY 4 (Wednesday)

Travel: Guskewau Lake to Western Uplands Trailhead on Highway 60

Distance: 3.5 km

Terrain: Flat or gently sloping downhill most of the way; Much of this section of the trail follows abandoned logging roads

Weather: Warm and breezy

Time: 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. = 1 hr.

Speed of travel: 3.5 km per hour

Quote of the day: "I don't think we're gonna be taking a rest break, Luce... I can already hear the highway!!" (we normally take a 10 min. break after each hour of hiking)

TRIP TOTALS (over 4 days)

Travel time: 14 hrs, 40 min.
(minus 2 hrs, 5 min. worth or lunch / rest breaks = 12 hrs, 35 min.)

Distance: 32 km

Other write-ups for this backpacking trail loop are included in:

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