Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tom Yates
Travers to McManus on the Petawawa – August 2008

Friday August 1st

We drove from Sarnia Ontario, leaving at about noon and arriving at Algonquin Portage at about 9 p.m... We had booked accommodations with Algonquin Portage previously ($27 per person) as well as breakfast the next morning ($8.00). The rooms were waiting for us as advertised, and we had a game of cards on the front porch before we turned in. The rooms were great and well looked after. There are plenty of showers also!

Algonquin Portage Cabin

Saturday August 2nd

We woke up to rain pouring down on us and waited till our breakfast was prepared. They open at 8 a.m... After breakfast we got our canoes and loaded them onto our two vehicles. We also met Markus and Joan in the store!
We had arranged for Algonquin Portage to transfer our vehicles during the week back to McManus for us. The road to Travers is well looked after and we made good time getting to the put in. By the time we headed out into the lake the rain had stopped and the weather was quit nice.
Our goal was to get as far up the lake as we could so that the next day we would be close to Big Thompson rapids. We scouted sites along the way had 8 people in the group so we needed a good amount of flat space if possible. We used FRS radios to talk to each other about the sites and hop scotched along the shore.
We arrived at our final destination, the last site on the lake, and set up camp at about 1 p.m. or so. We had a dinner of hamburgers and played a little poker and looked forward to the journey ahead.

Lake Travers campsite

Sunday August 3rd

We had breakfast and broke camp by 9 a.m. and headed out to Big Thompson Rapids. The water level was high because of all the rain this year so we were going to portage both Thompson’s HOWEVER two of our members decided to give it a shot rather than carry. They had portaged the gear already so they were just going in the empty canoe.
The results were less than spectacular as they dumped no less than 10 feet into the rapid and ended up on the far shore. They got in and proceeded to dump again and float down to the rest of us. A humbling experience for sure!

The Hard way to portage


We continued on the portage around little Thompson too and headed on to the first rapids we would all run, Grillade. There were some big waves and high bouncing canoes but we all made it through with full canoes. Great fun!
Our destination for the camp was Crooked Chute. There were a few choices of campsites but we want the one at the final takeout if possible.

We had decided to canoe past the first takeout and get out at the second. There is a campsite at the second takeout but it is less than desirable. It looks like it is there for emergency use for late arrivals. We portaged our gear down to the last takeout and saw that our desired camp was available! And what a winner it is. It had plenty of flat tents sites and was right on the raging river. A top notch site in anyone’s book!

Better get out here!

We were happy that it was so ideal because we were going to stay an extra day here. We spent the rest of the day getting settled, exploring, and fishing. There was some bass caught so we had enough for one filet each for dinner to go along with our penne noodles.

Monday August 4th

It was a pleasure to not have to get up and pack for the road. We just had a leisurely breakfast and planned a day of exploration and relaxing.
The campsite is right on the portage and we had a couple of groups go through. There is also a shortcut right through the middle of our camp to get to the put in below the chute. We had a group from Wales take that very route.
We walked down the shortcut to the chute itself and watched in awe as the water squeezes through the narrow opening, thanking ourselves that we were not in a canoe going that way!
We also portaged the canoes to the put in area (they had to be there tomorrow anyway!) and explored the Lake area below the chute. There is a beach and a ranger cabin. We swam and explored and I got bit by horse flies (an annual tradition).
Back at camp there was cards (another tradition) and resting in the hammock and afternoon naps and just plain enjoyment. We had fish with our dinner again but just a teasing snack amount! Dinner was noodles n sauce with Italian smokies sausage.
The weather was great here and we even had a chance to see some shooting stars. We did discover that the rock at the campsite has a population of mice living in it. We made the discovery when one of the guys had a mouse crawl OVER HIS FACE while he was lying on the rock LOL!
They were there, but they didn’t really bother us. I recommend this site to anyone going this way!

Cooking the noodles at Crooked Chute.

Tuesday August 5th

We broke camp again at about 9 a.m. and headed out to Rollway rapids. We were definitely portaging here as we are greenhorns at this whitewater stuff. The portage is not too tough and we did it in two stages with the gear going first and the canoes coming on the second trip. We stopped at the Blair Fraser memorial. The cross has been broken off. I can only hope that is was a tree that did it rather than a person. Right below where the memorial is supposed to be there is a broken canoe in the water to remind us that portaging is not so bad.
Next was the Notch Rapids. We decided to carry the gear over first and decide whether to run or not on the way. This portage is horrible! The Petawawa white water guide says that “you have to be a mountain goat to do this portage” and they were not kidding. I think even THEY would avoid this portage!

The Natch – Portage

We decided to run the rapids with empty canoes because no one wanted to carry an 85 pound canoe over that portage! One canoe did get carried however because they did not want to run. Everyone made the run safely except me and my brother in-law Ted. We dumped and proceeded to swim over the falls and float down the river waiting for rescue. All we could think of was that it was still better than carrying that darn canoe over that portage!
After the Natch we had quite a long paddle to get to our desired camp near Schooner rapids, but boy was it a beautiful paddle! The cliffs are fantastic!

The Cliffs at the Natch

Our goal was to stop before Schooner and camp for the night but none of the spots were good so we pressed on into Schooner. Again we did them with full canoes and had lots of fun in big waves and high water. About half way through Schooner there is a little lake (right before the hydro lines) and we still had not found a suitable campsite.
On Jeffrey’s digital map, (which I had with me) there is a site here that is marked on a road. The same site is not marked on the Canoe routes map. We found the site but there was no orange sign. I don’t know if we were breaking any rules but it was getting late and it looked like bad weather was coming so we made camp. What a strange camp it was. It was on a road, just down from a Hydro-One bridge, and the grass (weeds) was high! There WAS a thunderbox in good condition AND a picnic table. If anyone knows the story of this site, let me know.
It started to thunderstorm at about 7:30 p.m. and rain shortly after. We headed to the tents for a long (if restless) night of sleep.

The Hydro-One site

Wednesday August 6th

The rain stopped just as we got up in the morning (About 6 a.m.) and there was least 2 inches of water in the cups left on the table! We got breakfast and got out of there.
Our goal for the day was to complete the rapids (the rest of Schooner and Five Mile Rapids) and then look for a campsite on the lakes.
We had great fun running the rest of the rapids with a few rocks hit but nothing major and everyone right side up. Once we got past all the rapids we started looking for a place to spend our last night. Site after site was either too small (not enough tent spaces) or too weedy and buggy (as river sites tend to be). However as we came through the last swift and into McManus Lake we saw the holy grail of campsites! It’s not on Jeffrey’s map OR my version of the canoe routes map but it was clearly marked with the orange sign.

It had a great flat are on top of a nice hill over looking the lake. I am not exaggerating when I say that at least 10 tents could be set up on this site! And it was beautiful too.

McManus Lake Campsite
View of McManus Lake from our site

We enjoyed our last day in paradise with a great evening of poker, Kraft dinner, and a wee bit of scotch. We were only 3 k from the take out so tomorrow were going to be easy (except for the 9 hour car ride!!)

The Last Evening

Thursday August 7th

Up at 6, off the site by 8 and the takeout before 11. Pick up the cars, take the canoes back and roll on back to Sarnia! Another successful Algonquin Adventure!

All my pictures and videos are here (including the one of me falling out!)

Questions or comments? Email me at


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

2008 Trip - Just Back

WE just arrived back from the trip and I will post a trip log and pictures very soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Vintage Algonquin Park Maps

This section provides links to vintage Algonquin Park maps, that are deemed public domain under Section 12 of the Canadian Copyright Act. Many Thanks goes out to Jeffrey McMurtrie for loaning out the map. Scanning and subsequent image processing by Mark Rubino. Maps posted here are freely available to everyone. Please feel free to mirror any maps, to help reduce the load on the server hosting

1946 Algonquin Park Area Map - Chief Geographer's Office, Surveys and Engineering Division 1946


JPEG - 8.74MB Download

Friday, February 15, 2008

New tent

I Purchased a new tent today! Can't wait to use it

Lightpath 3

Easy to pitch with a dry entry design, the Lightpath goes up quick, even in nasty weather. Plenty of room for three, but luxurious for two people (and Spot). A well designed floor plan keeps weight down, and roomy vestibule leaves plenty of space to store gear under cover. Guaranteed watertight construction. Superlight option: pitch with fly only plus and Pitch Light™ footprint to shave pounds. Footprint sold separately.

MSRP: $195.00

Lightpath 3




Minimum Weight
5 lbs, 4 oz / 2.41 kg

Fly Fabric

Packaged Weight
5 lbs, 12 oz / 2.63 kg

Tent Floor

Floor Area
43.92 sq ft / 4.08 sq m

Vestibule area
15.07 sq ft / 1.40 sq m

Number of doors

Number of poles

Number of vestibules

Interior height
4.07 ft / 124.00 cm

Packed diameter
5.91 in / 15.00 cm

Packed length
23.23 in / 59.00 cm

3 Season Backpacking

Pitch Light Weight
1.66 Kg

Guaranteed watertight construction with fully taped fly, taped perimeter seam, welded corners and welded guy clip anchors. Rain room tested with 1200” of rain in 24 hours.
Atlas 7001™ pole system is strong, lightweight, durable, resistant to corrosion and dents, and easy to service by hand in the field
Pitch Light™ configuration allows user to set up a super-light shelter using only the tent fly, poles and footprint (sold separately)
Vestibule design creates a dry entry into tent
One mesh door with dual-slider zipper for easy entry and exit
Clear SVX window is UV-resistant, providing a view and extra light
Reflective starter point and guy-out loops for easy set-up at night
Gear can be stored in canopy storage pockets or optional rectangular gear loft (sold separately)
Superlight buckles and webbing reduce tent weight

Roll over for alternate views:


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

(Click for a larger view}
Rollaway Rapids - Petawawa River
from Loon Island Outdoors

Planning Planning Planning

Well we are well under way getting ready for our 2008 trip into the park. WE have 7 of our group of 8 confirmed for the time. It gets harder every year with jobs and life getting in the way.
AS you probably know, we have to wait until 5 months ahead of time to book the area we will go into. That sets booking date at around the first of March. I guess I will reserve the canoes around that time also. WE will book those through Algonquin Portage this year because of there location.
We are still trying to decide between having the outfitter do the shuttle or doing it ourselves. Here are Algonquin Portages prices;


Destination 2 people and gear
Additional Fee per person
Achray $80.00 $10.00
Lake Traverse $130.00 $15.00
Brent $380.00 $25.00
Kiosk $395.00 $25.00
Brigham Lake $65.00 $10.00
Squirrel Rapids $50.00 $10.00
Opeongo Lake $250.00 $25.00
Pembroke Bus Station $25.00 $10.00

Its kind of expensive to pay them, but it WILL save lots of time. It looks like a paid trip to Traverse would cost 8 guys about $27.50 each. Not too bad. Anyone out there with tips for would be appreciated.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Thoughts for the upcoming season.

29 01 2008

I’ve noticed lately that the interior of Algonquin Park has become the “in” place for the city slickers. While I have nothing wrong with people exploring and enjoying the park, I do have a problem with people destroying the parks natural beauty. What I mean is that I’m sick of people throwing their garbage on the portages, people bringing cans and bottles into the interior and leaving them there for others to clean up, people driving everywhere within a campsite when you can bike or walk. The threat on Algonquin is all too real and we need to protect it. We as the campers are as much responsible as the park staff and conservation officers. There are simple things that we all can do to keep the park beautiful.

  1. Keep your campsite clean and make sure it’s clean before you leave.
  2. Only bring stuff that is completely bio-degradable and good for the environment.
  3. Foil does not burn…..bring it out with you in some places it’s recyclable
  4. Freeze dried foods might not taste the best but there is less waste with them and its quick to prepare.
  5. Stay on the marked portage. Don’t go off course to get around someone. We’ll all get there in our own time.
  6. Can’s and bottles are not allowed in the interior so DON’T BRING THEM! There are tetra packs available now for wines. Pour your wine/beer into a plastic container.
  7. If you bring food like steak or another kind of meat please make sure that your grill and cooking area is clean. The bears do not need people food…it really isn’t good for them.
  8. Speaking of wildlife…..leave it alone. If you see an abandoned beaver lodge, dam or even turtles on a log leave them be. You can ruin an animals natural habitat.
  9. Use your common sense. If you think it might hurt something then don’t do it. DON’T CUT DOWN TREES FOR FIREWOOD. USE WOOD ON THE FOREST FLOOR THAT IS DEAD!!!!

As you go on your way today remember that Algonquin Park has almost been destroyed before by wildfires and logging…..let’s not let it be destroyed by us! I love that park and I want my children to love it too!

~Enjoy your Trip!

This years Interior Trip

Our group of 8 is looking at the Petawawa River for our trip this August.

has anyone done this one? Comments please!

tentative Schedule

Day one - Get transportation from the outfitters to Access point #23. Paddling - 10K. No portages. Camp on Lake Travers. Easy day (except for the travel time)

Day two - 8K paddling. Portages 315, 165, 130, 425, 1580*
*We will stay on the 1580 portage. There are 2 site to choose from. Camp on Crooked Chute Rapids.
Total Portages = 1825 (if we do half the 1580)

Day three - 10K Paddling. Portages 120, 820, 275, 250, 135, 160, 2305*
*We will stay on the 2305 portage. There are 2 sites available. Camp on Schooner Rapids
Total Portages = 3702 (including half the 1580 and half the 2305

Day four - 6K Paddling. Portages 1400, 3400*
*We will stay o the 3400 portage. There are 4 sites available.. Camp on Fivemile Rapids
Total Portages = 4252 (including half of the 2305 and half of the 3400)

Day five - 8K Paddling. Portages only one 500. Camp on Smith Lake
Total Portages - 2200 (including half of the 3400)

Day six - 5K paddle out. Portages one 90

For the trip
Total paddling - 37K with the current of the river
Total portage - 11,979