The reservations have been made, we're heading out on our first trip for 2016. It will be to Grand Lake, a bit of a repetition of our first trip in 2014 (see here). Only we're staying on Grand Lake for two nights.
We're going to take the Friday off and hopefully get a jump on getting the best campsite. We won't be portaging at all. We may try to do the same hike up the hydro line and make it all the way in to Green Leaf Lake (I wimped out last time). We won't be going to Clemow. There are only 2 sites on that lake, they allow both to be reserved and one site is pretty crappy. We never got to see the other site.
I am expecting that we'll have bear company. We didn't see any last time, but we saw a lot of bear scat, most of it fresh. And both thunderboxes were flipped over by them looking for food. They're out of hibernation, there's not much to eat, and there are a lot of them in that particular area of the park. Forewarned is forearmed. LT's can of bear spray did a disappearing act, but he's already replaced it.
We're going in at Access point 22 at Achray. We'll paddle up the lake and hopefully snag the marked campsite. We tried to get that one 2 years ago, but were just a bit too late. It's about 10-11 km of paddling. On Saturday we're going to do the hike. First we'll walk along the abandoned rail tracks to get to the section of the trail that starts up the side of the mountain under the hydro lines. Then we'll head in to Green Leaf Lake, maybe have lunch, then turn around and come back. The trail is marked in red on the map, I've indicated which trail by drawing a blue line nearby.
The portage distance is marked at 5.5 km one way. Actually, now that I see how far that is, I think I'll agree with LT. He wanted to take the canoe to the portage point instead of walking the tracks. There's probably another 1.5 km of tracks to walk, which would make the whole distance 14 km both ways. Considering that we're going from 221 metres above sea level up to 401 at the peak of the trail, and down again to 257 at Green Leaf, then back up and over again, it's not an easy 11 km (official portage length). The track, if we use that instead of paddling, will be flat and about another 3 km total.
NOTE: Algonquin Park never recommends that we use the abandoned rail beds as a means of portaging or hiking. The area has been identified as contaminated by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Anyone that uses them does so at their own risk.
I'll have lots of food already dehydrated to choose from, I'm not sure what our menu is going to be. LT will be doing the same steak dinner for the first night. We enjoyed it so much on our Kiosk trip, we're going to be doing that more often. We're not carrying our food anywhere and it's only for 2 nights. There may be a bit more fresh food for this trip. With cool nights food is less likely to go bad.
We're going to have to ensure we keep warm at night. We've beefed up our sleeping bags, I found some windshield reflectors at the dollar store to add a layer of insulation on top of our mattresses or foam. We're debating taking the tent to help with warmth. Although I am looking forward to trying out my new hammock that I got for Christmas.
I can't wait!