Thursday, December 6, 2007

Rosebary Lake Loop - Algonquin PP Apr 22-24 06

Taking a breather after one of the many portages

The wait was almost unbearable. Like race horses just itching to burst out of the gates at the sound of the bell, I could barely contain the anticipation of paddling again. I was dying to be on the water right after ice-out, however timing was the challenging part. Predicting water conditions is a combination of factual information and luck based on weather trends, therefore you plan for a set time and then hope for the best. As the days counted down, Marylou and I finally cracked open our containers and pulled out the paddling gear. Just packing felt great!

Imagine that!, even the first portage of the year felt great!

We headed to Algonquin for 3 days to paddle the Rosebary Lake Loop, located at the western edge of the park. Driving east past Kearney, we phoned in our registration and found out we were the first in the area when the park staff asked about the road conditions. The drive in was fine, but there was still snow in patches on the road so it made us wonder about ice on the lake.

Even the portage signs needed maintenace!

Once we got to the put-in, we quickly unloaded like overly excited kids. Snow was evident everywhere, but the river was free of ice and the smooth flowing water was inviting us in. Once we pushed off from the sandy landing, it was pure joy to dip our paddles in the cold dark water and propel the canoe downriver. It really felt good to be back in the canoe.

Trail maintenance is guaranteed if you're the first ones
through a portage in the spring!

We probably didn't have the best weather on this trip. The sun didn't appear until (honestly!) we paddled our last strokes to the take-out, but the overcast sky, pouring rain/drizzle, and cold temperatures didn't faze our awesome experience. I don't think anything could have dampened our spirits. We were just thrilled to be back in the wilderness to kick off the season!

Large ice pans still floating around on Tim lake

We saw all kinds of wildlife - moose, turtle, deer, beaver, muskrat, herons, etc. and even a wolf!, - no, we didn't get a picture of the wolf! I wish we had, but I was just stunned (this was our first ever sighting!). By the time it registered in my head to get the camera out, the wolf was way too far for a picture. With all the wildlife sightings, it just reassured us that old man winter had finally let go of its icy grip!

The demise of one moose means life for many others

There was some large ice pans still floating on Tim lake which lead me to believe the ice probably just went out. It was definitely neat to see, but reassuring that most of the ice was gone. There was still lots of snow in some areas, but it wasn't as challenging as dealing with all the downed trees. (all the snow made for some good snowball fights!) I guess being the first through the area before the park staff had the opportunity to work on the portages is just part of the benefits of having the place to yourself.

Contending with alder bushes while navigating upstream
through the narrow and forever winding Nipissing river

I hope all is well with everyone. We thoroughly enjoyed our first canoe trip of the season and already look forward to our next one. Hope your canoe trip comes soon, or maybe you've already gone!, in which case I hope you had a great one! Looking forward to a great paddling season. See you on the water!
David & Marylou

Even in death there is beauty
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