Trip Reports

Grand Lake, Algonquin Park

Achray Fall Colours Trip Report Sept. 23-25, 2011

In the early afternoon of Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 we gathered at the shed to collect our canoes and head towards Algonquin Park.
The drive took us an hour and a half on highway 17, and another hour on a bumpy and slow gravel road.


We put our canoes into Grand Lake and paddled south along the shore to find our campsite not far away. The weather report had predicted rain for the weekend, but so far things were looking fine.
Grand Lake has many sandy beaches, and our site was no exception. A couple of us tested the waters for swimming, but that was short-lived as the temperatures were getting cooler. We set up tents and tarps. One canoe became our kitchen table with plenty of working space.


We had a communal supper and watch ed a beautiful sunset. There was a campfire with novel toasted desserts th at Gerwin had discovered using Google. There was plenty of conversation getting to know each other.


Some had years of tripping experience, but for Huiping this was the
first canoe trip. She had borrowed a tent and a raincoat to enjoy the experience with us.

Saturday,following breakfast, we paddled around our area of Grand Lake, and met Barbara and Robin, who had just arrived to join us.

We picked up an extra tent from the parking lot for Huiping because hers had leaked in the rain during the night!
After lunch, we headed our canoes towards Carcajou Bay where Don pointed out pictographs.





Our group had some very efficient paddlers and we sped along. Our first portage was expected to be eight feet. When we arrived there we didn’t need to portage at all! We maneuvered our canoes around the rocks by doing an abrupt right angle.

We saw and heard the beautiful Carcajou falls. The portage around the falls had a steep, rocky climb. I don’t think I could have carried our canoe solo straight up it, but my paddling partner, Maureen, managed it without a lot of difficulty. Others did the same.

One other short portage brought
us to Carcajou Creek. This creek winds back and forth for miles along a level area. It was wide enough to paddle two canoes beside each other. We followed the creek for quite a while. Spotting dark clouds above, we decided to turn around.

On our return, we made a side trip to Lower Spectacle Lake and enjoyed a brief snack. We returned to our campsite in time to make supper and clean up before d ark. A second campfire kept us chatting for hours.
Sunday morning found the lake covered in fog.
As the sun rose, it cleared the fog and we had a beautiful
day ahead of us. We decided to paddle along Grand Lake. We packed up and took our belongings to the cars before heading northwest up one side of the lake, and then down the other side before lunch. It was unusually hot and sunny for the end of September.



Many photos were taken of the beautiful fall colours. We spotted the abandoned railway track. This time, I was in the bow with Jane competently handling the stern. What a leisurely paddle! We returned to the Achray campground boat launch for lunch. A sw im and a short hike rounded out the day. We drove back towards the city and dropped our YCCC gear at the shed before dark.

Despite the weather forecast, we had enjoyed a wonderful weekend with very little rain. I felt sorry for the city folks who had spent it indoors. Thanks to Don for thinking of the idea and leading us!
Article by Karen Hurd
Photo credits - Don Haines