Trip Reports

Algonquin Park Rock & Penn Lake trip, August 23 to 26

Algonquin Park - Rock & Penn Lake 2012

Five YCCC members joined together in late August 2012 for a beautiful four-day flatwater canoe trip in Algonquin Park, led by Judy Olmstead.  The photographs are simply gorgeous (Thanks to Dinh Ly).

Thursday afternoon we set out for a short paddle down a creek to our Rock Lake campsite, which featured a lovely sandy beach and the longest, steepest trail from campsite to thunderbox that any of us had ever seen. The occasional annoying sound of motorboats on this car-accessible lake was more than made up for by the gorgeous vista views atop Booth's Rock.

The next morning we awoke to a broken-into food barrel, which we'd wedged between some trees for lack of a place to hang it. We found tracks on the beach that were later identified as those of a black bear and a small canine (not a dog and bigger than coyote; possible that it was a female wolf).

Whichever creature it was didn't do too much damage; a half-bag of pita bread was the only casualty. But we heeded the lesson and, the next evening, were sure to secure the barrels with a pin, fashioned out of the end hook of a bungee cord.

Friday we departed Rock Lake with a 375-metre portage to Penn Lake, leaving the buzz of motorboats behind for the gentler soundtrack of paddle and loon.

We set up camp on a gorgeous peninsula site, where we would stay for the next two nights, with a resident heron and huge flock of young mergansers (30-plus) paying us occasional visit. There were also beavers splashing into the water behind our tents each evening, loons, owls, and trees alive with birds each morning.

Nathalie and Judith slept open-air on the beach to watch the moon and stars.  The next morning they spotted female a moose with its calf in the mist across the lake.

Saturday we took a day trip to Welcome Lake. It was an adventure pulling our canoes -- half paddling, and half-dragging them -- through the marshy stream, and then portaging 2 km, but it was worth it to reach the peacefulness of this small lake with few campsites.

Judith and Nathalie made numerous valiant attempts to catch us some fish for Sunday dinner, but the fish eluded us.

Sunday morning we packed up early, then paddled and portaged our way back to the parking lot, swinging by the cliff face on Rock Lake that is famous for its petroglyphs -- but we couldn't clearly make out any petroglyphs.

After a brief stop at the visitor's centre, we headed back home, stopping for dinner at Wilno's famous Polish tavern. 

Thanks to Judy for organizing this relaxing trip, to Nathalie for her quick thinking to overcome the canoe-less car hurdle, Judith for her master shelter-making and firewood-collecting expertise, and to Dinh for his amazing photography!

Pics from the trip can be seen at

- Trip report by Lori Waller