Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Algonquin Provincial Park North Tea Lake Backcountry Camping and Canoeing

Algonquin Park is the crown jewel of the Ontario Provincial Parks and I don't ever to expect to see it all.  Covering 7653 square kilometres it is larger than Prince Edward Island and has nine parks for camping to choose from.  During the G20 back in 2010, Beverley and I chose this as our first excursion into the Provincial Parks. We just wanted to get out of Toronto during the G20. Now before we start patting ourselves on the back for being so brilliant let me tell you that while we were on the water there was a 5.0 magnitude earthquake and a tornado that touched down in Huntsville.



To get to North Tea Lake you take Highway 11 to South River and then take Chemical Road until you reach the ranger's station where you can buy wood and ice.  There are two relatively easy portages and then you can canoe around until you find a spot you like.  In the middle of North Tea Lake there is a large island with a sandy beach where we stayed the first night.

Pretty sweet spot (but no cover if it rains and it did).

The next morning we chose a different island site pretty much due east of the first one which was more suited for rain.

Trees are natures umbrellas.

There really isn't a bad spot when you are backcountry camping there is just a choice of what you like and what you need to be comfortable.  This spot was perfect for us and we felt like kings because we had an island all to ourselves.  We were able to pick some freshwater mussels for a dinner snack and we caught a bunch of large mouth bass.  See we were able to plan it out for four days where we would always have breakfast and a snack for lunch but if you couldn't catch a fish or something else you'd starve for dinner.

A typical breakfast.

Not starving dinner.

Alright now hear comes the critical criteria for judging the Ontario Provincial Parks;

Site Cleanliness: Immaculate.  Every site we went to was pristine and I don't know how since you could only get there by boat and we never saw a ranger once.

Privacy: Couldn't get more private. Wouldn't be surprised if there were hermits in the surrounding forest.

Hiking and Activities: Not really applicable for this because you would hike for years but you should bring some bear spray and watch out for mama moose. Activities wise there was tonnes of canoeing.

Fire Pit and Amenities: Amazing.  No picnic tables as such but always tree benches and some nice people have left cooking implements behind.  There was a fish fryer at one of our spots! Note: This is what the toilets look like so if you are squeamish you may have to think twice.

Beach Quality or Ease of Getting to the Water: Great, but the water is awful cold.

Overall Impression: This to me is the best.  But I wouldn't want to get in trouble there because without a satellite phone I don't know how one would get help.

Rating out of 107: #2. This maybe the best in all of Ontario, but I still have 106 to see so I'm hedging my bets.

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