In May 1999, John Nikita, Wayne Morrison, Norm Rail and Norm Hooper planned and organized a canoe/camping trip to Algonquin Park. Since John had already tripped the Kioshkokwi Lake, Manitou Lake, North Tea Lake, and Biggar Lake areas, it was decided to undertake this route. John recommended that we include Three Mile Lake and a return to Manitou Lake through a long, arduous portage. The trip would be undertaken between September 12-18, 1999.
Sept 11th - Johns and Norm H.s Langford canoes were loaded onto Waynes trailer and stored in Norm Hs garage until the final departure the following morning at 8:15 am for Kiosh.
Sept 12th - Using Norm R.s vehicle was a blessing as it was very roomy and smooth riding. On route, we stopped at the Irving restaurant in Pembroke for a hardy lunch.
Arriving at the Kiosh Ranger Station at 2:15 pm and after registering, we departed south on Kioshkokwi Lake (which means "Lake of Many Gulls") looking for a decent camp site. The scenery was from a post card with the sun shining on the coniferous trees surrounding the lake. With a light wind at our back, it took about 20 minutes to find an ideal camp site with a beach, a camp fire, a place to set up two tents and a pictorial view of the lake and park. After getting settled, we took the opportunity to go for a swim in the lake, which was cool for this time of year; however, very refreshing. The waterproof camera worked very well.
Wayne and Norm H. went fishing and caught several Small Mouth Bass - it was the first time fishing in a canoe for Norm H. and balance was very important. John and Norm R. joined us in their canoe and we explored the other side of the point and into the bay.
John cooked up some hamburgers for supper and afterwards we sat around the camp fire until 10 pm talking and enjoying the beautiful evening. The stars were numerous and throughout the night we could hear loons calling out to one another. At 3 pm, an owl hooted across the lake and we were fortunate that the thunder and lightning heard and seen in the distance bypassed us. We did get a light sprinkle of rain with no damage done.
Sept 13th - The sky was overcast at 7 am with a light breeze and occasional light rain. Everyone worked together to prepared a warm fire and mud coffee while John made his traditional morning pancakes. After taking down the camp and with our canoes loaded; we took the opportunity to go for a swim before embarking on our trip across the lake to our first portage at 9:30 am. Wayne took some photos of a waterfalls next to the portage.
This first challenging portage (200 yds) (Amable du Fond portages) consisted of three trips with two steep inclines. We decided to carry a large load along a path (475 yds) to the second portage. This would lighten the load in our canoes for passage through a shallow stream, a portion of which we had to walk and/or drag our canoes.
The second portage (275 yds) also had some steep inclines and three trips were accompanied by light drizzle and cold wind. At the end of the portage (11:45am), we had a light snack and upon boarding our canoes on the narrow river, we encountered a small channel full of stones. After climbing over slippery rocks and maneuvering our canoes over the stones and opening, we finally were able to continue along a km stretch of the narrow river with coniferous forest on each side. Im sure that some of this area has never been explored by humans because of its remoteness.
At the third portage (1190 yds), we decided to carry our backpacks while transporting the canoes through one "hell of a challenging trail". This consisted of stepping on and over rocks and roots, around trees and up and over some very steep terrain. At 2:30 pm, this portage brought us to Manitou Lake, which, at this time, had waves with white caps and winds increasing in velocity as the day passed. By carrying our backpacks with the canoes, only two trips had to be made. We left our canoes behind some bushes on the beach and made camp on a knoll among the pine trees which looked out over this massive lake and hillside. We started our fires with pine needles and cones found among the tall pines . Lunch consisted of chicken noodle soup with pita bread and a snack bar. By 4 pm, the skies were still overcast with strong winds and warmer clothes were a must; even though the sun was trying to break through the clouds. Norm R. and John went swimming, but Wayne and Norm H. found it too cold. After gathering our wood supply, we sat on large rocks on the waters edge facing the lake to watch the sun set. Because of the storm clouds down the lake, a partial rainbow could be seen in the distance. At 7 pm, while we prepared supper, the setting sun caused a layered effect of blues, pinks and tans among the clouds on the west side of the lake and a brilliant red on the south side. One of the tarps was used to act as a wind breaker, but we found it was still cold sitting next to the fire that evening. The cold wind seemed to go right to the bones. We "hit the sack" at 10 pm and had a good sleep, especially after the canoeing and portaging we did earlier in the day, let alone the fresh air we were experiencing. John and Wayne blamed Norm H. and Norm R. of snoring during the night, but the latter two only blamed each other.
The "outhouse" was something to visit and experience, and only if in desperate need. Someone was very innovative in putting duct tape around the toilet hole, because there was no seat cover. , Norm H. came to realize while seated and looking out over the campsite, that there was no door on the outhouse and that someone had previously taken it off and it was being used as our table top next to the fireplace. He didnt have the heart to tell anyone right away and thought that it would be best to wait until the next day when we left the site. Wayne; however, was too kind-hearted after learning about it and told Norm R. and John - just before we were to prepare our supper - the astonished expression on Johns face told it all!
Copyright 2001 by Norm Hooper