Day 6: Hogan’s Lake to Catfish Lake
The night was warmer than Tuesday and I slept peacefully in my hammock to the sound of loons and owls calling out over the water. I packed my gear before the sun and made coffee while Matt stowed his.
I spotted a rainbow just south of camp across the water opposite the sunrise. This was my first morning rainbow I’ve seen since Newfoundland last year.
Rain pattered into our camp at 8:20 so we made haste loading the canoe and set off at 8:30 onto the rain speckled water toward our first portage of the day.
The sprinkles subsided as we skidded ashore at the Man-Ta (Meaning “This” in Algonquin) Lake portage.
We expected the mostly uphill portage to be a challenge yet cheerfully completed the 1845 M climb without a rest or complaint.
Making great time, we pushed through the serene waters of Manta Lake to the Newt Lake portage.
This one also flew by. Perhaps a combination of technique, built muscles and lighter pack weight, but both of us were feeling on top of the world as we arrived at tiny Newt Lake.
We shoved off then had a snack leisurely floating across new lake. I enjoyed peanut butter and trail mix while matt had a protein bad.
The final portage of the day went briskly past as Sunfish Lake;s shimmering water appeared own the steep trail through the trees.
THe reds and yellows of early fall colors littered the forest floor and confirmed the higher elevation. I imagine it is still hot and muggy back home in DC. Sunfish Lake was an easy passage with the wind to our backs. We soon approached a wall of marsh and reeds with a narrow passage and 6” to 2’ depth amongst lily pads, weeds and mud mounds.
The canoe twisted along carefully and the sun emerged to warm our backs. We saw many loons, heron, ducks and what I think may have been a cormorant. After 30 min of close quarters paddling, the passage opened into the wider water around a few bends in the land until dumping us out into Catfish Lake. We pushed on until noon and made lunch on the windy rocky point of Shangri-La Island.
I made some coffee behind a rock out of the wind then ate tuna and trail mix as Matt enjoyed sausage and cheese again. This was becoming an acceptable theme and routine.
The wind picked up, we packed back up and set downwind for tonight’s island campsite.
We drifted past Turtle Rock, a feature used in ceremony and worshiped by the native people, which sat 30 m from an occupied island campsite on the shore.
Other than one beached canoe way off in the distance, the lake was devoid of human activity.
We shot for a narrow channel past some campsites when our island and its rocky point came into view.
We landed, explored, unpacked and established camp.
I built a cairn on the rock outcrop with three fallen pine trees that once clung to the grey boulder. The next hour or so was spent napping and relaxing in the sunshine on this, another “lazy” afternoon in ALgonquin Park.
After an hour or so and one big spoonful of peanut butter, we went for a lazy paddle to the nearest island to survey the remains of an alligator, an amphibious logging device employed in this region around the turn of the 20th century.
The rusted hulk was impressive in size and complexity with huge gears and pulleys, flywheel and boiler scattered about the pine forest. I bet it made a racket back when it was in service.
All of the old copper was a torquoise green color
We paddled over to a few Inukshuks and explored some islands for a cabin but found none.
We were close and in the right place but I wasn’t wearing shoes. I had filled my clogs with muscles and water for a snack. I later considered the legality of this but assume that if fishing is okay, then so too would be eating bivalves. Matt crushed some limbs while ashore and I loaded them into the canoe, which we fondly referred to as K-16 Destroyer Class for the return upwind to camp.
Drunk off nature, the peace and quiet and radiant afternoon sun, we washed on separate sides of the island before the sun sank below the approaching cloud front.
We ate early at 5:30. I made Chicken Teriyaki, sweet and complemented with the addition of tuna, and Matt had Beef Stroganoff. Full and satisfied, we sat around the sturdy fire ring as two loons languished nearby playing marco-polo across the lake. Matt sure is looney for loons. The sun set through the dark clouds but graced the sky shortly in a sea of warm colors. THe wind died down as expected and we now plan to burn our stash of firewood. Our goal for tomorrow is to go to sleep early tonight, be out on the water before 8:30 first thing to beat the rain. Now to make some muscles :D