Day 5 - August 25, 1999

Route:  Burntroot L., Longer L., Big Trout L., White Trout L., Grassy Bay, McIntosh Creek, McIntosh L.
Distance:  20 miles
Portages:  75, 40, 300, 745, 510
Travel Time:  7:15

Today, we started on our way home. We had a long way to paddle so we got off to an early start. As we paddled down Burntroot L., we were just taking in the scenery. It was a beautiful morning with just a bit of haze.

We soon reached the first set of rapids on the way to Longer Lake. Foolishly, we believed that we could paddle up the rapids. Paddling as hard as we could, we made it half way before getting wedged on a rock. We kept paddling, but the rock kept us from moving forward anymore. We turned back and nearly tipped on a couple of rocks. We headed back to the portage marker - pride in tow.

The paddle from the second portage to the bottom of Longer L. seemed very long. First, we had to paddle upstream in a pretty strong current. As we reached the open water of Longer L., we were paddling into a heavy head wind.

Finally, reaching Big Trout L., we came across a lone paddler who easily outpaced us. We were impressed but our pride took another hit. We passed him when he stopped for lunch, but were worried about the embarrassment should he pass us later. Fortunately, we were spared this indignity.

Grassy Bay
Grassy Bay

We decided to stop for lunch at the ranger station on White Trout L. Both of us had been there when we had been in high school and were curious to see how it had changed.

On the way to the ranger station, we passed two of the worst paddlers we had ever seen. From a distance, I thought they were using kayak paddles. As we got closer, we realized that it just looked this way because they were switching sides so often. Two strokes, switch. Three strokes, switch. It was comical to watch. From this point on, they would be known as "the switchers." As we stopped for lunch, they headed into Grassy Bay and we hoped that we wouldn't get stuck behind them later.

The ranger station was much as we remembered it. Although overgrown, the spring to the right of the house was still there. Even though the fire tower was long gone, it looked like the trail still went up there. We briefly thought about hiking up there but decided against it since we still had a long way to go.

After lunch, we headed toward Grassy Bay. Grassy Bay is a long winding paddle through vast expanses of mud and plants. You are often tempted to cut a corner to avoid a long paddle, but we knew better from our past experience. Eventually, we passed "the switchers". Before reaching the first portage, we had to cross seven beaver dams. None of these were much of a problem.

Portage on McIntosh Creek
Portage on McIntosh Creek

There was quite a traffic jam at the first portage. Four canoes were already there with another five coming in behind us. Already at the portage was a group of four young guys. They had the largest pack I had ever seen - nearly twice the size of our largest pack. They affectionately referred to the pack as "Big Red". It took two of them to help lift the pack onto the back of a third. On the portage, he was unable to set the pack down to rest. On the far side of the portage, Seth asked about "Big Red". The guy carrying the pack told us that it was their food pack. With disgust, he said that the people responsible for the food had never been to Algonquin before and had packed things like corn and potatoes. Seth and I had a good laugh.

Sign for Toilet Box
Sign for Toilet Box

We reached McIntosh Lake and headed for a campsite, which Seth had stayed in before. Unfortunately, this campsite was taken so we settled for a campsite on the northeast side of the lake. It was 4:00 and we were tired. We immediately hung our hammocks and relaxed for a bit.

The campsite was very wide open with a lot of moose droppings. It was so wide open that there was no clear path which led to the toilet box. It was very amusing to see the sign on the tree showing the way.

Because he was hungry, Seth cooked dinner for the first time. Because I was tired, I stayed in my hammock.

After dark, we went down to the edge of the water to find a cricket which had been making a racket. The cricket was happily chirping from a large crack in the rocks. Looking in the water with our flashlights, we found several large tadpoles.

We spent some more time around the campfire before calling it a night.

Prev  Home  Next

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8

Home Family Photos Hiking Biking Canoeing

Contact Stephen Miller with any comments or questions about this site.
Last updated on 09/01/2003.