Algonquin Provincial Park Local Customs

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  • Local Customs
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Best Rated Local Customs in Algonquin Provincial Park

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    to portage or not to portage, that is the question

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 9, 2003

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    The Canadians gave it a fancy French sounding name, but portaging a canoe amounts to one thing, carrying that bad boy on your shoulders from lake to lake. I had never done it before and wondered just how I was to get the damn thing on my shoulders while I was wearing a loaded backpack. Well, I got some instruction and then lots of practice on this trip. Actually, it was easier than I thought and thanks to Te (epicult) I rented a Kevlar Ultralight canoe. At a little over 40 lbs, it was well worth the extra loot.

    portage?  looks like work to me
    Related to:
    • Camping

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    The visitor centre

    by sim1 Updated Nov 28, 2003

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    If you are in Algonquin Park and you do have some time to spare I would highly recommend a visit to the Visitor Centre on Highway 60 (at km 43). The visitor centre has some great exhibits on the Park's nature but also about the influence of mankind on this beautiful nature area. You can see these old photos for instance and be amazed how 'tourism' in the old days was like.

    The visitor centre in Algonquin Park
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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    The visitor centre

    by sim1 Updated Nov 28, 2003

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    This is another picture taken in the visitor centre of an exhibit about the trains that used to run through Algonquin Park. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see the sign of Algonquin Park station. The trains have disappeared from Algonquin, but in several parts of the park you can still see evidence of those old train days. Even if I have walked on those deserted train tracks, I still can't imagine so many trains going through this beautiful park on a daily basis.

    The visitor centre in Algonquin Park
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Interpretive Trail Guides

    by sim1 Updated Jul 2, 2003

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    I already mentioned them before, but I would like to mention them again in these local custom tips : The Interpretive Trail Guides. Algonquin has 13 interpretive hiking trails along the highway 60 corridor and for each of them there is a little guidebook. In these guidebooks you can read all about the trail and some great facts, background info and stories about Algonquin Park, wildlife, nature, etc. It's only a small guidebook of about 14 pages, but it is really fun to read. All trails have a specific theme and you can read all about it in these guides. Even if you don't do the hike it can be fun to read them, because there is so much info in them. The guidebooks are published by "The friends of Algonquin Park".You can pick up a guidebook at the start of every hike, and please don't forget to donate the CAD 0,50 for the guidebook when you do that. The Friends of Algonquin do such great work, and the guidebooks are really worth it.
    Another option to get these guidebooks is to go to the bookstore at the Visitor centre or order them online. Here is the webaddress :

    http://store.algonquinpark.on.ca/cgi/algonquinpark/scan/fi=products/st=db/co=1/sp=pub_results/sf=category/se=Park%20Trail%20Guides/op=rm/nu=0/ml=5/tf=description/to=x/se=1/sf=inactive/op=ne/va=category_name=Park%20Trail%20Guides.html?id=GfvHGnhk

    There are 17 of these trailguides in total.

    Interpretive trailguides
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Information Guide

    by sim1 Updated Nov 27, 2003

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    Like all Ontario Provincial Parks, Algonquin has its own yearly newspaper / information guide. It's really great to browse through the paper and read everything about the park. Of course it has a lot of practical information but also great stories like how the tradition of the 'wolf howl' in August started, history of the park, etc, etc.
    You'll get a free copy of the newspaper when you enter the park. If they forget to give you one (they hardly ever forget) you can pick up free copies in several places in the park, like the campground and the visitor centre.

    Information guide
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Wolf Howling

    by sim1 Updated Nov 28, 2003

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    I wish so much I could have attended this one time, the public wolf howl. The one time I got the chance it was unfortunately cancelled. The public wolf howl takes place on Thursdays in August and September (before Labour Day), of course when the weather and the accessibility of the wolves permit this.
    The Public Wolf Howl started four decades ago. The staff of Algonquin Park tried something new, take the campers on a Public Wolf Howl. Researchers had been using howling as a technique to locate wolf packs for several years, and park staff often accompanied the researchers on their expeditions. When a human imitates a wolf howl, there is a good chance that the wolves will reply to that howling. The staff of Algonquin decided to give it a try to take campers with them on a wolf howling, and that first night was a huge success. Over 600 people showed up that evening. And it has been a very popular event since that time. Since 1963 the park staff has conducted a total of 87 public wolf howls, with over 116,000 people attending. I just can't imagine such a huge group of people standing quietly all listening with anxiety to see if they can hear the wolves reply to the howling. I saw a documentary about this event, and I do wish so much I could have experienced it. If you ever been to the wolf howling, I would love to hear from you how you liked it.

    This picture was taken of a beautiful display about the wolves in the visitor centre of Algonquin Park.

    The wolf howling
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Photography
    • National/State Park

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    The Annual Wolf Howl

    by mim95 Written Jun 3, 2004

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    The annual wolf howl is organized by the park's naturalists in August. The naturalists would try to locate a pack of wolves earlier and then would lead a group of participants (around 2000 people!) to the site where the howl can be heard. The naturalists would then imitate the wolf howl, and likely you'll be able to hear the wolves howl back.

    For more info about this event or the park itself, visit the Friends of Algonquin Park website below.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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    Tuesday, August 3 - part 1

    by l_riva_l Updated May 28, 2005

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    Last night we found a slice of land just before the swamp and we stayed there for the night. It was so small, I could see one end of the island from the other.

    For dinner we cooked "Oriental Sweet and Sour Supper" from Harvest Foods. It was terrible. We all threw most of it out. I give the food an F.

    This morning we were in the canoe by 9:00 (we woke up 8:00 am). We canoed into the swamp in extreme wind conditions. We stopped at a campsite to take a rest.

    Looking at the map it seemed to make more sense to head for Misty Lake via Petawawa instead of MacIntosh via Grassy Lake. We figured by the map that we would have to backtrack. We headed back but we can't find the Petawawa plus it's too windy to scout the lake.

    We are stopped now in a campsite at the beginning of a swamp. It is 12:04 pm and it is like we haven't even started paddling for the day!

    Earlier this morning, our map flew out of the canoe. In the wind, we had to turn the canoe around to fetch it.
    NOTE: Waterproof all copies of the map in future trips.

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    Lydia's Travel Log

    by l_riva_l Updated May 28, 2005

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    I have recently come across the travel notes from my teenage daughter Lydia, written during our very first Algonquin interior trip. I though they would make interesting reading to someone contemplating a trip of their own.

    The logs give a young person's insight into the experience of the Park.

    The following are her writings, unedited...

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    Sunday, August 1

    by l_riva_l Written May 28, 2005

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    We arrived at Algonquin yesterday. We took a water-taxi to a campsite at the north arm. Before setting up camp, we went for a little paddle in a creek where we saw two moose (1 female and 1 male). For dinner we had bacon, cheese and bagels. This morning we had eggs and bacon...we forgot the salt and pepper.

    We woke up at 8:48 am. We didn't leave camp until about 11:45 am. We have to be more efficient. We did a 2180 meter portage from Opeongo Lake to Happy Isle. It was really tough for us. I'm a lot more out of shape than I thought.

    I am sitting in the canoe right now. We are headed for Merchant Lake. We are hoping to find a campsite, it's 4:38 pm right now and it looks like it might rain.

    We are at the portage (5:00 pm). The portage is 340 meters.

    On the way to our site on Merchant Lake, we saw a female moose eating in a bog-like area. We stopped the canoe at the site and walked over to the area where we saw the moose. We were standing about 30 meters away from her! She just stared at us and even started to walk over towards us.

    Dad and Lori are now trying to cook the "Alfredo Primavera".

    Lydia

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    Monday, August 2 - part 1

    by l_riva_l Updated May 28, 2005

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    Right now we're stopped at a site on Big Trout Lake because it's too windy to canoe. It is 4:29 pm.

    We woke up this morning at 7:40 am and we were on the water by 10:15 am. There was a 1800 meter portage between Merchant Lake and Big Trout Lake. We find the portages difficult, Dad has a hard time with the canoe. I think Lori is the best in shape. We stopped earlier in Big Trout for lunch.

    We saw a mink. On the site now we saw another mink. This time it stared at me and Dad before ducking away behind a tree.

    Last night we tried the dehydrated "Alfredo Primavera" and "Rasberry Cobbler". I give them both a B-.

    Because of the wind, we've lost a lot of time and we have decided to rethink our route. We don't think we can make it to Cedar Lake by Wednesday as was earlier planned. By tonight we will have the new route figured out.

    I'm pretty bored waiting for the wind to die down. we are all sitting by the canoe, looking out at the lake and hoping it will get calmer.

    It is now 6:30 pm and I'm sitting in the middle of the canoe. At 5:00 pm we decided to brave the waves and finish Big Trout Lake. The lake was extremely rough; Dad and I were paddling and Lori was navigating. We ended up on the opposite side of the lake that we were supposed to be heading towards! All our work was not wasted however.

    We have decided to go to Trout Lake and make Canoe Lake our final destination instead of a loop back to the Opeongo. We will call Mom on Friday to tell her to pick us up and we'll camp out on Canoe Lake on Friday Night.

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    Monday, August 2 - part 2

    by l_riva_l Updated May 28, 2005

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    The channel between Big Trout Lake and Trout Lake is very calm and relaxing...very beautiful too.

    We are in Trout Lake right now...it is gorgeous...Lori said it reminds her of Newfoundland. There is a cliff ahead of us and I know what she means.

    We are looking for a campsite right now. We are all impressed by the beauty of Trout Lake. It is 7:34 pm and we still haven't found a campsite...we're getting worried. We are almost at the end of the Lake and we we'll hit a swamp. The sun we'll be down in two hours!

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    Tuesday, August 3 - part 2

    by l_riva_l Updated May 28, 2005

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    We're looking at the map trying to find the turnoff to the Petawawa River. Dad thinks he knows where we are going. I hope he is right. I am not afraid of getting lost, it is just that I don't want to paddle through the wind for nothing. The wind is getting worse. Paddling in the wind is not what good canoeing is about.

    Last night Lori pointed out a large animal swimming in the water. Dad said it was too big to be an otter so it was probably a racoon. I have never seen a racoon swim like that before.

    Dad is now saying we should canoe back to where we came from so that the wind is in our backs. I would be disappointed if we did that. I'm still anxious to explore the Park further. Dad claims another alternative is to stay at this camp until tomorrow when the wind is possibly better. I really want to go on but I know dad is tired. He paddles all the time although Lori and I take turns at the paddle.

    12:53 pm - We are back on the water again. I am sitting in the middle.

    We are convinced that the Oatawawa is not accessible. We found an inlet that seemed to be the way but there were too many branches, etc. and it was very shallow. We expect that the water level is down and there is no way through.

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    Tuesday, August 3 - part 3

    by l_riva_l Updated May 28, 2005

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    We are heading to MacIntosh Lake now (which was our original plan). We have changed our route several times. We had no idea what to expect. We have to account for windy weather in route planning.

    The wind picks up once in a while and Dad asks me to lie down to cut the wind resistence. We need to bring more toilet paper next time; we only brought one roll on this trip.

    Blue heron flew by...beautiful! This is a huge swamp. i'm surprised that we haven't seen any moose for a while since we've mostly been in swampy areas...scared of people...

    On Trout Lake we saw campers with lawn chairs and lots of clothes on clothes lines. Dad suspects that the lake might be accessible by an old logging road or something. Trout Lake was breathtaking but too busy!

    I'm sitting in a camp site in macIntosh Lake. It is 9:06 pm. We stopped at the site around 5:00 pm. We had plenty of time to cook and set up the tent. I'm very happy to relax after a set of portages. For dinner we had "Chicken & Rice" by Mantain House. We all agreed it was a B. Lori and I tried to make the "Chocolate Fudge Cake" by Harvest Foods. Looked like _shit_ and tasted like it too! Mark: D-

    NOTE: Contact-C for Lori and she also needs an hankerchif.

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    Tuesday, August 3 - part 4

    by l_riva_l Updated Jun 3, 2005

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    Sun is going down to I'm using the light of the fire to write. At dusk and night we can hear an eerie cry. Loon or timber wolf? We cannot tell.

    Today we travelled through MacIntosh Creek. Water Hyasynt (spelling is a guess [hyacinth]) galore! We took quite a few pictures. The wind was quite strong and it wasn't until we almost reached the 745 meter portage that the wind calmed down. The portage went along a stream (consequently inappropriate for a canoe). There was a small waterfall just before and to the side of the portage.

    I am very tired but this trip is extremely rewarding. Dad commented on how the bad parts of the trip are unwasted because we are constantly learning something...I agree with him. The only thing that matters to us is canoeing, eating and sleeping. Everything else is an added bonus. We saw a blue heron only 10 meters away. My encounter with the moose and mink were also very close...it's amazing.

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