Backcountry Camping - Algonquin 2021
Hi! So we've been backcountry camping for a few years now and after each trip I get asked questions around our experience, how to's, best camp food, activities and so on. So naturally, I figure I will put up a blog on our journey and hope it inspires those of you looking for a fun filled nature adventure!
Preparing for the trip
Typically, we start with planning out our dates, mapping our general vicinity of our stay and booking the campsites, water taxi and the canoe rentals.
Here are a few helpful links:
We then plan out all the things we need to bring with us - the essentials are our tent, sleeping bag, a mattress, sweater & sweatpants, bathing suit, water shoes, toothbrush/toothpaste, food to last us the days we are there, seasoning, cutlery, plates, cups, tea and some sort of sugar or honey and some snacks (that's the stuff in a nutshell).
We are a group of 3 - two adults and kid and we do this trip once annually for Canada Day weekend. We usually enter Algonquin's backcountry camping from Opeongo's access point 11. Once we arrive, we check-in at the front desk and get ourselves organized with renting out a food barrel and then pick out our canoe paddles. A tip here is to choose a paddle that is tall enough to stand between your shoulder and chin. We then go over to the cabin next door and get our parking permit, unload the car and park the car in the designated spot. This year, we chose to stay on lake Opeongo's north arm and rented a featherlight kevlar canoe for 3 people. We also decided to take a water taxi to the north arm of Opeongo lake to make it easier and then paddle to an available campsite in the area that we were happy to call 'home'. We would then venture out on our adventures from our campsite.
The map pic has the general area we stayed in and the canoe, hike and portage route that we took (marked in grey). In total, we canoed for about 30 kms, hiked for about 5kms and portaged for 1.5kms
Getting to the campsite & set up
Our water taxi was ready for us and on schedule for 12 noon with our canoe already onboard. We loaded the water taxi with our tent, sleeping bags, supplies and our food barrel and then we were on our way! In about 20 minutes, we got to the north arm of Opeongo and got dropped off at the Proulx portage route (we selected this upfront while booking the water taxi). We unloaded our stuff and the canoe and re-loaded everything into the canoe. Tip: Ensure that the weight is distributed equally throughout the canoe for a smoother paddle. We paddled around for a about 20 minutes and found a campsite we liked. Now it was finally time to set to set up our home base for the next few days. We unloaded our stuff and proceeded to set up the tent and set up our mattress and clothes in the tent. We also went looking for dead wood to start a fire.
Now we are ready to chill out for the next few days surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature!
The pic captures my favorite the view from our campsite and our featherlight kevlar canoe. That view is one of my favorites!
Favorite Camp Adventures & Food!
We were super excited to paddle out once we were settled and
get to fishing this trip. But (wait for it...), of course we forgot our
fishing rods!! When you are out in the wildnerness, you gotta
get creative. We managed to make our own rods out of pine
branches and attached the reel, line and jig to it. It did work for
the cause and we were able to catch 3 delicious lake trout that
we seasoned with salt, paprika, lemon pepper, garlic salt and
cayenne. The fish was flaky and flavorful. We didnt eat the skin
as we didn't properly scale it as you can see in the pic.
Other favorite camp foods for me are Uncle Ben's flavored rice.
Its just a nice and easy meal that is hearty and flavorful after a
long day. On this trip, we took Uncle Ben's Jambalaya rice,
Cheese & Brocolli and long grain wild roasted chicken rice. We
also took a few cans of Unico Tuna to add to the rice. I usually
add in a few of my own seasonings for added flavor. For lunch,
we would do sausage sandwiches with Farm Raised
Honey/Garlic or Mild flavored sausages with ketchup, relish
and cheese. All campside favorites for moi.
Our breakfast wasn't the most exciting - we had oatmeal with
syrup and dried fruits with a delicious cup of black tea with
syrup to wash it down.
Our highlight for adventures:
Fishing! I loved waking up at 6am and paddling out with just
the sound of nature and an easy paddle because the water
was so calm. And the catch at some point during the trip was just
We also portaged along Proulx. I did enjoy this as there were
two routes - a 1400m portage route that is a climb or the
portage/paddle route which was way easier. We chose the
latter and portaged 300m, paddled across the mini lake and
then portaged the remainder 400m that then opens up into lake
Proulx. Proulx has some really nice camp sites one of which we
stopped off on for lunch. We then continued to paddle forward
to the crow river and turned around at one point because we
would have to paddle back to proulx and portage back before
we could head home.
We hiked along the happy Isle route - I do not recommend. It
was mosquito filled and semi unsafe due to the slippery path.
One of my fave moments was jumping into fresh lake water
after these adventures because that right there is refreshing!
Hit me up if you have any questions. But i do hope you are
inspired to get out there on an adventure of your own! :)