Algonquin Park: Camping Trip Logs: 014 - Head Lake Winter Camping - Access Point #8
Trip Log: February 16 - 20, 2012 Head Lake Winter Camping.
For the second year I was invited by Mark (Mark In The Park) Rubino to go on a winter interior camping trip in Algonquin Park. Once again it would be Markus, me and MikeB strapping on the snowshoes for the Family Day long weekend as the other person (SeanR) couldn’t make it. The three of us had made a trek into Lake Opeongo last February.
Our original idea of snowshoeing in at Rain Lake access fell through when we found out the road wasn’t plowed far enough and we’d have to travel something like 18 km before even getting to the Park border. So we changed our plans to Head Lake, where we would base camp and do some day tripping in the area. I knew of a set of falls on Head Lake that I thought we could check out, an iced up set of waterfalls could make for some good photography.
With the shorter daylight hours of winter we decided to drive up to the Park border Thursday afternoon, stay at the Wolf Den and get an early start snowshoeing in the morning. This is something we’ve done in the past and it’s always an enjoyable stay, Ben and Earl made us feel welcomed.
February 16, 2012 - Travel to Wolf Den
I managed to get on the road just after 1 PM and raced up to Huntsville, trying to catch up with Mark and Mike who I knew were going to be stopping in at Algonquin Outfitters first. I stopped to grab some takeout for dinner and checked Mark’s Spot page on my iPhone, looked like I had just missed them as the last check-in had them on Highway 60 near Deerhurst. So I just kept driving, getting to the Wolf Den about 5 PM, maybe 30 minutes after them.
There was a good amount of snow on the ground and the temperature was pleasant, around -1 C. We sat at the table chatting and having some beverages for a few hours. But we all headed off to our rooms at a fairly early hour, we wanted to be at the West Gate when it opened.
February 17, 2012 - Cache Lake to Head Lake
We were awake on time, had a couple of cups of coffee and our breakfasts and then made the short drive to Algonquin Park’s West Gate to get our permits. There were a few other people looking to head in winter camping as well. I had read on a couple of different online forums that there was to be a gathering near Whitefish Lake, quite a large group seemed to be heading in to there. We spent a few minutes chatting with Kevin who was manning the desk and then we were back in our vehicles and off to Access Point #8 – Cache Lake.
There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot when we arrived, we could see ski tracks heading out on the lake. In short order we had the sleds loaded up and were ready to go. Mike actually loaded up two sleds, I don’t know how he manages to pull two loaded sleds. He’s a monster. After checking the snow depth on the lake we decided that snowshoes weren’t going to be necessary. Under a cloudy ski we started across Cache Lake just before 10 AM, next stop the Head Lake portage!
We took turns breaking trail and kept trudging along, it wasn’t really too difficult until we began hitting the boardwalks. Then we would have to go down and around them, the rougher ground making it tricky to pull the sled through without tipping. There was also one spot with a tree across the trail, we had to double up and lift each sled over it. Eventually we came to the end of the portage, with a nice hill to slide down to the surface of Head Lake.
Trip Log 014
Access Point #8
Highland Backpacking Trail
Kenneth Lake bushwhack
A long weekend trip, hot tent base camp with day trips in the area.
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