markinthepark seeking solitude

Winter Camping thru Cache Lake Access#8

cache lake in february

Returned yesterday from three nights of winter camping via Cache Lake Access#8. While I am feverish for a paddle thru a favourite Algonquin Park Lake, winter never keeps my friends and I away.

Winter in Algonquin Park is quite different offering a rare and unique beauty that none of the other seasons can mimic.
We launched onto Cache Lake on Friday morning and as we headed down the lake a heavy snow squall slowed down our rate of progress. In just under an hour we arrived at the portage to Head Lake. To our astonishment we had witnessed a few minutes before our arrival, two back-country skiers approach the portage and eventually make their way up and onto the trail, disappearing out of sight.



I had scouted the portage landing and its first few meters the weekend before to asses trail conditions before our trip. With the trail showing a lack of human passage we were excited to travel into the 'unknown'. Now it seemed someone else had beaten us to it!



In just over a little over an hour we arrived at Head Lake; Nothing moved, the lake seemed frozen in time just as it was frozen over with ice. With the exception of the fresh single track ski trail heading across the lake, there were no other signs of recent activity.

As we made our way to the western shoreline looking for a suitable entry into the bush to make a camp we came across old moose track, probably a week old. Once we had settled upon our location we set about the task of setting up camp for our three night stay in out 'hot' tent, a civilized way to winter camp!



Stamping out a large perimeter, we packed the snow down, making it suitable for our tent floor. Once this was done, we set about erecting the tent then staking it out in the snow, making adjustments as we improved the tent's overall set-up. Even after stamping down the snow, there was about 20 inches of snow to contend with respects to the stove.

I dug out a large hole, planting the stove on legs in the hole and setting up the stove pipes for the exhaust. The result was a well balanced stove that would not sink or suffer from pipe separation; We had achieved a stable base from which to operate our stove, keeping us warm for the duration of our stay.

More of our winter trip can be read in a detailed trip-log (#96) in the near future.
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