June 18 - Day 1
Arrival at Access#2 Tim River

For the first time ever I just jumped in my vehicle and decided to go somewhere unplanned, unscripted as it were. I was in that mood again, where I was getting sick of hwy#60
again. Don't get me wrong; Hwy#60 through Algonquin Park has lots to offer, however I find it too busy for my liking and every so often I go through a phase where I want to avoid that area of The Park as much as possible.

So, as I came upon hwy#60 (I was driving up hwy#11), I continued to drive north, a smile playing across my face…"yeah..go north young man" But where was I going now? I thought to myself, I wanted to see some wildlife, the last few trips I hadn't seen much and I asked myself where in The Park have I've seen the most in one trip?

"Rosebary Lake" was my answer, the trip down the Tim River to Rosebary Lake was alive with animals. Funny thing is I had only been through access#2 once before; Several years earlier with a friend of mine. We had seen deer, moose and even a bear. So, with my mind made up I continued up hwy#11, eventually turning off the highway and heading for the town of Kearney to pick-up a permit for a badly needed weekend of solitude and hopefully some wildlife observation.

I arrived shortly before 6:30am, a full half hour before the office was scheduled to open. It was a beautiful June morning where the town was enveloped in a heavy morning mist. Indeed, the drive into town was hard on the eyes with the occasional ray of blinding sunlight as it broke through the fog, it was really hard to see. I did manage to see one deer run across the road, but was a safe distance from it. The blinding sunshine had made for a nervous drive though.

I walked around taking a few pictures in the marvellous mist and just before 7:00am a fellow arrived to open up the permit office. We chatted for a few minutes with the office being empty and me the only fool to show up early on a mid-june morning. Acquiring my permit was no problem as I was told that I would have the lake to myself (At that point), as no one was scheduled to be on the lake, but it was likely other parities might show up just for the weekend, just as I had.

kearney

A beautiful June morning in the charming town of Kearney


I thanked the fellow and with permit in hand drove to access#2. The drive to access#2 is thirty some odd kilometres over some fairly good gravel road and shortly before 8:00am I arrived at the access point to a sunny and serene looking river. There were a few vehicles parked, but no one was around. I went about the business of loading up my canoe at the launch point, parked my vehicle, took a few pictures of the surrounding area and set off into the sun at 8:15am.

Tim River access@#2 point
Access#2 Tim River - The put-in


It was quiet..so quiet that my being sang with joy, the joy that comes from being solo in a place where its beauty screams serenity at me. Can you tell Algonquin Park makes me poetic? I paddled onwards soaking in the surroundings as I made my way to Tim Lake. The weather was perfect; calm conditions with water very nearly like glass and the bug factor: zero and no one else around either.

By 8:42am I arrived at Tim Lake proper and paddled across her southern expanse, skirting the South shore of the large island in the middle of the lake. It seemed that there was no one on the lake. I did spot one tent on a campsite but no canoe. I easily found the Tim River again where it exited the lake and continued on.

Tim River - Tim Lake
Ahead lies the expanse of Tim Lake


By 9:24am I arrived at a rather large beaver dam which looked like was at the remnants of where a road had crossed the river at one time. I paused to take a photo and then crossed the dam and climbed back into my canoe. The weather continued to be fantastic and still I had received no bug bites. June can sometimes be so wonderful.

I paddled the ever widening river and came around a bend where it turns into a rather large marsh. Here as before many years earlier the winds picked up a bit and it made the going through the somewhat shallow waters tricky going as the wind tried to push me where I didn't want the canoe to go. By 9:57am I had made landfall at the 120m portage around the dam that was now guarded by bright floating orange booms.

I carried my canoe first, planning to double as I had brought a few luxuries with me on the trip (An ice pack with a few plastic bottles of beer and a camp chair and my tripod for my camera).

Tim River beaver dam
Just one of many beaver dams along the Tim River on my way to Rosebary Lake

 

Tim River
The take-out at the 120m portage on the Tim River

At the top of the descent into the put-in I looked down into the marsh that is the Tim River as it wound its way out of sight, on its way several kilometres to Rosebary Lake. It was a very June "green" down there and among the green were a few splotches of brown that moved. Sure enough it was a cow moose with twin calfs.

I quietly descended the steep and annoyingly widely spaced staircase down to the water's edge. *Bang* then another *BANG*, as the rear end of my canoe hit the staircase as I descended, in my awe of the moose spectacle I had neglected to balance my canoe to avoid making such a noise. I watched helplessly as the moose started to flee through the undergrowth, I quickly raised my camera and got a few blurry shots off before they were gone.

Tim River
Looking up the Tim River (The way I had come) before heading down the portage

 

Tim River
Looking down to the Tim River below the dam (From the top of the staircase)


I cursed myself for my clumsiness and finally reached the bottom of the staircase and put my canoe down as quietly as I could. The damage had been down though… The moose were gone. I headed back and grabbed the rest of my gear and loaded up the canoe, feeding myself a bit of gorp and fresh water before setting off. I also put on my bug jacket, as I fully expected to be attacked en masse as I made my way down the river.

By 10:15am I launched onto the river again. There, the river is more like a creek; narrow with many tight switchbacks with high grassy banks and very little in the way of a current. Twenty-five minutes later I came to a big bend in the river where it skirted around a marsh. I looked north through the large marsh to open grass and bush. Something was standing next to a tree, it was far away and at the limit of my vision to see clearly. Suddenly, whatever it was climbed up the tree and poked its head out in the direction I had just come from, before the river had turned into the big bend.

 

moose calf
A blurry image of a moose calf along the Tim River


I suddenly realized it was a bear and that it had probably caught my scent coming down the river. I paddled into the marsh, towards the bear, to get a better look and pulled out my camera. I got a few shots off with my zoom lens but I was still far away. The bear climbed down from the tree and disappeared into the undergrowth, never to be seen again.

"The most wildlife" indeed! I paddled on, the feeling of excitement pulsing through my veins. what a great start to the weekend!

I paddled on, eventually reaching Little Butt Lake and cast my fishing line a few times but to no avail. By 11:45am I reached a section of the river that becomes very narrow and shallow as the forest closed in from both sides of the riverbank, with the succession of at least three beaver dams in a row… here I was slowed down and subsequently the deer flies came out in droves to attack me.

black bear in tree
The bear was quite a distance from me, click here for a cropped version of the bear
black bear cropped
A close-up of the bear I saw climbing into a tree

The sun continued to blaze and as I enjoyed the fine weather, so did the deer flies, they really were becoming a nuisance; I did just about as much paddling as I did swatting through those beaver dams. Once clear of the beaver dams, the forest edge widened and the way to Rosebary Lake became clear; vast fields of pickerel plant amid a twisting creek lay before me and in the distance, a possible clearing.

More beaver dams had to be negotiated, but these were easy..almost level with the water…one foot in the canoe and one foot out, a big shove and I was through. I remembered these two particular dams from years earlier…There hadn't been much change. There was also a straight cut through the Pickerel plant patch to avoid paddling through a double switchback. Once past this shortcut, the far shore of Rosebary Lake could clearly be seen; Finally, a nice big blue lake and freedom from the deer-flies on the river lay ahead.

Tim River
A meandering stretch of the Tim River - Click here to view a narrow section of the river
Tim River
Negotiating a narrow section of the Tim River - Switchback ahead

By 12:19 pm, I could see Rosebary Lake and within minutes I paddled onto her lovely blue and inviting waters, a fresh breeze caressed my skin as it chased away the deer flies that were harassing my hat.

Ahhh, it felt so good to be free of the river; I had felt trapped, forced to follow its course running the gauntlet of deer flies, but here on the lake I was free to plot my own course to break free of the prison of flies.

Tim River
There she is! Ahead lies my salvation - Rosebary Lake

 

Rosebary Lake
Minutes later I could see Rosebary Lake stretching out before me


I paddled south along the shoreline then headed out onto the expanse of the lake, crossing with the winds coming at me from a 45° angle, that pushed me slightly northward. Cutting across the lake was no problem and I ended up only several hundred meters north of the campsite I had wanted to land on.

Just before 1:00 pm I landed at the windy campsite on a point just outside of the narrows that lead to Longbow Lake. The campsite was empty and I was thankful for I had selected this campsite for the purpose of being breezy to keep the bugs away and with its close proximity to the grassy narrows, a prime area for moose observation.

Rosebary Lake
Camped just outside the narrows, I hoped I would see moose


As I unloaded my canoe I was welcomed by the unwelcome sight of graffiti on a rock at the landing. Some idiot had painted "Welcome" on the rock there. Who in the world brings paint into The Park?

nasty algonquin park graffiti
Sign of an irresponsible camper: graffiti on a Rosebary Lake campsite

I set about the task of making camp, collecting firewood and then digging out a nice cool beer (In plastic bottles) I had brought along (Miller Genuine Draft…yuck, but it was wet and cool). I had brought four of them, two for this day and two for the next. I started a small campfire and roasted two sausages on the fire for lunch while I enjoyed a cold beer. It was a warm day with the temperature around the mid-twenties celsius with a hint of humidity. So, after lunch I had a nice relaxing snooze on a flat rock by the shore… Ahhh! This is what I had dreamt about all winter long…peace and quiet and the tranquility of being alone. Finally… A restful sleep!

rosebary lake tenting site
I managed to pitch my tent on level ground as much of the campsite was on a slope


I was awoken to not one but two nasty deer-fly bites. One on my arm the other on a leg. Ouch! I got up and collected more wood. As I returned to camp, a canoe floated by with two guys in it, we waved 'Hi' to each other as they passed by, heading to the nearby island on the lake to start their fishing run. They had passed me by on the Tim River and ended up camping on Longbow Lake and were the only people I had seen all day.

By 7:40pm I spied a bull moose in the narrows. I gathered up my camera gear, threw on my pfd and climbed into the canoe and paddled my way down the narrows towards the moose at a very slow and relaxed pace. The evening was perfect; Clear skies as the sun set, warm temperatures and oddly no bugs to speak of.

As I approached the bull moose, another much larger bull moose was making its way into shore and into the shadows of the darkening forest to the north of me. I turned and focused my attention on the original moose I had set my sights on.

I approached to perhaps somewhere between 15-20 meters. A healthy distance but still able to acquire some good close-ups with my zoom lens. I stopped photographing and paused for a few minutes to enjoy observing the moose feeding. It's real funny how moose seem to never stop eating. I've watched moose for years and it seems to me that most times, moose spend a minimum two to three hours at a time feeding in the shallows of some lake or creek, then move off to the forest, possibly sleeping or resting for a few hours then coming out to repeat the process all over again. The moose continued to chew in the shallows on the greens that it was pulling from the lake bottom, occasionally looking my way to make sure I was keeping my distance.

Behind the moose well over 100 meters away was a cow moose with a calf, feeding along the shoreline. Nearby to them was a great blue heron and loons were also present scattered about on the fringes of the narrows. This area was rich with food and the wildlife that was attracted to it.

Rosebary Lake moose
From my campsite I spied a bull moose in the shallows of the narrows

 

Rosebary Lake narrows
Paddling the shallow narrows towards Longbow Lake


I moved deeper into the narrows, my paddle getting stuck in the thick soup of vegetation that clogged the shallow water, As I emerged from the narrowest part of the… Ahem 'narrows', I spied another bull moose beyond in a bay (Now in Longbow Lake) and made my way towards him. This moose was much bigger and had a rich deep brown coat of fur. Although the other bull moose looked healthy, this one seemed superior in some way. Not only this, his tolerance for my presence was superior too as I closed in to within less then three canoe lengths and stopped and watched the moose feed.

The moose gave me a great view as he fed on the lake bottom vegetation. This moose seemed less concerned with my presence then the previous moose, so much so, that I felt that this moose was 'showing-off'! Seriously, this moose was giving me great profile views; The moose would turn around, dunk its head for more food, come up with lilies draped over its muzzle and chew it's food while looking at me occasionally. The moose would turn around again, giving me another profile view and the process repeated.

Algonquin Park moose
Moose everywhere! - Note the cow moose along the shore [In the background]

 

Algonquin Park moose
A moose calf along the shore


Yup, he was showing off! Normally most moose give me the rear-end view, which to me makes me think if it was a human, they'd be giving me the 'finger' or, I get the full-on view which is great if the moose has a nice rack, but hides the rest of this magnificent animal.

I clicked off many photographs of the showy moose then turned around, I had spent fifteen minutes in his presence, time to leave. I headed back to my side of the narrows and noticed that the first bull moose I had seen had moved further west, towards the open end of Rosebary Lake, but still well within the narrows. The silhouette of the late day sun shining down upon the narrows and the moose made for great photography and I was in my element, the evening was perfect!

Bull moose in Algonquin Park
Bull moose in the narrows - Longbow Lake in the backgorund

 

Bull Moose in Algonquin Park
Another bull moose on Rosebary Lake


No, the evening was better then perfect, it was
heavenly; For it was mid-June and I should've been harassed by black-flies and the hordes of mosquitoes that would be emerging from the forest at any moment. The moment, came and went and still I paddled unmolested by any bugs and I was the only one camped on the lake… It was just Heaven!

A lone great blue heron stalked the shallows, occasionally diving into the water to come up triumphantly with a small fish in its mouth, mergansers onshore on a cedar log, basked in the setting sun, I drank in the view as another might drink a cold beer on a hot day (Hey, I did that earlier too!).

Blue Heron
A great blue heron searching for food along the shallow narrows of Rosebary Lake

 

Rosebary Lake sunset
Sunset my first night on Rosebary Lake


After just over an hour, I returned to camp and set about the business of making dinner; chicken and rice over the campfire. By 9:30pm I sat by the fire comfortably fed with a nice hot chocolate in my hand. Not one mosquito was present. I was astonished. I was probably in one of the most buggy of all settings to be in while in Algonquin Park; a marshy setting partially shielded from north winds and it was mid-June. I enjoyed the solitude of the evening alone as I stared into the flames of my fire and listened to the loons as they began to sing their haunting songs. By 11pm I went to bed, feeling fantastic and wondered what the next day would bring.


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