Magnetawan - Queer - Magnetawan

CanadaOntarioAlgonquin
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Virginia
Trip Date : 
13 August 2015
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
24 km
Duration: 
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Yes
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
8
Total Portage Distance: 
2040 m
Longest Portage: 
435 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Novice
Portaging: 
Easy
Remoteness: 
Novice
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Low
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

From the Park Office in Kearney where you get your permit it's about 36 km to the put in.  About 24 km of that is on an unpaved gravel road.  Part of the road is maintained and is used for logging and a couple of quarries, the last bit is not maintained by the municipality and can get very narrow with a few rough hills.

The put-in was very busy on a Thursday morning.  There were about 5 groups putting-in and taking-out at the same time.

There is a Phoenix-type composting toilet with a view!  I had never seen a window at eye-level while sitting before.

There is a dock that makes loading the canoe easier.

Technical Guide: 

Magnetawan to Hambone Lake - ~200m paddle, sandy pull-out, 135m portage, fairly level with good footing, sandy put-in

Hambone to Ralph Bice Lake - ~1km paddle, a few more rocks at the pull-out due to low water levels, 295m portage, well-maintained, fairly gentle incline and descent, rocky put-in

Ralph Bice - Little Trout - ~7km paddle, rocky pull-out, 435m portage, gentle incline to high point of portage, shorter and steeper descent to Little Trout

Little Trout - Queer Lake - ~ 2km paddle, mucky pull-out, 175m portage, fairly gentle incline and descent, rocky/mucky put-in

Queer Lake - several shallow areas of paddling

Repeat in reverse order to complete the trip

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Our group consisted of an eager 12 year old, a reluctant spouse (both of whom had never paddled/portaged before), and me who is a moderately experienced canoe tripper.

Day 1 Magnetawan - Queer Lake

We got on the water about 11am and made it to Ralph Bice fairly quickly and uneventfully.  Ralph Bice was more of a challenge.  The wind was coming from the West so the waves got bigger as we headed to the far end of the lake. We made it to the far end, stopped for lunch and then carried on.

We reached our campsite by about 16:30.  Our site was the 5th one from the put-in from Little Trout on a point.  We hurried to set up camp and eat before the rain started.  We picked the perfect spot for our tent.  We went for a quick dip after dinner and were introduced to catfish.  Hilarity ensued when one swam up my shorts as I was sitting at the edge of the water. Thunderstorm lasted most of the night but we stayed nice and dry.

Day 2 - Day trip to the falls on Tim River

On the suggestion of a friend we paddled to the portage between Queer Lake and Tim River and parked our canoe.  The portage is about 1400m with several steep sections and a few trees down across the trail.  Thunder had been rumbling all morning but no rain.  We reached the falls and were glad we had made the trip.  Even with the low water levels of mid-August the falls were beautiful.  On our way back to our canoe we crossed paths with a woman who warned us of a momma moose near the trail ahead.  We made sure not to sneak up on her, she was about 100' off the trail in the bush.  Just watching us, majestic and scary at the same time.

We had just made it back to camp when the rain started again.  Our tarp we had set up was way to small for us to huddle under so off to the tent we went.  Lessons learned - 1) Invest in a bigger tarp, 2) learn the rules to more card games.  We took advantage of a short let-up in the storm to make dinner and quickly eat it under our tiny tarp.  Still tasty if a little more rushed than usual.  Back to the tent for more Crazy 8's and bed.

Day 3 - Queer Lake to Magnetawan Access Point

The sun finally decided to show up.  We had a gorgeous paddle back to the Access point.  We had been worried about the conditions on Ralph Bice after our experience on the way in.  We were rewarded with the calmest water I've seen in a while, no wind to speak of.

Epilogue

This was a perfect trip for beginners up for the challenge.  Our two travel days were about 5-6 hours long including breaks and moving at a comfortable pace.  

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
031E10 Tom Thomson Lake
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
031E Huntsville
Other Maps: 
Jeff's Western Algonquin Park map (only map we took)