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PostPosted: June 4th, 2018, 7:36 am 
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Pre-read warning. This trip report is heavy on words, and light on pictures. Leave yourself a little time to get through this one. Maybe grab a snack.

This weekend, the adventure crew (my wife Erica, our two dogs, and myself) headed to Oastler Lake Provincial Park, for some more time outdoors. We camped there last summer, and honestly, I did not think we would return. It's not that I had a bad time on my last trip, but it's a fairly small park, with not that much to do. And, it's right beside some heavily used train tracks, which means noise and whistles at all hours. But, Erica went ahead and booked us another round, at the same nice waterfront site we had the previous year.

So, with little to do at the park, we looked for options in the surrounding area. Just about 6km away, is the border of The Massasauga Provincial Park. The Massasauga caters towards canoe-in backcountry camping, and boat-in experiences. However, they do have a few hiking trails. One of them that caught our attention was the Moon Island Trail. The description reads:

"This is a 4 km self-guided trail of moderate difficulty that can be accessed from the Wood’s Bay Day-Use site. The trail traverses various terrain and forest types with impressive lookouts onto Georgian Bay."

Being on an island, meant we would need to paddle to the trailhead. Sounds fun. It seemed like a good idea too, since, we have a longer hike, with a similar canoe in format planned for later this summer. A quick Google showed it as only 17km away. Cool. Although I could not find much in the way or reviews of the trail online, we penciled it into our itinerary, and hit the road. As per usual, we arrived at Oastler Lake after dark Friday night, and quickly ducked into our T@b trailer for bed.

We woke up to one concerning weather phenomenon; wind. Wind and canoes, especially those loaded with dogs, are not a good mix. What to do? Well, before making any rash decisions, I decided to get us started with coffee and breakfast. That's when I learned that cooking over a gas stove outside, and wind is also a poor mix. The T@b CS's stove actually did a really impressive job of staying lit. However, the cool wind basically carried the heat away, and the water for my coffee was not even hot to the touch, when I was hoping it would be near boiling. I was frustrated by the wind, in more ways than one. Think. Flame needs a shield. What's handy? Dish cloth? That allowed me to test the concept, and results seemed promising. However, that was an obvious fire hazard. What do I have that won't burn? Aluminum foil. I quickly crafted a shield to keep the heat from blowing away. It was quite successful.

So, we finally got to enjoy our coffee, and a wonderful breakfast hash. Over breakfast, we contemplated our options. The wind felt quite fierce at our campsite on the water's edge. However, slightly inland, or on the opposite shore of the peninsula we were on, the breeze felt much tamer. How would it feel at the access point? After some debate, we decided we would prepare ourselves the best we could, and head to the access point, and evaluate the conditions there. We were quite excited about the original plan, and did not want to bail on it, especially since we did not have an interesting Plan B ready for implementation.

Erica's canoe tripping experience had us as well prepared as we could reasonably be for a capsize event, a ways from home. We had a dry sac, loaded with a towel and a change of clothes. We had two backpacks, loaded with lots of snacks, water, emergency water purification tablets, bug nets, waterproof matches, a pot, tea, and more. We also had our legally required boater safety kit, with rope, flashlight, and whistle, tucked into a tidy little bailer bucket.

So, knowing that all our preparation might be wasted, if the conditions were too poor, we punched Pete's Place Access Point into Google Maps. That's when I realized that the destination was 17km as the crow flies, but 44km by roadways. Ok, so it will take a few more minutes than I thought. That's fine.

After about 40 minutes, we arrived at the access point. There were plenty of cars in the parking lot, and the conditions, though not perfectly calm, appeared to be reasonable, much to my relief. So, we loaded our boat, launched into Blackstone Harbour, and were on our way, with the wind at our backs.

We headed towards the small channel, that would bring us into Woods Bay. The dogs were being good, and we were making nice progress, and made it through the channel. Woods Bay turned out to be a little different than what we had imagined. There was a fair bit of motor boat traffic. So, in addition to wind, and two dogs, we also had to deal with some wake. Eek. We were hanging in, perhaps a bit stressed. Erica and I had a bit of a disagreement when it came to taking a small break near an island en route. That lead to us getting tossed around by a wave, and testing us in more ways than one. Fortunately, we kept dry, and carried on.

Ultimately, we arrived at Moon Island, safe, but a little agitated. The Friends of The Massasauga greeted us on the docks. The group had a scheduled trail clean up that morning, that they were wrapping up. They were a very friendly group, that was happy to help us disembark, and chat for a bit.

As we started down the trail, some of the volunteers we heading to the finish. Some wearing bug nets, but some not. I was expecting this to be a buggy trip, but the cool wind had been keeping all the bugs away up to this point. We stopped along the shore after just a couple minutes for a cookie. We were cautioned of some steep sections by a passing volunteer.

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ImageIMG_0344_edited by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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We then headed into the woods, and were given a warm welcome by a million mosquitoes. Thank goodness I packed the bug nets. Had I not, I would have quit 5 minutes into the hike. Bugs love me, far more than Erica anyways. It was a warm day, but I covered up, head to toe, with a ball cap, bug net, jacket, light gloves, and long pants. There were swarms. I'm not really used to that many bugs. Typically in the past, I avoided walking into the woods of central Ontario at this time of year, because of the bugs.

Due to my barrier method of protection leading me to be overdressed for the temperature, I got good and sweaty. The good news was, that I was not getting bit much at all. Just a few buggers would attack through my ball cap, or my light gloves occasionally. That said, I was still feeling a little agitated by the constant buzzing and swarming. This caused me blow through the trail at a brisk pace, with Erica wishing I would dial it down just a notch.

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ImageIMG_0346_edited by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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Willard the Adventure Poodle was having a pretty happy time, but poor Hilton the Adventure Mutt was getting crushed by the bugs. There was not much to be done about that though, and she did a commendable job of soldiering on.

As a result of the wind on the water, and the bugs in the woods, I did not snap many pictures, but I did try to get a few from the trail.

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ImageIMG_0360_edited by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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It was a nice trail. It was mostly fairly easy going, but there were some steeper rocky bits to navigate along. There were a few nice views as well, as the trail occasionally popped out of the dense woods. You could tell that early in the spring, some sections would have been wet, but for our early June hike, the trail was basically completely dry.

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ImageIMG_0361_edited by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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ImageIMG_0363_edited by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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Due to our high pace, we completed the trail quicker than we would have typically. I'll admit, I was a little relieved when we emerged from the woods.

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ImageIMG_0364_edited_edited2 by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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When we got back to the trailhead, we saw that the Friends had finished their work for the day, and we were alone on the island. We took a good long while to eat some lunch and let some sweat dry, before starting what would be a tough paddle into the wind.

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ImageIMG_0365_edited by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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Being almost 9km into our self propelled journey, we were not exactly fresh when we hit the water again. The wind did fight us pretty hard, and gave us a real good workout, as we propelled our little blue canoe back to the access point.

When we hit the small channel again, we came across a police boat. The officers on board were checking for boating safety equipment. I held up our safety kit, and they spotted the whistle on Erica's life jacket. So, we were clear to proceed. Fortunately, the dogs did not get too worked up about the officers. So, take this as a reminder, to always carry the necessary safety equipment, even on your canoe and kayak. Police are out there, trying to keep you safe.

Anyway, we used what strength we had, and finally made it back to the access point, good and tired.

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ImageIMG_E0381 by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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We all took a dip in the lake. This was a first for the young Adventure Poodle. He got his paws off solid ground, and took a few strides in the water. He did not seem concerned, or unhappy. However, when I was swimming later, he did not join me in the water either. Maybe he will develop an affinity for swimming, maybe he won't. He will certainly get more chances to swim, either way.

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ImageAFYE3862 by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr
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We enjoyed the peacefullness of being the only ones around for a little while, before packing up, and heading back to Oastler Lake.

Arriving back at the T@b, we were pretty beat, but quite happy with successfully completing the planned journey. Earlier in the day, we were not sure we would be able to even begin it. We felt that we overcame a little adversity, at least more than usual. This completed adventure will make us even more ready to tackle the next ones.

A nap turned into basically shutting it down for the day. Sunday morning, the winds had calmed down, and we enjoyed just taking it easy at our campsite, before traveling home after lunch.

Feeling happy, and excited for upcoming, and not yet planned adventures, we headed home.

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ImageIMG_0379_edited by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr


Happy Camping


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PostPosted: June 4th, 2018, 3:47 pm 
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Joined: September 3rd, 2014, 4:35 pm
Posts: 275
Which model of Tab is that? Happy with it? etc....cheers Steve


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PostPosted: June 4th, 2018, 10:42 pm 
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steve.of.london wrote:
Which model of Tab is that? Happy with it? etc....cheers Steve


Our T@b is a 2016 CS-S. My wife and I love it! We bought it lightly used last year, and we use it every chance we get.

It serves as a great home base for adventures. It always keeps us comfortable and dry. It has all the features we need Air conditioning (when you have AC power), a great heating system, a bathroom, and a better outdoor kitchen than any trailer I've ever seen. It is easy to tow and park.

The only negatives are than the bed is just a touch shorter than my height, and the fridge does not run on propane.

ImageIMG_1751 by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr

ImageBench by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1358 by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2018, 3:12 pm 
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Joined: September 3rd, 2014, 4:35 pm
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Thanks. I've seen the Alto Safari out of Quebec, nice big windows on it. The T@bs seem better built than the Rpods. A lot of the usual 'square box' trailers out there seem to be caulking, board and just enough rivets to keep it together for a couple years. Nice canoe report too since it's canoe forum, can't pine about the trailer too much :) ....Steve


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2018, 3:59 pm 
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steve.of.london wrote:
Thanks. I've seen the Alto Safari out of Quebec, nice big windows on it. The T@bs seem better built than the Rpods. A lot of the usual 'square box' trailers out there seem to be caulking, board and just enough rivets to keep it together for a couple years. Nice canoe report too since it's canoe forum, can't pine about the trailer too much :) ....Steve


Budget and availability concerns aside, the Alto F17 would be my second choice for a small, high quality trailer. We would really miss the outdoor kitchen setup of the T@b CS-S though. The R-Pod starts to lose some of the quality, and cute factor, and I'm not a fan of slide outs.

In about 15 trips to provincial parks with our T@b, surprisingly, we've never seen another one set up yet. On the flip side, surprisingly, on one trip to Presqu'ile this spring, we saw 3 Safari Altos!

I'm glad you enjoyed my ramblings on our little trip. I wish I could have got more pictures from the water, but the conditions made it too challenging for me to feel comfortable handling an electronic device. Here's a bonus picture from an earlier trip though:

ImageIMG_0282e by Ryan Jakob, on Flickr


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 1:07 pm 
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Joined: August 2nd, 2011, 10:59 am
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Location: Ontario
Looks like. Need to check out more this area.

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