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PostPosted: January 6th, 2012, 10:27 am 
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Woodsmoke wrote:
What's not to love about lounging around in your long johns reading a good book with a kettle singing on the stove while outside the wind and snow whips around and the temps drop? I see a trip coming soon.

Oh sure, put it that way. :D

I know I have taken advantage of cabins whenever available, and am sure I would enjoy using a hot tent.

I am far from an ultra-light kinda guy, but I do appreciate a lighter load, even when on flat land, especially if the snow is deep. But, I could see myself doing some tripping in something like this, I think I would likely design the trip with the idea of the extra weight in mind.

Off to research some tents and stoves. I do remember seeing somewhere a tipi being used like this. Are there any major differences between them and tents?

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2012, 8:10 am 
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I don't have any experience with a tipi. I'm sure there are folks here who have.


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2012, 9:34 am 
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Went backyard camping last night! Only got a little bit lower than zero though... Any tips on keeping your nose warm? haha


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2012, 12:14 pm 
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Any tips on keeping your nose warm? haha

The cheeky answer to that one is : hot tenting

But its still a good question since its the one irritating thing about winter camping that should be adressed. The only way I was able to keep my nose warm was to completely cinch up my sleeping bag so that it almost felt suffocating but happily these bags breathe or you cover your face and still have some sort of breathing venting happening. Even if my nose is poking out I feel so nasal stuffed in the morning so again thats why Ill do the hot tent next time ...


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2012, 5:26 pm 
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Yes, here's a tip for keeping your nose warm at night. I must confess that this is an idea HOOP suggested in one of his posts. Wear a headband/sweatband/ear band type of clothing and pull it over your nose when required. You don't get the moisture over your mouth like you do when you wear a balaklava type that covers your nose and mouth.


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PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 10:07 pm 
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OK so!

We had a team meeting and are thinking of going for a stroll on Algonquin's highland backpacking trail.

Going to snowshoe about 4km to the first lake and camping there for the night. The next day we will pack up and go to a nearby site for fun. This way the car wont be more than a 4km snowshoe away in case we choose to bail.

Any comments?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 8:48 am 
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I think that is a great idea, Dave. It will be a good way to test the waters (or snow as it may be), and learn what works best. I bet you will be just fine. Enjoy yourself.

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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 9:23 am 
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If you're talking about the Highland trail on the west side of the park it may not be what you hoped, if you're pulling a sled, pulk or toboggan.

I did that trail as my first trip and the trail was a narrow hard packed hiking trail less than the width of the toboggan, more a hiking boot width. It was a very difficult pull. It wasn't the width of a typical snowshoe float.

If you're pulling a toboggan, Canadian Tire or otherwise I'd strongly suggesst you go to the Sunday Lake Dogsled trail just west of Opeongo. Less hills and it's always fun to see the sled dogs.

Whatever you choose have a good trip and post a report, with pictures, we like pictures.

Cheers,
Ken


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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 10:52 am 
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Algonquin's Highland Trail - that brings back memories. It may have been my second outing to try winter camping and it was a bit of a bust. The good part was coming across a moose (still within 1km of the road), but the bad part was the camping.
We had picked an established site on a lake that was ideal for summer camping (I think this is even against today's park rules) but was lousy for winter camping. The trees had been picked clean of dry branches and of course the ground is snow covered - so we had no fire. And because the site was laid out to be free of bugs (not exactly our problem!), it was open to the breeze. We just crawled into the tents to stay warm and left the next day as some were pretty cold. The hills didn't bug us much as we had traveled for less than 10km and we pulled no toboggans. But it became obvious to us that we should avoid hills - that following canoe routes is a good idea.

We smartened up on the next trip and pulled sleds over lakes and portages, and camped in a swamp with lots of dead trees (fire wood) and a section of open water so we didn't need to melt snow to get water. And the blazing fire in the evening, in the centre of a makeshift bench and protected from the breeze by a wall of snow made the place outright cozy, at -30C .

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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 11:35 am 
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Agree that the HHT hills weren't the easiest to snowshoe and I wouldn't want to try it with a toboggan.

This is where the Blackfox lake portage was great... the hills aren't major and the lake is nice in the winter, lots of firewood in the area. It's been partially bulldozed now to develop the new dogsled trail, but AFAIK the port near Blackfox is still in it's former state.

The railway bike path that runs east of Mew towards Whitefish shouldn't have any hills at all and could provide access to some place to camp near the lakes it runs along. It's kept clear of fallen trees so those won't slow you down.

I used to snowshoe and ski to camp on Kearney lake and the lakes beyond, and Opeongo as well, but I don't know whether the ice will be safe this year. Or whether slush will be a problem, once there's a heavy layer of snow over the ice.

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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 1:33 pm 
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Agreed...The backpacking trails are difficult enough without the snow..you will quickly notice the effort on any gradient no matter how small..I camped on Canisbay since it was an easy and flat hike across the lake and there are established campsites. If the road isnt too snow covered you can get in on the camp road ..If not you can use the Minnesing trail since and then a little bushwack.

Again , Im not so sure any of this is allowed , but then again the Ranger population drops significantly in winter. ; )...Also if you leave your car in the Minnesing parking lot or anywhere else for that matter be sure you leave a sign or permit since a car left overnite might trigger a search.


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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 3:02 pm 
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The "no camping on summer campsites or portages" etc while winter camping used to be right there on Algonquin's website. I can't seem to find it now.

However, there is still a good bit of info about winter camping, ploughed roads, how to get your permit, etc to be found:

http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/ge ... n-park.php

If you would like to read some trip logs for inspiration:

http://www.markinthepark.com/triplogs/t ... 9day1.html
http://www.markinthepark.com/triplogs/t ... 0day1.html
http://www.markinthepark.com/old_websit ... _75_d1.htm
http://www.bigbluesky.ca/site/AlgonquinWinterTraverse/

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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 3:06 pm 
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We wont be bringing sleds. I will be packing light and going backpacking style. The gear I bring for a canoe trip weighs less than 20 pounds not including food/water so I think we should be fine on the steeper terrain.

This semester of school is starting to look painful workload wise. Honestly, if we leave the trip for a couple weeks it wont happen. We are going to push things forward and go this weekend (90% sure). If it goes well, we will plan a longer trip during reading week!

Thanks for the links Barbara, should make some good reading!


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PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 6:27 pm 
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I've snowshoed the Highland Trail and Western Upland Trail pulling a toboggan loaded with my hot tent, stove and gear. I will never do it again pulling a toboggan. The weight was around a hundred lbs. and with Huron style snowshoes, I just could not get any traction on the hills. I met others who were carrying backpacks and who had no troubles. Lessons learned.


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2012, 9:02 pm 
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Success!

We got back a couple hours ago. Other than some cold feet, it was a good trip. We slept in a quinzee which added a lot of warmth. The trails weren't too bad either. I will post some pictures tomorrow!


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