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Thread: Algonquin Provincial Park, 10 days paddling and portage, Sept. 2017

  1. #1
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    Default Algonquin Provincial Park, 10 days paddling and portage, Sept. 2017

    8 September 2017


    After our flight from Manchester to Toronto and collecting our hire car, we headed north to Huntsville.


    But getting out of the airport was not straight forward! On the flight we each had to complete a form that asked for details of what we were carrying and why. There were other questions but they were easy.


    We had to declare, weapons and food, I had a fixed blade knife and an axe, oh and some muesli. ChrisB had the freeze dried food, chicken and minced beef for some of our main meals. The customs desk asked about my knife and axe, they were happy that I was not going to do harm to others with it.


    ChrisB was taken away to another area and we expected a long wait. In fact it was about 30 minutes until ChrisB was let out minus the beef, the chicken was classed as ok and let through.


    Off to the car hire company, complete more paperwork and finally drive away. Getting onto the correct highway was a challenge and avoiding the toll roads.




    Locals

    Huntsville was chosen for our final purchase of food. After the beef confiscation, the shopping now had to include several main meals protein. The shopping took a while and we had to avoid cans or glass (The park rangers can issue a substantial fine for transgression).

    Rice, pasta and dried potatoes were our main stay for carbs. We each bought stuff for our own breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

    Now time was getting on and hunger growing, we found a pizza place and sat in a cubicle. We were served by a lovely, lively girl called Brandy. Endless top up of soft drinks, the other three tried root beer, I had Pepsi, I know what root beer tastes like, yuk! I don’t think the root beer went down too well because the ‘tops ups' went for something else!

    The pizza was a monster but we manfully devoured it. At 18” diameter and it was called a Meateor, very substantial. Brandy was jealous of our forthcoming adventure.

    We found our way to the Wolf Den Hostel, for our nights accommodation. The hostel is a fabulous log cabin with typical youth hostel facilities, huge kitchen, dining area and lounges. We slept in a another log cabin, a four bed dormitory.


    9 September

    We were too laid back for ChrisB and he tried to chivvy us along. He failed but kept on trying.

    The outfitters were nearby, they soon sorted all the gear we needed, two very light Swift, Keewaydin 17 canoes, roof rack, paddles, buoyancy aids, barrels for our food with portage harnesses and other odds and ends.

    Off we go to Kearney to collect our permits for access to Algonquin Provincial Park. This Canada place is big! It takes us 1 hour from Kearney to Access point 3.



    Our long distance portage trolley


    Ready to unload

    We left the car in the middle of nowhere but several others had done the same.

    Another canoeist in his very smart gel coated Prospector Canoe with a huge Canadian flag on the hull bottom, warned us that getting to our intended camp was going to be difficult. He thought we would not be there before sunset.


    Access point 3, Magnatewan Lake

    With all the gear stowed and ready for off we set off across Magnetawan Lake to our first portage of 135m. Not too bad but the next one, the other side of Hambone Lake 294m. We cracked off that one quite smartly too.


    First portage, 135m to Hambone Lake


    Hambone Lake

    Then Ralph Bice Lake is 3.75miles long and a tea stop added to our travel time, we reached the next portage of 435m, they’re getting bigger!


    Ralph Bice Lake


    Wasp-mimic Flower Fly

    Loons featured on this lake and their magical calls entranced us.


    A Loon


    Ralph Bice Lake


    Ralph Bice Lake

    Is this who the lake is named after? Ralph Bice from Kearney, S.E. of Burk's Falls (1900-1997). He was an extraordinary trapper, leader, writer, and personality.

    Little Trout Lake was soon crossed to reach another portage of 175m. With this done we were in Queer Lake and started to look for camping sites. …. didn’t like the first one, the next one was occupied, no sharing sites here. The couple on that site said the next one along was good and it was. It was well before sunset and we’d found the thunder box by 6pm!


    Thunder box,

    We shared our first camp in Algonquin with a mouse. It was scavenging around the fire pit and quite unconcerned by our presence.


    Mouse at Queer Lake camp


    The food hang

    After a meal of mashed potatoes and salami, we had some fun trying to hoist our food barrels. They were hung up but too low. No bears found our food that night.


    Our first camp fire

    10 Sept.

    We awoke to fog lying over the lake and all spent some time photographing the mist as it melted away with the rising sun.


    Queer Lake, misty morning.


    Queer Lake, misty morning.


    Camp by Queer Lake



    Herb Paris


    False Coral Fungus


    Chris collecting water from Queer Lake

    A very short paddle to the portage 1330m (that’s big, hilly and muddy) lead us to Tim River. I managed to fall over in the mud, with a 17ft hat on and wallow about a bit.


    Queer Lake to Tim River portage


    Queer Lake to Tim River portage


    Queer Lake to Tim River portage


    Queer Lake to Tim River portage


    Tinder Polypore


    White Baneberry or Doll's Eyes


    Puff Ball


    Tim River


    Narrow Leaf Meadowsweet

    The river meandered quite seriously and it had a good flow. There were signs of beaver dams and lodges but much evidence that floods had swept some of them away. Canada’s summer had been very wet until now. Animals prints along the banks showed us that moose and bear were around. Some smaller prints remained unidentified.


    Mike and Pete, Tim River


    Tim River

    The meanders continued through the day. We found a portage that gave us an easy stopping place for some tea and snacks.

    Eventually we heard rapids ahead and knew that our final portage of the day was near. Approaching carefully, looking for the rapid, it came into view but where is the portage? There it is! Right (really it was left) at the top of the rapid but so close to the faster water we wondered, how some of the paddlers we had already seen poor paddling demo’s, would stop before being swept down the river?


    Tim River


    Fox and Cubs

    This portage was 275m long and easy going under foot. Our camp (if unoccupied?) was just 200m along, before we got back to the river.


    Old farm building by the Tim River


    Lily of the Valley


    Herb Paris with fruit

    It was ours. We soon settled in and had a sumptuous meal of Chicken, I think? The camp fire was started and we settled down to chat, filter some water, drink tea, chat and finally a tot of whisky before hitting the hammocks.


    Thunderbox





    Planning by the camp fire

    The hanging of food out of bears way, was still a problem and it taxed our minds and bodies. But they were hoisted, although, not high enough and probably too far from our camp.


    To be continued
    Last edited by dougoutcanoe; 8th-October-2017 at 09:55 PM. Reason: general tidying
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  2. #2
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    11 Sept.

    The food was still there, breakfast eaten and some packing started. We had a visitor this morning, a bull moose that clearly wanted to travel through our camp and along the trail. Pete got worried by visions of his tarp and hammock adorning the antlers of Bully. His setup was across the trail.


    Peek-a-boo Moose





    We put him off travelling through our camp by stalking and taking photos of him. He gave up and went the other way.


    Camp by the Tim River


    Tim River

    Shortly after re-entering the river we had another portage of 460m over steep ground on a narrow track. The steepness was not just up and down but along a path that sloped sideways too. I wondered how far I would slip down towards the Tim, complete with canoe and or bag?


    Portage, steep, up, down and sideways


    Lobster Mushroom


    Beaver lodge, Tim River


    King Boletus

    The Tim River widens from here and the meanders become gentler. It soon opens out into a wider valley, passing through marshes with tree lined edges.


    Tim River








    Pickerel Weed, Tim River





    Beaver Dam, Tim River

    The glorious weather remains and we have our first experience of Canada’s blackfly. I notice a pain in my ankle similar to, how I imagine, a hot needle penetrating my skin would feel. Then I noticed it or them. Not many but they had found flesh and blood. Swatting was no good, they were too quick. Smallish, about the size of a house fly, but more evil than our horse flies. I would hate to meet them in greater numbers. Eventually, I remembered where my DEET was and applied it to my socks and other vulnerable areas.

    Up until this time the mosquitoes were around and a minor nuisance, clothing and repellent did its job.


    Beware - HORROR movie, folk of a nervous disposition should not click the next link. You have been warned! https://www.nfb.ca/film/blackfly/

    Autumnal shades along the river banks and a few shades of colour in the broadleaf trees were becoming apparent. Water lily leaves were showing in a wide range of colours.

    A short portage of 125m before our last short run to Shippagew Lake, we crossed the lake to a headland on the east shore where there was a lovely camp with wide views to south, west and north.


    Ouch!!!!


    Another portage on the Tim River


    Entering Shippagew Lake


    Shippagew Lake from our camp, looking north

    Our communal dining required a large pot to cook in. It was a 3 litre pan and held just enough for a good portion each. Pete reckoned he was short changed when it came to his share.



    Ready for a brew

    ChrisB was our recipe man, using techniques he had developed over many years of paddling and satisfying his appetite. A typical portion for us was 125g of rice or pasta or dried potato. With protein in the form of freeze dried chicken, smoked fish, salami, lentils or cheese. Then a generous sauce from the dried packs of bolognese, chilli con carne, chicken chasseur, curry and much more. Then for added flavour cuppa soup. With crispy fried onion and garlic flakes for good measure. Sounds not too appetising but the flavours we had were amazing and enjoyed by all.


    All swilled down with a cup of tea. And later more chatting with a tot of whisky.

    12 Sept


    Shippagew from my hammock


    Shippagew Lake


    Pickerel Weed on Shippagew Lake


    Pickerel Weed


    Shippagew camp


    Shippagew Lake

    A short paddle northwards on Shippagew and another long’ish portage 1335m to Longer Lake. The portage wasn’t too bad although it did involve ups and downs with a rough finish.


    Portage trail


    Rosetwisted Stalk


    Portage


    Scarlet Wax Cap


    False Coral Fungus


    Longer Lake end of portage from Shippagew

    We now entered Longer Lake and paddled north’ish towards the outflowing river with it two rapids, requiring portages of 40m with poison ivy by the trail and 75m with a rapid that we should have paddled. Inspection would have shown an easy grade 2 rapid with a clear run through. But we didn’t.


    Fall colours, started to happen, Longer Lake


    Poison Ivy


    Rapid exit from Longer Lake

    Onwards through Redpine Bay and into Burntroot Lake to Anchor Island and its camp. The camp was occupied by a solo paddler in his 20’s. He invited us to land and view the site and its anchor. Apparently the anchor had been taken to White Trout Lake and some folk didn’t like that tampering. The rangers have moved it back the narrow island south of central Burntroot Lake.





    Redpine Bay


    Anchor Island, Burntroot Lake


    Anchor Island

    We settled into a camp on a small central island. It was here that our water filters started to fail. First my Drinksafe-Systems filter slowed to a trickle, producing about 3 litres overnight. ChrisB had a Katadyn pocket filter that started to struggle, eventually splitting the pump weld.


    Camp on a small island, Burntroot Lake

    We resorted to boiling water, we worked out that we had enough gas for that and cooking. Wood fires could be used if the gas ran out.



    Camp fire

    Burntroot Lake was our farthest travel into Algonquin and the plan for tomorrow, to explore the lake in an easy days paddle

    13 Sept.


    Strap Shaped Coral Fungus

    A lie in and easy start to the day then off to explore the lake. We paddled south to the site of the Alligator and Barnet Farm. The Alligator was a steam powered amphibious vehicle, driven by paddle wheels and hauled by winches. It used to gather logs on the lake and move them towards their travels down the rivers to the saw mills. The anchor previously mentioned was part of this machine.


    Approaching the Alligator


    The Alligator


    The Alligator


    The Alligator



    The Alligator


    Burntroot Lake

    We peeped into another logging camp ruin but we failed to find it and the mosies were waiting for us to land. Which, kind of put us off more dense woodland exploring.



    Beaver Lodge


    Burntroot Lake



    Burntroot Lake, Loons

    Then it was off to the north of the lake and view the rapids into Perley Lake and down the Petawawa River. An old log cabin is still in good condition here, even though partially buried.



    Old Log Cabin, Burntroot lake


    Rapids, Burntroot Lake


    Burntroot Lake

    Back at our camp, all was well, no bears or moose had visited, food and gear as we left them.



    Back at the camp


    Hot afternoon



    Russula emetica


    Pine Bolete


    Fomes Fomentarius


    Death Cap


    Amanita jacksonii


    Burntroot Lake



    to be continued
    Last edited by dougoutcanoe; 8th-October-2017 at 05:13 PM.
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  3. #3
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    14 Sept.

    Now we started our paddle back, east through Burntroot, into Redpine, upstream and portage past the rapids taking care by the poison ivy.


    Burntroot Lake


    A burnt root by Burntroot Lake





    Redpine Bay


    Burntroot Lake


    Portage


    Poison Ivy rapid

    Into Longer Lake, SE to a 300m portage and into Big Trout Lake. Lots of Loons here and the calling of them was enchanting.


    Ready to paddle Longer Lake to Big Trout Lake


    Geese flying over


    Trim????



    Fall colours

    Our first experience of aerial bombing from a squirrel high above us, while we ate. It was dropping pine cones from the tree tops above, we shaded our food to avoid a direct hit.


    Lactarious sp?


    Puffball

    Today the weather was HOT and we were glad to finish. It remained hot overnight too.


    Big Trout Lake



    The Loons called through the night.

    15 Sept.


    A dewy morning on Big Trout Lake





    Loons in the mist


    Big Trout Lake


    Big Trout Lake


    Big Trout Lake

    We explored further into Big Trout and met an American Family making their way up Warbler Creek and a long portage working their way towards Opeongo Lake.





    Cormorant, Big Trout Lake


    Canada Geese in Warbler Creek


    White Water Lily, Warbler Creek



    Pete and Mike passing carefully through shallows





    Goosanders


    Mike on a log

    At this point we headed towards White Trout Lake passing through the narrows that connect the two lakes.


    Mike and Pete in the narrows heading for White Trout Lake


    White Trout Narrows

    In White Trout, two men paddled towards us and asked, would we accept a task? Chris Winter had left his brown canvas hat on a portage that we were to use in a couple of days time. If we found it, could we return it to him in Toronto. Details were exchanged, promise of a meal and some whisky tasting was offered. We bid them farewell.


    Choosing a camp, White Trout Lake


    Mike at rest


    White Trout Lake

    Our first camp was occupied but as we approached I saw a large dog (very wolf like) then this was followed by a human. Huh! not a wolf!

    We headed south to a camp on an island but this was not up to our standard. The fire pit was overgrown and the surrounding trees made it a gloomy space.

    Back north to the horse shoe shaped island and the camp there was good. Large trees spaced just about right for hammocks. A good fire pit and some wood to keep us going. The mosies weren’t too bad, so it was thumbs up all round.


    Our camp on White Trout Lake

    The only hazard was a busy squirrel 20m or more up in the canopy, bombarding us with pine cones. Another mealtime shading our dishes to avoid bombs. Mike had a direct strike on his shoulder.

    16 Sept.





    Leaving camp

    Today we travelled through extensive marshes of Grassy Bay and McIntosh Marsh, heading upstream all the time. This was in part the Petawawa River and then the McIntosh Creek. As we proceeded the channel became less clear with water lily partially obscuring the route.


    White Trout Lake, Grassy Bay





    McIntosh Creek





    Turn left



    McIntosh Creek


    Beaver Lodge


    Tea shop!





    McIntosh Creek

    We reached steeper ground and the first of two portages of 745m and 510m.


    Mike leading the portage


    McIntosh Creek

    A short paddle between the portages felt like high moorland at 430m height the illusion was aided by the lack of trees.


    McIntosh Creek to McItosh Lake portage and the Hat

    On McIntosh Lake our first choice of camp was occupied the next island was a good camp with open views to the south, west and north. Previous and probably regular visitors to this camp had left two folding chairs and a small wooden Adirondack chair. It was a homely site.





    Chris tries Chris' hat on

    After dinner we watched the sunset go through its colour show, listening to the loons calling all around and after dark, wolves calling in the distance to the north of us.





    Appropriately, our next lake in the morning was Timberwolf.


    to be continued
    Last edited by dougoutcanoe; 8th-October-2017 at 10:19 PM.
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  4. #4
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    17 Sept.

    The portages were getting easier because our food stocks were dwindling. Our first portage 405m, took us into Timberwolf Lake.


    Portage to Timberwolf Lake






    I managed another dive in the mud, complete with 17ft hat on, the canoe survived, I twisted my ankle, it was bit sore by the evening.

    We had a choice,


    1. paddle a creek into Misty Lake
    2. portage 765m.

    The paddle was a few km extra, with a 130m portage at the end and we may be able to paddle that too? We did.

    By lunch time Misty Lake was nearly completed and we portaged 935m to Little Misty Lake alongside the Petawawa River.





    A local character


    Misty Lake


    Wolf's Milk Slime


    Misty Lake


    Misty Lake, Heron



    Misty Lake to Little Misty Lake portage



    Portage






    Portage

    We stopped for lunch on a camp where, two families arrived, we quickly explained that we were not stopping there. We had a long chat and they offered us some red wine, while they indulged in their afternoon antidote to their four children.


    Little Misty, lunch time


    The gang by Little Misty Lake

    After Little Misty we paddled upstream again for several km and two portages of 450m and 135m into Daisy Lake, where we found a good campsite.


    Petawawa River





    Petawawa River, beaver dam


    Petawawa River


    Petawawa River

    Another squirrel was busy in the trees above us but this time it was eating buds or small cones. It chattered at us frequently but continued to eat.


    Squirrel

    ChrisB got a forecast on his Inreach device and it suggested that there may be 40% chance of rain tomorrow morning and it could be heavy. We’d had 10% chance of rain for the whole trip but it never came. The weather was hot a sunny each day including today and starlight shone through the canopy as we sat around the campfire.

    18 Sept.

    I awoke to the sound of light rain and a wet tarp. It cleared while we ate breakfast. We had to pack wet tarps away and set off.


    The start of our last day

    Minutes later the rains came and quite heavy for a while. For the first time in 10 days we wore waterproofs while we paddled on down Daisy Lake.


    Here's the rain on Daisy Lake

    Our adventure in Algonquin was nearly over.

    The portage 420m to Acme Lake was longer than the lake. The rain was easing now but still overcast.


    Portage, Daisy to Acme Lake


    Portage to Acme Lake


    Acme Lake, yes that is the far end in sight of this very small lake!

    We did a 55m portage into Hambone Lake and a short paddle around to the final portage 135m to Magnetawan Lake. The last 150m paddle of our trip through Algonquin Provincial Park brought us to the landing stage where others were preparing to set off on their own adventures.


    Hambone Lake


    The Magnetewan end of our last portage


    The finish, 10 days after we left this place.

    The weather apart from a few hours this morning had been amazing. The fall colours had developed during our travels to rich reds and the maple leaves were dropping. The bird and animal life was amazing. Fungi in profusion some familiar, some strange to me. The plants, bearing flowers or berries and seeds were sometimes strange and some just like at home.

    Our trip was enjoyed by all of us, we never failed to be seduced by the lakes, trees and rocks. Meeting folk along the way added to the experience. Oh, we found the missing hat.


    We loaded the car and made a last pot of Algonquin tea.


    Our last cup of Algonquin tea

    Then the drive out of the park to the outfitter’s and the Wolf Den but we did a shop stop at the park office and then a supermarket for our evening meal and breakfast.

    There was a unanimous craving for steak and vegetables with gravy. Then thoughts went to breakfast of bacon and eggs. Then there was the visit to the beer store, yes, that’s all it sold!

    At the Wolf Den we settled in to our four bed bunk house then to the kitchen for another cup of tea with real milk, at least for three of us, ChrisB doesn’t take milk.

    Vegetables prepared and cooking started, we all stuck into sorting dinner. I did the steaks, hopefully to the satisfaction of the eater, they varied from well done to rare.


    We had beer all round to drink with and after our meal. It was good. But the call of the Loon was missing.

    A relaxed night at the Wolf Den, reminiscing over our trip and learning local plant names.

    19 Sept.

    Drive to Toronto and find our hotel to settle in. ChrisB made arrangements
    with Chris Winter for the return of his hat. We now had directions of which street car we had to catch and which stop to take to find a restaurant to meet in.


    Toronto

    When we got there the restaurant was shut, we awaited Chris’ arrival and he walked us along the road to another Tibetan Restaurant. We were joined by Nancy (C’s wife), Dion (C’s fellow paddler).
    Chris and Dion sorted out the food order for all of us and we had a tasty, satisfying meal.


    Tibetan feast

    The night was young, so Chris and Dion invited us to their homes for a whisky tasting session. The chatting and drinking went on ’til nearly midnight.

    It was time for us to depart and Chris walked to the streetcar stop to help us on our way. Back at the hotel we slumped into bed. To be ready for our last day in Canada.

    20 Sept.

    Check out from the hotel about 08.30 and set off to Peterborough Canoe Museum.

    It is a small museum but contains a wealth of information. My main point was the construction of a birch bark canoe on its third day, the gunwales were being fitted. It was good to chat with Chuck Commanda who was leading the build with a few helpers. I did find many other things of interest and would go back again. Perhaps when the new museum opens in two years time.

    Once again back to Toronto but the airport this time for our overnight flight home.

    Doug
    Last edited by dougoutcanoe; 8th-October-2017 at 10:28 PM. Reason: tidying up
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  5. #5
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    Nice trip. Welcome to Canada.

  6. #6
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    Fantastic trip.
    The weather was perfect, even a little rain to add to the mix. Love the photos.
    Well done guys.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  7. #7
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    Great blog and excellent photos - particularly all the identified fungi! Thanks for that.

  8. #8
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    That was far better than reading the Sunday paper, thankyou.
    You made it look so easy and laid back .
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  9. #9
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    That was superb Doug. A wonderful tril, and some magical images.

  10. #10
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    Awesome.

    And by coincidence I too stayed at the Wolf Den when we visited Algonguin. Nice friendly place.

  11. #11
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    Such great photos. Thanks for this!
    G

    'Adventure is relative. My adventure is another's commonplace.'

  12. #12
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    Nice. Some great pictures and memories in there.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  13. #13
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    Hi All,

    Thanks for all the comments, I'm glad you like the blog.

    Here's a video for those that may have struggled with the length of my blog. Sorry if you struggled.



    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  14. #14
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    Stunning. What a beautiful journey. Thanks for sharing.

  15. #15
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    Doug's done all the hard work so I can jump in now - my photos will never sit well alongside his so I'll post a bit about the logistics and only a few photos.

    First a rough map of the overall route:



    and then a more detailed one:



    If that's too big, I can edit it smaller

    (more to follow)

  16. #16
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    That was a great read! Thank you for posting.
    --
    Martin
    Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris (If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar).

  17. #17
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    My contribution to the photos:



    Doug



    Wearing his 17 foot hat



    Pete on a portage - we each had 15 to 20kg of personal and camp gear, and the two food barrels were probably 25kg plus at the start. We started with double carries (boats and barrels then back for packs) and moved on to one and a half (six loads - take two to the end, two to the middle to be picked up, back for the last two) and managed a mixture of single and one and half by the end.



    Mist clearing on Queer Lake



    and another



    Tim River camp: What are YOU doing on MY path, two legged things?







    Lower Tim River - I think that's an eagle. The Lower Tim was a spectacular landscape to paddle through but too big to photograph!



    Shippagew Lake







    A welcome brew stop, at the end of Tim River after the long portage from Shippagew to Longer Lake



    Poison Ivy portage - it's not an easy plant to recognise. It's the red leaves (at this time of year), but we met another paddler who had carefully avoided the green ones.
    If you're going to N America, the links below are worth reading.

    http://www.birdandmoon.com/poisonivy/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans



    It was only 40m, and we could have paddled it, even in lightweight boats with no rocker. But we didn't, and the second time we came to it, on the way back from Burntroot, it was upstream.



    The anchor on Anchor Island. I wondered why it was there - and the answer is probably that it came from an Alligator



    To winch themselves and the logs across portages, they needed not just a boiler and a winch, but an anchor





    Loons on Burntroot Lake - Great Northern Divers, as we used to call them. Much prettier than the Black Throated we see in Sweden, and their calls are amazing; such a loud noise from a small bird, and it echos.



    Keeping food (and toothpaste) away from hypothetical bears took a lot of effort. Having tried on a sea kayak trip in BC and experienced the friction from thin rope under heavy load, and the lack of suitable branches in coniferous forest, and not wanting to portage lots of rope, I made up some 3:1 pulley sets using 2mm dynema (breaking load 200kg). They seemed worryingly thin, but didn't break. Trying to get a rope horizontally to hang them 4m out from the tree as a different matter, and I should have taken longer and heavier dynema for that. On Tim River (above) we managed to hang them, but if the bear stood upright it would have reached them, so we took them down and stood them next to the fire. Others we met had various opinions - "yes, you still need to hang barrels" or "barrels are scent-proof so bears won't find them" (but no dispute that the bears could break into them)





    As the nature of the camps changed to bigger trees, it became easier to find unobstructed branches that projected far enough from the tree, and we ate the food so the barrels were lighter... but as Doug's video shows, we didn't get much better at throwing.



    My hammock and tarp at Big Trout Lake



    View from my tarp



    Misty dawn on Big Trout Lake



    'A fungus' (I don't have Doug's expertise!)





    White Trout narrows - we've seen another party who might be heading for 'our' campsite!



    White Trout Cliffs - there's a peregrine nest up there somewhere



    Staghorn bettles



    Chatting round the fire





    The locals have done this before



    Watching the sunset on Mcintosh Lake



    Petawawa River (Misty Lake portage)



    Last camp - rain expected, so tarp pitched wide and low. (I took the smallest and lightest tarp I could).



    Canadian Canoe Museum - building the birch bark canoe



    and here's one they made earlier

    I'll add some boring info on logistics etc later, for anyone that's thinking of a trip there. Just to whet your appetite, our 12 days in Canada, all in, cost just under £1000 each.

  18. #18
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    Well Chris, your photos are good, so, don't denigrate your work. They are different but that is a good factor.

    The beetles are Longhorn.

    The fungus, the first one boletus sp. The gilled one ???

    Thanks for your work towards a great trip.

    Doug
    Last edited by dougoutcanoe; 15th-October-2017 at 03:24 PM.
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    Thanks, Doug. I knew the beetles were Longhorns, but for some reason wrote Staghorn! The gilled fungus from the top:


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    I agree, Chris your photos are great, they add a different perspective to what was a fantastic trip and blogs to match. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

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    Thoroughly enjoyed all of that, great trip and a correspondingly great blog. The sight of more boreal forest paddling hasn't helped my 'end of season' itchy feet though and I'm now wanting to get back to it.

    Thanks for posting it and making me unsettled.
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”



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    Chris the fungus is probably Lactarius sp?

    Doug
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    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


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    Fantastic bloggage ! Thanks for that !
    Wilf
    Bacon sarnie anyone ?

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    Excellent blog and great trip, Doug.

    Some amazing photos there.

    And I liked your fungal foray.


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    Loved watching the video clip of you all trying to hang your bear barrels. Really curious as to who recommended you do this and why? Although the added precaution might prove to be 100% effective I suspect the novelty of trying to hang them every night would wear off pretty quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    Loved watching the video clip of you all trying to hang your bear barrels. Really curious as to who recommended you do this and why? Although the added precaution might prove to be 100% effective I suspect the novelty of trying to hang them every night would wear off pretty quickly.
    What part of this country are you in? This made me very curious.

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    I'm in Saskatchewan.

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    Hi sk8r and bobt,

    First I must thank Christine for the help you gave us at the beginning of our planning and taking the time to explain our over ambitious route. We did take note and reduced our intended distances.

    The bear barrel hanging came from the general advice we found for canoe travel in Canada. It being our first time into country where bears may be a problem (Except for ChrisB, he's done trips to Greenland where lookouts are posted through the night because of polar bears. We didn't go that extreme and all slept well.), we thought it had to be done.

    There were some nights where lack of suitable branches on trees, that we placed the barrels near the fireplace and camped around it, but not too close.

    I gather from both your comments that we over did it???? While we canoed we met others that asked about how we were getting on with hanging food. Is this some some of huge joke on outsiders that don't know any better.

    Tell us more please.

    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  29. #29

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    No Doug, it's no sort of joke. In the right place (generally deciduous woodlands) and with the right (wrong) sort of bear, hanging food is pretty much a good idea. The problem with a place like APP, with its largely coniferous forest, is that the right trees, with the right branches, at the right height etc etc occur very seldom, if at all. The "joke" if that's an appropriate word, is quite simply that, because the perfect set-ups occur so rarely, people tend to merely create pinatas for bears, especially park bears who know all about hung food. There are ways of rigging up a cross-line between 2 trees, and then hauling up your food to to it, but it's a total pain , even if you can get it right, so most folks quit bothering after a while. Most folks in black bear country just use odor-proof barrels (well, they are in theory) and lash them to a tree trunk (at ground level) a fair distance from their camp. Grizzlies are a whole other matter - I've had one tear a barrel to pieces (and I didn't hear a thing... ) overnight. But there are none of those where you were.

    I can't speak to bobt's comment, except to say that, generally speaking, bears of any kind are pretty rare nowadays in Saskatchewan, unless you are north of (about) the North Saskatchewan River (and the vast majority of folks live a good ways south of it...) so I dunno where he was going with that.

    Glad you had a great experience on your trip.

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    Enjoyed that - bought back many memories of our trip there earlier in the year.

    We almost missed the portage on the Tim River too.

    Some very nice photos too.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

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    Some notes on the planning and organisation. First we agreed appropriately when, how long and the type of trip, and confirmed who was going, then Pete found a flight, confirmed the dates and booked it.

    Algonquin Park is over a third the size of Wales, so there are a lot of options. But it's another seven hours driving if you fly to Toronto and want to get to the NE corner of the Park. The first outfitter we contacted offered to suggest a route, but after waiting a month or two we gave up on that. The popular areas are along Highway 60 - but we wanted wilderness, and wildlife, which suggested the Western Highlands. Route choice can link to outfitter choice, as some will deliver boats (or even people) to some (not all) access points.

    Using the online Jeff's Map (the paper version for the West is out of print) I roughed out a route. The map suggests times between key points, depending on paddling speed and portaging capabilities. We knew we could paddle reasonably , but had never portaged on foot with expedition gear. So I used Jeff's Map times for "Veteran" - 4km/hr paddling but assumed double carries, but was fairly relaxed about some longer days towards the end. Following some good advice for MattT, sk8r and Andy Parry (a UK WWR paddler I knew from 15 years ago who now runs Muskoka Kayak School) I made it a bit less ambitious, with a day to explore Burntroot Lake, which could be skipped if behind time or in bad weather, and a loop into Big Trout Lake that we could extend or shorten. As it turned out we were faster than the estimate for paddling (but we were lucky with weather and flow in Tim River) about right for portages (faster towards the end) but I seriously underestimated the amount of faff, particularly on the first day - everything from breakfast, through packing, boat pickup, drive, permit collection and launch took longer, and we left the access point at 13:30 instead of 09:30. Hence the comment Doug mentioned, from a local, that we'd be lucky to reach Queer Lake by sunset (we actually had 2 hours to spare). We were a bit tired from the flight, and the first few days had late starts, but once we were going we were up at about 7:30, which was first light, and usually at the next camp by 16:00 or 17:00.

    Route planning is crucial, as backcountry camping is only allowed on official sites, which must be booked in advance. You book a site on a given lake, and there are typically between 2 and 10 sites per lake, then it's first come on the day. Unlike Sweden, your site is exclusively yours once you've claimed it. I booked as soon as possible (5 months ahead) and we were able to book what we wanted. September is quiet, also.

    We looked at public transport from Toronto, but it wasn't cheap, and getting to the access point would limit our choice of outfitter. I found a hire car for £400, which meant we could hire boats from Algonquin Outfitters (AO), who were recommended (and rightly so) and take them to the access point ourselves. The only limitation that gave us was starting and finishing at the same access point. We went for the lightest boats, and were glad we had, the 'deluxe' BAs (I can't imaging how basic the basic ones must be!) and two 60 litre barrels, which we filled. We had two 3 part carbon fibre paddles with us, and rented 4 wooden ones from AO - nice shape, good condition, but very heavy!

    The hire car (Toyota RAV) was a bit small when we had all the AO gear in, but otherwise good. Hired from Thrifty through Expedia, it came with legal minimum insurance, which was $200k third party, and nothing else. I bought a policy from carhireexcess.com for about £60 - Thrifty were happy with that. Asking for an SUV worked well, as the one we got already had a few dents, and although I don't think we added any, nobody was too fussy. It would have been an extra $180 to have another driver on the hire, so I drove it all.

    AO initially said we could pick up the boats in Huntsville, but it turned out that if you want one of their rental roof racks you have to go to Oxtongue Lake. So to minimise delay, I booked us in the Wolf Den bunkhouse for the first night, which is is two minutes away (and recommended). I worried about fitting the rental rack on the hire car, but their system worked fine. They sit the bars on the roof, on plastic or foam pads, then strap the bars down tight, through the car doors. Then tie the boats to the bars with 3mm nylon cord, just to stop them slide sideways. The main ties are straps from the ends of the boats to the chassis of the car, via steel S hooks engaged in whatever holes there already were in the chassis. It's unusual, but it was very solid. The straps through the doors drip a bit if it rains.

    As Doug mentioned, I planned the main meals around freeze dried meat, diced chicken and minced beef, bought in 24 portion tubs from Mountain House. I assumed 3 days each for these, and boosted the portion size a bit, and 3 days with locally bought salami etc, and planned to use the heavier meals first. I knew there were rules on importing meat, but assumed they meant fresh meat, and that freeze drying would have sterilised it. Customs didn't agree, so confiscated the beef. So we reverted to the original portion size for the chicken, giving 4 meals, and substituted salami and lentils on the other two. I took Schwartz sauces (half a packet per person per meal) and cup-a-soup (Canadian soups are mostly noodles), one per person. Boil up the rice or pasta and throw the chicken in with it - this hydrates it really well. When the rice/pasta is done, take off the heat, don't drain it but thicken with cup-a-soup, add sauce, add 25g each of Home Bargains dried onions (581kcal/100g!!) and stir. Taking it off the heat means nothing sticks, and after scraping the pot, it was easy to rinse with a little lake water. No detergent was needed, and all the washing up water was poured into the side of the fire pit before we lit it, so there was nothing to attract bears. We each took our own choice of breakfast' lunch and snacks; I bought all mine in Canada without any problem.

    We took a 3 litre and a 1.5 litre billy, and two gas stoves, and used seven and a half 220g cylinders (main meals, 4 or 5 cups of tea, some porridge/noodles)

    I took a Garmin Inreach for emergency satellite comms, nightly locations and preset "we're OK" messages, and weather forecasts. It worked well.

    Costs - rounded, per person:
    Flights (Manchester-Toronto) £390
    Boats & gear £160
    Park/camping permits £70
    Wolf Den (two nights) £40
    Hotel in Toronto £80
    Hire car £100
    Fuel for car £15
    Insurance for car £15
    Main meals £35
    Misc £45
    Breakfast/Lunch/snack £35

    Total £980

    Happy to answer any questions!
    Last edited by Chris_B; 21st-December-2017 at 10:57 AM.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r
    The problem with a place like APP, with its largely coniferous forest, is that the right trees, with the right branches, at the right height etc etc occur very seldom, if at all. The "joke" if that's an appropriate word, is quite simply that, because the perfect set-ups occur so rarely, people tend to merely create pinatas for bears, especially park bears who know all about hung food. There are ways of rigging up a cross-line between 2 trees, and then hauling up your food to to it, but it's a total pain , even if you can get it right, so most folks quit bothering after a while. Most folks in black bear country just use odor-proof barrels (well, they are in theory) and lash them to a tree trunk (at ground level) a fair distance from their camp.
    Thanks sk8r - that's pretty much exactly what we found. When we couldn't hang them we put them very close to the fire pit and hoped that the fire smell would both deter and mask. I've noted lashing to a tree for next time.

    Our motive for trying to hang was from http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit...fety-rules.php

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    My comments centred around the need to hang bear barrels vs the hassle of doing so. I have never bothered, relying instead on placing the barrels some distance from the tents and relying on their own inherent deterrent factor. As sk8r points out, not much will prevent a large Grizzly from getting what it wants but the barrels do stop most other animals. Where I have seen barrels up in trees is when the party has gone off on an overnight trek and hasn't wanted to haul everything. with them

    A 60L bear barrel full of food can weigh in north of 100lbs so hauling it into a tree might be a danger in itself.

    So it was honest curiosity as to the nature of the advice given to you. I haven't paddled in Algonquin so wondered if it was a requirement or if it was an accepted local etiquette.

    My own practice goes something like this:

    If I don't have a barrel with me (I may be out hiking) then I haul my food into a tree and have nothing in the tent and don't cook near the tent. In Saskatchewan we might also have bear platforms at designated campsites or metal caches.

    If I do have a barrel then everything scented goes into a barrel and the barrels are moved about 100m away from the tents. I usually move them back into the woods and away from the water because if they get rolled into the river then you've still lost your food.

    My comments certainly weren't intended to poke fun or imply it was a joke but it was amusing watching your efforts.

  34. #34
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    Lovely blogg. I thought the picture of those 'dolls eye's' was brilliant. They looked just like....????errrr Dolls eyes!
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Christine and bobt, my reference to ‘joke’ lost its way on its travels over the pond. My sense of humour has got me into more trouble than I am willing to declare.

    We understood the risks and did our best to alleviate them. There were times, as Christine noted, that the trees just make hanging up food too difficult. We did our best to avoid bear problems and certainly found traces of bear, footprints and scats.

    But to take the ‘joke’ to extremis: Imagine someone taking the hoisting seriously and everything is hung up, all four of us were in hammocks, was a start????? Imagine all the trees around the camp festooned like Christmas trees with gear and paddles and canoes and food and us in hammocks. A cartoonist like Paul Mason could really do well on this theme.

    Thanks for your comments they will be of help to us and others that may venture to Canada etc.

    Cheers Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


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    Excellent blog Doug and Chris - beautifully documented and informative to boot.

  37. #37
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    A great read and fabulous photographs...now very jealous ��
    Kazbunny
    Don't dream it... DO IT!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougoutcanoe View Post
    Christine and bobt, my reference to ‘joke’ lost its way on its travels over the pond. My sense of humour has got me into more trouble than I am willing to declare.

    Cheers Doug
    I think you are good. I think it might be something to do with the lack of intonation and body language in typed communication. Anyway, you didn't get eaten by bears, had a great trip, some great photo's and video footage and best of all, the memories. If you ever get the urge to come further West then the Chrurchill might be calling your names

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    Excellent blog and wonderful pics, I also enjoyed the vid and line throwing contest .
    Loved the pics and naming of the different plants and fungi too. How fortunate to get a friendly visit from the moose, first class.
    Amazed at how cheap the trip was.
    Thanks for sharing and glad you all had a great time.

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    Epic, loved it, great pics. Thankyou.

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    Just a thought after watching the antics of the rope throwing. How about a ball of lighter string and a catapult and weight for getting the line over the branches? It might be easier and more accurate after a little practice.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  42. #42
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    Hi Al, The catapult was something I have thought about since the trip. The string in use was Dyneema less than 2mm diam and a breaking strain in excess of our needs. The magic of lifting the heavy weights was down to pulleys. In some photos the cord looks thick but that was due to the reflective part of it. ChrisB will give precise details if necessary.

    With a team like this, throwing stones renders the target quite safe. More practice required.

    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  43. #43
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    Wow... what a stunning place and fantastic trip.. and plenty fungus! Thanks for sharing this special one.

  44. #44

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    Great trip report and fantastic photos. Thanks for sharing I enjoyed that.

  45. #45
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    Hi Doug,

    Brilliant trip,green with envy.Can't have been mushroom for any more photos.

  46. Default

    That looks like a great time. Thanks for sharing.

  47. #47
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    That was a great article. Some very useful information too. I too visited Algonquin in the summer, but on a very different type of trip, and very different experience. Will try and get around to writing it up soon. I am seriously thinking of doing something more like this next year, so this info is very useful.
    Ryb An Avon.....

  48. #48

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    Wow.

    I'm just about to post my similar trip and saw yours. It brought back a few memories. Thanks for sharing

  49. #49
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    Great blog and photos

    I’ve been contemplating which route to take on our next adventure in Algonquin this coming summer, and after reading your blog and watching Trailguide Picture's video I think I'm now settled on a route parallel to the one you folks completed.

    Now I just need to plan our routes in Killarney and in Temagami…bring on the summer

    Thanks for sharing folk,

    Fred

  50. #50

    Default Flights and stoves

    Hi, just planned to have five days in Algonquin and then five in Killarney flying out with Airtransat from Manchester.

    Who did you fly from Manchester with and what stove did you take? The reason behind my question is that I have found out that Airtransat will not allow stoves to be taken on their flights, even in hold luggage, unless they are brand new!

  51. #51
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    We also flew with Airtransat from Manchester, and after some discussion of exactly your concern, we took butane stoves. The rules on the website referred to liquid fuelled stoves, and butane stoves don't see any liquid; the butane comes out of the cylinder as a gas. The stove is actually just a gas burner, it has no fuel tank. Taking a gas cylinder would be completely out of the question. I actually spoke to the AirTransat call centre and the rep said "if the rules are for liquid stoves and yours are gas, that's OK" - although she didn't sound convincing, we decided that the cost of a stove was small compared to its importance to the trip and to the overall cost; if they were confiscated we'd buy new ones in Canada. I thought that, having actually asked the call centre, and that anyone can see that a gas burner on it's own isn't dangerous, was enough to show that we weren't knowingly taking banned or dangerous goods, and therefore we shouldn't get penalised further if they were found. I also read the IATA regs on stoves, and empty gas stoves were OK by them, although they note that airlines can make their own rules.

    From a practical viewpoint, I've taken butane stoves through Manchester with other airlines without problem, and I don't think the guys on the XRay machines know the fine detail about every airline's different rules.

  52. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    We also flew with Airtransat from Manchester, and after some discussion of exactly your concern, we took butane stoves. The rules on the website referred to liquid fuelled stoves, and butane stoves don't see any liquid; the butane comes out of the cylinder as a gas. The stove is actually just a gas burner, it has no fuel tank. Taking a gas cylinder would be completely out of the question. I actually spoke to the AirTransat call centre and the rep said "if the rules are for liquid stoves and yours are gas, that's OK" - although she didn't sound convincing, we decided that the cost of a stove was small compared to its importance to the trip and to the overall cost; if they were confiscated we'd buy new ones in Canada. I thought that, having actually asked the call centre, and that anyone can see that a gas burner on it's own isn't dangerous, was enough to show that we weren't knowingly taking banned or dangerous goods, and therefore we shouldn't get penalised further if they were found. I also read the IATA regs on stoves, and empty gas stoves were OK by them, although they note that airlines can make their own rules.

    From a practical viewpoint, I've taken butane stoves through Manchester with other airlines without problem, and I don't think the guys on the XRay machines know the fine detail about every airline's different rules.
    Many thanks for the heads up on the stove you took out. We may also contact the airline, but like you say the loss of a cheap alpine stove would be no great loss financially.

  53. Default

    Great trip report, really enjoyed it :-) , thanks for sharing.

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