Just a long weekend trip to Algonquin Park, starting at the Smoke lake access point. Originally this trip for for 2 us to go on and would have make a lot more sense given the canoe (17 ft), but Bax had to back out at the last minute. So with all alternatives for a second exhausted, I endeavored to do the trip myself, solo.Day 1Temp: 28CWind: NE @3 KM/hr (15 km gusts)Distance: 17.7 km in 5:35Day 1 was quite nice, arriving at the trail head around 10 and being on the water and underway by 10:30, this put me an easy 30 minutes ahead of any kind of schedule I had for the day. Day 1 was intended to be the shorter, but tougher day with several portages including the longest of the trip at 1610 meters. However due to the weather and the levelness of all but the first portage, this didn't turn out to be the case. Making what I thought was reasonably good time I made camp in roughly 5 and one half hours and began to get ready for supper. As has become tradition now, the first night was a couple of very nice filets which had been thawing in by back pack for the day. By 6 pm there were just perfect as if coming out of the fridge just in time to be placed over the hot fire. I also had the first opportunity to try out the Vargo wood fired stove. After taking a few pictures and getting ready to settle in for the night the first blemish appeared....I had rather severely burned myself in the sun.....damn those nice days.Day 2Temp: 28CWind: SW @ 20 KM (30 km gusts)Distance: 20.3 km in 8:03Day 2 pretty much turned into the day from hell for me due to the wind. Although I was expecting a little, it basically became a fight with the wind all day long, with the only reprise being the portages where the mosquitoes were hiding due to the wind (Newman!). Add to that the sun burn and a few other things and the going was tough. As the day wore on I became more and more exhausted, at one point actually doing a portage rather than paddling. What is the world coming to? A few other points during the days activities, I had to pull ashore twice just to rest before the wind blew me back and while trying to hold myself into the wind while discussing campsites with somebody on shore, I almost had the luxury of swim...good times :-) In the end I had a beautiful spot for a campsite even though I arrived just around dusk, and even though the nights meal wasn't up to the previous nights standards, it still hit the spot.Day 3Temp: 26CWind: NE @ 24 KM (33 km gusts)Distance: 8.6 km in 3:07Day 3 is all about getting back. Not wanting to repeat one issue with the day before made sure to get out of camp earlier in the morning to try and avoid the wind. Although it does seem that I did avoid the biggest part of the wind with this strategy, it was to little avail for me since I was basically straight into the wind the whole way north on Smoke Lake. I had managed to make the push up the lake shorter by doing 3 smaller portages first, but in the end was still a 4.5 km trek directly into the wind. It is at these moments that you can really see how much faster the 2 and 3 person canoes can move compared to you as a single into the wind. The GPS was tracking me between 2 and 3 km/hr most of the time and those canoes were moving a good 25% faster, probably between 3 and 4 km.
If you are going solo try to have as small a canoe as possible. 15 ft would be the largest I would go for.Wear lots of sun screen :-)Have water near by on the canoe. The wind on the lake can take away your sweat quickly so you may not even realize you are getting dry during the longer paddles.