Algonquin through Magnetawan Lake – Part Two

Paddling into Grassy Bay from White Trout Lake
Paddling into Grassy Bay from White Trout Lake
Paddling through Grassy Bay
Paddling through Grassy Bay

After our day off on White Trout, our next night was spent on McIntosh Lake. We were up early to paddle through Grassy Bay hoping to spot more wildlife. I have never seen a river otter, and they were on my list of animals to see this summer. We didn’t see any moose, but almost near the portage to Hawkins Lake, a family of 4 otters popped up in front of us! How lucky am I? They’re so cute and curious.

River Otters!
River Otters!
First campsite in Grassy Bay
Paddling through Grassy Bay

I loved the paddle through Grassy Bay and McIntosh Marsh. What an amazing wetland. According to Jeff’s Map, before construction of the dam between Longer Lake and Big Trout, McIntosh Marsh was almost impassible.


From McIntosh Marsh we did a 745m portage, a paddle and beaver dam lift over, and another 510m into McIntosh Lake.

McIntosh Creek



McIntosh Lake

We wanted another sunset and night photos, so opted for an island site with a lot of open sky views.

I got out first to inspect the site. I did see orange peels in the fire pit, but the rest of the site looked good to me. I ordered the crew to secure the canoe and that this would be camp for the night.


An awesome tent pad under this beautiful hemlock
An awesome tent pad under this beautiful hemlock

Upon further inspection by B, he pulled out a dozen or so oranges and apples that were thrown into the bush. Banjo was into something when we noticed a whole bunch of ziplock baggies. Inside was a mixture of rank fruit cocktail. Why do people do this? It doesn’t even matter if this is an island site. Food attracts bears. Bears can swim, and if you think for a second that you’re safer on an island, you’re not. I watched a bear swim toward our island campsite in Kawartha Highlands last Labour Day Weekend.

People can be so inconsiderate
Left for us to deal with

We were both very upset by this. Was the food now our responsibility to get rid? We’re not packing out over 10lbs of fruit that will spoil in our food barrel. We decided that the best approach was to burn it. B cut loads of wood and we started the fire at 5:00pm and began burning it. And to be honest, I didn’t want the next people camping on this site to have the same reaction we did. So, we cleaned it all up.

Hopefully this will be enough wood to burn the garbage left behind by inconsiderate people
The wood used to burn the garbage left behind by inconsiderate people

Another rant here: I’m tired of seeing a million grills at campsites. It just looks dumpy. At this particular site, we counted 9 grills! There is no need for so many rusty grills at one site.

Is there really a need for 9 grills at one campsite?
Is there really a need for 9 grills at one campsite?

After we cleaned the site up, we spent the afternoon burning garbage and tanning in the sun.

Found this guy basking in the sun


Lots of canoeists on busy McIntosh Lake



There was a full moon, so we stayed up to watch the sunset and moon shine bright.


I took this photo for my friend Shanna. It reminds me of her necklace.
I took this photo for my friend Shanna. It reminds me of her necklace.

The next day we had a short paddle to Misty. I’m not sure why we stayed on Misty again because we could have pushed further. I would have shortened this trip significantly to not have so much down time.

Almost to the portage we saw another moose.

Moose # 3
Moose # 3

We portaged 405m into Timberwolf and 845m into Misty. Back at the permit office at the end of our trip, the park staff said that a bear got into someone’s bag on Misty that had grapes in it. I wonder if was the same people who left the whole grocery store produce section on McIntosh Lake.

When we came out of the portage from Timberwolf to Misty, we saw another moose across the lake.

Moose # 4 on Misty
Moose # 4 on Misty

We were going to camp at the island site close to the west Petawawa portage, but when we started looking around and saw a bunch of bushcrafty junk lying around (one included some fishing rod with hook, duct taped branches, etc), we opted for the site near our portage the next day to Muslim lake.


This site was a little better, but definitely looked pretty junky with woodchips, axe-hacked stumps and one half decent tent pad. What it had going for it was the view.

Our hodgepodge lunch





Around 4:00pm canoes were coming in from all directions. At one point, we counted at least 16 of them! I didn’t realize the route we planned was so busy. There were a lot of groups/camps out and about. We could tell by the “gunwale thunder” we were hearing. Definition: 3 paddles hitting the gunwales with each paddle stroke. I wonder if they ever see any wildlife.

We had an awesome sunset this evening.







Super canopy!






Want to read more? Here’s the Final Part. Thanks for reading!


  1. seeing all the refuse left behind really gets my goat too! people need to understand that Algonquin is to be left in it’s natural state. that is the idea of creating a nature park, in the first place! if you bring it in, use it up, or bring it back out. people need to learn the in’s and out’s of back country camping, or it won’t look like back country for very long………but more like a dump??? is that really what we want?


  2. Too bad about all the garbage. It really upsets me to see people being so inconsiderate and careless. During our trip in Killarney earlier this year we came across a site that had garbage everywhere, fish bones scattered all around, toilet paper. Almost made me cry. We cleaned it up but decided not to stay there. Just felt too sad. Luckily, there were other sites available on the lake.
    Other than the garbage, looks like a great trip. The otters are super cute and beautiful sunset photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Algonquin Outfitters used to do an Algonquin clean up weekend every year, that was a great idea. I don’t know if they still do it. We participated for years. One year coming down the Oxtongue river, we stopped to clean up a campsite and found the fire pit still smoking and used propane cylinders in the fire pit. We kicked them out of the fire pit and got the heck out of there. It was always a little disappointing to see how some people left the campsites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, every time we find evidence of inconsiderate people it infuriates me. I can’t help it. How can people be so careless? Maybe they weren’t taught well, that’s my only guess. Thanks for reading, Wes!


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