Ralph Bice and Little Trout Lakes

Algonquin, July 2013


     Since we first started canoeing, we wanted to bring Marella’s parents, Roger and Mary, on a trip with us.  That opportunity finally arrived this summer.  We had such a great experience with Algonquin Basecamp (formally Trailside Adventures) and Algonquin’s Magnetawan Access several years ago, that we decided to start our trip there.  After a brief paddling tutorial, we headed out from Magnetawan to the 160 m portage to Hambone Lake.  It was another quick paddle across Hambone to the 290 m portage to Ralph Bice Lake.  We set up camp on the south side of the lake at a very large campsite in a protected bay that included an awesome sandy beach that reached forever into the lake.  After a lunch of curried chicken salad in pitas, we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach and in the water.  For dinner, we made chicken fajitas over the campfire.

     The next morning, we broke camp and paddled the rest of the way through Ralph Bice Lake to the 440 m portage to Little Trout Lake.  Along the way, we spied a small fawn coming out of the water and onto the shore. We also tried our luck at fishing for the first time ever, as Roger loves fishing and could give us pointers (like how to make knots).  Many of the sites on Little Trout were occupied when we arrived, but we did find one to our liking on the north side of the lake.  We had sandwiches for lunch and set up camp.  The rest of the afternoon was spent paddling around the lake fishing, or at least trying to.  Roger was the champion fisherman, catching what would be the only fish (a very, very small trout) of the trip. 

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Again, dinner was cooked over the fire: fennel crusted pork tenderloins and zucchini.  That night it rained quite a bit, and the rain continued off and on for most of the next morning.  Fortunately, we planned to spend two nights on Little Trout, so once the rain broke, we made a day trip into Queer Lake (150 m portage).  We spent the afternoon paddling around looking for moose, which we never saw (and which ended up with Roger and Marella tipping over their canoe!), and fishing, again with no luck.  After our lunch of rehydrated homemade humus with pitas, salami and cheese, we paddled back to Little Trout Lake and set out to dry everything from the previous night’s rain and the unplanned swim.  For our last dinner, we had another homemade dehydrated meal: quinoa “unstuffed” peppers. Delish!

     On our fourth and final morning, we broke camp and made the paddle all the way back to Magnetawan Lake.  Roger and Mary had become paddling and portaging pros by then, and even with a stiff head wind, we made it back across Ralph Bice Lake in good time.  We stopped at the west end of Ralph Bice for lunch and a last swim.  After the last two portages, we were at Magnetawan Lake and, sadly, back to the car all too soon, wrapping up a really fun trip.

    Roger and Mary are fantastic backcountry canoe companions and they couldn’t stop complimenting all of the great food.  Aw shucks!  Perhaps it was the pain au chocolat that Mike conceived in a moment of brilliance that won them over!