Misty-McIntosh-Moccasin Loop, Algonquin


To celebrate Canada Day and the 4th of July in one extra long weekend, we set out from Toronto on a Friday morning to explore a new area of Algonquin for four days. We picked up our canoe, from Trailside Adventures, and our park permit in Kearney and then drove about 45 minutes to the Magnetawan Access Point (No. 3).  We launched the canoe into Magnetawan Lake at 11:45 am and reached Daisy Lake in just over an hour. We had chicken salad pitas for lunch before taking the 130 m portage to the Petawawa River.  This is a slow-flowing, serpentine river surrounded by a great marsh of reeds and beautiful grasses.  There is a 450 m portage around some rocky rapids in the river that is not optional (some adventurers ahead of us found that out the hard way). We made it to Misty Lake over an 880 m portage approximately 5 hours after launching that morning. As we paddle to our campsite on the far side of the island, we saw a moose enjoying her dinner and then another one! 

After breakfast the next morning, we left Misty Lake and took the 780 m portage to Timberwolf Lake, which took under an hour campsite to lake.  We paddled across Timberwolf, portaged 400 m, and found ourselves a campsite on the second island on McIntosh Lake just in time for lunch (total traveling time was 2 hours).  The weather was very windy and overcast, not good for the day of swimming we were so looking forward to.  We took a nap instead, spent a lot of time sawing firewood and hiking around our island. We ate like kings that night (pork tenderloin and zucchini over the fire!) and enjoyed an amazing sunset with our wine. 

    On the third day, the sun was up again as we retraced our path back to Timberwolf Lake.  This time instead of the 780 m portage to Misty, we headed east for the 120 m portage and a longer paddle through the Misty Lake (1h15min from campsite to Misty).  The paddle through Misty was lovely, and the 980 m portage to Muslim Lake was long, but not killer, all of which took an hour and a half.  We made our way through Muslim Lake which was nondescript, through Wenona Lake, where we had lunch at the one campsite on the lake, and then through Bandit Lake where we made the last 440 m portage to Moccasin Lake (2 hr total from Muslim to Moccasin).  We looked over both campsites and chose the prettier one on the south side of the small lake.  We were rewarded for our long day of many portages by being the only ones on the lake that evening.  The water was perfect for swimming and the sunset was spectacular, even if the mosquitos were insane after dusk.  We slept without the rain fly on the tent and could see the silhouettes of the trees above us in the moonless night until we went to sleep around 11:30 pm.

On our final day, we left Moccasin Lake and were able to avoid the first 140 m portage: instead we navigated easily over a log jam.  After an 800 m portage, we were back on the “mighty” Petawawa River.  We lunched again on Daisy Lake and couldn’t resist stopping for one last refreshing swim in Hambone Lake before finishing our trip back in Magnetawan.

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