Adventures

My Failed Attempt at Backcountry Packrafting

Not long ago, I got a packraft. You may wonder what a packraft is, which is a fair question to ask because before my SO talked to me about it, I had no idea this was even an option as a sport. I’ve always loved the outdoors and outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking/canoeing, hiking/trekking, etc. Until a few months ago, I went camping, rented a canoe and explored nature mostly on foot. Considering I live in an apartment where keeping a kayak or a canoe is not an option, it felt very limiting to camp, hike and canoe. This is mostly why I never attempted to backcountry camp, I felt like something was missing.

Ready to explore!

Ready to explore!

Packrafting explained by Wikipedia: 

“Packraft and trail boat are colloquial terms for a small, portable inflatable boat designed for use in all bodies of water, including technical whitewater and ocean bays and fjords. A packraft is designed to be light enough to be carried for extended distances. Along with its propulsion system (collapsable paddles or lightweight oars) and safety equipment (PFD, clothing) the entire package is designed to be light and compact enough for an individual to negotiate rough terrain while carrying the rafting equipment together with supplies, shelter, and other survival or backcountry equipment.”

Isn’t that just wonderful!?

Multitasking in the wilderness

Multitasking in the wilderness

After I finally received my Alpaca packraft in nautical blue from Alpacka Raft, I decided to go backcountry packrafting to test it out. The trip itself was a huge fail due to various reasons such as the weather, but the packrafting part of the trip was fantastic! I enjoyed the hell out of that boat!

I went back to Stratton Lake in Algonquin Park since I had gone there last to practice. The weather was great when I started in early afternoon but by nightfall, it was damp and drizzling constantly. I had a backcountry campsite booked in High Falls for the first night and Stratton Lake for the second night but we ended up spending the first and only night on Stratton Lake. On our way down Stratton Lake, we opted for the “short cut” where we were going to portage the rafts over to the other side. I should have known that the water levels would not allow such a thing in May but it was late, rainy and I was hungry. I just wanted to get to the campsite by then for a warm meal and some rest. After exploring Highfalls for a period of time in the rain, we concluded that it would be too much trouble and risky to portage across and headed back to the nearest campsite thinking we could come back to High Falls the next day to explore and take some photographs of the natural slide.

Backcountry Packrafting

Backcountry Packrafting

Once we got to the campsite, of course all the wood was wet already but we managed a nice fire thanks to the cotton balls and Vaseline I had brought as fire starter in case this exact scenario would happen. We set up the tent and had some dinner then went to bed. It was damp and cold all night as it rained quite hard for most of the night. In the morning it had turned into a light rain which was enough to start a fire and have some breakfast. We had brought a tarp so we set up a little shelter.

Cotton Ball Fire Starter

Cotton Ball Fire Starter

By the afternoon, we felt pretty defeated. We just kept eating to keep warm and motivated but with the rain not stopping, it was hard. I had made some no-bake cranberry flax energy bites which worked out really well during our adventure. It was disappointing that I couldn’t take out my camera for some shots most of the times. When I checked in the waterproof bag, my equipment was very damp. I got very scared for her during that trip and decided that considering how heavy she is and the weather, I would leave her at home and bring only the point and shoot during backcountry adventures.

In late afternoon, the rain was scattering and I was able to take a few photographs of the campsite. We had packed up our stuff by then and planned to head back to the car. By the time we reached the car, the rain had stopped and the sky was clear. It was an interesting first backcountry camping experience and I would certainly do it again but I would do a lot of things differently.

Neatly packed backpacks

Neatly packed backpacks

A peek at the Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail from the old railway road

A peek at the Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail from the old railway road

The old railway road I hiked on

The old railway road I hiked on

Inflating the packrafts

Inflating the packrafts

Ready for the backpacks!

Ready for the backpacks!

Excitement is high!

Excitement is high!

A shitty attempt at a panorama of the campsite

A shitty attempt at a panorama of the campsite

FIRE!

FIRE!

The face of damp,cold, hungry, un-showered defeat

The face of damp,cold, hungry, un-showered defeat

This post had some spelling/grammar edits done…a few times.

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Categories: Adventures, Algonquin Park, Fire, Gear, Ideation, My Photography, Ontario, Packrafting, Tree, Water | Leave a comment

A Short Packrafting Adventure

Packraft all ready to go!

Packraft all ready to go!

I have been waiting patiently for the Achray campground area for backcountry camping at Algonquin Park to open for quite some time now. Due to weather reasons, the opening of certain areas were delayed and that made me really sad. The park is open for business now and I am a happy lady! I am, in

Packrafting on Grand Lake

Packrafting on Grand Lake

fact, so happy that I have already booked some backcountry camping for this Thursday and Friday!

I was so excited for the opening of parks in Ontario this weekend that I woke up at 4 in the morning on Saturday and drove to Algonquin Park. It was a glorious morning and it was an equally glorious day. I had brought all of the no-bake energy bites I had made that week and a bag of Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce for trail fuel. I guess my SO loved my peanut butter bites because by the time we were hiking back to the car, there were none left!

I arrived early morning and I parked at the Achray campground site where the Eastern Pines Backpacking trail is and walked down the old railway road that is missing some serious train tracks action. I walked down that road until I got to the CN Beachburg-Alderdale bridge. From there I took a few pictures and made my way back because I thought it would be a good idea to bushwhack closer to Grand Lake. It was a bit hard but nice and I found a nice place to set up my Alpacka packraft and start my water journey!

 

Packrafting Adventure. I just started using Google Earth. I’m cool like that.

  • P: Parking
  • Camera: CN Beachburg-Alderdale bridge
  • Sailboats: Start and finish of packrafting
  • Anchor: Resting through high winds
  • Pink on land: Hiking
  • Purple: Bushwhacking
  • Blue: Packrafting
Stratton Lake, Algonquin Park

Stratton Lake, Algonquin Park

Stratton Lake, CN Beachburg-Alderdale bridge

Stratton Lake, CN Beachburg-Alderdale bridge

Wildflower: Spring Ephemerals

Wildflower: Spring Ephemerals

Wildflower: Spring Ephemeral

Wildflower: Spring Ephemeral

Wildflower: Spring Ephemerals

Wildflower: Spring Ephemerals

Jack Pine Trail

Jack Pine Trail

The Elusive Hole

The Elusive Hole

Life Rocks

Life Rocks

Backcountry Campsite

Backcountry Campsite

Grand Lake

Grand Lake

Grand Lake - Bonus random old man to make the photo dramatic

Grand Lake – Bonus random old man to make the photo dramatic

Grand Lake Historic Site

Grand Lake Historic Site

Life Always Finds A Way

Life Always Finds A Way

Categories: Adventures, Algonquin Park, Food, Ideation, My Photography, Nature, Ontario, Packrafting, Rock, Sky, Tree, Water, Wood | Leave a comment

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