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Old 04-27-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
Laros OP
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Oddometer: 376
To the Heart of Algonquin Park

Algonquin Park is a huge Provincial Park a couple hours north of Toronto. It has held a very special and large part of my heart for my whole life. It is thousands of hectares of lakes, rivers, marshes and beautiful forest. I never feel more at peace than when I am in Algonquin. When I get stressed out at work, I think of being in Algonquin and all is good again.

My cousin Rob shares the same feelings about Algonquin. A few years ago we discovered that there was a public forest access road right to the heart of the park - we knew we had to ride there.

Here is a shot from our campsite to warm you up to this ride report:




Let's go back to the beginning of the ride. We agreed to meet at my cottage which is about 2 hours north of our homes in Aurora, ON.

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'06 BMW GS 1200 New to me - Might replace the other two
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Canucks Exploring Nicaragua
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:59 PM   #2
Laros OP
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I got to the cottage before Rob, so I took a few pictures while I waited for him.







It was a beautiful morning to sit and have a coffee and enjoy the absolute quiet. It is still too early in the season for any other cottagers to be here.

__________________
'06 BMW GS 1200 New to me - Might replace the other two
'99 BMW RT 1100 Cruise Missile
'03 Suzuki DRZ 400 Goes Everywhere

Canucks Exploring Nicaragua
James Bay 2009
The Heart of Algonquin Park 2010
Outerbanks and The Smokies
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
Laros OP
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Once Rob arrived we hit the road. We were looking for the least slab possible. The gps can be set to find a range of road types between the super highways right down to unmaintained gravel tracks. My gps is usually set on the most "minor road" setting. It found us some incredible trails, which I believe are all public roads.








__________________
'06 BMW GS 1200 New to me - Might replace the other two
'99 BMW RT 1100 Cruise Missile
'03 Suzuki DRZ 400 Goes Everywhere

Canucks Exploring Nicaragua
James Bay 2009
The Heart of Algonquin Park 2010
Outerbanks and The Smokies
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
Laros OP
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The ride to the Park was long, but we had a blast!! The weather was absolutley perfect - terribly unique for April in Ontario - but we soaked up every minute of it.











__________________
'06 BMW GS 1200 New to me - Might replace the other two
'99 BMW RT 1100 Cruise Missile
'03 Suzuki DRZ 400 Goes Everywhere

Canucks Exploring Nicaragua
James Bay 2009
The Heart of Algonquin Park 2010
Outerbanks and The Smokies
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:22 PM   #5
Laros OP
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We made it to our campsite and unloaded the heavily laden bikes.




In Algonquin there are 2 types of camping. There is the car camping within campgrounds close to Highway 60. They have comfort stations, maintained beaches, etc. Unfortunately, that is all that most Algonquin visitors see. But there is SO much more to see. The Highway 60 corridor gets a visitor in contact with only a very small section of the Park.

The other type of camping in Algonquin is experienced by canoe. This is how you really get to experience the beauty and the vastness of Algonquin. But it is hard work, there are no facilities, you have to carry on your back all you will need for days without seeing another person, etc.

I had discovered this particualr site by accident 2 years ago. It is a "backcountry" site and provides all the beauty, privacy, serenity, etc. of a canoe access only site. But it is close enough to a small gravel road that we can get here with our dual sport bikes.

Awesome!






So, we set up camp. Now we have bikes that feel remarkably light and agile. Perfect for heading further into the "Heart of Algonquin"...
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'06 BMW GS 1200 New to me - Might replace the other two
'99 BMW RT 1100 Cruise Missile
'03 Suzuki DRZ 400 Goes Everywhere

Canucks Exploring Nicaragua
James Bay 2009
The Heart of Algonquin Park 2010
Outerbanks and The Smokies
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:33 PM   #6
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Whoa man, that's a tease...looking forward to more.

Algonquin has a strange effect on me as well...one early morning, deep into a 4 day portage trip several years ago I proposed to my wife...just weeks after reiterating to her that marriage was not for me.

It is one of the few places I feel truly happy and at peace.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:51 PM   #7
Laros OP
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Rob and I knew there was a Radio Observatory set up many years ago in the middle of Algonquin by the Canadian government. It was set up here because it is so far removed from any other light interference.

The largest satellite dish in Canada is located here. It is no longer operated by the government, and has been sold to a private party. We were determined to find it.

We knew it was located near Lake Travers, which we could find on a map. According to our calculations, it would be approximately 70 km inside the park along a forest access road.

The road was very loose sand/gravel, but we were on suitable bikes, with suitable tires, so off we went.






After riding along this road, which gave us several "pucker up moments" due to the pockets of very loose sand, we found this locked gate.




You can see the sign on the right...we found the location of the Observatory, but we did not expect to find a locked gate. Shit! We came a long way to see this damn dish.

We considered skirting the gate, but there were lots of warning signs about video survellance. In a place as remote as this, you could normally laugh off the "video survellance", but we both noticed that our pictures were already taken on the road just before the gate. Sure enough, there was a motion triggered camara. Better not crash the gate...

While were there with our bikes and helmets off, we heard thundering water further down the road. Might as well check that out while we are here.

Down the road a little way there was another sign prohibiting entry, but this time the gate was open and Rob kept going. Who was I to stop him?

Rob found the source of the water noise and stopped on a bridge over a large river with rapids.






We had not seen another person or vehicle in the park for hours. While standing in the middle the bridge checking my IPhone for service (there was none) I felt the bridge shaking. I looked up and there was a pick up truck waiting for me to move. WTF? Where did he come from? Turns out the driver was a Park Warden, and we were not supposed to be here. Didn't we see the sign? What sign??

I explained we were just doing a little exploring, ya, we shouldn't be here, but we just had to check out the rapids, blah blah...The Warden says "if you want to do a little exploring, get off your bikes and check out J R Booth's old homestead". He told us where to find it and we did. Very Interesting.

This is not something you'd expect to find way out here:




J R Booth was a lumber baron in the early 1800's. His company pretty much cleared most of what is now Algonquin Park of the mighty White Pine trees.

Most of the lumber was shipped back to Europe for ship building. J R built a railway through the park. You know it must have been a big, profitable business to support its own rail line. And I gotta think that building a railway through the rocks, marshes, around all the lakes in Algonquin was no easy task.

The fireplaces from the old house remain.



There were four like this. Rob determined that they were the corners of the old house - you could see where the walls would have gone between them.

If so, this was a Massive house - in the middle of nowhere!!

__________________
'06 BMW GS 1200 New to me - Might replace the other two
'99 BMW RT 1100 Cruise Missile
'03 Suzuki DRZ 400 Goes Everywhere

Canucks Exploring Nicaragua
James Bay 2009
The Heart of Algonquin Park 2010
Outerbanks and The Smokies

Laros screwed with this post 04-27-2010 at 08:49 PM
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