Grundy Backcountry solo trip – Do not put hot rocks in tent!

My very first blog post was after Canada Day weekend 2015 where I spent an amazing 4 days at Grundy Lake Provincial Park. I loved the park and had vowed to return and check out the backcountry soon!  It had taken a while but this weekend I was on my way and I couldn’t wait!

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Grundy Lake PP is only about an hour and a half drive from my new home in Port Carling.  I left work at 4pm and arrived around 530, super excited to be here.

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I had booked a backcountry site B4 on Pakeshkag Lake. The only site left, but also what looked to be the furthest from the park and off all on its own.

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After driving down a long windy one lane road for a bit, I arrived at the boat launch and got busy getting my kayak loaded and on my way. It was almost 6pm and daylight was running out!

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I had the great pleasure of paddling on this gorgeous lake, with barely any wind and the sky looked magical.  I knew I had to get to my site and get as much set up as I could before dark, but I had a hard time not pausing so I could take photos.

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It was just so beautiful, I couldn’t stop myself.

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Eventually I made it to the site. It was at the far end of the lake and in a weeded area, as I was told.  The site was small but due to the rain expected tomorrow, it was kind of good as everything would be close and I would stay dry fairly easily…. or so I thought? (that story a little later).

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As I paddled towards the sight a lovely heron took off that was sitting in the weeds just to the right of my site. I got a quick picture, then paddled in to check out my new home for the next 2 nights.

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I unloaded my boat and moved quickly, but had to stop every once and a while and take some photos as the sunset was directly across from my site and absolutely stunning!

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I hadn’t been advised that my site also had a bear bin.  I was really pleased it was here. I had a BV500 bear vault, but it was also nice to have added protection, not only because I was alone this trip, but because Grundy is known for bears!

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I went for a quick walk to find the privy and found it no problem. I was pretty impressed as it looked brand new!  Sweet! LOL

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I got everything set up as darkness fell.  The sky was incredible!  I got a fire going so I could cook my steak on it.  I was starving and looking forward to a delicious dinner!

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I was feeling a bit spoiled this weekend. My last trip had 3 portages and I packed very light dehydrated food (mostly).  This trip I not only had steak and fresh asparagus, but I also had a drink with ice in it! Fancy shmantzy!!!

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After dinner I sat by the fire for a while but it was already pretty late and I was tired,  so after a bit I decided to call it a night.  I was getting a little chilled and could feel the temperature dropping, so I decided I’d try the hot rock trick I used in Algonquin.  Basically, you take a hot rock from around the firepit and wrap it in a towel or shirt or something similar and put it in your sleeping bag.

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The rocks were really dirty so I wrapped them in some foil I had. I always bring a few sheets of foil as you never know when you might need it and it’s light and compact and had many uses.  I wrapped up two rocks and put them outside my tent while I went in and got settled. Then I grabbed them, put one on the floor of my tent and another in my sleeping bag.  In what couldn’t have been more than 20 seconds I turned to grab rock two and noticed a small issue.

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The floor of my Marmot tent had melted right through the floor and the footprint to the ground outside.  OMG!!!!! I was so upset and I couldn’t believe what I’d just done!!!!!  I threw the rock outside of the tent and took the other one out as well.  I sat there pouting not believing what I’d just done!!!    After a while I tried to go to sleep and forget what had happened, but the smell of the burning material lingered on and I couldn’t get it out of my tent, or my mind. I guess it was my punishment for being an idiot!!!!  I put a plastic bag over the hole so I couldn’t see it when I woke up and eventually went to sleep, trying not to hear the trains coming by in the middle of the night that were near where I was.

I woke up to the sound of a train and rain. It was raining pretty good out.  I wanted to sleep in but I just wasn’t good at it. I did my best but after a bit I got up and started to make breakfast.  As I was going through my bear vault, I noticed I didn’t bring my hot chocolate mix, which was odd for me, so I improvised:

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I got out all my breakfast ingredients and got ready to cook everything up.

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I made toast a different way this trip and it worked quite well:

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Breakfast with a view, nice and dry under my tarp!  Happy camper and the rain was slowing down so I was getting hopeful!  I cleaned up my breakfast dishes and packed some food for an adventure and got ready to head out. The weather cooperated ….well… it did at first!

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I left my site and headed for the liftover that would take me into another part of the lake. When I spoke to the park before booking they told me the site that is through this way is no longer active as they can’t maintain it.

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Once you go through the leftover you paddle for a bit in another area of the lake, then to get to the next section, you can either go over the water and up and down a steep hill where there are train tracks, or, you can get out of your boat and pull it over a beaverdam and into a culvert that takes you to the other side.  I chose the culvert today and as I arrived it started to rain.

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I pulled my boat through the shallow water and when I arrived at the other side I saw that I would have to continue doing so a bit farther.

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The rocks were very slippery and full of moss and algae so I stepped very carefully.

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It was incredibly pretty here but with the rain the photos didn’t come out so well.  I came back the next morning and took some better shots which I will insert a bit further down the post.  Once I went through the area above, I had to pick up my kayak and carry it over the rocks to the other side.  It was a tough carry as the rocks were starting to get wet, but I made it eventually.

The weather was getting worse but I did my best to keep my spirits up and enjoy my exploration paddle.  I paddled as far as I could go, then finally decided I should turn and go back.

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I was soaked and even though it was warm out, the rain was starting to get to me. I found a spot to dock my boat where there was a tree that I could sit under for a while and have a short break.

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After drying off my legs and myself and having a small reprieve from the rain, I decided to head back. I had a nice campsite with a warm dry tent and a beautiful huge tarped area that I could sit at and be dry and at the moment, that is all I wanted. I made my way back to the portage, but I had a pretty hard time getting back up the rocks at the waterfalls and over to the shallow water where I’d have to drag the boat through.

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The rocks were covered in slipperyness and it was really tough for me with the delta.  I actually had a bad spill where I slid down the rocks above, boat in hand about 10 feet and continued to slide right into the lake up to my knees. I couldn’t stop myself and I could’ve hurt myself pretty badly. It definitely scared me and I was not too happy with myself for being in this situation.  I struggled pushing and pulling the boat up the steep slippery soaking wet rocks and eventually I made it to the other side, but I was a bit shaken to say the leaast.

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I stepped carefully through the shallow water, over, on and around the slippery rocks and eventually made it to the culvert, happy to be there.

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Once through I paddled straight back to my site not taking any photos or stopping for anything. I just wanted to get dry and feel safe for a bit.

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Upon my return the rain slowed (of course! LOL) but I tarped up my firepit so I could sit by it, lit a nice warm fire and put some foil on my fire grate. This would keep the rain from soaking the firepit and putting the fire out. I”d done this a few times before, the first time during my trip at Bon Echo and it worked great! Once I was set up, I changed into some dry clothes and sat and read my book for the rest of the day.  No more exploring for me today! Nuh uh! I was relaxing and didn’t have my head cracked open and I was happy about that and just wanted to sit still and do nothing.

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When dinner time came I got out my bear vault and starting cooking. I had brought some leftover spaghetti sauce from my trip to Algonquin  some spaghetti and some mushrooms. I rehydrated the mushrooms and then rehydrated the sauce while cooking the pasta. It came out amazing and it felt great to have some warm comforting food in my tummy.

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After I finished eating I used my silicon spatula to clean out the pot which worked amazingly well. It was almost totally clean once I was done and I barely had to wipe it out afterwards.

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As soon as I got done with my dinner cleanup,  the sun decided to poke it’s head out and say hello! I went down to sit on the rocks and feel it’s warmth. It wasn’t super cold out, but, I think I was still a bit chilled from being wet so long and playing in the rain.

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I did some exploring around the site but didn’t venture too far. I found lots of cool little mushrooms.

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I got a few nice pictures as the sun stayed out for the last few hours of daylight.

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Soon afterwards, darkness came again and after sitting by the fire for a bit, I headed to bed.  I was still a little cold but I had learned my lesson with the hot rocks. No more hot rocks in the tent for me… ever. How was I going to explain this to Marmot! (more on that in one of my upcoming posts!!!! )

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As an alternative to the hot rocks, tonight I would heat some water on my stove and put it in my nalgene and put that into my sleeping bag. I wish I would’ve been smart enough to do that the night before. Every time I looked at the gaping hole in the floor I got so angry  and upset with myself, but sadly, there wasn’t much I could do about it now.

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I crawled into my sleeping bag with my hot water bottle and was toasty warm.  I had a good sleep and was happy to wake up to a clear sky and no rain the next day! I didn’t quite yet have sun, but I had a beautiful moon at 6:20 when I headed out for my morning paddle!

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What a difference a day can make. With pink skies and the moon shining brightly, I set off to get some good photos of where I’d explored yesterday.

The water was mirror and the sky was magical.  I was once again a happy camper.

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I went through the liftover and into the next area of the lake, then towards the portage. I didn’t have the desire to bring my boat this morning. I had had enough of that yesterday, but what I decided to do instead was dock my boat at the portage where you go up and over the train tracks and just walk it to take some pictures and leave my boat waiting for me when I was done.

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I’m glad I did because it was stunning and the photos were so much nicer than the trip the day before in the rain.

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The lake was covered in fog and the sky was pink and it was a gorgeous morning to be at Grundy!

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Eventually, I walked up the steep hill and round rocks to the train tracks and down the other side to my pretty boat waiting for me.  I paddled around the empty bay for a while taking in the tranquil sights. The water was still mirror and the sun was just peaking over the trees on this part of the lake.

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Signs of fall were starting to show on some of the trees and shrubs and it looked extra pretty!  I felt so lucky to be here and to get to see this.

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The wind started picking up as the morning grew late,  so I headed back to the liftover and on to my site to make myself some breakfast!

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Today’s breakfast was strawberry pancakes, yum yum! I used some leftover strawberries I’d dehydrated for my portage trip, re hydrated them, added some chocolate pieces,  made some more homemade hot chocolate and I was all set!

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After breakfast, I cleaned up the dishes and packed up my site and prepared for a day of exploring.  From what I could see on the map, Pakeshkag had a river on the other side of the lake and I loved paddling small rivers and creeks and streams. I was super excited to check it out!  As this post has grown a bit long, I’m just going to post some of my favorite pics from Pakeshkag River. Hope you enjoy the trip with me!

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I saw this big snake when I stopped on my way out of the park to take a quick swim before heading to the parking lot. He must’ve been about 3 feet long!  Somehow I managed to still go for a swim right next to where he went into the lake. LOL.

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Back to the car I go !

I hope you enjoyed my post and it inspires you to get outside and explore nature!

If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please leave a message!

Happy Camping!

Camper Christina

 

 

 

 

 

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