Sunday, April 2nd, 2017, was forecast as a beautiful spring day with high temperatures in Algonquin Park of 9 degrees. I had been cooped up for a few weekends working on my Canoe Symposium presentation and I needed to get outside!
So I got up at 7am, got myself ready, jumped in the car, and headed to Algonquin Park!
When I arrived at the trailhead… it was snowing. Not very warm at all, about -1 and I was a tad bit cold. Thankfully, I was well layered and as always, prepared for most things.
I read all the signage posted, but had done my research and knew how long the trail was and approximately how much time it would take me to hike it.
To the best of my recollection, I had only hiked the Mizzy Lake Trail once, ever.
It was a few days after my very first backcountry trip in 2002 in Algonquin Park.
I had done a 5 day, 4 night backcountry trip and barely knew how to canoe and had never backcountry camped before.
I had recently been asked by the KW Canoe Symposium to do a presentation and my 2002 trip is what I chose to do the presentation on as I had always wanted to share the story, but hadn’t done so, as yet. (post will be coming soon on that actual adventure!)
Working on that presentation, reminded me of my entire trip which included hiking the Mizzy Lake Trail, a few days afterwards. We had stayed at a cottage for a few days after the backcountry trip and while there, explored a bunch of the trails in the park.
I was extremely happy that I had come back here to hike this trail today, as it was absolutely gorgeous out.
It had stopped snowing shortly after I’d started the trail, and with the sun out, it was getting warmer as the day went on.
This was both good and bad. Good, because I was warming up and it was spring after all and it should be warm and not snowing.
Bad, because the snow was melting, which is mostly good, but it was making it more difficult to hike the trail, as per instances in the video clip above.
Everywhere I went on the trail, I heard the sound of water. Rushing water, water falls, melting water… etc.
The scariest part of hearing the water, was that in a lot of places on the trail, I heard it, but I couldn’t see it.
Don’t get me wrong, I was happier than anyone that the snow and the ice was finally melting!!!!
I was ready to go kayaking and enjoy spring…. but so far, the snow and ice were still here, so I would have to make the most of it.
I was just a little uneasy because every once and a while, I would take a step, and my foot would go down into the snow up to my knee or thigh.
And I didn’t want to hurt myself in an 11 kilometer hike. So I was walking very very carefully throughout the trail and barely noticed the giant bird that flew into the tree…. but I did see him, so I halted. Walking in snow makes a lot of noise!
Once I got a photo of the one in the tree, I continued walking. I know, not the best photo but it was pretty far away. It was then, that I noticed something big strutting around on the ground, just past the bird in the tree. WHAT THE HECK???
I snuck around the corner and got one good photo, which I absolutely love, of this ruffed grouse doing a mating dance. I couldn’t believe my luck, as I don’t often see wildlife, but there it was, doing a little dance, spreading out all it’s feathers and looked like it was floating over the snow. I stood for quite some time just watching and then as I tried to get another shot, it floated back into the forest and I couldn’t see it any longer. HOW TOTALLY COOL!
I continued on, hoping to see something else and now, feeling lucky, thought I might, but I also didn’t want to be greedy. That was quite the show I just got to see and I was extremely grateful.
I was happy to have seen what I saw and very glad I came to hike this trail today, even though it was difficult at times. As you can see by the photos, many of the boardwalks and bridges had mounds of snow on them that had been packed down by fellow hikers, and some were tricky to walk on .
When I came up to this pretty bridge, I stopped to have a seat and a snack. The sun was warm, I was warm and the water was trying very hard to push the ice away. I attempted to help it along, giving the ice a little kick with my Keens, but it didn’t even chip or move at all. It was still very very thick, to the opposite of what I’d thought.
I was getting closer to the end of the trail, but just like at the start, I continued to find areas as shown above where there were streams of water running underneath the snow and ice I was walking on top of. I was glad it was still cold enough that I could walk on top of it and hadn’t sunk through, but in a few weeks, this wouldn’t be the case.
I truly hope that anyone doing this trail at this time of year, takes every precaution possible to be safe and stay dry. I felt lucky that I chose the day that I did and I was very happy, as I was nearing the end of my hike here today.
While walking past the very last lake of the trail, Dizzy Lake, I received what I took as another gift. I noticed that the ice had a bluish tone to it. I had not seen it on any of the other lakes and thought it was amazing. I did my best to capture it in the photos and believe I did catch a bit of it, but seeing it with my own eyes is something I will remember for a long time to come. I am curious if anyone else has noticed this, and if the water is this color when it is not frozen? If anyone knows, I would love to hear from you. Please get in touch!
After staring at the blue lake as long as I was able to, I headed back into the forest for a little while longer, and when I emerged, I was back at the parking lot.
Time to go home! What an awesome day! I ended up in just a long sleeve dry wick and a tank top. It did warm up after all. I guess when you hike for 6 hours, the weather can change in many ways.
I hope you enjoyed hiking the Mizzy Lake Trail with me and that if you do hike this trail in the next little while, you are extremely cautious of the trail conditions and come well prepared for anything that might happen.
If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please do not hesitate to contact me.