Last weekend I hiked the Western Uplands trail in Algonquin Park. I hiked it in a counterclockwise direction completing the blue, yellow and red trails. I had my dog Rambo with me and we were destined to have some serious solitude. The weather was sunny on Friday, cloudy/ rainy Sat and Sunday. We left the car at the Hwy 60 parking lot at exactly noon and we headed to Clara lake 23km away. We passed two backpackers leaving the parking lot and then shortly after that a family of four headed for Maggie lake. We made good time arriving at Clara at 5:15pm. We had not seen anyone in 4 hours and we had the entire lake to ourselves. It was a gorgeous evening and the colors were in full swing. We made camp, ate dinner and took some photos before heading to bed around 7:45pm. There were tons of strange noises that night... I think the "whacking" we heard in the forest was a Buck deer or a bull moose hitting it's antlers against a tree...? The massive splashes we heard sounded like something large jumping in the water right outside the tent. I never could figure out what that one was.
We awoke around 7am to grey skies. We had a quick breakfast, packed up camp, took some morning photos and hit the trail for 8:30am. Ahead of us we had a 31.2km day on trails that I have never previously been on. The northern part of trail was slightly overgrown and was made worse by the tall wet brush I was walking through. The trail also had allot of leaves on it it and that made it harder to follow. There were a couple of super neat beaver dams that you have to ford en route to Saturday's night camp on Rainbow lake. We made it to camp at 3:20pm and with a light rain set up the tent, had dinner and got ready for bed. The campsite on the point was the best of the three site options on Rainbow lake and once again we had the place to ourselves. With it raining out I contemplated carrying on to a open site farther down the trail or even to the car (would of made for a 50+km day). I decided that since I already had the tent up that it was probably best to just get a goods night sleep and a early start tomorrow morning. We hit the hay around 6pm and woke up 2hrs later once everything was now pitch black outside. It was a super quiet night with the only sounds being the rain on the tent and the wind in the trees.
I woke up 3 minutes before the alarm sounded at 6:12am to a dark foggy morning. It was cold and damp. After a bowl of oats and a cup of coffee I packed up the gear and tent and set off at 7:20am on the 19.4km distance to the car. We got soaked. The trail was wet with all the foliage we touched getting us wetter and wetter. Luckily there we were on our way out and there was warm dry clothes in the car waiting for me. We had a very quiet peaceful walk out. The foggy morning mixed with the beutiful fall colors made it surreal! We hit the car and the busy parking lot at 11:15am. I had no idea where all the people that were parked were at? We seen some people also just coming out from Maple Leaf lake and a few other hikers but that was all. It was one of the best weekends for fall colors and one of the best fall seasons in years and I seen only a small handful of people out there and most were close the the parking lot. Before I started the hike I was sure that it was going to be a busy trail and I was very wrong.
The loop the I did was 75km(ish) and the western uplands trail was all in all a great weekend. I have wanted to do it for some time and I wouldn't of changed anything. For more photos go to www.ericbatty.blogspot.com