Exploring the Pine River from its mouth on the Bonnechere River upstream to the Algonquin Park boundary
A description with photos of a day canoe trip from Turner's Camp on the Bonnechere River, downstream to the mouth of the Pine River, and then upstream on the Pine River to the Algonquin Park boundary, passing through Lower Pine Lake. The Pine River is part of historic canoe routes that used to connect to Achray and Grand Lake via Upper Pine Lake, Richards Lake, Tarn Lake, Clover Lake, Guthrie Lake, etc., and McDonald Creek.
2013 May 31
I have been interested in the exploring the southeastern corner of Algonquin Park for some time. There is some rugged country in that area, but it is hard to get to. At one time there used to be canoe routes connecting Achray with the Bonnechere and Pine Rivers. This involved the lakes on upper McDonald Creek — Tarn Lake, Guthrie Lake, Clover Lake, etc. — connecting with portages and tote roads leading to the south. But most of these have since disappeared into the bush.
As a step in exploring this area, I (Bob) undertook a day expedition exploring the Pine River with my friends Ric and Richard.
The return trip was uneventful although the wind was an issue at times: the beaver dams were easier going downstream than up; the fast sections, except for the "portage" were all quite runnable.
I am very pleased by how this trip turned out. During the winter I had decided that I wanted to undertake this exploration. I imagined that it needed to be done in the early spring before the water ran out, but late enough that you wouldn't mind wading. For various reasons, I wasn't able to fit it in as early as I would have liked. I thought that I had missed the window and that a trip on this date would be hot, buggy and mucky and maybe not even feasible. I almost didn't bother. It was hot alright (>30C), but that made the wet and the wading pleasant and probably suppressed the bugs. The bugs were a non-issue — although I did get nailed by a deer fly — no big deal; more of a surprise. It was not mucky; the water was clear and there was enough of it; the footing was solid (except in the sedge).
A pleasant trip on a pleasant river; not many people go that way and that is good. We had enough water. But the rivers are holding their flows late this year. How this trip would work later in the season, I don't know.
C.E.S. Franks (1977), The Canoe and White Water, University of Toronto Press.
Roderick Mackay (1996), Spirits of the Little Bonnechere, The Friends of Bonnechere Parks.