Had two days off after Labour Day, so I drove 3.5 hours north of Toronto to Algonquin Park, to do a solo overnight and test some gear. Also to get in shape for a longer hike later in September. I'm fairly new to this backpacking thing.

The hike is about 35 km (about 22 miles) and very rugged for Ontario (a very flat province). They recommend two nights, but I did it in one night (2 walking days) to test my legs. I didn't follow rule number 3

It's a pretty good trail: nice lookouts over some lakes, beautiful forests with some giant hemlock trees, stands of ash and birch, lake shores, but also some swampy mosquito-y bits, and some long dreary stretches of balsam and spruce boreal forest.

Lots of moose footprints and poo everywhere

and I ran into one lonely giant male with a huge rack (not often you can make that sentence!) who was barking at me to back off once he saw I was not a lady friend.

Overnight was 4 or 5 degrees (about 40 F). My summer Burrow and Incubator were fine at that temperature (I finally got them "dialed in"--thanks Thorwren), and the Blackbird was comfy once I put my puffy jacket under my knees. (forgive pic quality--low light)

Practised my bear-bag hanging after learning the PCT style recently. Easy!

Rocky Mountain and Appalachian hikers will laugh at me, but my legs were bone-weary tired after the workout they got. I trimmed my base weight down to about 14 pounds, 17 with water and food. Still too much, but I'm cautious. Anyway, a fun trip.

Sept 7, 2011--first signs of fall