23-Aug-2012 -- We have passed close to 46°N 79°W several times over the years but for various reasons such as weather and time, have never been able to attempt a visit. Finally, this year was different. We took a 4-day canoe trip along with the "intrepid adventurers" Stephen, Heather, Bruce, Dani, and Chrissy. We started at Kawawaymog Lake (or simply K-mog Lake) just outside Algonquin Park to the north west. This is usually listed as "Access Point 1" on Algonquin Park maps and it can be reached from South River on Highway 11 between Toronto and North Bay. Our route for this particular canoe trip went through Kawawaymog Lake, North Tea Lake, Biggar Lake, Three Mile Lake, Manitou Lake, back into North Tea Lake, and ending at Kawawaymog Lake again. We camped on Biggar Lake, Three Mile Lake, and Manitou Lake. The confluence point is in Manitou Lake, some three hundred metres from shore, so you'll need a boat for a visit. We visited it on the morning of the fourth day of our trip.
An alternative route to the confluence point would be to paddle from Kiosk (Access Point 29) south west through Kioshkokwi Lake and into Manitou Lake. This is approximately the same distance as paddling from Kawawaymog Lake (without the diversion south into Biggar Lake). Note that both of these routes require paddling on very large lakes which (particularly the Kioshkokwi-Manitou route) can be a nasty experience if the prevailing west wind is very strong. It took us approximately 8 hours of moderate paddling (and portaging) in light wind to get from the confluence point back to our takeout point on Kawawaymog Lake. So expect a trip to the confluence point to require at least one night of camping. However, why not plan more time and enjoy the Park?
We chose late August in order to avoid the mosquitoes and, hopefully, some of the crowds. But even so, this year was the busiest that we've seen this part of the Park. However, it was still no trouble to find beautiful campsites. Taking the trip in June might not be a good idea... black flies and mosquitoes. Later in September could be wonderful if it's timed to correspond with the changing leaves.
Unfortunately, we saw no moose on this trip and, fortunately, we also saw no bears. But we were lucky to see otters this time and a lot of loons. The loons appear to be congregating... perhaps in preparation for their migration. Usually, you'll see single loons or pairs, but we saw groups of up to eight. Hearing the loons calling at night is one of the things that makes Algonquin Park so special.
Visiting the confluence point itself takes some patience. Between the GPS doing its random little wobble and the wind causing you to drift, it's rather difficult to get yourself parked on the point for any length of time at all. We visited the confluence point early in the morning while the wind was still just a light breeze. We imagine that an accurate visit would be extremely difficult in a strong wind. Fortunately, the scenery doesn't change much as you move about.