Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Porcupines Rock

Tim approves of Porcupine Ridge. Who's Tim you say? Tim is Fran's buddy. He goes on our trips with us to remind us that things could be much much worse. Our last trip to Algonquin interior consisted of some hardcore canoe/portage on non-maintained trails in early spring. To put things in perspective, it was snowing when we put in at the trailhead. Day 1 of the trip got cut short due to huge waves on the lake which made it unsafe to cross, and believe me we tried! Day 2 we had to make up for 2 days travel which countless lift-overs and beaver dams but we got to where we needed to. Day 3 is where Tim The Beaver comes in. About halfway through a huge 2500 meter portage between the tim river and a little lake we came across an area that was literally decimated by beaver. Large tress that I couldn't wrap my arms around were fell. The non-river turned into a huge muddy impassable pond that we would have had to canoe across as the trail ran right under it. We had to make a couple trips to collect the gear for a literally 10 second canoe ride except every time we had to climb over countless fell trees and one in particular stood out. A large fell tree stump that was knawed on to the point where there was several INCHES thick of goey white puss with blood dripping and oozing throughout it. It was a really sick sight. All we could imagine was some bloodshot eyed pyscho beaver bleeding at the gums and relentlessly knawing on this tree, the thought of crossing the beaver's path was scary. We named him, BEAVERZILLA. We quickly crossed Beaverzilla's pond to try to find trail on the other side. We were in unmarked territory off the typically beaten path that most backcountry travellers avoid. None of these trails are maintained by the forest ranger like most people are used to. So on the other side we search for quite some time to pickup the trail. We came across skulls and bones and could clearly see that the narrow pass between two ridges was probably a kill zone for something unfriendly. In the end, Beaverzilla had destroyed any chance of us continuing, the path was lost forever and clearly nobody dared continue on. The next 'pond' was so small that to aimlessly wander for hours with all the gear would be suicide. We were to turn back and now the furthest point away from the put-in we were forced to paddle against the current of Tim River and travel 3 days worth of distance, in 1. There are no campsites along this route, we had to make it back to the next major lake. Needless to say in the end, I was at my breaking point physically so I don't know how my awesomely tough wife handled it, but she did. Damn I'm lucky. Damn you Tim The Beaver (Aka Beaverzilla). So when we got back to the ranger station, I picked up a stuffed beaver toy to remind Fran of how fun and loving beavers really are. This was the second trip wrecked by beavers, I won't even start on the other one (It was our honeymoon!) So far this trip is nothing short of awesomness. Tim joined Fran in the car this morning and they spent some quality time together for the trip up. We reached the parking lot for Porcupine ridge to find out we're surprisingly the only ones there. I understand these trails are extreme by even the most technical mountain bikers but I still expect to see at least ONE vehicle in the parking lot. Anyhow we grabbed a quick snack and hit the trails. It starts out with a wheely off a skinny bridge, onto a teeter-totter and the up the only couple big uphills and into the most technical rooty, rocky trails you can find around here. We did 2 laps total, and hit just about every marked trail you can find. Not a single crash, not a hint of a mechanical just perfect riding. The rocks started off slick, it looks like there was recent rain in the past 12hrs but after an hour or so they got there traction back. That gave us time to warm up on the more tame trails, rather than risk getting injured or breaking the bike on the first challenging trail. It worked out well. Even managed to peice together a hidden super-technical loop with skinny's and a drop or two. In the end we packed things up and headed into Bracebridge as the trail reviews for Porcupine Ridge had highly recommended hitting a small 'world famous' coffee shop called Marty's for the best butter tarts you could ever have. Well they were good, but not mind-blowing or anything. The only mind blowing thing was the $7 for a vanilla milk shake and $4 for a tart. Yeh, smells like a tourist trap, feels like a tourist trap, damn they got me. Oh well, I paid my dues. The only down side for today was we didn't get the room at the INN that we had reserved. There's a special room with a perfect view through a big bay window that the bed is right up against. You can wake up and roll over and look right out over the lake. Well, that room was not available so they 'upgraded' us to the biggest place they got but it sucks compared to out special room. We were too hungry to care, and we had boxed ourselves in by bringing food that needed to be barbequed so to go elsewhere would mean we would have to eat out and let these steaks go to waste. So we stayed here and barbequed. Except the BBQ took for frackin' EVAR!!! So hungry and it took forever to cook. I don't know if Natural gas burns hotter or something but thie propane bbq is nothing like the one we got at home. It took 10 times longer, I wish I was joking. We were pressed for time to slip a night ride in at Torrance Barrens so maybe we'll try to get it in tomorrow night. We have most the day free tomorrow so we should be rested and fed in time to attempt a night ride. It just means we'll suffer that much more on Thursday while pre-riding Ironman Muskoka bike course.

Lap 1 trail review by Mrs. Lord of the Chainrings
video

The wall - video don't do the grade justice, its quite vertical
video

Lap 2 Trail Review by Mrs. Lord of the Chainrings
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