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Trip Reports, Campsites & More

Cedar Loop Showdown - Final

Which lake won Labour day 2023?

So, it all comes down to this. We started with 13 lakes/rivers and we’re down to the final two. The semi-final round wasn’t even close. With all votes in and counted, our top seed Hogan Lake had over 80% of the vote, clobbering what is looking increasingly like a mis-seeded #2, Philips Lake. In the lower tier bracket, The Petawawa didn’t manage quite as much of a demolition, but still took around 70% of the vote compared to Cedar Lake’s 30%. 

And now there are two.

I’m not surprised that this is the final pairing. As the showdown has gone on, it’s become clear that I had the Petawawa too low in my initial seedings. It’s also become clear that I’m not the only Hogan fan out there. But which one is going to come out on top? Only one way to find out. Read on for the final bracket update, a rundown of our championship matchup and our last vote!

1. Hogan Lake

VS

5. Petawawa River

So, do you like lakes or rivers? That’s basically what you’re being asked to decide here, because you’re getting the best of each thing to pick from. Hogan Lake is everything you (by which I mean everything I) want in a lake.  Want a rocky point site or two? It’s got that. Want a beach site?  It’s got that too. Want an (awesome) island site? Yup. How about some cliffs to hike and gorgeous views as well? Sure, why not? It’s a big lake, and I love big lakes. Looking west from the Philips end, the lake spreads out in front of you and you can imagine it’s just you and the water forever. The only significant drawback I can see for Hogan is that it can be a challenge to paddle if the wind is up (and it feels like the wind will always be up). Other than that? How can you do better? (That sound you just heard was Clamshell Lake rattling its rope swing. Fine. Hogan would be better with a rope swing, okay?).

If Hogan is everything a lake should be, the Petawawa is everything a river should be. First and foremost, and almost unusually for waterways branded as rivers in Algonquin, it’s an actual river, not a creek masquerading as a river. It’s got wide banks and (mostly) gradual curves. You’re not spending hours paddling switchbacks or getting hung up in alder (looking at you Nipissing River). Instead, you’re following the current (or fighting the current), passing through and by waterfalls, rapids and wetlands tailor made for moose sightings. The knock on the Petawawa, at least the parts of the Petawawa we paddled on this trip, is that I wouldn’t be particularly excited about staying on any of the campsites along the way. Paddling through on my way to Catfish or Cedar or Radiant? For sure. But stopping? Meh. 

And, now, it’s time to vote. But, first, bonus pictures!

1. Hogan Lake

VS

5. Petawawa River

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