Algonquin Canoe Trip 09 Flickr Photo Album
I just got in from a canoe trip to Algonquin Park. I’m pretty exhausted, it was however, a lot of fun. We left fairly early Thursday morning with Kevin and Suzanne who stayed at our place Wednesday evening. Driving to Algonquin seems better leaving from Bolton or at least not having to ‘deal with driving through Toronto’. As we arrived at the park the skies turned very dark and it started pouring. Fortunately by the time we strapped the canoes on the cars, loaded the canoe and left, the rain had stopped… for now. We started the trip on Smoke Lake. We were surprised to see so many cottages on a lake within a National Park. Additionally, it was odd to see motor boats on Smoke Lake. Could we have rented a boat?!! Anyway, the campsites are all on Ragged Lake which is accessible via a portage from Smoke Lake. (I’ve circled the portage location on the map and added an unhappy face) Why an unhappy face? Because portaging sucks, and we had an obnoxious amount of gear for two nights, including: wood, water, two tents, tarps, food, beer, dogs, clothes etc…. Had we done more than one portage we would have had to seriously rethink how much stuff we were bringing. It was actually a short portage as well, maybe 250m. I couldn’t imagine lifting a canoe for much longer than that.
It seemed close to the time the canoes entered Ragged Lake that it started to rain and rain and rain. The forecast said 1-3mm of rain for Thursday. It rained for the next 5 hours or so. By the time we selected a site we were soaked to the bone (in spite of wearing rain gear). I marked the site located with an ‘X’ on the map. There are a lot of nice sites on Ragged Lake. It is rewarding to canoe out to a site and experience real quiet and tranquility. Once we landed on shore we were eager to, somehow, get out of the freaking rain. Tarps are a godsend. I couldn’t imagine what we would have done without them. Kevin used his engineering brilliance to rig up a very efficient *self draining* series of tarps that everyone (especially the dogs) were very happy to get underneath. After getting the tarps up the next step was building a fire in the rain. Fortunately the lovely tarp girls kept the rain off the men as they slowly got a fire going. Fire is awesome. It instantly rose everyone’s spirits as it radiated some warm and light upon us. Fire meant food and warmth and that was exactly what we needed. It continued raining after our sausage and asparagus dinner for several hours. We also had foil wrapped potatoes but they didn’t make it. The first beer tasted really good that night. The rest of the night we enjoyed the fire, some beverages and each others company.
Friday the rain changed to intermittent. Which was warmly accepted after non-stop rain. The break in rain gave us the opportunity to explore some of the area and other campsites especially those in Parkside Bay. By the end of the day I had had enough paddling. My arms and legs ached. The rest of the day was pretty low key. The girls paddled over to a little island that was across from the site. The guys chilled out back at the site. That afternoon Cairo recognized that Tanga was a girl and spend a lot of energy unsuccessfully trying to court her. Silly boy.
This morning as we were leaving once again Mother Nature starting raining on us. Worse than rain when you are canoeing however is wind. The wind made the canoe ride back pretty brutal at times stopping us dead or driving us off course. It was exhausting fighting again the wind the entire trip back. We rewarded ourselves with a stop at Henrietta’s Pine Bakery… we earned it! Overall a fun trip. Next time however I think we’ll pick days with zero percent chance of rain… I’ll post some photos shortly. Now I Zzzzzzzzz….