Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Camping in Algonquin Park

As promised, here is the wrap-up of our camping trip in Algonquin Park. This is the third camping trip for us over-all, but the first time that the four of us have gone by ourselves. Our friends, Rob & Tanya, have gone with us previously, and taught us the ropes.

We decided that we would follow the same route that we took two years ago. Familiar territory and all, ya know? So we loaded up the backpacks, grabbed the map and compass, and took off.

First stop is Algonquin Outfitters to pick up the rental canoes. Nice canoes, reasonable prices, and lots of help loading the canoes onto the trailer. Drive off to the entry point on Smoke Lake.

This is what the dock looked like as we readied ourselves for departure. The young man chatting up the girls claimed to be interested in the dog. Myself, I think it was a ruse to get to talk with the beautiful young ladies. But I'm prejudiced ... Two canoes, four backpacks, one dog and we're off! In previous years, we had scoped out what we thought was a perfect site. With bated breath, we headed off. Two short portages later, we were there. Luckily, the site was available, so we grabbed it.
Sunsets are a favorite view of my daughter's. Sunsets over a pristine lake with a loon calling softly in the distance, are one of the best things about canoe camping.

While breaking camp on Monday morning, a huge snapping turtle came to investigate. There is a picture of him in my photobucket album located here. (All the photos here are different than those at photobucket.)

I find myself continually marveling at the loons. Red eyes. And the ability to stay underwater for that length of time. And I am amused when the loon swims in front of our canoe, and then protested because we were too close.

The canoeing was wonderful. Turns out that the daughter and I work well as a team, but only if I'm in the back. Since I didn't really know how to steer, this was extremely interesting. On the route, there was a stretch where you are winding your way down a meandering waterway, complete with beaver dams. Doug, Em and Pepper the dog) managed to paddle across it without incident. Carrie and I, on the other hand, had a little trouble. We ended up with Carrie over-balanced to the right, me leaning to the left in an effort to compensate, and water pouring in over the right side. Carrie decided to sacrifice herself and flopped overboard. Which means that the canoe was suddenly leaning way to the left, with water rushing in the left side. Quick reflexes meant that the canoe stayed upright. Carrie didn't officially fall out since her hair didn't get wet. Even Doug agreed with us. Sorry--no photos of this part of the adventure.

I took a sock with me this trip. Do you have any idea how decadent it feels to sit and knit on a sock while sipping your morning tea? Or sipping your evening chocolate? There is absolutely no comparison. Don't I look happy?
Both young ladies brought reading with them again. This year, however, the books stayed in water-proof packaging. And much lighter than previous years as well.
All in all, the trip was a rousing success. We were initially dubious about taking Pepper with us. He's a city dog, with all that entails. Also, he has bad hips. Fortunately, he absolutely loved the trip. Riding in the canoe was no problem, although he did prefer that the two canoes stay close together. Em would throw a stick in the water for him to fetch just prior to putting him in a canoe. That way, he'd stay a wee bit cooler while we were paddling.. After all, there is no shade in the middle of a lake. We are definitely planning to do this trip again, although we are hoping to plot a trip that visits different lakes.

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