Friday, July 23, 2010

Algonquin Vacation

Our family has gone canoe camping in Algonquin Park several times. The daughters love it, as do Doug and I. This year, however, the daughters were both busy working and not able to get away. Rather than miss out on a lovely trip, Doug and I decided to go by ourselves. It was, to quote a famous author, "the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Sunday morning we loaded up and headed out onto Canoe Lake. This is the first time that we have gone north out of our launch point. The view, once afloat, is spectacular.

The day started out just fine -- sunny and warm. We knew that rains were predicted, but the last weather report we'd seen had said only Sunday evening and Monday morning would be wet. So off we went.

Sure enough, the rain arrived just about the time we settled into a nice campsite on Burnt Island Lake for the evening. Undeterred by the weather, and to prove to my friends (who couldn't believe that I would really take knitting with me), I sat and knit while waiting for dinner.
Dinner was macaroni and cheese -- a staple of our camping trips. The rain continued over night, altho not real heavy. Monday morning dawned as an overcast day, but we figured it would blow over and we'd be just fine. Besides, cloudy skies mean less sun burn. After the usual first morning photo opportunity, we departed.
Monday we paddled up the rest of Burnt Island Lake, made a small portage into Joe Lake and continued on up to Otterslide Lake. There is a way by which you can float your canoe through the lakes and bypass all the portages. We did, and it was delightful to wind our way through a creek-type passage, and then wade where necessary. The water was quite clear and fast-flowing, which was delightful.

We slept Monday night on Otterslide Lake. Tuesday morning dawned clear and sunny. In fact, it was so nice and sunny that the bull frogs that serenaded us all night showed up to catch some rays!
The winds were absent, and the lake gave us the most amazing reflections. truly awesome.
We also saw some very interesting fungi on this site. I have no idea what kind it was, or anything about it. I just liked the composition of this picture. Took it myself, and I'm very proud of it.
Once again, there was knitting. Note the sun burn. It was overcast and I didn't need any sunscreen. Yeah, right. I bet I could buy some nice ocean-front property in Nevada too.
Tuesday we paddled back down thru the Joe lakes and onto Burnt Island Lake. We stopped at an awesome sight for lunch and a swim. Then decided that we needed to be closer to the far end of the lake for our paddle out on Wednesday. So we pushed on.

So did the rain.

Fortunately for me, it didn't rain lots that evening and the tree roots provided a wonderful seat.
We got up Wednesday morning and started breaking camp. I've been fairly good about not making squeally-girly noises while camping. This morning, however, I blew it. As I bent over the backpack to tuck something away, a toad hopped out from under the pack. I screamed. I really don't know who was more surprised -- the toad or myself! In any event, the toad hung around for a bit, probably hoping that our presence would attract some juicy flies. He even checked out my water sandal!
We'd had rain in the early morning hours, and the skies didn't look promising. We packed up and started for home.

Along the way, we saw a moose! It didn't appear to be the least bit upset about us watching him. There were several canoes full of folks gawking, in fact.

Again, the skies didn't look very promising. So we pushed on.

Along the way, the clouds opened up and we ended up waiting out some rain at a portage with a nice group of young men from Northlands Camp. We told them about the delightful bypass of the portages ahead of them, and then we pushed on.

Later on, we stopped for a stretch our legs break on Joe Lake. Who should we see but these young men. This time I was brave enough to explain about the whole taking pictures of your sock in progress with different folks. They were really good about it! Thanks, Aaron & Josh and the gang!

Now, Doug and I are fairly proficient in the canoe -- by which I mean that we don't tip easily, work well together, and are able to turn quickly on demand. These skills became necessary in short order.

We stopped at the portage between East Arm and Canoe Lakes. The sun was shining and the winds were calm. We made the portage between the two lakes. Again, the sun was shining and the winds were calm.

We put our canoe into the water of Canoe Lake. The skies darkened. The winds began to howl. We pushed on, because we were supposed to be going home this afternoon. This could have been a disaster, because:

The storm was absolutely amazing. We ended up huddled on a dock for about an hour and a half, waiting. We dumped water from the canoe twice ... thought the storm had moved on. We jumped back in the canoe and started paddling furiously towards the Portage Store. The skies opened yet again. How in the world there could've been more rain up in those clouds is beyond me, but there was. Once again, we stopped on a dock and huddled under the tarp.

Then the rain ceased and we dared to venture forth again. Looking ahead, we saw some crazy folks in a motor boat out on the water. Silly folks, don't they know that the weather isn't good for boating? Turns out it was a couple of guys from the Portage Store out looking for straggling canoes.

There is a nasty rumour around that we may have accepted a ride back to the dock. There is no photographic proof of such a thing, so we can maintain plausible deniability. All I can say is that they were very polite and helpful!

We sloshed our way up to the car, pulled dry clothes from the packs (thank heavens for garbage bags!) and sloshed our way back to the showers. We took hot showers and changed into our dry clothes. Opened the door ... and stepped out ...

into sunshine.

There is no justice.