Algonquin Provincial Park Ontario, Canada~ one of my all time favorite scenic trips 😀
I am so happy to finally be telling you guys about this trip that I took back in August! My friend Erik from the backpacking group had brought up the idea of this trip way back in February and from the instant the words came out of his mouth I COULD NOT WAIT to GO!!! The way he described the place was just awesome. So after months of his planning and pre-trip meetings we were off to Canada!
Erik told us that we all could bring a few extra luxuries as we were canoeing and therefore didn’t have to carry all of our weight. Not going to lie, that was kind of nice 😉 There were 3 of us riding together in my car. My car by the way is a tiny little hatchback. However, we managed to fit a cooler, 3 stuffed to the brim backpacks, road snacks, maps, extra boots, clothes for the trip and 3 happier humans in my tiny little car. Two of those humans were over 6 feet tall and had at least a good 12 inches on me. Tom and Ausra were awesome and somehow didn’t complain one bit about the lack of space for their long limbs..lol. About half way through the trip up I asked Tom if he wanted to drive but he couldn’t as a bunch of gear was piled behind the drivers seat and he couldn’t put the seat back. His head was cocked to the side and his body smooshed behind the wheel…lol! Poor guy did try though! Ausra sat in the back the whole time…comfortably (she never complained)??? Hahaha.
As we began our trip to the the great white north we all chatted about what we hoped to see and experience. I don’t think one of us knew just how blown away we’d all be when we actually arrived!
We all met up and car camped the first evening. I borrowed a friends hammock set up for this trip. I have always wanted to try hammocking (did I just make up a word? lol) but was unsure about having the privacy to take care of personal needs (changing clothes and freshening up) when one is out and about in the backcountry. I really was surprised to find that it didn’t make much of a difference! I had a rain fly that served as a cover for the hammock during down pours and also as a privacy shield, so I was quite happy. 🙂 The set up is TOTALLY easy and I will definitely camp like this again in the future!
That first night we all gathered around the fire at Tea Lake Campground and Erik and his girlfriend brought along fancy smores that involved Oreo’s. Not a big fan of the fancy “new”snack but the gesture was really nice. We all sat around drank wine and beer and snacked on foods everyone brought to share.
We awoke the next morning and I went down to the lake and sat in quiet solitude as I made my coffee and breakfast (oatmeal) and meditated for a bit.
It was a misty morning and the weather was ridiculously perfect. After breakfast we all packed up our gear and headed down to the main boat launch area to gather our boats, oars and pick up any last minute items at the portage store.
Once we all had that we needed we headed down to the docks!
I CANNOT tell you in words the pure BEAUTY of this place at first sight. All of a sudden I was completely and totally relaxed. I was so filled with contentment, love, and gratefulness.
Side note: To be able to travel is the most important thing to me outside of my family. I would crumble and wither if I could not get in my car and seek out the beauty of this indescribable, amazing and majestic world.
The sky was the perfect blue and the clouds just popped up all around us like they were saying, “Hello! Welcome to Algonquin!” Dudes…it was sooooo perfect! Then came time to shove off and below is the first picture I took once we were in the canoe and it is my favorite pic of this trip.
All I wanted to do was jump in the water and swim around Smoke Lake! The weather we had that extra long weekend was gorgeous! Not super hot but hot enough to enjoy getting splashed by the occasional rogue paddle slamming into the water 😉 We paddled and paddled all day long leisurely wandering around the lakes and taking in the views. I really wanted to see a moose grazing at the water’s edge but unfortunately I didn’t see one the entire time. Bummer dude! Although on the way back I did see a moose in the trees!
Let me take a minute to write about the amazing sounds I DID hear throughout my trip up there. It was the fist night, I was swaying in my hammock and reading a book I had brought when I suddenly perked up. I heard what I thought were wolves. It wasn’t until we were out on the water that I first saw these crazy strange looking wolves….um..I mean loons! They make the coolest sounds when calling out into the night. Here is a little video about them and the sounds they make. So awesome!
We meandered around lakes, islands and gatherings of water filled Lily fields. To get to other lakes we had to carry our gear, boats and food over what are called “portages”, they are little snippets of land that you have to cross over to get to another lake. It wasn’t that bad. We quickly learned to carry our gear first then go back for the boats. We did rent the light weight canoes but they are still kind of heavy for one person! We also learned to carry them above our bodies instead of by the handles hanging below our hips. I don’t have a high enough clearance for that! Hahaha…#shortgirlproblems! Some of the portages were short and others were quite steep for carrying boats but we all pitched in and got the job done and continued on to our next lake.
We camped at Big Porcupine Lake. and the view was stunning!
Gosh as I am writing this I am chomping at the bit to go back!!!
We went swimming here and it was so liberating! The water was so clean and fresh! Some swam to an island across the way. I just floated and swam all around the shore! Any trip where you can go swimming is the best!!!! Just like jumping off of Jump Rock down at the Red River Gorge!
The last night of our stay was one of the best as this crazy cool thunderstorm lulled us to sleep and the light show was unstoppable! It was absolutely super cool swaying in the hammock while the rain fell upon the rain fly and I gently swayed back and forth.
Now let us chat about the bear that a couple of us SWEAR came through the camp that night. I could not feel the heavy footsteps that Beth felt in her tent but I heard SNUFFLING!!! I was snuggled in my hammock just about to turn off my headlamp and put my book away for the night when I heard it! And this is NOT some fish story!!! I lifted up the edge of the rain fly that hung above me and tried to peek out into the darkness to see where the bear was at!!!!!! I couldn’t see a thing. So I went over a mental checklist in my head.
- Food is hanging up in a bear bag up in a tree quite a distance from camp.
- Any morsels of food that may have dropped from dinner around my hammock have been cleared away.
- No lotion or lip balms in my hammock or pants pocket.
So with my metal checklist, “checked off” I laid there as freakin’ qietly as I could and tried not to breathe!!!!!! I would love to see a bear on one of my backcountry trips but at a distance. After what seemed like forever the snuffling stopped and I relaxed a bit. Then it started up again! I would not have been freaking out but the rangers at the office a few days before told us they had to close one of the campsites because of bears. So I laid there thinking, “Well if this is the way I am going to exit this world then at least I am doing something I love!” Eventually out of pure exhaustion I fell asleep. The next morning Beth told me she could feel the earth shake around her but she didn’t hear the snuffling. I told her I couldn’t feel the earth shake but I heard the snuffling. Ausra said she heard and felt it! The others did not. So the consensus is that there was a bear, whether the others believed us or NOT! Hahaha!
We rounded out our trip with more swimming and lots of amazing views.
So many memories from this trip! Until next time…
“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow