Canoeing Cananda!!! My favorite scenic trip!


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Algonquin Provincial Park Ontario, Canada~ one of my all time favorite scenic trips ūüėÄ

We are here!

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 ūüėČ ¬†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.

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Tall dude!

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. ¬†ūüôā ¬†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.

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Part of The Algonquin Gang!

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.

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First morning view ūüôā

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.

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Full steam ahead!

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 ūüėČ ¬†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!

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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.

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Figuring out the gear situation at one of the portages

We camped at Big Porcupine Lake. and the view was stunning!

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Enjoying the view with friends. Also my favorite group pic. ūüėÄ

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.

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Hammock life ūüôā

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.

  1. Food is hanging up in a bear bag up in a tree quite a distance from camp.
  2. Any morsels of food that may have dropped from dinner around my hammock have been cleared away.
  3. 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…

~Lori

“Give what you have. ¬†To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Skateboarding before dawn


I love love love waking up before the sun and being alone with nature.  It is quiet and peaceful and I get to have the lake to myself before the morning joggers and walkers join me on the path.  Before I go to work I give myself a chance to put my mind at ease and breathe deeply knowing that I get to return to the lake in 11 hours.  I purchased my Sector 9  about 6 years ago when I lived in San Francisco.  I was hanging out with my neighbors who were sort of hippie lazy cool and going through their goods they were selling at their garage sale.  I came across a skateboard, the cruising kind.  Despite the tsunami warning that was in effect, we were totally unaware until I received a phone call from my mother who had been watching the news in Ohio, I was riding the skateboard up and down the street for the rest of the afternoon.  The day was bright sunny and oh so warm that afternoon.  The breeze I was catching from rolling down hill got me HOOKED!  So my crazy neighbor who was sipping on his mate tea and I headed down to the ocean where there was a local skateboard shop.  With his help I picked out my first skateboard and have been on and off it ever since.

I would skateboard with their dog Sonny 10 blocks down to the ocean several times a week. ¬†The cool thing about San Francisco is that they allow dogs on the beach. ¬†Sonny was “THE COOLEST DOG” in the neighborhood! ¬†So sweet and funny and loved the water. ¬†I should have dognapped him!

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Speaking of California, I had the most vivid dreams of Southern California last night. ¬†I dreamt I was driving south on the 1 and I was watching the surfers surf and then wait for the good waves off the coast of Malibu. ¬†I felt like I was home and never left…maybe time for a visit ūüėČ ¬†California does that to me whenever I go back. ¬†Feels like home with a family member missing. ¬†I know when February hits and Cleveland is in a deep dark freeze, I’ll be itching to get out there. ¬†Into the warm California sun. ¬†ūüėÄ

Speaking of riding before dawn, it is 5:29am and I want to get to the lake before work.  So I hope you all have a very beautiful, fun and peaceful day!  Try something new today, something outside of your comfort zone.  Maybe skateboarding?!

Cheers,

~Lori

“Give what you have. ¬†To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

With or without in life.

old fashion rules

When you fall asleep at night are you alone? ¬†Are you alone even if you are with someone who is right next to you? ¬†Right now I sleep alone. ¬†I have been in relationships where I felt alone even if my boyfriend was sleeping next to me. ¬†Do you ever feel this way? ¬†Regardless if you are married or not. ¬†What happens when you think your life is what it should be but the loneliness settles in? ¬†My last relationship was everything I wanted and everything I didn’t want. ¬†Does that make sense? ¬†It makes perfect sense and that is why I knew I had to get out and why I knew that I had to fight until my heart bled to try and make it work. ¬†How do you know when to throw in the towel and when to stay? ¬†Doesn’t anyone fight the good fight anymore or are we just disposable to one another? ¬†And when you first meet someone…how soon do you know that they are either a friend, maybe something more or someone you just need to get to know better¬†before¬†you make a decision. ¬†To those who are living a great love story, great!

I am someone who has a hard time following through on things. ¬†I am a loyal and reliable friend but to me, myself, I am as reliable as a 2 legged stool. ¬†I am not a grass is greener kind of woman. ¬†I am just the type that has to be 110% sure about something before I go through with it, career and relationships that is. ¬†I am as spontaneous as the weather in Cleveland! ¬†lol.. I wouldn’t say that I have a fear of commitment BUT I do have a fear of being committed to the wrong person and career. ¬†(I am doing fine in my life and I am still working on discovering my dharma..haha)

We have to be happy with ourselves before we can be happy with anyone, right?  Yes and no.  I love most things about myself.  There are areas that need work just like everyone else.  But since WHEN do we have to walk through life alone until every little ripple calms?!

What happens when you meet someone that you have the connection with, “the connection”? You know, the one where you just “get” each other. ¬†The one where you look at the other person and you are both thinking the same things. ¬†The one that even though you aren’t in the same room you feel their presence? ¬†I have had those. ¬†But what if that connection is with the wrong person? ¬†Or right person wrong time? ¬†Do you stop acting on it? ¬†Do you put it on the back burner and wait until the time may be right? ¬†What if that person isn’t currently available?

We hear it all the time, “Nice guys finish last or no one likes a guy who is too nice.” ¬†I don’t think either of those are true! ¬†I have met/reconnected with a string of nice guys recently but I am just not attracted to them because I don’t feel that connection to them. ¬†Give it time they say, you’re too picky they say, not everyone has “the connection” they say. ¬†Well, I have had “the connection” therefore I know it exists. ¬†My sweet dear aunt told me once that maybe I am not meant to be with anyone. ¬†What the hell? ¬†Humans are not solitary creatures. ¬†I certainly am not solitary. ¬†I love my alone time but when I have been lacking human connection it plays on my psyche. ¬†I am a people person. ¬†I love talking, listening and interacting with people.

However, I rather be alone than with the wrong man. ¬†That is true. ¬†But when are we going to stop with the whole independent movement? ¬†Men and women have gender roles. ¬†Not the societal ones that have been impressed upon us but the innate ones. ¬†In nature it is the male who woos his potential mate. ¬†Archaic? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†About a year ago I was camping with a group of people and there was this one guy who was cute (super tall and a little like Paul Bunyan) but a bit pompous. ¬†We were having a debate about what would happen if an intruder came into camp. ¬†He said I would run and hide behind the men hoping they would be able to fend off the intruder. ¬†I, being the ever so stubborn feminist said, “I certainly would not!!! ¬†Why would I ever look to a man to defend me?” ¬†Well flash forward a year or so and I now know I would do what I could but men are physically stronger then women (well some of the time anyways..haha) and I would have no problem looking to the strongest man if a fight broke out. ¬† Is that sexist? ¬†I don’t think so.

I do think that every relationship is a give and take and it is not always going to be 50/50. ¬†I believe that people give up too easily. ¬†Not because they stopped loving the other person but because they are scared of what is going on inside themselves. ¬†I loved an ex-boyfriend of mine. ¬†We once had this beautiful moment in a deli parking lot. ¬†We looked at each other, knew we were thinking the same loving thoughts and both cried a little at the same time. ¬†That was enough for me to know that we had “the connection.” ¬†But later amidst out struggles ¬†I saw a brighter side of us that he didn’t. ¬†What I really saw was a side of us that I wanted from someone but maybe or maybe not from him but I was willing to do the work to find out. ¬†He wasn’t. ¬†Eventually I knew it wasn’t going to be possible on either of our parts because it was going to be too hard for both of us to be raw with one another. ¬†I was too scared and so was he too I think. ¬†I also knew when it was finally time to throw in the towel. ¬†But what came out of that was a painful amazing beautiful struggle that lead me here, right here, in the library writing this.

I am not afraid to put my feelings out there. ¬†Why should we be afraid? ¬†The song and dance of things is getting to the point of ridiculousness. ¬†We are so disconnected. ¬†We are afraid of how we are going to let the other person make us feel therefore we hide behind technology and our own walls. ¬†What happened to romance, respect and effort? ¬†Are we just feeling-less beings that get together for the sake of reproducing or dwelling together to keep up with where our peers are in life? ¬†I don’t want a roommate that I happen to have sex with. ¬†I want a partner. ¬†I want a MAN. ¬†An encouraging, loyal, honest, moral, hard working (no matter the profession), ¬†funny as hell, gentle giant of character who knows how to treat a woman of the same character…but I also want/need “the connection.”

So to my dear aunt, no, I am not meant to be alone. ¬†To my brother, neither of our parents had a college degree. ¬†To people who think women are suppose to be strong and independent, DAMN STRAIGHT! ¬†To me: ¬†you are an amazing strong independent lady, and it is perfectly okay to take the man’s hand when he is trying to help you up. ¬†It is also perfectly okay to walk away when all resources of “help” have been exhausted.

We don’t just want one another, we really do NEED one another.

~Lori

“Give what you have. ¬†To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow