Thursday, May 31, 2007

Algonquin Park Canoe Trip

Our canoe trip to the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park was much anticipated and with the perfect weather, we were not disappointed. In the middle of bug season, we enjoyed the beauty and quietness of Algonquin Park without seeing any other groups.

Our trip started on Grand Lake at Achray and as we navigated our way across the lake, we soon left all signs of civilization behind as we snuck into a creek headed for Stratton Lake. After a quick liftover at the dam, we headed down Stratton Lake towards our 1st campsite. The campsite was on a beautiful point with enough exposure to the wind to keep the bugs to a minimum. A nice beef stir fry made over the fire ensured that we finished off our 1st day in style.

The 2nd day started just as beautifully as the 1st one ended, a beautiful sunny day was ahead of us. A quick start had us on the water by 9 am and heading across our 1st portage into St. Andrew Lake. After our 2nd portage of the day, we headed to High Falls for lunch and a quick swim at the water slides. With the recent warm weather, the water was a perfect temperature and we didn't waste the opportunity. After lunch, we had two more portages before our campsite at Opalescent Lake. We enjoyed our evening with a chicken satay stir fry, some gunnel bobbing, games, a fire, chocolate fondue, a beautiful sunset and our 1st taste of bug season.

Day 3 saw us get on the water even quicker than the day before. As we headed down the lake at 8:30 am, we were all to eager to leave behind the hordes of mosquitoes and black flies. We had our longest portage right off the bat, a 740 meters, and the group made it look easy. A quick manoeuvre down the swift brought us to our last portage of the day and the beautiful Barron Canyon. As we had plenty of time to spare, we took our leisurely time to enjoy the 100 metre high cliffs of the canyon. We arrived at our last campsite by lunch and spent the afternoon eating grilled cheese sandwiches, swimming, relaxing and exploring the area. A nice breeze kept the bugs to a minimum, although we were quick to head to our tents when the sun went down and the bugs came out to play.

Our last day started with a wonderful pancake breakfast. With a short paddle and one quick portage planned for the day, most of the group was excited about the thoughts of a shower. With another perfect blue sky, we headed for the take out. Squirrel Rapids was the end of our canoe trip and our wonderful experience.

Mr. Brouwer


Shea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shea said...

Well what can i say about the canoe trip. It was a wesome trip but from the very beginning the damned mosquitos where always there swarming around me. The frist site we stayed at was great but i wanted to get out on the river the next day so i went to ground early plus the next days was supposed to be the hardest. But still me and some others went for a swim the very first night and every night after that.

The next day we got on the water quick which was great and after two portages the second one being the worst becaseu it was right on stagnent was perfect for bugs. But thenw e went to waterslid which was awesome, and after going down that we found a rock to jump off. On the was back across the river from the rock me and Chris fell slide all the way down the rocks and across the little pool we where in. After lunch we kept going down the river with 2 more portages untill my favortie campsite. Great area for swimming and the best firepit i have ever seen. That night we learned waht gunnel bobbing was and i tried it but didn't do all to well. That night i was up till about midnight just chillin with Chris Garnet and Alex.

The next morning was very unlike the night before seeing as there was a rediculous amount of bugs around the site. Although we did get to the site rather quickly. At around lunch time we rerached our campsite and then just hung out around the camp site. Did some more swimming and Steph even managed to give me and Alex something to do by sinking a canoe then leaving it to us. But i also got to go and take a random nap in the middle of the river in a canoe for a few hours and woke up with a slight burn.

The next day we all woke up ready to get on the river seeing as we got to go home that day. Don't get me wrong the trip was awesome and i want to do it again as soon as i can. But getting away from the bugs and home to a warm bed and hot shower was just to good to pass up.

Steph said...

Alright. Not sure were to enter this so its going here....

Stephanie’s Paddle Reflection

Ok, so I have to admit I was really excited to make my own paddle. Even at the begging of the semester I was thinking of ideas for it. What I didn’t realize though was that it was actually going to be a challenge to create what I was thinking. Well I will start off with May 3rd; you see we were asked to bring in a hacksaw. Well first off I had no idea what Mr. Brouwer was talking about, and when he tried to explain it I just nodded and agreed hoping that my dad would no what a hack saw was. However, that hope came crashing down because he either didn’t want to help me find it or he had no clue either. Now I really didn’t no what to do, so I decided I would leave it until Monday when I got back from camp. Monday May 7th, at this point I still had no idea what a hacksaw was, but lucky for me Mr. Brouwer had a few extra. I guess he comes prepared for students like me who have no clue what a hacksaw is. We were given 3 weeks to complete our paddle, so on May 7th I started and by May 8th I was hardcore into it. I started with the handle because I new that would be a challenge. Everyone was doing pretty basic designs, you no the whole smooth oval shape. However, because I am a little stubborn I wanted to take on a challenge. I wanted to make my handle in the shape of a paw. Well I have to say it was a challenge, I started by finding the center of the handle then drawing the shape of the paw. With the creative help of some of the boys, we came up with the idea to make grooves for my fingers. This was such a great idea, because it made the paw look a little more defined. It took me about a week to complete the handle but when I finished I was pretty happy because not only was it shaped like a paw but also it was actually very comfortable to hold. The best part of having a “unique custom” handle was that when everyone was feeling each others handles no one liked the feeling of mine because their hands were all to big to fit in the grooves. But it didn’t matter because I loved it! So I finished the handle and was on to the blade and the throat of the paddle. I have to say without the help of some of my classmates I would have been a little bit iffy on to how much of the wood I had to saw off. Once I had a basic understanding of it all, I went at it. I new it was important to keep the throat part the thickest because if I used it in the water, and it was not thick enough I would not have a paddle for very long. Well, for the blade I kept it pretty much the same width but took off lots from the sides to make them thinner and easier to slice threw water. So by May 16 everything was pretty much complete just had to do the sanding and when that was done it was time to paint. So for my design I wanted to make a paddle with something on it that I really have a passion for because I put in so much time in to my paddle and was so proud of my work. That’s why I decided to do the paw and write wildcats on it, because I really do have a passion for school and I am proud to be a wildcat. Yes, many of the guys made fun of me, but that hasn’t changed all year. But in the end I loved my paddle I put all the varnish on it and I am very glad it turned out the way I wanted it too. I took on a challenge and was very glad that I did.

garneato said...

Hello its garnet here. In outdoor ed we went on an amazaing canoe trip. I loved how on the first day everyone was sooooo wanting to go but by the end they all wanted to get the hell out have there and go home. Well the first day we took a dam long ass busses to algonquin park. Got all the conoes into the water counted the bags and counted them ever single time the bags left the canoe. Me and shea were in the same canoe for the full trip which was good and bad at the same time.He was good at keeping us going in some what have a line but also he was alwas in a rush and some days he was kinda in a bad mood.Like those days the bugs made a meal out have his blood.The bugs were bad but only in the morning so people just went crazzy kinda funny to see. For such a small bug it can really dsrive people to shot themselfs.Well then on with this stroy.We went to the best place on the full trip and im still asaying we should have camped right there. The water slide was aaaassssssssoooommmmmeeee im sure i spelt that wrong but that was sooo much fun. I loved to swim and was able to swim everydday on the canoe trip.The portages were hard but you could really see people who pulled there own hight and people who just slacked off. All and all i would diffently to this again but would love to try it in the fall.

Steph said...

May 22nd to May 25th was one of the best experiences I have ever partaken in. The canoe trip was amazing. We left on May 22nd and everyone was very excited to get going. The bus ride up was lots of fun; I looked over the map about five times because I was so nervous that I would get everyone lost when I had to navigate. We arrived and started unpacking, took a few pictures, and began our trip on Grand Lake at Achray. The weather was beautiful, and there were very little bugs. Well as soon as we got on the water, I was out with my compass and leading the group. I have to say that I almost fell into the trap of going to wrong way but I asked some questions and soon figured out the direction in which I needed to head. As we continued down we had to cross over a little dame, which was lots of fun and then continued on. After paddling for a bit longer we found our campsite. We all unpacked and settled down, collected fire wood, went out on the water, went swimming, and learned for the first time how to play liar. Day one was also the first time I got to pull out the first aid kit and take care of the first minor injury. This led to other minor injuries through out the trip that I got to tend to and it was so much fun! I must have had a pretty good sleep because I was up at 5:30 getting the fire going and collecting the food barrels with Renee. She was still tired though and went back to bed. Everyone was up and we hit the water in pretty decent time. I have to say this was one of the days were you truly got to experience the fun of the outdoors. Not only did we portage, we got to go down the waterslide. I went down a couple of times, and then decided to wander off and climb some of the rocks. After the waterfall we headed back and got to our next campsite. We all set up, and my group started making dinner. It worked out well and tasted very good. After supper we went gunnel bobbing, this was so much fun. Mr. Brouwer got jealous of me though because he fell off his canoe and when he tired to make me fall off I was just to good. So needless to say he got wet and I stayed dry. Gunnel bobbing tired us all out so we headed to the fire for another intense game of liar, this time we had sticks! Well day three I was up at 5:30 again, and I got to see the sun rise which was really cool. I also saw a snake eat a frog. The only thing that most people didn’t enjoy were the bugs, that morning there was a lot of them. I think that is why we got out on the water so fast, everyone wanted to get away from the bugs. For some reason I still really enjoyed the third day. I think I’m just weird like that because we had our longest portage of the day and even though my back was killing me I just kept on trucking. It was all worth it because we got to canoe down the Barron Canyon, which was very beautiful. We got to camp around lunchtime, and made grill cheese. After everyone was done eating I was getting so restless because I wanted to do something so me and Mr. Brouwer went on an “adventure” which turned out to be pretty much a day at the spa. It was fun, even though what we hoped would be at the end turned out not to be there at all. Well we got back to camp and everyone was swimming or sitting by the fire. Dinner was started shortly after and then dessert. Good old cheese cake with a little added bit of protein no thanks to Brouwer, his side of the cake was in no comparison as good as mine. Well after everyone got their intake of protein for the day, everyone headed to the tents to get away from the bugs. The 4th day brought on some more beautiful weather, and some good pancakes. We only had one short portage, and then we would be heading home. To tell you the truth, I did not want to leave. I was very glad that I got this opportunity. I may have just realized in what direction I want to head for the rest of my life. I have never taken on so many challenges and had so much fun, I honestly did not want to get on the bus and leave after the 4th day. I honestly do believe that no matter what I will look for any opportunity I can get to experience the fun of the outdoors.

Nik said...

The canoe trip was by far the best adventure ever. It was absolutely amazing and so much fun, and was the true reason I had chosen to take outdoor Ed. I had been looking forward to this trip since the very first day of class where we had a brief overview of what we’d be partaking in for this course. And even before that, many of my Law and English classes were pretty much spent talking about the Canoe trip so many months away.

We left for Algonquin Park first thing after the May long weekend. We got to school, stuffed everything we could in our packs and loaded the bus. I was so pumped for this trip. Except for my over confidence with dealing with the bugs. See I live in the country, and I hadn’t been bitten by a mosquito since last summer. Dad even asked if I wanted to buy a mosquito net but I said no, I’ll be just fine with one can of bugspray. Oh, but I was very wrong. Even just posing with the group for the first photo on the beach I knew that the bugs were going to put us in for a long ride.

The very first thing I had to do there was navigate the group to the first campsite. I had a good sense of where I was going by going over the maps during class by seeing our arrival point at the Achray Dock to the general area where we were searching for a place to stay. However once we were in the water, it was tough to find the exact little inlet we were suppose to travel towards from afar. Though with some perseverance and a little help from Mr.Brouwer we were able to avoid getting lost on the first day.

Once we landed at the campsite we set up the tents and enjoyed a nice easy night with a great meal and early sleep to prepare ourselves for the hardest day of the trip. Day two saw us through 4 portages, two of which were more than 500 meters of all sorts of terrain. Although the longest portage was yet to come, I found that this portage was one of the worst, due to the lake of stagnant water right by the end, which found many of us swinging madly away at the mosquitoes. The group was then rewarded by a quick cold swim at the Otter Slide.

Landing at the end of Day two saw us claim the best campsite I have ever seen. It came with a smooth shore, a cliff with a great view of the lake, a huge fire pit ( I was very happy to be on fire crew that night) and a stone couch fit for atleast 7. Everyone was happy to land, and we all made the best of the night, with Gunnel Races, Chocolate covered fruit, and a not so friendly mouse family encounter.

First thing Day 3 was the 700 meter portage which seemed almost like a cake walk after the day before. After running some rapids with Mr.Brouwer at the Stern, we made it through one of the last portages and into the beautiful Barron Canyon. After hitting the water in the Canyon, the group pretty much put their paddles aside and let the current carry us to our final campsite, while we enjoyed gummy worms and a nice bright sun. We landed at our final campsite really early, which gave the group plenty of free time to enjoy. I decided to tie a canoe off in the middle of the river and take an easy nap, before joining the rest of the group for some more Gunnel racing. Mosquitoes were quick to feast on us, so after putting out some big fires, we relaxed in our tent for some card games and called it a day.

The last day saw our last portage and a glimpse of the finish line. I nearly wasn’t just ready to head home. I had had so much fun over the last four days and I was really looking forward to some more adventures with the group. Facing challenges and living outdoors was truly the best vacation you could ever ask for. Sure, we all did get a fair share of mosquitoes in our stomachs but we also took away an experience I for sure will never forget.

Nik said...

Nik’s Paddle Reflection

The paddle project was one I was also really excited about. I remember back in grade nine and ten, I saw the older students walking around the den or in the locker bay randomly with these awesome paddles. I thought they just brought paddles from home and were going to canoe on the river after school, but I learned that there is a course for it. I saw many different paddles with all sorts of different designs, colours, and even ones with huge chunks missing so it seemed that they were attacked by a bear. I love to be creative and I wanted to go all out for this project from the instant I got the unfinished paddle. I had many different ideas at first of what I wanted to do for my paddle, from turning the handle into the shape of a cobra head or carving claw marks into the shaft for grip, painting the paddle using stencils and spray paint or just keeping it simple by polishing it into something I can use in the future. After the first few days in the river by the school with the canoes however, I knew that our paddles would be in rough shape by the end of the canoe trip, and I chose not the take the paddle with me. The first week was spent shaving the paddle into its proper form from end to end, which included creating a comfortable customized grip for my palm and fingers, with rounded ends for a smooth feel. I kept the blades rather rounded and square in shape so that I would have a lot of room to work with for my design. To do this we used regular hack saws with a special blade that was similar to a cheese grater. It worked like a charm and the paddle was quickly ready for the next step. The second week was spend sanding everything smooth to touch. I spent most of the time on the handle itself just to have a well rounded shape comfortable and exact to the contours of my hand. With some extra work at home the paddle was ready for designing. I decided to burn my designs into the wood and seal them with the varnish for a smooth and sleek finish and an engraved look for the design. I used a regular thin tipped soldering iron as an alternative to a wood burning kit. I chose to engrave a Phoenix, and Tiger on the paddle as well as some extras here and there. The designs were quite complex themselves and were rather difficult to run over with the soldering iron, though I persevered and came out with a real unique product. After three coats of varnish I created an amazing looking paddle and received many comments around the school for it. The designs really turned heads, but best of all, everytime I look at it, I see how much fun I had on the canoe trip.

KC17 said...

The good old canoe trip

well we left on the 22 and we arrived there about 2-3 hours later. Once we got there we unloaded everything and set out to our first camp site which wasn't bad looking back at all the others and the amount of bugs that were there. Then the seconde day was extremly long because of all the portages and the amount of things that had to be carried. Then we ended up at the seconde camp site which wasn't too too bad it was pritty rocky to sleep on which made chris complain. Then the next day we set off to find our other camp site after a few portages and a tour around an Island which led to the water slide, where me and my group members made sandwiches for lunch. After lunch we set off to find our other camp site which wasn't bad except for all the bugs that if given a chance they would eat you alive. Then the last day of the canoe trip, 1 big portage and 2 ok portages, then and awsome trip threw the canion which ended down where we started which was where Jordan and I paddled as hard as we can which was hard since we got introuble for going so fast during the trip, just so we could get home.

KC17 said...

well I had worked 1 periode constructing my paddle in class then I took my paddle home and finnished it there and waited to get the stain and the paint. While waiting I helped others with their paddle and gave them tips on how to get it as it should be. It was an awsome experience making my paddle and I'm definitly going to do it again, I also found another paddle on the canoe trip and fixed that one up too.

Mad Bassist said...

I had been looking forward to this trip since the beginning of the school year. The canoe trip was the principal reason why I signed up for this course as I had heard about the great experiences about this trip from the higher grades. We started to practise canoeing and portaging on the Ottawa River and delegating tasks and making meal plans to get ready.

On Tuesday, we started to get ready to leave by tying all the canoes on to the trailer and making sure we had lifejackets and paddles. After about 2 ½ bus ride, we landed at our starting point where we were eager to be off. We paddled towards the creek and we came across a dam. This was a test of teamwork and we managed to get all the canoes safely across. I managed to fall and get completely wet however it was a nice day so I didn’t mind. We landed at the campsite where bugs didn’t really bother us. After learning how to play Liar’s Dice, we just chilled out around the fire.

Morning came quickly and so we took down the tents and had a quick breakfast and headed to our first portage. It was difficult not because of the weight of the canoes but because the mosquitoes wouldn’t leave anyone alone. After the second portage, we decided to cool off by going to a natural water slide after an interesting hike. At first, I thought that I better don my lifejacket just in case and flew down the slide. I was surprised at the undertow but I thought I could handle it without my lifejacket. We started a cannonball competition around the corner and I’m still not sure who won! After making lunch, we started again to go to another campsite. The campsite was pretty good and had an awesome fire pit. Nik and I took a canoe out to just paddle around. Mr. Brouwer pointed out a very close beaver and we tried to get a closer look. Eventually, we gave up. The bugs started to come out later and I played “President” with a bunch of people after the fire was made. After supper, we played another round of “Liar’s Dice” and had fruit dipped in chocolate which was pretty cool. After a while, people started to drift into their tents and I stayed up just chilling with Chris and Garnet.

The next morning I woke up and went outside, only to be met by a wall of biting bugs. So I decided to pack up as fast as possible with Nik to get away from the bugs and had a very hasty breakfast. We still weren’t able to get away from the bugs but I stopped caring after a while. We arrived at our next campsite around lunch-time and so we were able to relax for quite a bit. Nik and I tied ourselves to a branch and took a quick nap. Steph and Mr. Brouwer started to throw cones at us. Unfortunately, I put my sweater under my head to get a better rest and once I lifted my head, my sweater fell in the water. It then sank like a rock. We took the canoe back and started to swim. Steph decided to try and get into a canoe and it promptly flipped. Steph was nowhere to be seen so Shea and I took it in, water and all. My food group tried to make Kraft Dinner and by the looks of things, it wasn’t that good so we had hotdogs instead. The class thought that my group couldn’t cook after that but when we made bacon and pancakes, they changed their opinion. After a while after dinner, we sighted what appeared to be a large fire so Mr. Brouwer decided to be a fire truck and put it out. On the final day of the trip, we took a relaxing journey looking at the Canyon and then came to the end point to catch the bus.

It was an incredible trip where everyone helped everyone else out and the many highlights of the trip included: The water slide, just chilling with other people, the canyon, swimming, and watching Chris and Garnet flip Kyla. I would definitely want to do this again, maybe even next year. It was well organised and I didn’t even see another person on this trip. We had four perfect days weather-wise and the only thing that I really hated on this trip was the bugs. At the end, I was ready to go home just because of the bugs and the attraction of a hot shower. I had a great trip outdoors and will do it again

Alex Stone

Mad Bassist said...

Paddle Reflection

At the start, I knew that I’m not very good at woodwork or art or anything like that but I would give this project a try. I started on the grip by sanding it down with sandpaper and made a comfortable fit for my hand. Unfortunately the paddle I was working on wasn’t mine so I gave Devon mine so we did a switch. I then started on my blade and started to use a hacksaw with a kind of sander blade attached and that worked pretty well to smooth it down. At the beginning, I was sanding badly and Casey showed me how to do it properly. Unfortunately, it was too late but I almost managed to save the blade without any lasting damage. I eventually used the electric sander. I didn’t really want to put a design on my blade as artwork is not my strength. I spent about 5 days working on my paddle. I didn’t take it on trip as it the blade was extremely thin and wasn’t varnished. I started to varnish it and found that it was extremely sticky and I couldn’t get it off my hands for at least an hour. I started to put it on with a paintbrush and that worked well.

Alex Stone

K.Weirmeir said...

On September 30th, my outdoor ed class and I started our journey to Algonquin park at 8:30, which was 1/2 an hour after our scheduled departure time. Which we could have made 8:00 if everyone woked together and pulled their own weight, but other than that everything went well, all the canoes got loaded and all the gear, food barells and out personal gear as well. And we were soon on our way to Achray Station (on Grand Lake) which would be a 3 hour bus ride, where some people slept, played games or just socialized with their peers.
When we got to Achray Station we all got off the bus and started unloading the canoes and gear, we brought the canoes and put them into the water and the gear was left in the sand untill people "claimed" their canoes, and some took extra gear, such as the 5 food barells and the Wannigan, and once everything and everyone was ready to go we got a picture taken of all of us before we started our journey to stratton lake which is where our first campsite was located, the journey there was a little difficult at first for me and Katrina but after a while we got the hang of it, and the experience was awesome, i was unsure at first because i the begining we were having a bit of problems moving about and getting going, which is when I said that possibly for the next part of the trip we should separate and find new partners so we would both be equally able and their would be a balance in capability and stregnth.But as i said once we got going we worked well together and we were both working really hard and it all payed off because we ended up staying as partners for the entire trip. Once we got to the campsite i was happy because we got to take a break (once all the wood and the fire was started), and we all setup our tents and enjoyed the night. We had stirfry for diner which was awesome so good job to the diner crew that night.
The second day of out trip we traveled to St.Andrew's lake where our second campsite was located, after we had breakfast which was french toast and fruit. We did not travel far on our second day our travel was less than an hour, which i liked because it gave evreryoe a chance to relax and explore the beautifull suroundings
On our third and last day we did allot of canoeing which i really liked because i had finaly fully understood how to steer properly the previous day, i really loved the scenery it was gorgeous, the high cliffs and the trees, the only slightly difficult thing about the last day was it was quite windy so i had to use allot more effort just to keep the canoe strainght and from going onto the land.
I really enjoyed the canoe trip more than i thought i would and i have told a few of my peers that they should take this course so they to can experience the beauty and excitement of Algonquin Park.