Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Algonquin Park Canoe Trip

On May 26th, the 2008 Outdoor Ed class headed out on the spring canoe trip to the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park. Travelling to Algonquin Park this time of year will guarantee 3 things, bugs, bugs and more bugs, but with the bugs there is warmer water and less people.

The bugs didn't disappoint, as they welcomed us to our 1st campsite on St. Andrew's Lake. They were pretty fierce that first night, but we really couldn't complain as we didn't have to do any portaging as we crossed from Grand Lake to Stratton Lake and from Stratton Lake to St. Andrew Lake. The water was high enough to lift over our 1st portage and run the stream that bypassed the 2nd portage. Besides that, the weather was excellent with very little wind and plenty of sunshine. Also, the Chicken Sate Stir Fry was excellent and the attempted Birthday cake was more than we could chew (literally).

The weather got even better on the 2nd day, as the sun was out and the temperature cooled to a point where the bugs stayed away. This allowed us to have a great day, as we spent the morning solo canoeing and building fires, while the afternoon saw us sliding down the Otterslide and exploring High Falls. The food on this 2nd day also didn't disappoint, with bannock on a stick for breakfast, plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers (plus some soya burgers) for lunch, topped off by a great spaghetti dinner.

The 3rd day was started with some pancakes and bacon, which set the stage for our biggest portage day. With 3 portages, including a 700 m one at the end, the group showed their strengths, not only physically, but as a team. Everyone did their part and then some, ensuring that all got across the portage in good time and that we had enough wood in the canoes as we paddled to our campsite on Opalescent Lake. There was a nice breeze at this beautiful campsite, keeping the bugs at bay as we lounged and napped the afternoon away. The sunset set the stage for our wonderful quesidilla and fallafal dinner.

The last day saw a quick and efficient departure as we headed for the 100 m walls of the Barron Canyon. A couple of quick portages and a beautiful paddle with the wind in our backs, saw us reaching the parking lot and the end of our trip by noon. A wonderful trip that had it all, good weather, good food, great experiences, and wonderful company.


Steph said...

I have to say that I had an amazing time on this canoe trip. On the first day I was so excited to go back to Algonquin park, however I did feel that things would be a bit boring since I had already taken the same route last year, however I was proven wrong because I created so many more amazing memories. Well I will start with the first day, we canoed for a bit. And then we came to the portage , or if the mini rapids were deep enough Brouwer was going to run people down. To be completely honest I was so excited because last year I didn’t get to do it. However, my excitement came crashing down when Alek was like “oh I want to do it!” ... and well being me I couldn’t say no so I got out of the canoe and walked for the second time in 2 years. We got to our first camp and we would be staying there for two nights. Brittany and I set up are tent and tried helplessly to put up a tarp over are tent. It was funny though because we really didn’t think things through and ended up taking it down about two times before we actually go it up. Lesson learned: think things through before actually trying... On the second day, I learned so much! We all learned how to solo paddle and even though I found it challenging I was still very proud of myself. I also helped out some people when they were building their fires and tried to give them some advice on how to get it going. On day three I was up really early, for no apparent reason. But I sat by the water and just sort of thought about a bunch of stuff. That is one reason I love this trip, it takes me away from everything and it allows me to sit back and reflect on things that are going on. Its so relaxing and so rewarding. But anyways on the 3rd morning I collected all the food barrels before everyone got up so we would be all ready to cook breakfast. I have to say the three meals that we cooked were amazing and I was so proud of all my group members and how they came together to prepare and cook the food. Well some people expressed their comments a little more then others (Alek) when it came to how good people could make pancakes. But me being the bigger person in the picture, stepped back and allowed him (Alek) to be mean and continue cooking .... haha. Well on the third day I was so impressed with everyone because they all did a great job on the portages. I was pretty proud of myself because I carried that silly wanagon all the time. But it sort of sucked when my jaw locked. I guess I still did not learn my lesson from last year, and always push myself past my limits. One thing I will never forget is the amount of pain that one can inflict upon someone else, it hurts. And even if you were crying before the infliction it makes you continue to cry, which I think is still the same thing. In the end, things turned out pretty good. It was important to keep an open mind because even though I had been on the trip before I learned so much more. The best time and the biggest accomplishment I felt was catching my little fish. Even though it was a little baby I was so happy! This trip was great I had my ups when I was helping others and my downs when I pushed myself to hard. I loved this trip and the experiences I had! Oh and I almost forgot one thing, I finally did get to go down those mini rapids and I guess it was worth the wait. I was glad I let other people go instead of me because they got to experience it to, and it made the experience for em that much better.

Jason Brown said...
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