The 1st canoe trip departed Sunday, September 30 at 9:00 am from C.W. to head to our put-in at Squirrel Rapids on the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park. With all our gear and food barrels packed, it became quite obvious on the drive up that we timed our trip perfectly. The fall colours were right at their peak.
The first day was our toughest, with 7.5 km of paddling and 4 portages equalling about 1700 m. It was also one of the most scenic as we made our way up the Barron River through the Barron Canyon, with its 100 m high cliffs, and passed Brigham Falls on our 2nd portage. At the end of the day we were rewarded with a beautiful campsite on Opalescent Lake, set up with a great fireplace and comfortable lounge seating. Dinner was also a wonderful chicken dish.
The 2nd day started with some fresh pancakes and a solid 650 m portage. It was all easy after that, as we had a short 200 m portage out of Ooze Lake, followed by a 440 m portage out of High Falls Lake into St. Andrews Lake, where we would be camping for the night. Once our tents were set up and the grilled cheese sandwiches were coming off the fire, the sun decided to come out and expose the beautiful colours of the leaves. The afternoon was spent swimming at the water slides at High Falls. The evening started off clear with plenty of stars and the late night chatter out of some of the tents was rewarded with numerous wolf howls and Barred Owl calls from across the lake.
The 3rd day started off with signs of rain on the way and as we broke camp, it started to rain. By the time we were in the canoes, the rain had become a downpour and didn't let up until well into the night. Everything got wet and starting the fire, hanging tarps and setting up tents became a bit of a challenge. Once everything was in place, the tarps provided plenty of shelter from the rain that was coming down very heavy at times, we settled in for some spaghetti dinner and a good game of lick the stick. It was a night where everyone went to bed a little earlier than usual.
The last day we travelled across Stratton Lake to the dam, where we coffin carried the canoes and finished our canoe trip down Grand lake to Achray Station. The next trip was waiting our arrival. After a quick switch of gear and a lunch on the run, we were loaded up and headed back to civilization.