Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Canoe Trip #1

The 1st trip started at Achray on Grand Lake On Sept. 29. It was a chilly day that promised a bit of everything, sunshine, rain, wind and even some snow. The cross-wind on Grand Lake provided for a challenging and wavy start, but once in the shelter of the peninsula, on the Barron River connecting Grand Lake to Stratton Lake, things went much easier. After a quick lift over of the 1st portage it was smooth sailing, literally, as we put up the tarps and sailed all the way down Stratton Lake to our campsite.

The campsite was a nice one, with the fire on a bit of a point. The wind was chilly and we erected an amazing shelter around the campfire using many tarps and canoes. This provided for a very comfortable spot to eat our fajitas, although it was a bit smokey at times. The evening was very quiet as everyone jumped into bed fairly early to be nice and warm.

The 2nd day, the wind was still there, but we knew that with a short paddle and portage we would find our next campsite that would be protected from the wind. The easiest paddling day went by in a flash and we found ourselves on two beach campsites on St. Andrew Lake. As the lunch crew prepared the grilled cheese, another crew paddled across the lake for some firewood. The climb up the cliffs was worth the effort, both for the view and the firewood. This is also when Jeff decided to dump himself and the canoe at the campsite.

The afternoon was spent with a side trip to High Falls and the natural water slides. The group did a great job using a compass to bushwhack to High Falls, there were only a couple of wet feet as we crossed some beaver dams on the way. Only four braved the chilly temperatures and went down the slides. The water was warm, it was just getting out that was chilly. Back at camp, the wonderful stir fry ensured that everyone was warm.

The third day was our 1st day of real portaging, with 3 portages totaling 1400 m. Considering most had to complete the portages twice with gear on their back, this was a great feat. The day took us through the beautiful High Falls Lake with its many little islands and fun route choices, as well as, little Ooze Lake and to our final campsite on Opalescent Lake. We gathered all our wood on the final portage and arrived at this beautiful campsite that had benches and seats for all. We set up an even more extravagant tarp system and enjoyed a wonderful pasta dinner with chocolate cake for dessert.

The final day started brilliant, with a very misty lake and a beautiful blue sky. We were on the water early, as we had quite a day ahead of us and we had to do it all before noon. The longest portage of the trip was first, 760 m, which was followed by two quick ones. After this we loaded up with lots of candy and proceeded to paddle down the Barron Canyon. After a short final portage, we were greeted by an excited 2nd group at the bus. A wonderful trip for all.

4 comments:

haley said...

Wow. I never thought that spending 4 days in Algonquin Park could be so rewarding. I learnt so much about myself, while making amazing memories, new friendships and making improvements to old ones.
Day 1 started bright and early with packing at the school. Its unbelievable how many tortillas can fit into the smallest spaces. After packing we all headed out. Sitting on the bus for 3 hours excited and anxious is not an easy task. Once there we packed the canoes and headed out. The waves that day were insane. They were so strong we thought we were going to flip on many occasions. Dealing with those waves was very challenging. After the 1st short portage we sailed to the 1st campsite. Once there we settled in, and started collecting firewood. After watching Alex nearly cut his head off when the saw broke, we finished collecting firewood and started dinner. One of the things I would have changed about that day was that I would have packed the food barrels properly and more organized so that we wouldn’t have had to redo it that night.
Day 2 was interesting. It snowed, we started late, Jeff fell in and it was the day we went to the falls. It was then that I realised that I liked it better in the back so that Vicky didn’t have to listen to me yell VICKY! if we came close to hitting something. Once there we walked through the bush to reach the falls. One of the things I will always regret was that I didn’t go on the water slide. That was one of the negatives of the trip being that it was so cold. Once we returned, we ate and sat around the fire. We all had some laughs when Ashley freaked out about a pair of green eyes in the bush. After that some people headed off to bed while others stayed and played a game of Liars dice. After that most of us went to bed, but for some reason some of us forgot that our tents weren’t made of bricks and a few conversations that shouldn’t have been shared with everyone were.
Day 3 was when the trip started to change, things started to get a lot harder as we finally had to deal with the harder portages and most of the challenges started to set in like portaging while dealing with rocks and roots. Vicky helped me so much during all of the portages as she was always there to help me if I ran into problems. Once the portages were over we collected wood and headed to the last campsite. After supper some of us headed off across the lake to explore. That night was probably my favourite night of the trip, standing on the cliff admiring the scenery and just talking and having fun. That was the night Britt got a crazy idea and convinced us to go swimming. We may have froze but it was worth it in the end.

On our last day all of us were excited to go home to a shower and a comfortable bed. That day was challenging as we had to face some of the longer portages and a 6km paddle in between. Even though it was hard we all faced it and took it on. Once we turned the corner after our last portage and could see the bus we paddled as fast as we could to get there. We unloaded and got on the bus ready to go home. I think that was the one thing we were all most excited for was a shower and the comfort of our own beds. Once on our way home I realised how much I was going to miss being out there and started wishing I was back out there.

If I was given the opportunity to go on another trip there is no way I would turn it down. This trip was such an amazing experience that I will never forget. The only thing I would change about this trip would be that I would have preferred to have gone when the water and the weather were warmer. I would have also changed the 3rd day by making it longer and the 4th day shorter. The positives of this trip were everything from the adventures, to the amazing experiences. These positives completely over power the few negatives from this trip. I would really love to thank everyone that came on this trip as you guys helped to make this trip amazing and also to Mr. Brouwer and all of our volunteers for helping make this possible. It was truly amazing and something I will never forget.

Alex R said...

I will definatly never forget this canoe trip as it was a new and great expreince.

The first day of canoeing was fairly easy and simple. The paddle across Grand Lake was pretty fun due to the fairly big waves. After paddling through the neat little creek we coffin carryied over the short 30m portage and paddled on. We then arrived at the beginning of Stratton Lake where we all rafted up and set out the tarps. We sailed across in no time. The campsite was pretty nice, though my least favourite of the three. I had tons of fun collecting wood and we got a good fire going. We ate amazing fajitas and had a pretty relaxing night. Pretty much everyone was in bed at about nine. The night was a very, very cold one.

On the second day, after some tasty eggs, we set off for our next campsite on St. Andrews Lake. After a paddling down a winding little creek we did a small 40m portage and arrived at our second campsite. We then set up everything and went out exploring for firewood across the lake. It was a nice view from up there. We then proceeded to go to the water slides. We canoed a little ways down the lake and then started to bushwhack to the slides. I ended up sticking my right foot about knee deep into water when crossing an unsteady log. After crossing a couple fun, slippery slopes we arrived at the water slides. Only a few of us went in the water due to the fact that it was very cold. The water slide was very fun, though getting out of the water was a little tricky. I thought the jumping ledge was the coolest cause doing flips into water just never gets old. After that we saw the big water fall and made our detour back to St. Andrews Lake. After a nice paddle back, the 5 girls and I made some stir fry. I chopped onions, chicken and some peppers. After that I played a few rounds of 'Liars Dice' which included licking the stick, and was off to bed.

The third day was a pretty tough day as we had a bunch of portages to do. I thought Ooze Lake was really cool cause it seemed like it was only a few feet deep. After doing the final portage of the day we had some snacks and gathered some great firewood for that night. The third campsite was amazing, primarily due to that awesome bench and its great location. The rest of the day we pretty much just chilled and had a nice and quiet time outdoors. A few of us decided to explore the other side of the lake which was really interesting. That night we had some delicious spaghetti followed by a great cake and a good nights sleep.

The final day we had to get up very early, which sucked, but at the same time was pretty cool cause of all the fog on the lake. We then had a cold breakfast and canoed off to do our final few portages. My hands nearly froze off after that longest portage. We only had a few portages till we were paddling full force down the Barron Canyon. The cliff's were very beautiful. We then arrived at our destination, greeted by the second canoe trip. After switching packs and having lunch, we all loaded up on the bus and left Algonquin Park.

This trip was very cool because I have never been camping in Algonquin Park before. I learnt many things, all of which will help me in my future. I cant wait to go on another one of these canoe trips with my friends someday. Thanks you to everyone who was on the trip, the volunteers and Mr.Brouwer for truly making this a really great experience that I won't forget.

Kayaker said...

By Orvokki

I was on a canoe trip #1 which started 29th of September and ended 2nd of October. I loved the whole trip. So it's difficult to say which was the best thing. If I need to say one thing that I enjoyed the most I would say High Falls. Falls were beautiful and we had fun there. Another thing that I enjoyed the most was canoeing. I have done canoeing many times before, but this fall I have learned so much more that I enjoyed canoeing more than ever. I also enjoyed the nature. I have always loved to be outside, and this time of year Canada is so beautiful that nature was one the main things that I enjoyed.
Most challenging was maybe those portages. Portaging is quite easy, but those trails made it difficult. There was rocks all time in trails, and we needed to claim up and go down with canoes and barrels. In some parts trails were really hard to go with canoes, but WE DID IT! There was almost always two with one canoe, so it was possible to change carrier.
I would love to do another canoe trip. But I think then I would take more part to cooking and building the campsite. And be more help in that kind of way in camp. And then I would like to try navigating and firemaking, becouse I didn't do those on canoe trip.
Trip was awesome and I wanna say thank you all those people who made this possible. I had best canoe trip ever! Now I have one reason more to come pack to Canada.

Kayaker said...

By Ashley

I was on the first outdoor ed. trip lasting from September 29th, 2009 to October 2nd, 2009. I had a lot of fun and would definitely do it all over again! I enjoyed going to the falls even though i didn't swim it was a beautiful site. I really liked how everyone got to know each other a little more. I don't think I would have wanted to go on a canoe trip with any group of other people. Everyone was so positive about everything and I really think everyone enjoyed this trip as much as i did. I especially loved cooking! I learnt how to make pancakes and stirfry. The whole trip was a good learning experience for me because I learnt how to do a lot of things such as cutting up wood with a saw, cooking, paddling, packing lightly and setting up tents. I loved just be to able to look around and not see a car, or a building and instead to just see trees and nature, natural life in a natural environment. The scenery was spectacular. I remember on the last day going through the canyon and just looking up at all the rocks and the trees looking down on us as we paddled through.
There was various activities we did. I think the one I liked the best was "Lick The Stick". It's a game where you have five poker dice in a closed container and you tell everyone what you have but you can lie. You always have to beat the person before you with a higher ranking of dice and if you don't you have to lick the stick. If you lie and you get caught lying then you have to lick the stick too. I licked the stick about at lesat seven times because i didn't believe anyone. The stick was covered in my saliva along with Alex Ross', Jeff's, Mr. Brower's, Omar's and mine.
One thing I'll never forget about the trip was on the second night when I went to my tent to get my flashlight and I made someone with a flashlight come with me. When I got out of my tent I saw a pair of green eyes looking over at us. So I ran to the campfire and told everyone and no one believed me and instead they all told me I was dehydrated and that I was hallucinating. So a few poeple and I all went in the direction of the green eyes and someone deicded to scare Ainsley and she screams which scares me half to death and we all ran in the opposite direction. Ben and Jeff told me that the green eyes were only Mr. Brower setting up his tent BUT Ainsley saw it too. So again we go for a walk but in a different direction past the thunderbox. We begin walking and once again Ben scares Ainsley but this time she throws me into he bushes and runs the other way! We both almost peed our pants. I had no idea what hit me.
I loved my paddle buddie, Megan. I don't think I could have paddled with anyone else. We would get so frustrated at eachother and yell then start laughing and get stuck on something. Then it would start all over again. I'm pretty sure everyone heard us yelling at eachother. But I wouldn't have changed it in any way. :)
The most challenging part of the trip for me was probably the portaging on long trails. I managed to do alright and I'm pretty sure my muscules are a tad bit stronger now. I think that the next time I go on a canoe trip I will bring warmer socks. My feet and hands were the coldest on the trip.
After our last day on the trip I was pretty tired and was excited to have a nice warm, comfy bed to sleep in and be able to take hot shower every morning. This is when i really understood of how much a bed and a shower was such a luxerie. And also just staying in one place too and not having to move each day. I deffinately will be taking outdoor ed. again next year just because I had an amazing time on this trip!

Ashley