On September 23, the grade 11's, headed to Algonquin Park for a 4-day canoe trip. It was a trip where we really didn't know what to expect, especially when it came to the weather. When we started at Achray on Thursday afternoon, the predictions were that it should start raining at any moment and that we would get 30 - 50 mm in the next 48 hours. All we could do was hope that it wouldn't be as bad as it sounded.
Things started out great, with little wind, we easily made our way across Grand Lake and Stratton Lake. With a few drops falling, we checked out a few campsites, before settling on a nice point on Stratton Lake. The rains held off until we had our tents set up, the cooking tarps in place and firewood collected. This allowed us to make our 1st dinner, Chicken Stir Fry, under a nice shelter protected from the rains, which did start to pick up as predicted. With the intensity of the rain and the fact that it lasted all night, we quickly found out which tents were made to endure and which were not. By morning, a number of tent groups were quite wet to say the least. A bit worrisome, considering the predictions were for an entire day of similar rains.
As so often happens when in the outdoors, the predictions are worse than reality. By 6 am the rain stopped and by 9 am we were hanging our wet gear in the sun to dry. With the luxury of time, we decided to stay put at our great campsite to dry out people's sleeping bags and clothes. The day was spent gathering enough firewood to last the winter, baking panzerotti's, learning about predicting weather without technology, and a trip to High Falls to enjoy the natural waterslide. With the sun providing a nice temperature, most students spent quite a bit of time enjoying themselves. The evening was topped off with spaghetti and chocolate cake.
The next day we travelled via St. Andrew's Lake, High Falls Lake and Ooze Lake to our last campsite on Opalescent Lake. It was our 1st real taste of portaging and the group didn't disappoint, although most found it quite challenging. This was especially true on the last portage, as we saved the longest for last. We also used this portage to collect plenty of firewood, which allowed us to relax on the beautiful benches on this great campsite. With the tarps providing a shelter from the wind and the odd sprinkle, we enjoyed soup with freshly baked croissants for lunch. Dinner also didn't disappoint, as we stuffed ourselves with taco's. This was followed by a wonderful display of stars, as the sky was completely clear when we headed to bed.
Expecting to have an amazing day to finish our trip, this was the only predicted sunny day, we woke up early in the rain. Altough it drizzled pretty much the entire time, the group made easy work of our biggest portage day of the trip. We were scheduled to meet the bus by noon and we managed to get there pretty close to the expected time, and this while still enjoying the 100-metre high cliffs of the Barron Canyon. All in all, a great trip, especially when it came to the weather..