We started our trip on the beach at Achray as we headed on a very quiet and smooth Grand Lake. It is rare for Grand Lake to not have any winds on it and it was for this reason we decided to head in the opposite direction to check out a few campsites on the Eastern part of the lake. I guess this was the calm before the storm, because about 10 minutes into our paddle it began to rain. By the time we reached the campsites it was raining heavily, which was made worse by the fact that the campsites were not very nice and we decided to go back to the other side of the lake for a nicer spot. Although we were quite wet by the time we arrived, it was a very good choice as the campsite had a good wind block and many large trees to keep the rain to a minimum. A nice satay stir fry helped warm us up as we got ready for the night.
The next day Brenna joined us in the morning as we enjoyed a sunny breakfast. On our second day we paddled across Stratton Lake (our largest lake) to a small swift that lead us into St. Andrews Lake, the location of our next campsite. After setting up camp, getting some firewood, eating some soup and sandwiches for lunch and searched for that elusive bear that had stolen Ryan's walking stick, we headed to High Falls. The weather at this point was perfect for a chilly swim. High Falls had more water coming down it then I have ever seen before, promising for a fun and pushy Otter Slide. Only about half the group decided to brave the chilly waters and try the slide, which definitely didn't disappoint. The evening was topped off with Taco's and plenty of marshmallows.
Our third day was our first real exposure to portaging. We got going fairly early and flew through all the portages. We collected plenty of firewood on the last portage and were still at camp by 12:30 PM. This gave us plenty of time to relax and explore at our campsite on Opalescent Lake, which is arguably the most beautiful campsite on the trip. The only downfall this time around was that CFB Petawawa was busy training and it sounded like the entire world outside of Algonquin Park was getting blown up. This went on all day and seemed to be even more intense in the evening. OK, who is kidding who, they were still shooting of artillery at 1:15 AM.
This made for a bit of a groggy morning, as we had to be on the water by 7:30 AM (which we managed), so that people could be back in time for rugby games and job interviews. The last morning was also our biggest day of paddling and portaging. We knocked of the longest portage (740 m) in record time and then got rewarded as we were able to skip the next portage, as the water was high and it was just a simple swift. This also gave us a bit of extra time to really enjoy the Barron Canyon with it's 100m high cliffs.
All in all, a great trip. The students worked hard, had fun, the weather was perfect and the bugs stayed away.