What a great time of year to have a canoe trip. Warm sunny weather, water temperature was no too bad to even nice, bugs were not too bad and there was no one else in Algonquin Park. All in all, we had an exceptional trip.
This was the largest group of students that I have ever taken on a trip at once, we were 27 people on the trip in 10 canoes with all of our gear. To say the least, the canoes were loaded. What this did mean is that we had lots of hands to help out around camp and on the portages. It was also nice that this was second camping trip for the majority of the students, which meant they knew the routines, were able to start fires and were able to work well together. This was evident right off the bad, as we completed the first portage, which was a coffin carry of the canoes around a dam, very fast and efficiently. It was also nice that when we hit the biggest lake, Stratton Lake, of the trip, that the wind was in our back and we sailed all the way to our campsite.
The many hands on deck was very evident at camp, as things got done very quickly and very well. We had tons of firewood, great meals that were prepared very efficiently and whenever there was something that we needed to be done, there were always a few people willing to get it done. It is nice to be able to leave a campsite clean, organized and stocked with wood.
We did decide to stay on the site for two nights. We were supposed to move over to the next lake, St Andrew Lake, but after a quick check, the campsites we wanted were taken and the bugs seemed to be worse there. We made good use of our extra time with a solo canoeing session, some cooperative challenges and an amazing afternoon at the water slides. Not to mention a few more excellent meals, including quessidillas.
The third day we made our way from Stratton Lake to our campsites on Opalescent Lake. We had a moose come through camp just as we were ready to leave our campsite. This day we would see many short paddles and our first real day of challenging portages. The portages were met with great enthusiasm, with many students carrying two items. The portages were completed quickly and we even managed to collect enough firewood on the last portage for both canoe trips. The afternoon was again spent relaxing, swimming and competing in gunnel races. There was even a battle between campsite which was trying to steal each others' canoes.
The last day was an early morning rise to complete our longest travel day before noon to meet the bus. The thing about all of our mornings is that is was cool to keep the bugs away and the sky was always perfectly blue. The crew was ready to go on this day, with our longest portage of the canoe trip to start, the group made easy work of it. We made it through the Barron Canyon and the long paddle in great time to beat the bus to the parking lot. Four days of great weather, good food and great friends, what more can you ask for in a canoe trip.