Friday, May 25, 2012

PAD30 Algonquin Park Canoe trip #1

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.


Anonymous said...

I was very excited the week leading up to our canoe trip as the weather was going to be beautiful and this is my first time in Outdoor Ed and I didn't go on the camping trip last year. When we were packing our bag for the trip, I was kind of nervous as it was super heavy and my partner hurt her back so I was going to have to carry it all weekend. Once we got to portaging though, it wasn't even half as bad as I expected. I was able to carry the bag no problem, I just had some troubles lifting it up on to my back my myself.
Canoeing on the first day was challenging because of the wind and the waves, but we made it through, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to sail for a bit. We had some difficulties setting up our tent when we got to the first camp site, but once we figured out which pole went where, we were good for the rest of the trip. That night Kaitlyn, Jack and I went out in a canoe with Jack's fishing gear to see if we could catch ourselves a fish, but the water was pretty dull and we didn't even get a bite. We did get to see a beaver though.
Having a relaxing day the second day was great. The falls were incredible and I'm so glad I got to see them. I could have done without the hour of rain, though.
The third morning we were supposed to get moving pretty quick, and I think Kaitlyn and I could have packed up a bit quicker instead of hanging around. The paddles and portaging weren't too bad that day, me and the people in my canoe just tried to make the best of it by singing some tunes. The second camp site was definetely my favourite. Catching tadpoles and hanging out in the sun all afternoon was a blast!
The fourth day was by far the hardest. We set off pretty early but I think we could have gone a bit quicker. I was determined to try my hardest that day so I put a lot of strength into my paddling. Paddling through the canyon was amazing and I'll never forget it.
Some things I would have changed about the trip would be setting things up and packing them away quicker, and I for sure didn't need to bring all the clothes I did because I found I wore a lot of the same stuff over again.
Overall the canoe trip was nothing short of amazing, and I would love to do it again.

Anonymous said...

I had a great time on the outdoor ed canoe trip! We had great weather! On the first day I was the "map person" I'm not very good with maps so it was a good opportunity. I wasn't able to canoe or portage because of my injured back but i tried to do what I could. Setting up camp the first time was difficult for my group. We couldn't figure out how to set up our tent. It took forever. Sleeping that night was the coldest of all of the nights. I wore all of my layers and I was still freezing.
The next morning it was my groups turn to make breakfast. I think that we worked well as a group to get everything done. We decided to stay at the campsite that day so we played games and went to the waterfalls. It rained this day for about 2 hours. I was really cold and just wanted to get back to the campsite. I was also really hungry. My group made sausages and potatoes for dinner that night. They turned out well. On the third day we packed up camp. Alex and I couldnt get our tent packed up easily. When we did we got everything into our canoe and left for teh next campsite. This day the portages were long but we got a snackbreak on the last one.It was really hot and I was running out of water. After the last portage I was in the canoe that had to quickly paddle across the lake to claim our campsite. It was a really nice spot and there were so many tadpoles! All day Alex and I were catching them with our hands. Me and Alex choose a spot for our tent and it was near a beaver dam. Swimming was fun but very cold! It was really funny to watch people steal the other groups canoes too. We stayed up really late by the fire then went to bed. The next morning we got up really early to go home. The portages were the longest of the trip. The last stretch was very long. It had very nice scenery in the Barron Canyon. I was really tried after the trip and I was excited to go home to tell everyone about the trip! I had a great time and I definatly would go again!!

MeganF said...

This Algonquin Park trip was long anticipated for, I am so happy to have made an incredible experience out of it with the other 26 of you. I checked the weather every few hours in preparation for the weekend and was thrilled to have had nothing but sunshine and mostly blue skies the entire trip. As I was prepared for anything from 30-degree sunny weather to thunder showers and hail, I may have over-packed a tad. I found I was repeating the same outfits more often than expected and the extra clothing took up space and added some weight to our pack.

We spent most of day 1 on Stratton Lake and the first portage was easy and done really fast. The wind carried us to our first campsite as we built a sail out of tarps, paddles and hair elastics. This was a new experience for me and it got us to campsite #1 pretty fast. My pals and I in the Whooping Crane took turns “princessing” in the middle of the canoe and paddling all weekend. The cycle worked well and I was feeling a lot more comfortable paddling after the four days. I discovered that I get a kick out of paddling from the stern. I enjoyed all of the meals we had, from pizzas, quesadillas and pasta to the band-aid salad, mmm.

I found that we got a lot better at "Leaving No Trace" compared to last year’s hiking trip. That made it easier to get out on the water around the times we had set out. I can’t remember spending too much time collecting firewood last year either, but I was better for that this time around.

I was happy with the decision to spend two nights at the first site because I got to practice solo canoeing (which I found challenging) on the water, collecting wood and doing group challenges with the supervisors the next day. On this day, we went to the water slides and falls that I had seen in so many pictures before. I slid down countless times to make sure I got the full experience. It was a blast! Someone killed a spider, which caused it to rain for a bit, but we waited it out by the falls and it didn’t affect us much.

We paddled on Opalescent Lake and had a few tougher portages the next day, but I had a partner with a passion for portaging and I was content carrying packs and barrels. We switched back and forth with the portages and put together a canoe trip playlist ahead of time, so singing helped the longer portages go by. After a day of hard work, my time spent at campsite #2 was the best! I tried gunnel bouncing? That was fun, but quickly turn into a canoe-flipping rampage. I learned how to lift canoes out of water, but wasn’t strong enough to do it without the help of another canoe. I tried catching tadpoles, that didn’t work either but I had a great time swimming, snapping sunset pictures and watching the stars every night with friends.

I dreaded leaving on the last day. Paddling through Barron canyon was really nice; my canoe fell behind from slowing down to check out the views. This meant I paddled really hard for the last stretch of the trip. This was an unforgettable trip full of campfire songs and jokes, paddling fun and I managed to capture enough screensaver worthy pictures to last the year. I hope that future trips are as good.

Sarah Jenni said...

Canoe Trip Reflection

At first, when I heard about this trip, I had mixed feelings between being excited and afraid. I pictured myself eaten by all kinds of bugs and suffering during the portages, but a part of me knew that I will have a good time anyway. I read through the list of equipment and packed everything including bug repellant, and I felt ready for the trip! Everything was even better that I had imagined, including sunny weather, and great people to meet and share the experience. There was a really nice group spirit and every one supported each other all trip long.

I was surprised to see how many bags we had and I was wondering how we will deal with the situation, but everything went just fine. It was really sunny and I could enjoy going on the water, even if the wind was strong and the waves were a bit of a challenge, considering the weight of our canoe. At the campsite, I really enjoyed working as a group and the fact that everyone helped to collect wood and organize ourselves for the evening. The first night was the coldest and I should have worn more clothes, because I woke up a few times to add layers and did not sleep well.

I really liked the second day because we stayed at the same campsite and had time for fun activities. I learned how to solo canoe. The most challenging part was to follow a straight line! The group games were fun and useful to know everyone better. When we arrived to the falls I did not expected the water to be that cold, it dampened my enthusiasm a bit, but nothing could stop me to try the slides and it was great!

Cooking with my group was fun and I was really happy with the results. Our meals turned out well and we had enough food for everyone. We had a bit of stress on the third morning because we did not wake up early enough to prepare the breakfast. It was fine in the end because everyone was a bit late packing their bags and we made our way to the next campsite on time (we arrived just before other people that wanted the same campsite). Portaging was not bad at all and I got used to it after a while. Yes, the bags and canoes were heavy everyone encouraged me and offered help if needed, so it helped me to keep smiling! I had a great time playing with friends during our free time, between swimming, splashing each other, helping the people who flipped their canoe, and enjoy the place and the outdoors. The last day make me feel my arms between portaging and paddling this long distance, but the canyon was amazing and it gave me energy until the end.

I liked this trip a lot, I learned a lot about working in a group, collecting wood, packing my bag fast enough and I improved my canoe skills! I will always remember this great trip and I hope to have the opportunity to do something similar again. Thank you Mr. Brouwer!

Sarah Jenni said...
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RIP Super Awesome Team Alpha Squadron Unite said...

Recently i went on the grade 11 Algonquin Park canoe trip. I experienced one of the best times of my life! Going down the water slide to campfires at night to swimming in the river to going down the rapids i enjoyed every last minute of it! Somethings i learned n the trip were: how to properly cut firewood, some new campfire songs, and how to perservere with annoying people for 4 days! I think the funnest thing we did we the night raid of the canoes. We thought we were doing the funniest thing ever turns out nobody liked us in the morning. :P Having a least favourite thing on the trip would be hard to say because there were so many good things! Some hard things tho were the lack of help on the portages often making a few of us portage 700 meters mutiples times carrying heavy loads. Something i might do next time would be add and extra day of two just to stay on that last campsite. Best night and memories of my life. Some of my best memories i will take away from this trip would be: our clan called the pygonqs (pirates of algonquin park) when Will, Rhys and I whent around and tried to laso people our of their canoe! Another would be the Snietzel song at the campfire which was a fan favourite and everyone going down that waterslide together! Altogether probably best vacation ive ever experienced in my life and id do it again anyday! :)

Treasure said...

I couldn’t have asked for a better time of year for the canoe trip. There was virtually no rain or bugs and sun stayed out for most of the trip. Nights weren’t too cold and days weren’t too hot which made for an excellent trip.

This group of 27 people had personalities across the map and I could tell before even going on the trip it was going to be fun. This many people at camp was a blessing really, because it meant lots of people around to collect wood and you always had lots of good company. It also meant quick work at portages which was really needed since gear for 27 people, is a lot of gear. Everyone helped out wherever help was needed and did their part around camp.

Canoeing on this trip was a very interesting experience with heavily loaded canoes, sitting quite low on the water. A bit of a learning curve for the first windy lake but we all soon got the hang of it. As we made our way past our first coffin carry portage and onto Stratton Lake and we got to experience sailing. Some unlucky souls had to hang on to the flailing tarps and the others just sat back and relaxed. Being one of the students that had to hang on, I had a great time trying to sail.

Our first campsite was wonderful. Great view, little bugs, no rain and an excellent sunset on the first night. After deciding to stay a second night at the first campsite we enjoyed fun activities as well as heading over to the falls and going for a fun swim. The water wasn’t too cold and the weather held off for long enough that we got to enjoy the afternoon.

The next couple days of travel had tons of portages but we’re made easy work with lots of hands helping out. Day threes’ tough day of portaging got paid off with an amazing afternoon of swimming, gunnel racing, and canoe-tipping. It was the best part of the trip in my eyes and everyone had a lot of fun. We even had a bit of fun at night when some other students decided to steal our canoes, which led to some cranky people in the morning, but all in all was an excellent day at camp.

The last day was a sad day because it was the day we had to leave beautiful Algonquin Park, but there was still a lot ahead of us. The longest portage of the trip wasn’t too difficult and was made easy with everyone doing their part. The canoeing that day was great, with the shinning sun and clear blue sky which made it a great day to end a great trip. This is hands down one of my favorite trips ever taken, with great food, great friends and it made for a great experience.

Debora Fieberg said...

What an amazing canoe trip! This trip was full of fun, great weather, nice paddles, and good food. This trip was fantastic from the beginning to the end!

We started on Stratton Lake where it was a bit windy. It was harder to control the fully-packed canoes in the wavy water, but we quickly learned how deal with this. After a quick and well-done portage we were able to put up our sails with the wind in our back. I never saw that before but it worked super well! For the stern-people (like me) it was very relaxing because we didn’t have to do anything other than tying the canoes together. The bow-people however had to hold up the sails and this looked a bit challenging. We improvised with hair elastics that hold up the sails, and like this we sailed almost the whole way to our first campsite.
On day two we decided to stay at campsite #1 and this was a great decision! I really enjoyed playing group-games and it was very interesting to learn how to solo canoe! My favourite activity of the day was sliding on the natural water slides. It was sooooo much fun! Yes, the water was cold and full of fly larva, but this doesn’t stop me to enjoy this crazy waterslide!
Day three and four were a bit more challenging because we had some longer portages and paddles. Even though we had so much stuff to portage, we managed the portages pretty well. People came back to help out others and everyone was supporting each other. Cooling off by swimming in the lake in front of our campsite was nice after long days. I even got to do some gunnel-bouncing and balancing… until we all fell in the water! Some canoes flipped and we came to rescue them. It was hard to understand what Mr. Brouwer was yelling and instructing from the shoreline and it took us a while to lift the canoe out of the water, but at the end we knew how to do it! Rescuing a canoe can be a very useful skill and I am happy that I learned it now.
Another thing I liked about this trip is that different groups cooked for everybody on the trip. Like this you didn’t have to cook every meal for yourself and we became more of a group. I liked all the food that we ate: Pizzas, Bagels, Quesadillas, Salads, etc. We had rich and well planned meals. Unfortunately we forgot some little things in the class room like marshmallows or a strainer for the spaghetti. Well, we improvised with aluminium foil with holes in it …and it worked! You just have to be inventive.
If I would do this trip again (which I would love to do), there is only one thing I would change: I would get up earlier so that we don’t have to hurry in the morning. One day we woke up a bit too late and baking pancakes in a hurry is not the easiest thing.

All in all I can just say that I looooooved this trip! I loved the people, I loved the weather, I loved our route, I loved the food, and I loved the campsites! I also can say that I learned a lot from this great experience considering my canoe- and camping skills.

Thanks to everybody on this trip for being such a wonderful group, and special thanks to Mr. Brouwer that organized the whole trip and so many other trips! Thank you!

Michaela said...

When the grade elevens went on their canoe trip last year, I said to myself I hope to have the same experience as they had, and this year I got my wish. With great weather, great friends, and great memories, each day was anxiously anticipated. Now that it's over, I can say I had an amazing time on our canoe trip.

When we arrived at Algonquin Park, I was so excited to get on the water and get started, until I realized we had 27 people, 35 paddles, 10 canoes, approximately 14 dry bags (2 per canoe), 3 water jugs and 1 cooking supply container to organize. I was worried about the amount of weight each person would be carrying, each day throughout the trip and the distance between the water and the top of our canoe (the preboard). I am surprised we made it through the entire trip without one person flipping their canoe during our travel time. By the time we got on the water, the wind was howling and the waves were rocking our canoes to the max. When, by accident, my canoe almost flipped within the first five minutes, I then realized this was going to be hard and we would have to push through it until the end.

When we arrived at our camp destination from sailing down Stratton Lake, we organized ourselves to set up camp. This ended up being our camp for the first two days. This gave us time to explore and experience things we had never tried before. On the second day, we went to the high falls, which in my opinion were magnificent. Despite the cold water and the hour rain storm that followed, the falls were truly an amazing aspect of the park, which I would definitely visit again. By the third day, we finally realized what hard work was and what we had been missing during the first two days. With our longest portages and 7.5km to our next and final campsite, we discovered how hard we would need to push ourselves to gain this achievement. Participating in the longest portage, I carried our canoe through the brush and swamp towards our goal and made it there, which to me was my greatest achievement throughout the trip. For me, it was more than strength, it was perseverance and I conquered it with the encouragement of my teammates and friends. We reached our last campsite, we a little later than expected, but by stretching our meals back and adjusting to the time; we had a little time for ourselves and decided to go swimming in the lake's cold water. This led to flipping canoes and losing a pair of 300 dollar sunglasses in the water, which we later found and returned. By the final day, everyone was exhausted and ready to go home but we still had our longest canoe distance yet to come. Our trip started through the Barron Canyon, where we got to see its extraordinary canyon walls and barricaded us within them. By the time we reached the bus, everyone was tired and it turned out to be a long quiet ride home.

I really enjoyed this trip and if I were to go on this trip again, there isn't one thing I would change about the excursion itself. I would've liked to have gotten up earlier the one to day to make our pancakes and pack up so we weren't late leaving the campsite. Alternatively, I would consider packing less to make my pack lighter, but in all, I wouldn't have changed a single thing. This trip was amazing and I'm glad I got to experience it with all these great people that went. I learned so much more about them, myself and much more about canoeing. Thanks Mr. Brouwer for an amazing trip. I couldn't have asked for more.

Arden.S said...

I remember on grade 8 day 3 years ago, taking a tour of Cairine Wilson and seeing picture of the students on the Algonquin Park canoe trip. Those pictures were all that it took for me to know that I would be joining the outdoor ed program come 10th grade. Being that in grade 10, we got stuck with some pretty nasty weather on the Frontenac Hiking trip, I had my fingers crossed for good weather, and boy did we ever get it. I could not have asked for more beautiful weather!

As we started the trip, I was a little bit worried initially because the winds on the first part of the lake were quite strong, however as soon as we got onto the narrower part of the lake and started sailing, my worries were gone. I had never sailed before, so this was a new experience for me that I really enjoyed. Very relaxing!

As we arrived, I was happyu to know that we would have some time to relax and set up camp. That evening we had a great dinner of tacos and cake afterwards, and I wouldn't have changed a thing! That night I found that I was a little chilly, but that was simply because I didn't layer properly. I planned to wear a few more layers the following night.

The second day was a relaxing one,and the obvious highlight was the falls. I had seen the pictures before, but the slide itself was much bigger than I imagined! I would go back there any day. Once again, we had delicious meals straight through day 2, and the only minor mistake we made in terms of meals is that we forgot the salt and pepper. Our potatoes were a little bland that night, so we will make sure to pack those on our next trip! That night, as planned, I put on a few more layers than the night before, which proved to be smart. I had an extremely warm and sound sleep, and woke up well rested for day 3.

Day 3 proved to be slightly more challenging than the 2 before, as we needed to cover more ground. My canoe buddies and I worked well together, asnd aside from the first portage where we had a few loose tarps that were a hassel to carry. Once we finished our final portage of the day, we were heading across Opalescent lake to our campsite when we came along and older couple with their dogs who were planing on camping at the same campsite. Informing them that we were a group of 27 people, they turned around and went back to their other campsite. This was unfortunante for them, but these types of things are to be expected when you don't pre-book the campsites.

As we arrived at our second campiste late afternoon, we enjoyed a late lunch and an afternoon full of gunwahle bobbing, canoe tipping, and swimming. This was the highlight of the trip for me, as our hard work from earlier in the day was rewarded with a fun, relaxing afternoon with beautiful weather. Our dinner was delicious once again, which didn't come as a suprise at this point because our entire trip had proved to be a set of very good and efficient camping-cookers.

As we woke up the next morning, we were a few minutes late getting onto the water, which wasn't gratre since we were pressed for time, needing to get back to squirrel depot around noon. However, we made good time on all of our portages that day and enjoyed a beautiful paddle down the Baron Canyon. It was a lot of paddling and portaging, and you could see how tired everyone was by the time the bus arrived. It was a very quiet ride home, except for one interruption courtesey of Thomas, performing his rendition of the Shniztel Man song, which gave everyone on the bus on last good laugh.

In conclusion, this was the trip of a lifetime that I find myself thinking about every day. I would give anything to go back and to it again, as it was nothing short of awesome.

Steven said...

The canoe trip to Algonquin was a surreal experience; I have never had so much fun camping before. The whole trip from start to finish was a blast, literally a rollercoaster. Weather was a beautiful food was great and memories were made.
The first day of the tip was an exciting time, no one knew what to expect, was the weather going to be poor? Nope, not a cloud in the sky. The waves were a little choppy to begin with but we got the hang of it soon enough. Our first campsite was quite large, and all of us moved right away to claim our spots. We got to stay at this camp for two days, which was great, more time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. The second day consisted of gong to the high falls which was an amazing experience. I had been there before but not with so many friends, it made it that much better.
Our next campsite was my favorite, the amount of relaxation and adventure we had was epic, Gunnel-jumping, swimming, canoe tipping, tree-climbing, sun bathing, made for an amazing time with a great group of people. Although the night was more of an interesting experience, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Jokes played on each other, though some were creepy, made most of us laugh.
On the final day I felt as though it would be a short day. Not the case, the longest portage and canoe trip made for beautiful sights, especially the Barron Canyon. One thing I learned about portaging, do not take two red bags and a canoe at once unless you are Mr. Brouwer. The weather on the last day was exceptional, hot but not humid and bright blue sky, it made for a great ending to the trip.
All in all, this was an amazing trip and I look forward to be able to experience another in the future. The food, friends and fun made for the best trip I have ever experienced.

Andes said...

This was the first time I had gone on a canoe trip of any kind. I missed the one last year where we started downtown and canoed back. So I was really doubting my ability to stay productive throughout the trip. My strengths were steering in the back, or just power in the front.

When we started at Achray, I was steering and it really made me comfortable with water that wasn't moving or high enough to enter our boat. It wasn't just the challenge I enjoyed it really got me into the mindset of being out in the wilderness. I think it helped me enjoy the trip that much more.

During the canoe to the first campsite, I tried to learn to gauge the power given by Frasier at the front of the canoe to a pry to keep us going more or less straight. I found pries much easier than draws. I had to be much more technical and reach farther behind to draw than I had to with a pry, to be just as effective.

Once we had got to the first campsite though, I had gotten more comfortable with the different strokes. After we had landed and gathered firewood, our group started on supper, which I think was a success. I enjoyed the taste, I felt full enough that I wasn't hungry, but not so hungry that I was thinking I shouldn't have had that last little bit.

I love being in the woods at night, so when I went for a walk (and it wasn't far from camp either) my friends couldn't find me, but it was alright.

I had a great first night, but I noticed we camped on a bit of a hill and our sleeping bags were arranged lengthwise as opposed to going up and down the hill. The next morning I was eager to get on the go again, but the campsite wasn't open, so we didn't go anywhere then. Either way, Mr. Brouwer found something for us to do, which I enjoyed very much.

When we went to High Falls for a swim and some fun, I was skeptical as to how much fun I would have. I am not a skilled swimmer, and I generally do not like swimming. I am a powerful swimmer, and I can generally swim where I want to, but the current was really strong-and freezing. I actually had to get up out of the water and adjust to the temperature of the water before I could go back in. Once I got used to the water and I didn't spend too much time outside the water, it was kind of comfortable. The slide was really fun, not as smooth as I thought it would be, but very nice for a natural water slide.

The rain wasn't bad, as I had just gotten out of the water, but it was still rain.

The next morning, we made breakfast and got going. I remembered our first really long portage, I think it was the 550 meter one, very clearly. I wasn't eager to do four portages, two of which are significantly longer than our first long one. But I discovered that if you speed walk the entire portage, it isn't so bad. So I was able to keep my spirits up and stay productive.

The final long canoe we had to do, I thought about how fast we would have to travel and we would have to canoe at just under 6 kilometers an hour to get to Squirrel Rapids on time. At the time I thought it was really fast, considering the fastest we go on the river is, what I thought, about 5 kilometers an hour, and that is if we want to move fast. As we continued the trek, the speed wasn't much of an issue, but keeping a steady, rhythmic pace was a little difficult. I decided I would try to be first of the entire group to keep my mind off of the pain slowly growing in my arms. It worked, and the final portage wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I really enjoyed lunch that day and the ride home. But of the four day trip, I enjoyed the entire week.

Will said...

Canoe Trip Reflection

I was very excited to begin the trip and get out on the water even if it was for a few km's a day.
The weather that was projected before the trip said that we'd have beautiful blue skies and lots of sun which was nothing short of what we got. This was definitely one of the best weather that I've ever had canoe camping.

We were a very large group of 27 with 10 fully packed canoes. I've never camped with so many people before so I knew this was going to be a lot different then my usual canoe trips. We had a very easy morning on the bus ride to Algonquin and it only got better once we got on the water. We made great time paddling across our first lake and our first 40 m portage was done very quickly because everyone joined in and made an effort to help. After the portage the next thing we know, were sailing down Stratton Lake with our sails up and we reached our first campsite in no time. Once everyone's tent was set up we went straight to searching for wood and the food group would start preparing dinner. It was very helpful to have 27 people because things got done very quickly. We had tacos that night that went very well with my amazing rice which apparently was the best rice most of the group had ever ate so you could imagine how proud I was about my cooking. The stars were brilliant that evening so me and Shane stared up at the sky on a beach and on a tree for an hour or two.

In the morning we decided to stay at our first campsite for another night because of how buggy the next site was and that someone was already there. During the morning/day Mr. Brouwer taught us several solo strokes in the canoes with one group while the other other groups were either playing games and gathering wood. After lunch we left to the slide/falls with the sun to our backs. Once we got to the slide though , it started to get darker. The water was cold but most everyone got in. The slide was really cool, and as soon as I got dry and put my rain coat on it started to rain. I noticed Shane needed help getting up from the water so I stupidly went down and tried to help him but he ended up pulling me in with my raincoat all warm. After laughing about it, we went down to the falls and stayed there for about 30 minutes. We stayed optimistic and after a while it stopped raining as hard and we started to see light shining through so came back to the camp in perfect timing. That night was full of ghost stories and more star gazing.

Will said...

The next day was our biggest and would prove challenging for most of the rookie campers because we had to portage 4-5 times. We got on the water a little later than what we would have liked but I had the map today so I knew we'd get to our campsite with very few stops too see where we were. We left Stratton Lake to Opalescent and got on our way with tackling the many portages in our route. It was all going well until the 3rd portage where I chose to go left and do an extra unnecessary portage of 500 meters (like my brother did 3 years ago). I noticed no one was behind me so I walked back and finally went the correct way with the rest of the group. The sun was still high in the sky and we started gathering wood for our next campsite which turned out to be one of he best campsites I've ever been on. It was wide, open and their were rocky couches by the fire. Most of the group would play games in the water or just chill by the edge catching tadpoles (and there were many of them). The dinner that night was definitely the best out of all. We had pasta, garlic bread and salad with Michaelas band aid that seemed to give the salad quite the unique taste. Later that night Rhys, Shane, David, Thomas and I had decided to raid the other side of the lakes camp and take their canoes. It was getting late and the other groups tempers were running high but we stayed with it and we ended up taking all their canoes . Eventually Mr. Brouwer got on the water to bring us back to our own camp but it was definitely the best night I've ever had camping.

In the morning we had to get up early and not many people were in the mood because of the nights shenanigans so it was a little awkward at breakfast. Shane, Rhys, David and I slept under the stars by the water that night which was my first time but it turned out to be very comfortable. For the last day we took it nice and steady with a couple of portages and we got through the magnificent high walls of the Canyon with tired but yet happy eyes. The sun never stopped receding during this trip, maybe for only about an hour or two at the falls but other then that we always woke up with a beautiful blue sky.

I was surprised with the amount of help we got and how quickly things got done, even if it was 27 people, I didn't think the trip would run this smoothly. With great weather and even greater friends, this was a trip to remember and I thank Mr. Brouwer for taking us.

katherine95 said...

I was very excited to go on the outdoor ed canoe trip. I heard there was going to be great weather, which there was, and I would get to go camping and canoeing which I love. I was worried the weather may change and it would rain though. Last year on the Hiking trip, it rained the whole time, and it was cold. Not very fun. The canoe trip this year was a lot of fun though, much better than last year.
This was a very good trip, and theres not much that I would change. There was beautiful weather, except for one day when rained for a bit. This was the day when we went to the water slides. This was a good day for it, because we were getting wet ​anyways. That day it was kind of cold out because there were clouds out. The water was very cold, but it was still so much fun. After this we went to the waterfalls, which was fun except for after. While we came back up from the falls it started pouring rain, and we had to wait maybe 45 minutes for it to stop. I wish I had brought something else there to keep me dry.
We did a few portages each day. I found the first one on the second day I believe, was the worst for me. I was carrying a very big backpack, which was very hard for me for some reason. I fell down at the very end. Maybe I didn't have it on right. The rest of the portages went pretty well though.
The first night was the coldest, I woke up a few times and it wasn't pleasant. I didn't sleep very well because I didn't dress as warmly as I should have. The next two nights I learned to dress warmer.

The canoe trip was overall a great trip and experience. I learned a lot of canoe skills, portaging skills, and many other useful things. I'd love to do it again someday, as long as the weather is nice. It was great spending time with friends, and in the outdoors. Can't wait for our trip next year!

brieski said...

Part 1: This year's trip, was absolutely fantastic. It met, and surpassed my expectations in every way imaginable. From the weather, to the food, to our campsites, and our company. It was phenomenal.
I had been anticipating this trip for weeks. I was ready to go a week in advance because I just couldn`t wait. Sadly, 2 days before the trip I got sick, and caught the stomach flu the night before and the morning of. I wasn`t feeling well at all, but there was no way I was missing this trip. After napping the bus ride up, I felt ready to start! Megan, Arden, and I packed our canoe well and it was balanced. I `princessed` that first day, because I still wasn`t feeling 100%. I was quite relieved to have such beautiful weather, and a steady breeze that allowed us to raft up and sail to our first camp site.
I may be a little bit biased, but I personally believe Megan, Arden, Sara, and I got the best spot to set up our tent. We were facing the beach, so it was awesome to wake up to those two mornings. The second morning, It was my cooking groups turn to make breakfast. We made eggs and It was a hit with the group! We accommodated the allergies, and offered an alternative as well. I wasn`t feeling well that morning but, after Renee offered me some medication to settle my nausea, I felt ready to go, so I cleaned everyone's dishes as my contribution. I was a little sad after breakfast because I thought we were packing up and moving to our next site, after seeing how wonderful, and beautiful this one was, but after Mr. Brouwer, Steph, and Renee discussed we decided to stay at our first site.
The second day was awesome! I really enjoyed the skill building exercises we did, not to mention the solo canoeing. It was so much fun, and It was really productive. Then we went to the falls! it was probably the highlight of my trip. It was so great! We spent a couple hours there and everyone did their own thing. Some people went in the water, others watched, but I think everyone really enjoyed themselves. I know I did! The water was chilly, but it was still worth it. If it had been 5 degrees warmer that day, without the overcast, It would have been perfection. That night was also my cooking groups turn to make dinner. We had roasted potatoes and sausage. We were efficient, and had dinner made, served, and cleaned up and we still had enough day light after to go on a short paddle before the nights campfire.
The next morning was one that we had to be efficient on. We were packing up and getting ready to start moving on to our next, and final camp site. We had a few short paddles, and portages in the first portion. We even got the chance to go through some rapids with Mr. Brower in the stern. I was in the bow, so It was a really interesting perspective to experience. We had a long paddle after that and one long portage. I have to say, I enjoyed the portages. They were long, and strenuous, and I was absolutely exhausted during it, but it felt good after, to see all the progress you made. It also felt good to go back and help others, and to get another load to portage over. I didn`t mind making a few trips during the portages because the other people we were with were really appreciative of it too. After a long day of paddling, we made it to our last camp site and it was spectacular!
It was located on a rocky front, and there was one site on one side of the lake, and about 100m across the lake was a second. I stayed on the site across the lake from main camp, and It was wonderful. That afternoon, we had free time and it was so fun.

brieski said...

Part 2: We got to try gunneling, and swim, and paddle on our own. Everyone did their own thing, and It was so much fun. At this site, there were hundreds of thousands of tadpoles. They were everywhere, in every different stage of their growth. It was wild to see that many of them in such a small space. That night was clear and I looked at the stars for hours after our campfire with a group of people. The next morning, we were much more efficient as we packed up camp to go home. I could have stayed in Algonquin for the next 2 weeks, and I was really sad to leave, but it was a trip I won`t forget. We started paddling nice and early that morning, and had a few portages and long paddles. Our longest portage was right at the beginning, and it was good to get it over with. Everyone worked together, and I felt as though we made a lot of progress. There was a long straight paddle, and a short portage after that and then we were a short paddle away from getting back on the bus. Our cooking group was doing lunch so we laid out all of the pita, hummus, peanut butter, honey, jam, and leftovers from the trip and everyone made their sandwiches themselves. Then we switched gear with the second group, and hopped on the bus!
I loved this trip, it was a great time spent with great friends. I was extremely prepared for any weather, and I stayed dry and comfortable the whole time. I really can`t think of anything negative that I would change about this trip, because it was nothing but the best. Even after going home with cuts, bruises, and bug bites, I wouldn`t change it for the world. This trip, was hands down the highlight of my entire school year from grade 11. Thanks Mr. Brouwer!

Ariana said...

I can easily say that this years PAD30 canoe trip was one of my best experiences in highschool so far. Three days of camping combined with beautiful weather, and amazing friends, lead to an amazing overall experience.

On the first day, everyone
was excited to get started. We canoed to our first campsite with two short portages on the way. Everyone collaborated to make it very efficient, and enjoyable. We spent the night sitting around the fire, and sharing jokes, ghost stories, singing camp songs. I was a little bit cold inside my sleeping bag, but had a generally good sleep.

The next morning, Mr.Brouwer decided that we would stay at that same campsite for the night, which was welcome news for many as it meant not having to pack up all of our stuff. We spent the morning relaxing, and taking in the natural beauty of Algonquin Park. In the afternoon, we enjoyed some awesome games,a solo canoeing tutorial, and the falls. I am so glad we got to go there, and experience it. I remember how nervous and excited i was to jump into the water. And without thinking about it too much Brie, Sam, and I mustered up the courage to just JUMP! The water was so cold I am almost positive I went into shock after jumping in. However, it was an exhilarating experience that i will never forget. After enduring about an hour of rain,we made our way back to camp. I think this day was definately my favourite, everyone had a ton of fun, and were getting along really well. We sat around the fire for awhile, then decided to call it a night, as we would have a long day of portaging the next day.

Our group made breakfast on the third morning, so we had to wake up a little earlier, which i didn't mind. After, might I say, a great breakfast of bacon, sausages, pancakes, and oranges, everyone packed up their belongings and we headed for the canoes. This day was full of very grueling portages. I know that personally, i was exhausted, after portaging several canoes and packs across the uneven ground. But as we reached camp, around lunch time, we realized all the hard work of portaging was worth it. We had a great campsite, already staked out by about a million tadpoles. We had great lunch of pizza, and by then everyone was ready for a swim! We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, and sitting in swamped canoes (lots of fun by the way). My cooking group prepared the final dinner on the trip. We had pasta along with some improvised sauce to use up some leftovers from previous meals, and ceasar salad.. bandaids included. After dinner, Brie, Trev, and I took out a canoe, and had a nice time before being chased after by some unruly kids in a canoe, with a lasso. It made for a hilarious sight, i was laughing so hard that i cried. It was all great fun. After an exciting day of swimming, and difficult portages, we gathered around the campfire and sang songs for 2 hours. Followed by some star gazing. It was a great night!

On the last day, everyone was feeling a bit nostalgic, and no one wanted to leave. But we packed up our bags, and headed out for the last day of Canoeing. We took the longest portage of the trip head-on and succesfully reloaded the canoes. Every did their part which made for a quick and easy portage. We then continued on our journey through the Barron River Canyon, what a sight! I had never been there before and was astonished by the beauty. As we finished up the last portion of the trip, i was sad that we would have to leave. We had a quick lunch of basically anything we could find, including a great discovery: oreos and nutella compliment eachother very well.

Throughout the trip, i gained so much knowledge on canoeing, and camping. I can say this trip has succesfully rekindled my love of camping in the outdoors. Thank you all of you for making it an unforgettable experience. And thanks for all the laughs. Especially, thank you Mr.Brouwer because without you none of it would've been possible.
Can't wait for next year!

Shannon Vezina said...

This year was my second year in the outdoor ed program at Cairine. I was very excited to go on the canoe trip hearing the stories from the first semester class. We lest early on the Friday morning to bring the canoes to the start off point and we were off! We spent the first day singing and mostly canoeing, only having to do one portage and sailed for the most part of the day. Then we arrived at our first campsite, excited as can be we enjoyed a nice warm meal and all went well! Day two we stayed at the same campsite because our planned one was occupied, which did not bother me at all because it gave us a day to have some leadership activities. And in the afternoon we were able to go to the natural waterslide. The coldest swim I have ever experience but the most exciting and enjoyable! The third day was the most problematic, mostly because of one person in particular who stole our canoes in the middle of the night. The fourth day was the longest and hardest canoeing over 13 kilometers and portaging over 1000 meters. In all the trip went very well and we all enjoyed ourselves for the most part. We all worked together and all meals and transitions from camp to camp went smoothly.

Shannon Vezina said...

This year was my second year in the outdoor ed program at Cairine. I was very excited to go on the canoe trip hearing the stories from the first semester class. We lest early on the Friday morning to bring the canoes to the start off point and we were off! We spent the first day singing and mostly canoeing, only having to do one portage and sailed for the most part of the day. Then we arrived at our first campsite, excited as can be we enjoyed a nice warm meal and all went well! Day two we stayed at the same campsite because our planned one was occupied, which did not bother me at all because it gave us a day to have some leadership activities. And in the afternoon we were able to go to the natural waterslide. The coldest swim I have ever experience but the most exciting and enjoyable! The third day was the most problematic, mostly because of one person in particular who stole our canoes in the middle of the night. The fourth day was the longest and hardest canoeing over 13 kilometers and portaging over 1000 meters. In all the trip went very well and we all enjoyed ourselves for the most part. We all worked together and all meals and transitions from camp to camp went smoothly.

ginger_kid said...

This May our outdoor ed group left for the grade 11 canoe trip. The weather was very nice and I think everyone was very excited to go, I know I was. I had been looking forward to the trip for a couple of weeks and I had done a last minute shop the night before we left. I'd also brought a surprise with me to make things a little more... interesting. After making sure everyone had packed everything up we got on the bus and we were off to Algonquin Park.

Getting into the water when we first got there was a little more difficult than I had expected, it wasn't anything like getting into an empty canoe with one other person. Now we had two or three heavy packs and three people to fit into one canoe. It was a bit of a balancing act at first and I wasn't comfortable with the way it felt, but after getting out and readjusting our packs a bit it wasn't too bad, however we were still very low to the water. Then came the really tricky part, we had to paddle across the first lake like this and the wind was really kicking up the waves. After a full team effort, some expert navigating of the waves, and a lot of screaming we finally made it across the lake without tipping, although we did take on some water. After the 40m portage we got back on the water and we sailed down Stratton Lake to get to our first campsite. When we got to our campsite we all set up our tents and began looking for fire wood, while our cooking group began preparing the food for the night. I thought cooking for 27 people would prove to be quite the challenge but with many hands we made light work.

The second day of the trip we decided to stay at our campsite because the next one was taken, there were also a lot of bugs. In the morning we enjoyed a few activities Mr. Brouwer had planned for us, from solo paddling to passing people through a spider web made of ropes. After lunch we headed over to the falls to go sliding (and falling, in Shane's case). We thought there were leeches in the water but Mr. Brouwer informed us that they were only fly larva, although he waited until it was time to leave, much to our disappointment.

ginger_kid said...

Day three had many portages in store for us, but with so many people we got through them all fairly efficiently. When it got dark that night I decided to paddle over to the other site with my wolf mask, but I didn't land near their campsite so they wouldn't hear me coming. So I spent somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour walking through the woods with my wolf mask on looking for their campsite. I didn't want to turn my light on so that they wouldn't see me coming, but I'm glad I did the one time that I did. I was going to jump off what I thought was a 5-foot drop, but when I checked the cliff with my flashlight I realized it was more of a 25-foot drop, which wouldn't have gone over so well. Unfortunately, when I finally got close to their campsite (with a little help from Dan and Shannon) someone shined their light on me just long enough for someone to notice me crawling towards their fire pit. I had to get back across now, and I realized that I would probably never find my canoe in the dark. Fortunately for me, they allowed me to take one of their canoes to get across. Soloing a canoe in the pitch black with only a speck of light coming from a fire in the distance proved to be quite the experience, it was actually pretty fun. Later still in the night a small group from our camp (spearheaded by Rhys) decided to steal the other group's canoes and leave them stranded in the morning. This could have definitely gone over more smoothly but it was still a lot of fun, unfortunately some of the campers from the other group had to suffer for it.

On the last day of the trip there was a lot of canoeing and the longest portage of the trip, once again it all went smoothly with everyone chipping in. We were all happy to finish our trip, but I'm sure many of us were a little sad to get on the bus and leave.

This trip, in my opinion, was the best yet of all the outdoor ed trips I've been on. It was a lot of fun and we shared some great moments. It was also a huge learning experience for me, I learned some of my limits (patience, etc.) and all in all was just a great trip, I would gladly do it all again.

Gesykah said...

When we arrived to the park, it was chaos, people were trying to find their bags to apply sunscreen and bug spray. Others were trying to load the canoes while others were trying to figure out the canoe arrangements. I don't count myself as a strong paddler and when I practiced, it was with friends, suddenly I was in a canoe with someone I didn't know well and I was quite embarrassed with my lack of skills. However, I was in the middle, which had 2 bags and a barrel that made a 'couch' therefore I had a hard time reaching the water without tipping which meant I couldn't help paddle much anyways. Once we got off Grand Lake, we found ourselves being able to sail the rest of the way.
My cooking group was cooking dinner that night and we made tacos and 'cake soup'. Unfortunately, we used a lot of cheese. We thought we had organized it all so that there was enough for the other groups. However when the time came, we quickly ran out. If I learned anything from cooking, it's 1) If you want a certain amount of food to last, don't put it out and 2) Don't underestimate the appetite of 24 teenagers.
The second day, at breakfast our scouts came back and informed us that our other site was taken, so we stayed an extra night. After getting everything cleaned up, we were split into groups. I started with solo canoeing, which was fun. I believe this day was when my
warning signs started going off but I ignored them. I was exhausted and easily frustrated. I
think I would have had a lot more fun with the caning, if I wasn't so moody. After that, we played a minesweeper type game and a balance game and finally a game were you had to go through a
'spiderweb'. We then had to look for firewood.
By this time, I felt really sick. I sat around the fire with everyone just trying to enjoy
the nice day. I also got to watch a very comic display by Mr. Brouwer and Trevor. After lunch, I told a friend to wake me up when they were cleaning so I could wash my dish. Instead, he woke me up when everyone was getting ready to leave for the waterfalls for which I was thankful.
The next day, I still didn't to feel well but ignored it again. Then as we were entering one of the portages, I grabbed a bag that was a tad too heavy. I tried not to complain because I wasn't much help on other portages. However, I ended up collapsing on the trail. A few students were around me and took off my bag and gave me water before I realized what had happened. I couldn't stop shaking and when I tried to walk I got super dizzy. Eventually I was able to walk to the end of the trail where I lied down in a canoe. Once I got to the other side of the lake, word had spread and somebody made sure I got some trail mix while somebody else found my water bottle. I felt bad for letting myself get dehydrated because it basicley left me useless but I still tried to help as much as I could.

Gesykah said...

For lunch, we made pizza. This is when we realized that 1) we didn't have meat and 2) we had very little cheese. Where I learned, ALWAYS double check supplies.
The next morning was hectic as everyone tried to pack up and eat. After a quick portage, I relaxed and enjoyed Barron Canyon. When I finally got to the bus stop, I was ecstatic as well as disappointed. I didn't want this trip to end but I could go home! After emptying my bag, I went to find something to eat. Preferably a nice nutella sandwich. Unfortunately, everyone else decided the same thing and mixed the nutella and peanut butter. Disappointed, I grabbed a piece of bread, not really trusting that they didn't get peanut butter on everything else.

I would love to go on this trip again knowing what I learned. 1) If you want a certain amount of food to last, don't put it out, 2) Don't underestimate the appetite of 24 teenagers, 3) Double and triple check to make sure you have everything you need, and 4) Always stay hydrated. ALWAYS! It really sucks feeling useless. Plus the trip would have been 150% more enjoyable if I had bothered to drink a little more water.

I apologize for it being two comments, Blogger was being stubborn.