Algonquin Provincial Park -- August 2008
Today my mom drove to Toronto where Matt and I loaded all our stuff into her already full car and then I took the driver's seat and we continued on to Ottawa. The traffic seemed to be reasonable, however it started to slow down near Port Hope and Cobourg. Unfortunately a tractor trailer had flipped just where the 401 goes from three lanes to two lanes which of course meant that traffic was backed up forever. It took us almost two hours to travel ten kilometres. Blegh.
Anyway, we eventually arrived in Ottawa at the William's residence and after the introductions were complete I chatted with my brother for a bit (he's staying there this term for co-op). Now though, it is time for sleep. Tomorrow we will be getting up early and heading to the park as soon as possible.
We got up early this morning, but we didn't get out of Ottawa early. It took a lot longer than expected to load up the cars with all of the equipment and to strap four canoes and a kayak to the trailer and the cars. Add a two hour plus drive to Algonquin park and we didn't set out in the canoes until close to 1pm.
It turned out OK though, the paddle in didn't take too long and we eventually chose a campsite on the far side of Stratton Lake. The site was big enough to hold the three tents and even had a kitchen area built by a previous camper. We spent the rest of the afternoon setting up camp, gathering firewood, and getting a good fire going. For supper we had steaks cooked on the fire, as well as potatoes, onions and carrots wrapped in tin foil with oil and garlic. Any food cooked at camp tends to be good, but this was extra delicious.
We spent the rest of the evening enjoying the fire and eventually went to sleep.
I woke up this morning relaxed and rested. Camping in Algonquin is so peaceful and quiet and the air is so fresh and clean.
Breakfast this morning was sausages cooked over the fire, so we had to get a fire going which meant chopping more wood. It was a good pre-breakfast activity because it removed the chill of the morning and got my appetite going. In addition to sausages we had scrambled eggs and juice and tea and coffee.
Following breakfast, a couple people went for a swim and we also chopped and gathered more wood for the evening. After a lunch of summer sausage, cheese, granola bars, dried fruit, cookies and other yummy, snacky-type foods we all piled into the canoes and headed for High Falls. High Falls is a set of rapids and waterfalls at the top of Stratton Lake. It's a great place for swimming that's essentially a natural water park. We spent most of the afternoon playing in the water and sliding down the rocks (some were smoother and less pointy than others). There were a bunch of other people swimming at the falls as well, but it wasn't obnoxious to have to share the area.
Once we had our fill of swimming, we headed back to camp and prepared supper. Tonight we had pasta and tomato sauce, with meatballs cooked over the fire. And again, it was super delicious.
Laura and I had a lot of fun playing with the fire before supper and after supper and well into the evening. Fire is fun!
After supper we all played Apples to Apples for a while and then we made s'mores over the fire. Eventually the more adult people got tired and went to bed, leaving the younger folk to tend the fire and basically stay up watching the stars for a long time. It was lovely.
Today we got up and enjoyed a breakfast of fruits and porridge and then packed up camp and canoed back to the launch site. It was a good trip, but when you run out of food it's time to head for home.
Upon arriving back in Ottawa, my brother made lasagna and salad for everyone which we enjoyed with many beers and glasses of wine. We also picked up an awesome DQ Ice Cream cake and played some more Apples to Apple before heading off to bed.
Today we slept in a bit, to recover from the trip. However, we didn't sleep for too long, as it is a long drive from Ottawa to Toronto. Matt and I helped my return the canoes to the rental place (Trailhead) in Ottawa and then we loaded up the car, said our goodbyes and started for Toronto.
There was no significant traffic on the way home, so it was an easy (although tiring) trip. Now that I'm home it's time to do laundry.