Monday, August 20, 2007

Algonquin Park... The Return

Ah Algonquin... the Gonq... a wonderful place. Over 7,700 square kilometers (bigger than the prefecture I lived in back in Japan) filled with more 2000 lakes and hundreds of kilometers of canoe routes.

This past weekend, I initiated two lucky campers to the wonders of Algonquin. This was to be my wife's second camping trip, after an initial test trip which included us sleeping in a tent when we went to visit Klaus. This time around, no facilities, no running water, no electricity... "real" camping as far as I'm concerned.... and I'm proud to say my little lady came out of it unscathed and says she truly enjoyed herself.

In order to limit my wife's exposure to the roughness of interior camping in Algonquin Park, we opted for a Saturday morning departure, meaning only one night's stay on the site. This trip marked my fourth time taking up temporary residence on the shores of Basin lake, which is just inside the south-eastern part of Algonquin, and is accessible by car. Here are Yoshiko and my brother being silly as we arrived at the lake.

My explorer did quite well getting us in there, and was satisfactorily muddied in the process... this was also to be the first real test of the newly acquired Scout 16'6 canoe which had so far only seen action at the cottage on our tiny little lake.

Shortly after unpacking and setting up our tent\hammock, I put Yoshiko to work splitting wood... and a fine job she did!

After enjoying our lunch of Dirienzo's fantastic sandwiches, we took a hike around the lake and inspected the far shore. With a rather cool and windy afternoon ahead of us, we opted for a nap in the cozy warmth of our sleeping bags upon our return, hoping for the wind to die down in the evening. Sure enough, as we were preparing dinner, the wind practically stopped and we knew we were in for a comfortable evening. After dinner, we even made a bit of a tour around the lake with the canoe, chasing a pair of loons around for a while before making our way back. We were lucky enough to time our return perfectly to catch the last of the setting sun, captured here with the wake from our canoe.

It really was calm, and once we got the canoe on shore, the lake quickly returned to it's mirror-like state.

We spent the rest of the evening around the campfire, relaxing. The night turned out not to be so cold and the critters were relatively polite, only waking us up a few times. We had the confirmed (either visual or auditory) visits of rabbits, chipmunks\squirrels, raccoons no doubt, deer and possible a moose\bear which was crashing in the bush around 8AM just before I decided to finally get up and check it out. Whatever it was, I'll use Yoshiko's words to describe its sound: "Big". It was really funny because all hell broke loose right around 6AM with a chipmunk fight in the trees above us, followed by hoof sounds and some bleats from nearby deer. This whole sleeping on the ground thing is TOTALLY not cool though... I missed my hammock!

When we finally did roll out of bed, I set to putting together a fantastic breakfast of eggs and skillet strips on English muffins.... all prepared on the handy Coleman stove of course... yum!

Throughout our weekend, we'd had repeated visits by "Steve" the chipmunk, so christened by Christian. He'd come right up to him and take food out of his hand. Well after breakfast on Sunday, as we were packing up, Steve came back and brought friends!

This marked only the third time in all my trips to Algonquin that Canada Jays were friendly enough to come and eat out of our hands. Here is Yoshiko giving it a shot before succumbing to a litany of "Itai! Itai! Itai" (it hurts!) as the bird's talons dug into her fingers.

And here be Christian with his new found friend.

At one point, we must have had 6 or seven of these guys swooping around, grabbing bread before heading off into the forest to store it. They'd then swoop right back in for more.

This little guy missed his landing spot on my hand and opted for my head instead.

I managed to get one good shot out of the bunch, with both the feeder and feedee immobile. This my friends, is Algonquin.

And so is this!

We went for one last canoe ride before leaving, exploring a little creek out behind our camp site. We then only had time for a farewell snack for Steve before we said our goodbyes and headed on down the road.

A fantabulous return to Algonquin, and I'm sure not the last for neither Christian or Yoshiko, despite the "rudimentary" toilet accommodations. lol


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds ideal, and the pictures are beautiful.

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7:54 AM  
Blogger Anskov said...

Looks idyllic up there. I'd love to grab my gear and head north. Thinking of planning a trip to Gooseberry Falls up on Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota. Now that it's getting cooler, the camping is perfect.

9:37 AM  

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