Needing Some Healing Time In #AlgonquinPark

More than ever before, Algonquin will become my hide away. Before Christmas my dad was diagnosed with Leukemia – which is a blood cancer. It’s been not only a rough road for him but also the rest of our family.

Algonquin is known as the wilderness playground. It offers beautiful vista’s, picturesque lakes, and a chance to get away from it all. Often explored by outdoorsmen and families it is a great get away. But what about it’s ability to heal? I’m not talking physical healing where you go and you’re cured of whatever ails you. I’m talking more of emotional healing.

Over the last 5 years Algonquin has become my hiding and healing place. When I lost my mom I immediately went into survival mode. I had a family to care for and as the oldest I felt responsible. When mother’s day came along I went to the one place that I felt whole…Algonquin. Being one with nature, miles away from the everyday, in the serenity of that beautiful park gives you time to think and to reflect on things that you often can’t focus on in the busyness of life.

The thing about Algonquin is that you don’t have to go far into the interior to begin to feel the healing powers of the park. For me often all it takes is a hike up the Lookout Trail and sitting on top of the lookout to start to feel at ease and less anxious about life. I always have a notebook, a camera and a pen with me. That way when I need to I can write what I feel and help sort out what’s going on. The other place f0r me to get away as weird as it sounds is on Canoe Lake. The mysterious lake already hides a great mystery so I feel at home there. Sometimes I climb up to the cairn…other times I go to the Joe Lake Dam. The cairn is where Thomson often camped so I feel at home there.

Another way that I find healing in the park is by camping solo! It may be within a campground where you are close to people if you’re new to this…or it could be jumping in the canoe and going on a 2/3 day canoe trip. The key thing is…do what makes you feel in control and relaxed. Other times you may feel that you need just a day. That’s cool too! My life may be in a bit of turmoil emotionally at times but I know that there’s a place out there where I can become whole again and have a different outlook on life…a positive one. I hope that you can find a place or spot within the park that you can call yours to get away from everything and heal.

~Enjoy your trip

Why Do I Go to #AlgonquinPark?

People I’ve met over the years have often asked me why Algonquin? What’s so special about it? Those who have been to Algonquin many times get it and understand. It’s hard to describe that feeling I get when I’m in Algonquin. It’s one of peace, serenity, and the feeling of being able to breathe. As I said it’s hard to truly understand but I’ll try to explain. When you live in the city and go through the daily life you sometimes find it hard to breathe. That life is passing you by and you are missing everything. Algonquin is my place to breathe, to take in life, and to get rid of all the stress that builds up during the year.

I was introduced to Algonquin when I was around the age of 2. I don’t know what exactly we did whether it was a canoe trip or just a camping trip and I really don’t remember the trip at all but there is photographic evidence down in my basement. I’ve grown up there though pretty much every summer since I was around 5/6. It has been my summer vacation playground. My home away from home. It’s where I learned how to canoe and be considerate of nature. It’s where I discovered who I am as a person. It’s where I watched my mom come alive. Where my family felt the closest with no worries or fears.

When I saw my mom in Algonquin camping or at our Dorset cottage she was a completely different person. It was like all the stress of the school year melted away and she was able to relax with us. She was happy all the time but she was even happier when we were camping. It wasn’t uncommon for her to make friends at the campgrounds that have ended up being life long friends. She sat on the beach either reading or knitting, talked with other mom’s, or swam in the lake with us. There were many times where we would swim from the beach in Canisbay lake to the island across the way or we went for a canoe ride at sunset.

Algonquin is my place to run away from the everyday. It’s my sanctuary, my place to breathe, my place to live.

Part of me is baffled that there are many many people out there that haven’t had the opportunity to experience it like I have. My family used to go on overnight canoe trips. My dad took us kids out for two or three nights at a time. When we bought a cottage I started to lose that love I had for Algonquin…it was harder for me to have the same feeling and I turned away for a few years. It wasn’t until I was older and I started camping by myself that I realized how much I missed it.

My love for Algonquin is the main reason I started the blog. I love being able to share my experiences with others. I love helping people discover what Algonquin is all about and hopefully discover how much they love it. Algonquin isn’t for everyone I know that but one can dream. I hope this makes it a little clearer about why I love it.

~Enjoy your trip!

WhaSUP?

With paddle boarding (SUP) increasing popularity every season it’s a difficult market to stand out above the rest! Yet there is a paddle board company that is starting to do just that! We’ve all heard of BluWave or SUPLove…those names are big here Ontario. The problem with those boards (not that it’s a big problem per say) is that they can be hard to transport. You need a vehicle in order to carry them to and from your campground or have someone else drive you. This is where whaSUP stands out above the rest. There boards are inflatable and portable! Don’t believe me? This is their paddle board…

And this is their paddle board folded up….

Yup that’s it! It’s folds into a backpack the size of my Eureka Dry Pack! Inside that backpack is your SUP board, your paddle, your leash, the pump, and a guage. For those who travel by Parkbus to the Provincial Parks…this is your answer to how to transport something like this up…this will fit easily under the bus! Live in downtown Toronto but can’t take your SUP board onto the subway to get down to the lake? Just throw this on your back and away you go.

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t work for the company…but I know an ingenius product when I see it and I want to share it with you! I’m looking forward to testing one this summer! In case you’re interested…the price point is about half compared to other companies. They are only $750 for the model that I showed you…which is a show special right now and it includes the taxes. Plus you get everything I told you about! If you are still set on getting a regular hard SUP board they also carry ROGUE paddle boards!

Next week I’ll be chatting more with Scott and Peter from whaSUP about their product while at the Outdoor Adventure Show! If you want to find out more about them visit their website: www.whasup.ca, follow them on Twitter: @whasupboards, or check them out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/whasupboards.

Outdoor Adventure Show #OASToronto

The Outdoor Adventure Show, in my opinion, is the best show to visit in the off-season if you’re a paddler or camper. Everything that you could possibly want or need, whether it’s tripping advice from Algonquin Outfitters or a new canoe or paddle, you can find right here. Sure it’s not every outfitter or canoe company but you are able to comparison shop in a way. The one thing I am finding though is that the show is very repetitive. Same exhibitors, same layout, same thing. It’s time for the show to grow and take over more space so that more people can show off the products they have. Otherwise you’ll start losing visitors.

This year the show added an Adventures in Paddling Stage where they had various people speak including Hap Wilson, Preston Ciere (Portageur.ca) and Kevin Callan.

The speakers above are from the Bay of Fundy Symposium(L) and Hap Wilson (R)

As always they had the demo pool where this year things got a little furry! Preston Ciere and his paddling dog Nancy were showing how to take our furry companions on canoe trips.

Something else that they added this year was a zip line above the show floor. There were a ton of people who took part in that. I myself didn’t feel like waiting in that line up but I still would have done it :). Over all it was a great day. I got to meet up with some old friends from Algonquin Outfitters and Swift, met a new friend from Some Eventful, Gayle, and got a chance to catch up with some of the speakers from TEDxAlgonquin like Preston Ciere, Kevin Callan, and Boris from Parkbus!

For more photos check out the Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/AWalkInAlgonquinPark)

~Enjoy your Trip!