Outdoor Adventure Show #OASToronto

DSC_0055

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.

DSC_0071DSC_0077

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.

DSC_0093

 

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!

Trip Report – June 21-23, Kearney Lake Campground

934918_10151700578816203_80723951_n

As far as trips go, this was probably one of the best.  It started off early but was worth every second!  I took the Parkbus up to Algonquin Outfitters from Toronto and met my dad.  You can see my review of the trip here.  We got to AO around 11am, which was fine because it still gave us most of the day to set up and do stuff.  After shopping around AO & Swift Canoe we headed out to our site.We had a great site right on the water.  For those who may want to camp there it’s site 129 at Kearney Lake.  We had the whole loop to ourselves pretty much.  There were a couple other people but they were far enough away that we didn’t hear them or even notice them.

1010240_10151700579521203_745319935_nWe were able to put in our canoe and paddle the lake that night.  The canoe we brought with us this time was our handmade Cedar Strip.  I love this canoe!  It travels swiftly down the lake and doesn’t take a ton of effort to portage.  The rest of the day was spent curled up in front of a campfire.  I ended up reading while in front of the fire.  The books I was reading was The Kane Choronicles!

 

1017101_10151700584021203_909136884_nSaturday was rainy so after breakfast we went out and looked for moose.  It’s like this big guy knew it was my birthday because he stuck around for a bit and let me get some good pictures.  Is that a smirk I see?  He was the only moose we saw all weekend….however we did see a ton of turkey’s running around.  I don’t know if I’ve just missed them in the past but I’m pretty sure I don’t remember that many turkey’s running around before.  We also did the Logging Museum and went into Whitney for a bit.

988604_10151700587061203_1685579377_nOn Sunday we packed up in the morning and then headed to do a hike.  I decided I wanted to do the Big Pines trail as it’s one of my favorites.  If you want to learn about the history of some of the logging in the park and see some of the tall pines then I highly suggest this trail!  Overall it was a great trip!  I love spending my birthday in the park for a couple of reasons.  One – its my favorite place to be.  Two – it’s always so quiet that week before school gets out that you can relax fully and truly enjoy the park without a lot of people around.

I’m going again July 26-29th for Logging Days and the Wakami Wailers.  As well I’m a Parkbus Ambassador for a few trips!  If you have the time off and want to come along I’d love to chat with you on the bus!  I’m doing 3 trips with Parkbus: August 5th – 9th (5th to the park, 9th home), August 16th – 19th (16th to the park, 19th home), and September 7th – 8th (7th to the park, 8th home).  I’d love to have my readers join me!  Both trips in August I’ll be staying at Kearney Lake.

~Enjoy your trip

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Once Around Algonquin – an epic canoe journey by Kevin Callan

Today Guest Blogger and Author Kevin Callan shares with us about his upcoming epic canoe journey around Algonquin called “The Meanest Link”.

meanestlink

I knew it was too good to be true. The plane flying me home after I presented at the paddling show in Minneapolis was on-time; early in fact. The joyful passengers, including myself, boarded in an organized manner with everyone being considerate of each other. Life was good — or at least the best it can be at a busy airport.

Once the plane taxied out to the runway, however, things changed. The revvin engine dropped to a faint hum and brakes beneath us began to squeak. Not long afterwards, the pilot made an announcement that there was a delay in Toronto and we would have to sit patiently on the tarmac until we got the go ahead to take-off.

Ten minutes into the hour-an-a-half wait and the same friendly people became barbaric. Intolerance took over from compassion. The steward got the worst of it — but he also was one of the rudest flight attendants I’ve ever come across. The guy beside also smelled bad — made up of body odour, foot odour, bad breath and something identifiable. I hated being there. It was so claustrophobic and I felt like a goldfish in one of those tanks used at the fall fair — I prayed someone would throw the ring over the pin, win me and take me home in a baggie. To survive this I knew I needed to go to my happy place.

Sleep was impossible, I read the magazine I packed along three times already, and the battery for my minipad was totally drained. So I searched my side bag for something to entertain me and found an old Algonquin Provincial Park map stored on the very bottom. It was stained with coffee, weathered and torn at each corner, and even had a few dried up mosquitoes squashed on it. Planning my next canoe trip in Algonquin became my salvation and out of it came a 20-day, 350-km trip around the park called The Meanest Link.

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later I rethought my idea to paddle the legendary Meanest Link. After all, it has 93 portages, ranging from 50 metres to five metres, adding up to 68 km. That’s if I only walk them once across. I generally go across twice, multiplying the length. Yikes. I guess I’ll have to leave the camp chair and pillow at home for this one.

This route is the brain child of the staff at Algonquin Outfitters, Alex Hurley and Gordon Baker, devised in the summer of 2004. They combined four challenging canoe routes connecting the four Algonquin Outfitters stores serving Algonquin Park: Oxtongue Lake, Huntsville, Brent, on Cedar Lake, and Lake Opeongo.  It was named in honour and memory of Bill Swift Sr., one of the founders of Algonquin Outfitters. Swifty, as he was most often called, had other nicknames, such as Mean Dude, or Meanest, which were a tribute to his gruff exterior persona.

There’s only a few rules to follow — one is you can’t go solo, due to safety. I may have to break that one, however. I’m waiting for my regular canoe mate, Andy Baxter, to see if he can get the time off work. I hope he does.

Stay tuned for more details as the planning progresses. I’m going in June when bugs are at their prime, the water level are up and the Algonquin portages aren’t too crowded.

Kevin Callan is a Canadian canoe enthusiast, media personality, and author of thirteen books, including the bestselling The Happy Camper and “A Paddler’s Guide To” series.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Creating Your Camp Kitchen

We’re halfway through April and still wondering when the ice will go out.  Especially since over the weekend the Algonquin area got another 2 inches of snow.  I’ve been keeping myself busy by working out my paddling muscles while painting my house.  I’m now starting to think about getting gear organized and ready so that when I get the chance I can just grab it and go for a weekend.  One thing that I’m constantly re-organizing every year is my camp kitchen for both base camp and canoe tripping.  Yes you read that right….I have 2 camp kitchen sets.  Today I’m here to help you create your own camp kitchen sets for your next trip (unless of course you are getting a complete outfitting package in which case this is for future reference).

Courtesy of thetoolman on Instructables.com

Courtesy of thetoolman on Instructables.com

The first thing you are going to need is something to store your camp kitchen set.  For base camp you could simply use a Rubbermaid tote or I use wooden boxes called wanigan’s that my dad made years ago.  They are just square boxes made of plywood with a lid and webbed handle.  I’m in the process of designing and building a Chuck Box or camp kitchen.  This is a box that has some shelves, drawers, and opens up to create a work space.  There are some Instructables out there on how to make a chuck box.  The ones I like are:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Chuck-Box-Camp-Kitchen (pictured)
http://www.instructables.com/id/Ultimate-Camp-Box/

Once you have your box or storage solution for your base camp kitchen you need to choose what will be a part of your kitchen set.  Here are my necessary items that everyone needs:

  1. Utensils: No brainer…we need to cook and eat with something.  You could pay for expensive items or you could do as I do and go grab what you need from the dollar store or thrift store.  I have 2 flippers, 1 slotted spoon, a whisk, vegetable peeler, paring knife, can opener, cheese grater, 4 complete sets of eating utensils, a funnel, a spatula, and cutting board.  For your cooking/eating utensils may I suggest a travel pouch or pencil case that is long enough?  
  2. Spices: This is up to you…some people cook extremely gourmet while camping.  We had friends that made a curry every summer in Pog Lake.  The only thing I suggest is to find a way to carry only what you need.  There are some tutorials on how to store spices…some involve straws and tape, others involve pill containers.  I typically take them in the containers they come in however you may want a space saving solution.
  3. Pots and Pans: You should have probably 3/4 pots and 2/3 skillets (frying pans).  If you have a stove top griddle you can include that as well.  The reason I say 3/4 pots is that you should always have one extra that is solely used as a water pot for dishes.  You should also have a kettle and stove-top coffee maker/percolator.
  4. Plates/Bowls/Serving Trays: Take 1 set per camper and some extras for serving or in case you want to only do dishes once a day.  You can take paper or plastic if you wish…just keep in mind when buying them that they should be environmentally safe.
  5. Foil/Saran Wrap/Ziplock Bags/tupperware: The foil can be used for cooking or storing leftovers.  Saran Wrap, ziplock bags,  and tupperware are great for storing items.
  6. Towels/rags/sponge: Again this is pretty obvious.  I have dollar store towels and dish clothes that I use
  7. Dish soap: I use campsuds for my dishes.  It’s biodegradable and the lavender scent is quite nice.
  8. Mugs/Cups:  Because you can’t drink coffee straight from the pot :)
  9. Juice mixes/Coffee/Tea:  Tang is my go to drink of choice while camping.  I never take frozen juices.  Sometimes I will grab the 4 pack of Tropicana orange juices that are like drinking boxes for the mornings…but typically I drink tang/water.  I store them in plastic storage containers with the instructions laminated and taped to the lid.  Coffee/tea are also stored in air tight containers.
  10. Stove:  Last but certainly not least is your stove.  Most of the time my stove is stored separately as its a little too big.  However if you have a big enough storage bin then you may be able to fit it in.

Our Site

If you are going on a canoe trip your camp kitchen is going to consist of the same basics only on a smaller/compact scale.  For example, you could always get a set of pots that fit inside of each other but now you can get a couple of different nesting cooking sets from GSI.  I like the Bugaboo Camper set:

The Bugaboo set includes everything you need for cooking and eating except for the utensils.  Everything nests and locks together so that it can fit in the bottom of someones back easily.   Check out your local outdoors store to see what GSI products that they carry as they offer a wide variety or check out the website link above.  Everything you take with you is going to be downsized to save weight and space but you can still have gourmet meals while out on a canoe trip :).  For your coffee needs you can get a drip coffee maker that you pour hot water through as it sits on top of your mug.  The spices can still be stored the same way as well as your powdered juices.  you do need to keep in mind though that unless you are doing all your cooking on a campfire (like me), you’ll need to have a single burner stove.  Again talk to your local outfitter for their suggestions.

I hope this helps you as you start planning for the summer camping trips!  Feel free to email your questions!

~Enjoy your trip!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Outdoor Adventure Show 2013

DSC_0020As most of you know I am a HUGE fan of the outdoor shows!  Growing up it was a given that we would be spending one day of the March Break at the Sportsmen Show in Toronto.  It was always just a matter of which day dad would have off.  When we went to the Outdoor Adventure Show (from here on OAS) last year, dad and I knew we had found our new Sportsmen Show!  It had what we wanted out of a show – crazy and weird for him (I’m not kidding…yesterday he bought a colour changing shirt that activates in the sun…last year it was a moose hat complete with antlers) and for me its the chance to talk with those in the outdoor industry and of course visit with my friends from Algonquin Outfitters and Swift.  It’s always a nice little reunion of sorts getting to catch up on stuff and finding out what I can look forward to finding in store come the summer.

This year I went in with high expectations after really enjoying it last year and again I wasn’t disappointed.DSC_0028

The show has everything that an outdoor enthusiast would want: canoes, tents, backpacks, awesome trip possibilities, the weird stuff that only my dad wants to buy, and great speakers!  This year the line up for guest speakers was phenomenal and I really wish I was able to stay even if it was for Les Stroud and Kevin Callan.  Adam Van Koeverden is speaking today which is really cool!  Jeff from algonquinmap.com was there and I had to leave just before he was supposed to be at a booth which disappointed me because I use his maps constantly when planning trips.  Kevin Callan was also signing books at one of the booths later yesterday afternoon.  I’m pretty sure he’s back there today as well.

DSC_0026

As I was walking around I got the chance to talk to a number of outfitters and gear companies.  Expedition Toys from Ottawa (www.expeditiontoys.ca) was just one of the many companies I spoke to.  One of the products that Brenda showed me was called the Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad.  This is an inflatable sleeping pad that can roll up as small as a pop can.  The great thing about these pads is that it takes the pressure off of your body because it “cradles” the points on your body like the hips, shoulders etc. that would typically get sore from sleeping on the ground.  The only issue I have with the sleeping pad is that I’m a side sleeper and I was told specifically that its made for sleeping on your back.  But for those who do sleep on their back..it may be worth the $100 price tag.  Check out their website because they have a lot of products available.

DSC_0036 DSC_0035 DSC_0034 DSC_0032

 

 

 

 

Standup Paddleboards (SUP’s) were pretty big at the show as they have been at most of the shows this year.  In the pool they were doing demos of not only how to stand and paddle on a SUP board but also how to do Yoga and workouts.  It was pretty cool!  SUP Love (the two boards on the left) was there and I got chatting to the girl from there again.  The board on the left has a custom made pad.  The pad is made with whatever photo you may want to put on it.  I think that it’s pretty cool!  Paddle Shack  also had some SUP boards with them (pic 3).  I’m beginning to think that maybe a SUP get together in the Toronto area might be a cool idea :).

DSC_0030 DSC_0031 DSC_0027 DSC_0022

 

 

 

 

They had a diving tank there this year which was pretty cool.  Of course the divers wanted their picture taken so of course I obliged :).  The Complete Paddler (twitter: @completepaddler) was there with their assortment of gear as was Eureka Tents as part of Tent City Outfitters.  But the company I have to mention the most is the Education Outdoors Game Company.  Part of that reason is he gave us free admission (well technically just my dad…I had my media pass) but they also have a ton of different board games for camping.  Ever seen the game Camp at your local outfitter or store?  It’s a pretty cool game and great for kids.  It reminds me of the Algonquin Park game that I used to have years ago.  Hmmm….wonder if I can still get that game ;).  Derek Martin from Living Waters Wholesale is the person that I was talking to and the games they carry are neat.  Games like S’mores, Hit the Trail, Mysterious Creatures, Camp, and Fishing Camp.  My dad bought a game consisting of magnetic stones that you have to keep separate I think?  I am going to invest in a few of these games myself just for the kids at work alone :).

DSC_0037

Of course a day at the show wouldn’t be complete with out a visit to Swift Canoe (twitter: @swift_canoe).  Bill Swift, Skip and Bob were all there and all trying to get me to purchase the Keywadin 15 which is pictured with Bill there.  Once again…it’s a gorgeous canoe…and I will get it haha.  I was told next year by my dad.  The nice thing about that canoe is that rather than the carbon gunwales, this one has wood and really makes the canoe that much more appealing to me.  It will be mine one of these days and it will be my main tripping canoe.   Overall it was a fantastic day and I did end up walking out with a Chrysalis Tent (see my sportsmen show review post for pictures) which I am looking forward to using this summer in Algonquin.
Btw, my birthday trip is booked for June 21-23 and I would love for you to come celebrate with me!  I’ll be camping in Kearney but even if you just wanted to meet up with me for a day of exploring some of the waterways around Mowat and seeing relics of the old train bridge, post office and the town let me know via twitter @algonquin_blog or via email walkinalgonquinpark@gmail.com.
~Enjoy the trip

Some *New* Words of Advice

Today I’m bringing back an old post.  In fact its the 4th post I’ve ever written back when the blog first started!  It’s some general tips to enjoy your time in Algonquin however I’m adding to it for reason’s that I was young and naive when I wrote the post.  Actually I was way too brief and there are many things I could elaborate on if I need to :).  So here we go:

1. If you are new to Algonquin Park don’t try to overdo it. Take your time and don’t push it. Start off with a couple of days instead of doing a 7 day trip. You’ll enjoy it more.  *This being said…this really pertains to an overnight canoe trip.  If you are car camping and want to spend a week then go for it!  If you really are new to the camping scene and are not sure what you are doing I only recommend trying car camping first.  I also recommend that you rent your equipment the first time…this way if you don’t like it you haven’t spent a lot of money on equipment you will never use again.

2. Pack only what you need. Don’t over pack. You may think you need it but in the long run its one extra thing to carry and that weight can add up.  *This is still true today.  Keep your canoe tripping or backpacking gear as light as possible.  Gear is getting lighter and more compact.  If you really are in this sport for the long haul then go to the adventure shows or to an outfitter like Algonquin Outfitters or Mountain Equipment Co-op.  They will help you find the best fit for you.  The Chrysalis tent that I tried two weeks ago at the Sportsmen show is a great idea for the backpackers among us as it’s 5 lbs but can be hung anywhere.  As well when packing clothing, think light, quick dry options rather than bulky items like jeans and sweatshirts.  Not only will these weigh your packs down but jeans are horrible when wet.  If you tip your canoe you need clothing that is not going to pull you down with it’s weight.

3. Eat the fresh meat in the first couple of days of your trip and freeze things like burgers, hot dogs. Stuff that freezes well. They will act like ice packs.  When going on a backpacking or canoe trip don’t take a cooler with you. Freeze dried foods are great and they don’t weigh that much. Also take with you powdered juice mixes instead of pre-made due to the fact again they are lighter and easier to pack. *Get yourself a soft sided cooler if you are going on a short base camp trip.  It’s lighter than a hard cooler and it still works just as well.  I still recommend freezing your meats and using them as an ice pack.  What I’ve resorted to doing is keeping the meat for the first day fresh and freeze the rest.  It will all thaw but still stay cold.  If you are going for a longer trip and are looking for ways to lighten the food pack, freeze dried or dehydrated food is still your best option.  However you now have the option of making it yourself.  Laurie Ann March from Aforkinthetrail.com is the author of two cookbooks that are all about dehydrating your own food for your camping/canoe trips.  One book, Another Fork in the Trail, is all about your vegetarian options!  Food dehydrators are readily available at Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire.

4. If you are renting a canoe and you’re going on a trip that has a lot of portages opt for the lightest canoe you can get. It will cost you more but in the long run you will enjoy not having sore muscles after a long day of portages. Featherweight Carbon/Kevlars are some of the lightest canoes you will find.  *Since this post in 2007 there has been a new addition to lightweight canoes: Flax Fusion.  Those who read my blog regularly know I’m in love with these canoes and am trying to find a way to bring one home ;).  These canoes typically weigh only 30 lbs and come in varying sizes.  Ask your favorite outfitter if they have flax fusion canoes available to rent.

5. Lastly, enjoy the great outdoors. Take time to look at the scenery. Read a good book, listen to relaxing music on your iPod. Take the time to be alone with nature. If you want go for a quiet paddle at sunrise/sunset. That is the most relaxing time to canoe.  *This still holds true today!  Take the time to get away from the everyday and relax.  Life is too crazy these days and getting away to the great outdoors is a great way to unwind.

Do you have any tips that you feel need to be mentioned?  Let me know and I’ll add them to the list!

~Enjoy your trip!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013!  I hope that this year brings you many paddling and camping adventures in Algonquin Park.  To help with the planning Algonquin Outfitters has started a new contest.

From their facebook:

“Here’s your chance to Experience Algonquin this summer with some great camping gear from Marmot Canada, and a wilderness canoe or backpacking trip in Algonquin Park outfitted and organized by Algonquin Outfitters. http://bit.ly/12ULdYY

The contest is easy…all you have to do is click on the link above to go like them on Facebook, enter your information and share with your friends.  You will be entered to win some amazing gear and an awesome trip!  Plus…as a thank you for entering you get a coupon to save $10 on any purchase over $50.  Coupon expires March 17th.

Good Luck!

~Enjoy your trip

Looking for feedback

So a friend brought up the idea of doing a photo tour trip of Algonquin this summer.  Personally I think it would be awesome but I normally do this anyways :).  

If we did this would my followers be interested in doing this?  Here are my preliminary thoughts:

  • base camp along Hwy 60 (if the crowd is big enough we could look at Whitefish or everyone paying for their own site)
  • Take day trips along the corridor via car/canoe
  • It may include some “paid” day trips to places like the East Arm of Opeongo which would be the cost of the water taxi
  • Some historical sites would be included!

Let me know what you think as I have no problem organizing it….maybe we could get Algonquin Outfitters involved too for a photo contest of some sort :).

~Enjoy your trip

Tom Thomson’s Lasting Legacy

Over the past week, there has been a large focus on the death and mystery of Tom Thomson.  However, most people who live within the Huntsville and Algonquin area can say that his spirit and legacy are alive everyday.  Throughout the town of Huntsville there are murals of Tom’s artwork re-created by local artists.  They are a beautiful reminder of a man who lived and breathed Algonquin Park and Huntsville, ON.

Tonight was the second annual Nuit Blanche in Huntsville.  A Canadian artist from Quebec named Marc Walter created a statue completely out of twigs of Tom Thomson.  Now I’ve heard some negative comments already but I can tell you from first hand it was beautiful!  I had the amazing opportunity of joining Randy Mitson from Algonquin Outfitters and some other paddlers escorting the statue down to the Huntsville docks.  What a rush and an honour.  Tom’s spirit was alive and well in Huntsville tonight and I swear I saw Winnie Trainor watching from the shore.  I have a video of the Statue pulling into the docks here – http://t.co/DUyDw1SM.  Below is a picture of some of our paddlers and artist Marc Walter.

On Tuesday I’m heading into Algonquin park for the day with my canoe.  I’m going to be spending the day exploring Canoe Lake and the old site of Mowat Lodge.  Maybe I’ll be able to find some historical landmarks there that not many people have had the privilege to see.  If there is any of my followers that want to join me on Tuesday let me know.  I’ll be on the shores of Canoe Lake at 10am on Tuesday morning ready to go!  Shoot me a line on here or on twitter (jenn_kerr) if you want to come!  All are welcome!

Looking and exploring the history, legacy, and mystery of Tom Thomson is fascinating to me and I hope that I’ve made you at least a little bit curious as to what may have happened to Tom.  Keep your eyes peeled and your heart open as you may never know where he may turn up :).

~Enjoy your Trip

Nuit Blanche

I know I post about Algonquin Park on this blog but tomorrow night there is a spectacular event taking place in the town of Huntsville.

Nuit Blanche is an evening to celebrate the arts within the downtown core of Huntsville. This is the second year of this event. This year, to celebrate the centennial of Tom Thomson’s arrival, Algonquin Outfitters will be paddling in a statue of Tom Thomson created by Marc Walter. This event is amazing and is not to be missed! I hope to see you there!

For more information about Nuit Blanche visit: http://nuitblanchenorthhuntsville.wordpress.com/

~Enjoy your Trip

%d bloggers like this: