Why Do I Go to #AlgonquinPark?

155_8974591202_2273_nPeople 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 whether2071_62528811202_9479_n 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.

2071_62528896202_4667_nWhen 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!

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The end of a great weekend #blogathon2

blogathonwinter2

Well Blogathon 2 is officially over.  This weekend I’ve taught you how to start planning a canoe trip.  What you haven’t seen is the things I’ve been doing in the background.

I have worked on many aspects of this blog and the social media to go with it.

Thanks for being my loyal readers and I look forward to sharing more adventures with you!

~Enjoy your Trip!

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Planning A Solo Canoe Trip – Pt 5 #blogathon2

solotrip

 

Over the weekend we’ve walked through the process of planning a solo/or really any canoe trip.  We’ve talked about setting your timeline, planning your route, choosing the right gear, and now we’re going to talk about making the right food choices.  If you’ve read all the posts you’re going to notice something with how you choose your food.

WHAT’S YOUR TIMELINE?

What you bring for food is going to depend on how long you’ll be on your trip.  If you’re doing a week long trip, you’ll obviously need more food and food that won’t spoil compared to if you were going for an overnight trip.  As your planning the menu you need to always keep your timeline in mind…especially if you want to bring fresh food/meat with you.  Because you have no fridge/way to keep food cold long term, you have to be sure that the food you take is not going to spoil and make anyone sick.

If you’re going for longer than 2 days then I recommend dried food, either by making your own (Laurie Ann March has a great book out about dehydrating your own food, A Fork In the Trail) or by purchasing some from your local outfitters.  If you do want to take fresh food with you then here are a few suggestions:

  • Freeze your meats before hand so that they act like an ice pack
  • Try to limit how much you take in…especially if going for a long time
  • Only pack what you need

WHAT’S YOUR ROUTE?

Your route will greatly dictate what you bring for food.  If you are staying at one site during the whole trip then you may choose to bring some more food/beverages with you because you don’t have to unpack and repack every day.  However if you are doing a loop then you may want to stick with lightweight dehydrated food.  Again this is up to you but personally for me…I’d rather have my food be light and only require water to cook then worry about al l the ingredients that would go into preparing a meal from scratch.

WHAT ARE YOU TAKING FOR GEAR?

It doesn’t matter what tent you’re taking or what canoe you’re paddling…but it does matter how many cooking utensils/pans you want to bring and carry on the portages.  For me…my Bugaboo Backpacker set works well…it has a frying pan, pot, straining lid, plus 2 bowls and 2 cups.  As a solo paddler that’s all I need.  If you’re going gourmet then you may choose to bring more with you.

Whatever you choose to bring for food is up to you.  My thoughts for my trip are as follows:

  • Bugaboo Backpacker set for cooking
  • Making my own dehydrated food that I can vacuum seal and put in my pack without adding any weight.
  • Taking my water bottles empty and filling them on the way in
  • Packing lightweight snacks.

Even though I’m only doing one portage, weight is my primary concern.  I don’t want to carry more than I have to.

I hope this series has helped you out when it comes to planning your own trips!  Stay tuned to the site as I add a route suggestions page that will not only tell you the routes but show them on the map as well.  If you have any questions or need advice email me or comment on either the site or Facebook and I’ll be glad to help you out!

~Enjoy your trip!

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Planning a Solo Canoe Trip – Pt 2 #blogathon2

solotrip

 

So you’ve decided that you are going to do this canoe trip and you are excited to start planning but you have no idea where to start?  That’s OK!  Everyone starts off here :).  You have a few things to decide first before you go headstrong into planning anyways.   These are things we are going to discuss this morning!  Not only can these be applied to a solo canoe trip, but all these posts can be used for any canoe trip!

So the big question is….

WHERE DO I GO?

There are a few deciding factors before you can answer this question:

  1. Have you done a canoe trip before?
  2. Is this your first solo trip?
  3. Is this your first time camping?

If you answered no to the first question and yes to any of the other questions then as a general plan you should look into the most basic of canoe trips….a paddle in site!

PADDLE IN SITES

The Orange Triangles are Sites on Canisbay Lake that you can paddle into

The Orange Triangles are Sites on Canisbay Lake that you can paddle into

So in all reality every campsite in the interior is considered a paddle in site but for our purpose I’m talking the ones that are attached to a campground or that have no portaging.

Canisbay Lake and Rock Lake are the only two campgrounds along the Highway 60 corridor that have paddle in sites available.  Each lake offers a different experience in terms of paddling and distance to the sites.  The picture above is of Canisbay Lake.  It’s a smaller and less windy than Rock Lake.  The sites along Canisbay are great!  The one at the far end of the lake (the last site on the left hand shore) is my favorite!  It has a nice rock that you can jump off, a great campfire spot, and you get some gorgeous sunsets!  It’s also the most remote of all the sites so it’s quieter!

The Islands (if you can get them) are the best places to camp!

The Islands (if you can get them) are the best places to camp!

Rock Lake is a different paddling experience all together.  There are islands available for you to camp on, but be prepared that they are the most popular sites!  Rock Lake also allows motor boats and because it’s attached to Galeairy Lake and Whitney you tend to get some slightly bigger boats than fishing boats.  The thing about Rock Lake that I’m not the biggest fan of is that it’s a windy lake.  Typically on the paddle out.  You tend to head straight into the winds.

Overall Paddle In sites are the way to go if you’ve never done this before or are just testing out your ability to handle sitting around the campfire talking to yourself haha.  Because these sites are attached to campgrounds you can always do a one night trip and camp the night before in the campground.  This is also great if you have a family camping trip and you want to try it while people are within an hours paddle away.  That way if you can’t handle it or Yogi visits you…you have the option of going back.

INTERIOR SITES

If you are a confident canoer and are ready to tackle the challenge of doing a portage solo then doing an interior canoe trip is probably your style.  Before you go out on your own though, as a safety precaution, make sure you have a way to communicate with someone in case something goes wrong…better to be safe!

Canoe Lake to Tom Thomson Lake

Canoe Lake to Tom Thomson Lake

When looking into going beyond the first lakes along Hwy 60 you need to take some things into consideration:

  1. What is your skill level?
  2. Are you ok with portaging?
  3. How much does your gear weigh?
  4. Do you have a way to communicate in case of emergency?

These are all things you need to consider.  If you are embarking on your first solo trip but have only done a handful of other canoe trips you may not want to choose paddling up Opeongo and tackling the Dickson-Bonfield portage alone.  You’ll want to stick with something simple like Canoe Lake to Joe Lake (see the pic above) because there is only one portage involved.  However if you’ve been doing canoe trips for years with the guys and want to tackle a solo trip then you may be able to handle two or three portages.  For me…to start out..the less portages the better!  The other thing to take into consideration is the weight of your canoe and pack together.  It’s one thing to have a super light canoe and a light pack…but once you add them together the weight can add up.  Do you really need those three pairs of jeans?  Do you need to put on your makeup out in the wilderness?  Can you live without your pillow?  Ask yourself these questions before heading out!

So…we’ve looked at our options and we’ve decided the type of trip we’re taking…next post we’ll be planning the route.  That post will be include a video so we can look at various routes.

~Enjoy your trip!

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Planning A Solo Canoe Trip #blogathon2

solotripThis summer I’m planning to embark on my first Solo Canoe trip for my annual birthday trip.  As scared as I am, I’m also very excited.  What am I scared about?  I think I’m scared the most about maybe not being able to hang my pack in the tree well/high enough.  This is a legitimate fear as I really don’t want my food to disappear.  Other than that I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait!

I’m writing these posts to take you farther in depth in the planning stages when it comes to a canoe trip.  Last year I did a pre-planning series including a video walk through.  I’ll do that again but this time you’ll see me actually planning my trip step by step.

These are the steps we’re going to cover:

  • deciding my timeline
  • deciding my route
  • deciding on gear (as much as I can before I go)
  • taking all safety issues into account

The steps that I’m taking can be put towards your own canoe trip!  The differences would be, you have a different route or timeline.  After this weekend series I will also have a page up that will give you a variety of route suggestions that you can take into consideration for your own canoe trip within Algonquin Park.

~Enjoy your trip!

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Why I Love Algonquin

155_8974591202_2273_nPeople 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 whether2071_62528811202_9479_n 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.

2071_62528896202_4667_nWhen 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!

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Pre-Planning pt 1

Good Morning!

The sun this morning is deceiving…but nice anyways :).  Going on a canoe trip or camping trip is great and very relaxing.  However there is a lot of work that goes into a trip and usually I start in January.

Planning for a trip consists of a number of things.  Step one is typically done at the end of the season which is to take an inventory of all your gear.  This is so that during the off season you can repair what needs to be repaired and stock up on gear that needs to be replaced or any new gear you wish to purchase.  Step two is planning when you are going to take your trips and start planning your route/base camp.  Step three is to finalize your route/base camp and reserve.  Step four is to organize your gear, food, and anything else you need for your trip.  On a side note: everyone plans their trips differently.  This is how I plan my trips and you yourself needs to find your own method.  I’m planning my first trip of the season which is looking like it will be on Mother’s Day weekend.

So let’s get to planning.  My family is in the process of moving so we’ve already taken an indepth inventory of what we have.  Closer to the beginning of the season it will be leaving the boxes and stored where I have quick access to it.  I suggest maybe making an excel spreadsheet of your gear so that you can quickly pull it up anytime.  This is really important if you have people coming with you that have never camped before so you can make sure you have enough gear for everyone.  This spreadsheet can then be printed if you like or emailed to people in your family so everyone has a copy on their computer.

Step 2…choosing the date and location of your trip.  This is going to be my first trip of the season so I’m looking at May 10-13th.  Because I’m camping on a Friday and Monday…I’m going to have to make sure I book the time off of work.  This is where a planning binder can come in handy.  Typically I’m a very spontaneous person in the fact that my trips are booked and planned within a week or so but I do like to be organized when it comes to trips that I plan well in advance.  You can get some handy printables from A Daily Dose of Davis.  Or search on Pinterest.com.  I will post some planning templates later today on my pinterest site.

So we have the dates – May 10-13th.  Now we need a site or route in mind.  Because it is early in the season…there are only a few campgrounds open along the HWY 60 corridor in Algonquin Park.  This is a very important part of planning as it can make or break your trip.  You need to take into account that your favorite site may not be available yet.  Let’s go onto Ontarioparks.com to check availability

Image

 So for the dates in question this is the availability:

opensites

As you can see…the only campgrounds open/available are Tea Lake, Mew Lake, and Rock/Coon Lake along the HWY 60 Corridor.  There are other campgrounds up north and to the east as well.  For all intents and purposes we are going with HWY 60.  Part of your decision in picking a place to camp requires you to find out information about the campground you want to choose.  All three campgrounds here are great..however they do have some con’s as well.  For example, Mew Lake has a great location with the airfield behind it and access to the Track and Tower or Highland Backpacking Trail.  However, a bunch of the sites back onto the hwy and can be quite noisy.  Rock Lake is fairly secluded from the main road however the sites are fairly open to each other.  So you need to decide what is right for you and your family.

This afternoon I’m going to walk you through choosing a site using Ontarioparks.com and making sure you choose the right site for your needs!

~Enjoy your trip!

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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

Annie’s Bay Photo Story

So we went up Opeongo to Annie’s Bay for a 3 day canoe trip.  This was my first trip ever up Ope and I really enjoyed it!  I’m definitely going again.  We had great weather the first day and we were able to get one of the best sites in Annie Bay.  It drizzled on and off on Tuesday but we were still able to go for a canoe ride.  The hardest part of the trip was not being able to have a campfire to cook on or to sit by at night.  There was one set of people who decided they were above the rules and had a rip roaring fire Tuesday morning.  I was not impressed.  Wednesday morning I was able to go for a nice solo canoe ride which was peaceful and amazing.  I loved this trip!  Working on a trip video…which includes videos from the water taxi and my solo canoe ride.

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