Location: Whitefish Lake, Algonquin Park Canoe Trip
Dates: August 5-7, 2016
Weather: Beautifully hot and sunny
Favourite Moments: swimming in the lake, watching the stars, seeing a moose while canoeing on the lake
After escaping from the city and being dropped off at Whitefish/Pog Lake campground office in Algonquin Park, the group gathered together and stretched our legs, excited to start the weekend. The group was fortunate to have two guides this weekend, a wonderful outdoor lover named Tram and myself. We all introduced ourselves and then packed up to walk the gear to our campsites. We crossed the road over to Kearney Lake campground. After setting up the tarp, our tents, the kitchen area, etc. we went for a walk over to the beach and couldn’t help ourselves, in we went! After a nice refreshing hour swim, we headed back to camp to start dinner.
Dinner was made, and everyone enjoyed the lovely kale and mixed greens with cranberries, seeds, and nuts all mixed together creating a delicious and healthy salad before we dove into the main course. Dinner was quinoa pasta in our bowl with a warm delicious rose sauce poured over top with mushrooms and onion mixed in.
When dinner was done and all cleaned up, everyone took an interest in learning knots. We observed Tram as he set up the close line and some keen members of the group wanted to mimic him so it turned into knot tying 101. Everyone soon was listening and wanted to learn how to tie different knots. From the Siberian Hitch, to the Trucker’s Knot, to the Bowline - useful skills while camping.
As the sun started to set, we decided it was campfire time! We taught everyone how to safely cut wood, and some tips on how to start a fire as we prepared it. We got the fire going and shortly after everyone was craving dessert. We pulled out the ingredients; bananas, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. We showed everyone how to put it all together and toss their dessert in the fire. Anxiously waiting, to enjoyed the fire and answered questions about tomorrow's canoe trip. Peeking through the tinfoil of one of our creations I marveled at the melty-goodness. We started passing them around and I heard nothing but the “mmmmm” of people eating and enjoying!
After we had scraped the last of our dessert off the tinfoil and finished up, we cleaned up the campsite for the night. Once everything was clean we decided to take a walk down to the beach again to gaze at the stars. Tram and I pointed out stars we knew, constellations, and galaxies. We all stared in awe until one by one we noticed our eyelids closing on us everyone gradually went off to sleep.
Waking up to the sun shining in my tent, I got up to get ready for the day. I started making breakfast with help from everyone who was up, and by the time everyone had crawled out of their tents breakfast was hot and ready. After finishing the food and some lovely conversations, we cleaned up and then packed up what we needed for the day.
By 10:35 am we were on our way! Over to Whitefish campground and on their beach with our canoes by 11:00. We taught a lesson on canoe safety in the water, and after much begging on my part, we finally got a volunteer to go out with me and tip our canoe so that Tram could demonstrate a canoe-over-canoe rescue. Once everyone was prepared, we got in our canoes and paddled out onto the lake. After we familiarized ourselves with the strokes, we were on our way.
Paddling along, we enjoyed the beautiful views around us. With towering trees from side to side, and the occasional rock face peeking out, the view could not be better! We paddled until we decided it was time for a break, and started looking for a spot for lunch. Eventually, we decided to raft up (put the canoes together) and have lunch while floating down the lake. By the time we finished our lunch, the wind had pushed us so we were almost at the bridge! We finished the paddle and docked the canoes.
Everyone goes to the bridge to look at the view. Not us. To relieve some nerves, I jumped first to show everyone there was nothing to worry about. One by one people took the leap off the bridge to join me in the water! When everyone had their fill (had their fall?), we hopped back into the canoes.
The route back got interesting when one member of the group spotted something moving in the distance along the shore of the lake. As we all looked a little closer, we realized that we saw a moose! This was SUPER EXCITING as it was most people’s hope for the trip to find a moose!
After the high wore down from seeing the moose, we collected ourselves and kept paddling back to camp. When back, we started on dinner. While dinner was cooking some people started chopping up some more firewood for another great fire.
Dinner was devoured, and we all got excited to make dessert. For this dessert we needed a roaring big fire. After building it up we decided it was good and we started to prepare. Once all was prepared we placed a dutch oven (large iron pot acting like an oven) in the fire with the contents of dessert. After being impatient and waiting for what seemed like forever, the 30 minutes were up and dessert was cooked and ready! We open the lid to see a beautiful chocolate brown cake just waiting to be eaten. We spread some icing onto it and it was gone in minutes!
After the wonderful cake, some headed off to bed and some stayed and sat by the fire where we all just chatted and listened to each others stories until one by one people headed to sleep. It was a long day and sleep was well deserved.
Waking up to the birds singing is always nice. We got a fire going and started on breakfast. Afterwards, we slowly packed up and headed to the bus pickup spot where we hung out and eventually had lunch before the bus came to take us back to the city.
It was such an amazing trip filled with laughter and good times!