Algonquin Park

Studies have been very busy these days (which I will write more about another time), but since I’ve been on a canoe trip to Algonquin Park a bit more than a week ago, I wanted – before I forget – to post some pictures of the amazing Canadian forests.

The trip was organized by McMaster’s outdoor club which is basically a bunch of people that organize really great outdoor trips all over the Hamilton area and Ontario. We were in total about 60 people, but spent most of the time in smaller groups of 8-10. Algonquin Park is a huge national park in the north of Ontario – about 4 hours away from Hamilton – so we drove off with a coach bus on Friday evening to spend the first night at a campground just next to the place we’d be renting our gear from. The next morning we then set off bright and early to start our two-day canoeing journey. On the first day we paddled for about 5-6 hours, each in two person canoes with a large backpack containing our tents, sleeping bags, food and personal things. Since we were nine people in my group, one person had to take the role of the „princess“ meaning he / she would be the third person in one of the canoes sitting in the middle with the luggage and doing nothing. Surprisingly, this role was not very popular, as paddling at least kept you warm from the cold wind and the middle seat was not very comfortable.

As we canoed through three lakes in total, there were also several short distances of portaging that had to be covered meaning half the group would carry the backpacks, while the other half would each lift a canoe onto their shoulders and walk with that for 400-1000m. Although the canoes looked pretty heavy, they were actually lighter than most of the backpacks we had with us.

In the evening, we camped at one of the designated camp sites (consisting of space for tent, fire place and wooden box as bathroom substitute) around Tom Thomson Lake, our final destination, with a great campfire, marshmallows and hot chocolate all of which was definitely needed after a long, exhausting and slightly wet (one of my team mates fell into the water) day of canoeing.

The day after we paddled to our starting point again (another one fell into the water), but on a different, easier route and finally met up with all the other groups to make our way back to Hamilton with a quick stop for burgers at Wendy’s.

The weather for the trip was quite cold, but luckily relatively dry and, as it was one of the brightest full moon nights of the year, there was an amazing atmosphere in the forest at night. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t meet any moose, yet at least I saw a beaver and a couple of sausage- and cheese-stealing birds. So not a bad outcome for a first outdoor trip…