Tuesday, October 11, 2011


As part of our summer vacation we took a trip to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. I first visited Algonquin in July of 1973 and last visited the park in 1983. I have good memories of those times and wanted to experience the beauty again.

I don't remember how I first learned of Algonquin, how I selected a canoe route, how or if I got a back country permit or if permits were required at that time. I bought a canoe, packed for a trip and took my wife and children, aged 3 and 4, with me. We canoed up a lake whose name I no longer remember, portaged to another lake, canoed to what looked like a promising area, turned left into a cove and found a campsite.

Some special moments get fixed in our memories and are embellished as the years pass. My daughter was a little chatter box. We had eaten supper and the sunset was fading when a loon called from across the lake. Her chattering stopped instantly. She didn't wait for me to pick her up. She climbed my leg with huge wide eyes. I assured her there was nothing to fear and tried to point out the beauty of a loon's call.

When my wife and I divorced I did one dishonest thing. Without telling her I slipped a box of 35 millimeter slides and photos out of the house. They were photos I had taken over the years and among the slides were images of the Algonquin trip. At the portage the kids found a paper cup and played with it by the edge of the water. I have a photo of them playing intently. I kept my son between my knees while paddling. He got restless but I refused to let him move about. Finally he dosed off. My wife took a photo of him sleeping while wearing a PFD and leaning against my leg. Good memories. Recently I went in search of the slides of this trip and couldn't find them! Perhaps the loss was repayment for my dishonesty.

While in Algonquin this summer I bought a map of the park. The map identifies canoe routes, access points, permit requirements, distances, portages, water levels and campsites. The park is about 2,955 square miles in size, larger than the state of Delaware, and has over 2,400 lakes. Among the wildlife are loons, beavers, bears, deer, otters, wolves and moose.

I've spent several enjoyable hours with the map planning potential routes, looking for options in the back country, calculating distances and the lengths of portages, trying to find an ideal five day trip. My next step is to find someone interested in going along.

Leon, Gale and Julie.
Leon, Gale and Julie sit on a log by a lake.

Algonquin Lake.
One of over 2,400 Algonquin lakes.


Blogger Buffalo said...

Dishonest? Hardly.

I wish I had left with the pictures. At least some of the pictures. A few of the pictures.

10/11/2011 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

We were there on the weekend. There are some pictures on today's blog.

10/11/2011 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger graceonline said...

Interesting about those pictures. How you felt unsafe taking the pictures openly, how they disappeared later. Will be interesting to see when and where they turn up.

I so enjoy reading of your excursions. Always take long breaths of fresh air in reading them.

10/12/2011 12:34:00 AM  

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