Easy in Algonquin

This last trip was a trip I had planned for some time now.  It wasn’t all easy, but we’ll get to the reason for the title later.

Ever since I took the Trip Leadership class through ORCKA, I’ve wanted to visit Canoe Lake in Algonquin. I did a small project on Tom Thompson and have to admit that I’m more than a little fascinated with him.  Not so much his work, but his death and the speculation that he may still be making appearances on Canoe lake where he drowned.

The photographer claims this person disappeared once he snapped the picture

The very first thing on my mind once we put in on Canoe lake was finding the Cairn in his memory.  Well second thing… only once we found our friends who had turned the wrong way and wound up on a private camp only to get kicked out. I suppose it wouldn’t be unheard of to see a canoe one minute and not the next. Our friends disappeared from sight when they turned a corner and found that camp. My friend in the canoe with me joked, saying, “Well this is Canoe lake after all. Maybe the ghost of Tom Thompson got them?” I imagine it’s not a good thing to lose two whole people the very first time you bring friends into the woods.

See them?

It was pouring rain but I knew I wouldn’t be as interested in finding it on the way out.  I figured it would be more eventful or noticeable but the dock gave no clue that there was a Cairn somewhere up there. Good thing I had the coordinates from the Geocaching website. They proved to come in very handy.

So there it was… I guess with how famous he was I just expected more. But it was great to have found it. Someday I’ll have to go back for a decent dry shot.

There were 4 of us on this trip and we wound up making a few friends along the way which was nice because the second night we were invited to share a really cool island on Burnt lake. It was lovely. Lots of space for tents.  I had my own little spot down by the water where I could fall asleep near a tiny waterfall. Heavenly.  (I was also just close enough to the other tents to hear some snoring off in the distance, which normally would keep me wide awake but this time it was quite comforting. Maybe because I thought I had seen bear poop near my tent, but it turned out on further inspection the next day to be human. Hell yes I looked!  I’m scared of bears) Either way, it was nice to hear that friends were around.

Other tents in the distance

So the title… well one person that we’d met was Eric.  A 17 year old from Austria who was soloing.  Actually, as I’m writing up this draft, he’s still there.  We were all so incredibly impressed with this young man. Very smart and mature for his age. And to get yourself out that far in another country alone? I couldn’t have done that at 17!

Anyhow, Eric, although he spoke wonderful English, there were a few slang words or inferences at times that he had to seek clarification on. When I told the group about taking a pic of portaging a canoe barefoot in a bikini, we started chatting about how funny that’d look on the blog and what I should call it. He suggested ‘Easy in Algonquin’, meaning that portaging was so easy that you can do it barefoot.  Of course my (much more mature… older) brain went to the bikini and I burst out laughing at the other possible meaning. Eric was thoroughly puzzled until Veronica hollered out, “Ya just called her a floozy!” The mortified look on his innocent face was priceless. Easy in Algonquin it is. But having said that, portaging is easy enough to do barefoot.

Everything really worked out on this trip. We even had a sweet visit from a dog while we were on the island. I thought that was so nice, especially since I missed my little one so much. As we were packing up a sweet little dog came running up and placed himself in front of us for some belly rubs. He was adorable and I was happy to oblige. (Although I wonder why this approach never works for me?) Turns out a man and his son had stopped for lunch on the other side of the island. I guess once the dog heard us, he had to investigate.

I was absolutely spoiled carrying an ultra-light canoe over the portages this time. But I was so impressed with one of my friends, the tiniest one of the group, carrying this huge aluminum canoe that must have weighed 100 pounds all by herself! At the end of each portage it didn’t matter how far away I was, I could always hear a big crash and I knew that she had reached the end and was flinging the heavy canoe off of her shoulders.

The week, was a great time with great friends, new and old, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  I think that we’re all counting the days until we can.

8 thoughts on “Easy in Algonquin

  1. I enjoy reading your blogs about the adventures you take on and about the people you travel with and meet. You are A beautiful free spirit. Your knowledge about certain subjects is incredible.

    Thanks for sharing your passion… Can’t wait to read about the next trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Joyce. Sounds like a great time had by all. Neat that you got to sure your love and passion of the outdoors with some friends from high school. Also, neat when the chance pops up to meet people from around the world. Lynn and I have had the same happen to us several times. Always neat.

    One memorable encounter, was years ago before Sara was born. We did a backcountry trip south of Highway 60 in Algonquin. As we moved along, I saw some a couple of gals on an island having a great time. The waved to us. Both Lynn and I were thinking gee, they would like us the get a bit closer, say hello. That sort of thing. Real friendly types.

    As i paddled us closer and closer, all the while wanting to be the friendly Canadian, Lynn started to question my decision long before I clued in. I learned two life lessons in the next couple of minutes.

    People from Europe tend to bring many of their same preferences shall we say to Canada, Apparently, topless sun bathing is bigger in Europe than Algonquin Park.

    Secondly, laser eye surgery was starting to appeal to me.

    Great post

    Chat later


  3. Hey Joyce. Great post. Neat that you could share your passion and love of the outdoors with some friends from high school. I’m sure your friends appreciated your commitment and leadership on the trip. It’s always to fun to meet people along the way when you’re out there. Especially, when they’re from another country. Language and customs barriers do give a challenge(a fun one at times). I’m also sure the young fellow recovered from the “canoe floozy.” lol

    Before Sara was born, Lynn and I where doing backcountry trip south of Highway 60 in Algonquin. Paddling along, we saw a group of gals on an island not far off, laughing and waving. Sort of saying hello. We thought, hey thats neat. And started to paddle over and give them a could old Canadian greeting.

    Lynn picked up on the situation a bit quicker than I did. In the next minute or two I was about to learn a thing or two.

    1. People from other countries, say Europe can at times bring their preferences with them when visiting, let’s say Canada. Apparently, topless sun bathing is much more popular in Europe then Algonquin.

    2. I thought I could see distance well. Lynn suggested laser eye surgery might be appropraite.

    I often think that if I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

    Great post.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Well lots of other men might say that was good luck! Oh that’s too funny!

      I often hear stories of backcountry campers that like to let everything hang out or go skinny dipping, but I’ve yet to stumble on anyone or anything out of the ordinary 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey. Thanks for helping me to see that maybe it was good luck. Could have easily been a bunch of fat, old grey haired men skinny dipping and sunny themselves on a rock. Now that I think about, at the particular moment I was the luckiest guy in the world.

        That’s the only time I’ve experienced that. Could be that we tripped a lot in bug season. Not sure.

        It was funny though. Even Lynn laughed.

        Liked by 1 person

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