Krysta and Steve do the Americas travel blog

Can you spot the portage path through the trees and up the...

Oh look, a boulder on the path.

Lunch time.

Look at those pipes!

Camp site- night 2.

Morning view. Where is my wakeboard?

Lake Tom Thompson.

Food hanging from the bears.

Up s**t creek without a paddle.

Ah thank goodness for glass.

See the deer in the water?

Graceful in sleep.


Ontario’s famous Northern park, Algonquin, is known for it’s canoeing, wildlife viewing and is meant to embody much of the ‘Canadian experience’. It is the largest chain of lakes in North America and is a huge park- 7,725 sq km (bigger than PEI). Unlike a lot of North American parks, it is almost completely unroaded and most of the access into the park is only via canoe. We spent 4 days in this park, doing a canoe trip up into the wilderness.

As any canoer knows, any type of head wind sucks in a canoe. As we loaded up and got ready to go, we watched 2 superlight canoes sitting on a dock catch a gust of wind and get blown into the water. That was our first warning that the day was not going to be easy. But, the forecast was good for the next few days so we decided to suck it up and head out into the lake full of white caps and a sturdy 15 km/hr head wind (plus gusts). We were both dead tired and swearing about halfway up the first lake but any time we stopped we blew backwards. The wind turned our easy 4 hour day into a 7 hour slog and we arrived exhausted at our campsite the first night.

The neat thing about these lakes was that we were totally by ourselves most of the time. We hardly saw anyone else on the lakes and always had our own site to camp at. Park rules allowed us to scavenge dead wood so that we had a good camp fire each night.

The next morning we woke up to a brisk head wind again (when does that ever happen?) but bright blue skies. This day involved a lot of small lakes connected by portages and it was very scenic. Unfortunately for us, portaging on Algonquin is nothing like the portaging that we had heard of back in B.C. Firstly, we didn’t get wheels to push the canoe on, we had to carry the damn thing and all of our gear. Secondly, the portage tracks are literally just tracks worn out in the bush. They go up and down hills, over logs and rocks and streams and cliffs. Not the easiest stuff to carry a canoe and gear over! All in all we did 4.9 kms of portaging and boy was it a workout. Wheels are for weenies  (K&D).

Our last few days in the park rocked, we had great weather and nice relaxing paddling. The fall colors were starting to turn and the mixed deciduous/conifer forests looked really lovely. The trip was a lot of hard work but like anything that is hard, it was very rewarding and well worth it!



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