16 March 2008

Rediscovering Algonquin

Having spent the last four months under a white blanket of snow, it has recently come to my attention that spring is near, and that a rebirth of the world around us is about to occur. With that thought in mind, I have found myself thinking back to last summer where I was reintroduced to one of the most beautiful places I've been to, namely Algonquin Park.

Last summer was like most others, in that I was off for the July and August months (teaching has its advantages, this being a giant one) and I had spent much of it at our family cottage in Huntsville with my two boys Josh and Liam. This year was a bit different though in that my brother and his family had joined us for a week of leisure by the water, and exploring the shores of our little lake by canoe. While this week was nice, and the weather absolutely perfect, what made the time special, was a brief conversation I had with my brother one afternoon about me and the boys joining him during his vacation time in Algonquin Park. I must admit that I was a bit reluctant at first, as my idea of camping involved a warm cottage bed, running hot water and flush toilets, but the idea was also appealing as it reminded me of my childhood years when as a Scout (laugh all you want, I think scouting was fun) I would take annual trips to the park for weekend canoe trips along with the other scouts in my troop. WIth that in mind I made a pact to join him, promising a single night, with perhaps a second, not knowing that I would fall back in love with a place I had not been for nearly 20 years.

My kids and I arrived at site 435 at Pog Lake Campground later that month, and within minutes I was transported back to a time when everything was exciting, vibrant and above all else true. I was exhilarated by the sounds, sights, tastes and yes smells of the pine forests that covered Pog Lake, and felt right at home. That afternoon I was shown around and given a refresher course in the camp protocols, that would become my routine for what ended up being not one, not two but four nights.

My brother having just gotten a canoe from a neighbor of his for a song, took no time to get me paddling, and that first day me and the boys spent hours exploring the wonders of such a quiet and peaceful place. We found a corner that we could canoe into for resting under what must be an eighty year old White Pine, and quickly "made it our own."

During the next three days we explored several of the trails off the highway 60 corridor including:

Big Pines (2.9 km hike)
Learned about and Saw some of the Great White Pines of Alqonguin Park, including the parks largest. Purchased a Trail Guide. FANTASTIC Trail, and fell in love with the White Pine (5 needles) and is Ontario's Official Tree.
Visited the Trail on Aug. 29th, 2007

Agonquin Park Visitor Centre
Fantastic building and tour of Park WONDERFUL Deck View. Visited on Aug. 28th, 2007.

Hardwood Lookout Trail (km 13.8)
A short 0.8 km hiking trail through great forests! Very hilly and rocky but ok for Josh & Liam. Tyler was carried for portions. Nice ending lookout point (not a cliff, but at the top of a high hill). Would be an EXCELLENT trail in the fall for the changing of the leaves and the autumn colours. We visited the trail on our last day at the Algonquin Park on Aug. 30th, 2007.

As well as several outfitters stores to get a few park maps, as I knew I had to come back soon, and a map would help me to plan my next trip, and decide what equipment I would need to acquire as my camping supplies were limited to the "Beg-Borrow-Find" kind.

Needles to say me and the boys were to return the following weekend, this time with our very own tent, new sleeping bags, cooking equipment, etc... and lots of energy. We stayed at Canisbay at one of the few shore access sites, and continued our adventures to which I will share later .....

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Jim said...

Hey Jeff,

Great to see another blog on Algonquin and I look forward to reading about your adventures.

I hope you won't mind if I add a link to it from my site.



Jeff said...

Hi Jim,

Please do, (I took the liberty of placing your on mine.)