The quintessential Canada Day long weekend. Load up the car, drive north, put in the canoe and paddle or portage for three days and two night through the Ontario landscape.
We tackled a similar route to last years trip (ALGONQUIN PARK CANOE TRIP | KEARNEY, ON ), but in reverse with some new lakes, rather than risk any low waters of the Petawawa. Our first night was spent on Queer Lake and the second on Sawyer Lake.
Big thanks to the guys at Algonquin Basecamp for the canoe rental. They have a new shop just off HWY11 and it’s a beauty. If you need a no-hassle canoe rental or a full gear outfitting, definitely give Chris a call.
Most visitors to the park are lucky to see a moose, especially in the heart of summer. Luck was on my side for this trip, as I had two incredible encounters. The first, on Queer Lake. A lovely couple at a camp site across the lake paddled by to let me know about a moose they noticed in a small inlet on the east side of the lake. I grabbed the camera and canoe and followed them, eager to get a moose photo in the bag on the first day of the trip. Luck was on my side and the moose was happy to finish eating while our two boats floated on the lake, less than 30 ft from the grazing buck. A word to anyone planning to shoot from a canoe, it’s incredibly difficult to keep the boat pointed in one direction and shoot wildlife at the same time.
My second encounter of the trip occurred on day two, between Jubilee and Sawyer Lake. Paddling through a small forest fire, a haze had set over the lake. As we approached the portage (guarded by a beaver dam), we spotted the cow down a small stream. Climbing over the beaver dam and wandering through the stream, camera in hand, I was careful not to startle the moose. As I made my way closer, a set of ears popped over the grass, and then another set. A cow and two calves in one stream. Jackpot. A quick check for a bull in the area (it’s imperative to never come between the adults and their calves) but I couldn’t spot one. Watching the moose graze, covered in a thick haze at the end of a stream, is a moment I’ll never forget.
On our final day, and our second last 1 KM+ portage of the trip from Rain Lake to Casey Lake, I spotted something in the trees as we unpacked the boat. Hints of yellow and green amongst the pines aren’t easy to spot, but as I saw the branded Badger logo, I knew what I was looking at. Not a week earlier, a friend had told me about a great initiative to get more people out and exploring the parks called “Paddle in the Park” hosted by Badger Paddles and numerous other supporters taking place in Ontario parks. The premise is simple: paddles are hidden on portages in our provincial parks, and clues are given out to help people locate them. We found the Cub WaterColour – Green + Yellow paddle, hidden by Kevin Callan, who is currently on a 20 day trip through Algonquin. As it’s a bit small for traditional paddling, and our dog doesn’t seem to pull his own weight (he claims a lack of thumbs) we’ve decided to use it as a guestbook at our wedding in October.
Enjoy some photos.