“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Definitely the feeling I have when standing on the shore of a lake each summer. I have hit pause on my usual life and I prepare to reset myself.
After the long planning season, which starts each spring, as we anticipate and dream about summer days. I am finally standing on a gravel shore staring at the layers of green dense forest, a dark blue lake and hearing silence for a moment.
Before I hear my name and it is back to the fray. The next phase begins – cramming our canoes with belongings, and all our necessary gear. Canoes filled to the gunnels with bear bags full of dried meals, backpacks crammed with the essentials and a bit more along with our tents.
After a quick huddle, we are picking our paddles, stepping into the cold clear water, balancing ourselves and pushing off from shore – eager to start our annual adventure of back country camping in Algonquin Park.
Within a few strokes of our paddles our minds are singularly focused on assessing and following the invisible path out of the access point. We yell from canoe to canoe – what rocks to watch for or if it is a clear path out. Soon there will be open water and we will be on the hunt for a perfect campsite.
After a long paddle, perfection was found on the shore of the North Arm of Lake Opeongo. The list of qualities for perfection is really a few broadly defined items: a sandy beach for watching the sunset, a large flat area for our tents and no signs of resident bears. We seem to hit the mark every year. This site could have used a few more trees with lower big limbs for hanging bear bags but that is not on the list.
After a brief rest, we set to work on establishing our camp – putting up tents, unpacking our gear, establishing the kitchen, stowing our bear bags and setting up our gathering place – the campfire. The heart of any campsite.
We filled our days with adventures – paddling Lake Opeongo, traversing the forest, soaking up the sun, toasting the sunset, dining on our beach and attuning ourselves to the outdoors. Our evening campfires warmed up the dark night. We fill the air with singing, stories and laughter until the stars come out. Then we are silent – all gazing upward.
Soon it will be time to pack it all up and return to our usual lives and press play again.
Is it time for you to hit pause?
Here are some source for more information on canoe tripping in Algonquin Park: Friends of Algonquin Park : The park website as published by the Friends of Algonquin Park. Excellent source of information about the park and links. Ontario Parks Algonquin Park Page : The official Ontario Algonquin park website. Algonquin Adventures : A great independent interactive site of information sourced from Algonquin park enthusiasts. Canadian Canoe Routes: Canoe routes across Ontario as well as other provinces.