This the account of our 2015 spring canoe trip to Ontario's Algonquin Park.
For a few years running, Arn and Gosia have invited us on their yearly spring canoe trip to Algonquin Park. We've found these trips to be most enjoyable, especially with the spring timeframe generally providing cooler temperatures and bug-reduced (or bug-free) conditions. So, when Arn once again invited us on 2015's iteration of this trip, we said yes. Also saying yes to the invite were Dave and Nancy, along with their daughter Emma.
This year's itinerary spanned 2.5 days, from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. Starting from the Shall Lake parking area in the southern region of Algonquin Park, we would paddle and portage mostly westward along the Opeongo River to Booth Lake, across the lake, then up a series of small lakes to our high point at Godda Lake. We'd return down McCarthy Creek to Booth lake and then retrace our route back to the Shall Lake parking area.
Our outing took place on the second weekend in May. Winter had been late to recede in 2015, and the ice had cleared out of the lake system only a week before. Despite that, conditions were forecast to be quite warm for this time of year, in the high twenties (degrees C), with perhaps some cooling towards the end of the weekend. Precipitation-wise, things were dicey: generally unsettled conditions with the possibility of thunderstorms.
All three parties (myself and Jenn, Dave and Nancy's family, and Arn and Gosia's family) converged on the Shall Lake parking area shortly after 6pm on Friday evening. Arn had graciously taken care of all of the canoe and canoe gear rental tasks, and all we had to do was pack the canoes and set off, and by 6:30pm, we were in the water. It was a warm and muggy evening, but even so, it was early enough in the season that few bugs were about.
We began by paddling up Farm Lake, a body of water along the Opeongo River system. The winds were light, and it did not take us all that long to cover the length of the lake, where it narrowed back into a stretch of the Opeongo River. After paddling a short distance further, we arrived at our campsite along the shore of the calm river. Total time paddling from the parking lot was only just over half an hour.
Despite the evening start, we had arrived at a very decent time. Sunset was still over an hour away, giving us plenty of time to set up and make dinner during daylight. It was still quite warm out, and Kai (Arn and Gosia's son) had it in his mind to go for a swim. He quickly found out that the water was still super chilly from the recent ice-out, and he didn't stay in longer than a minute.
Ceremonial Branch Transfer
We didn't stay up for too long after the sun set, wanting to be rested for the much longer day ahead of us on Saturday.