On our family’s three week canoe trip, the majority of our days will be spent paddling, portaging, eating and sleeping. There will however be down time to fill and a trip without play and excitement isn’t any fun at all. So how do we plan on spending those hours, especially when we’ve left the usual distractions of television and computers at home? There are no excuses for being bored when you are surrounded by nature’s playground.
Endless hours pass without notice when you are immersed in the offerings of Algonquin Provincial Park. I love watching the kids invent games using nothing more than items found around the campsite. Sticks build miniature cities; rocks skip across the water or strike improvised targets. Holes are dug, bugs are examined and bark is fashioned into tiny boats for imaginary passengers. Fancies run wild in the backcountry.
Of course you can’t forget the old camping classics. Generations of campers have been fishing the lakes of Algonquin Park and so will we. We’re packing our rods and reels and of course our licenses and we’ll try our hand at catching the big one. Another time tested distraction will be swimming in some (or all!) of the 36 lakes that we will be passing through. It’s already been decided that no matter how tight the schedule, there will always be enough time to jump out of the boat to cool off in the inviting waters of the park.
As parents we won’t be able to stop ourselves from sharing some of the history of Algonquin with the kids. We’ve been studying up on the stories of our route and what we might be able to see if we stay alert. We will be keeping our eyes out for remains of old ranger cabins. There are rumours that there might be one at the end of the portage into Big Trout Lake from Longer Lake. And we want to see the derelict “alligator” from the Barnet Depot Farm on Burnt Root Lake. It’s a machine that was used for towing log booms in the days of logging in the park.
There will undoubtedly be some unforgettable moments while filling our time on trip. Some we can anticipate with certainty, like the four of us having to portage over the bustling Frank MacDougall Parkway better known as Highway 60; but most are yet unknown. We will absolutely be spending time in the hammock relaxing with a good book and enjoying the infinite starry skies away from city lights with a mug of hot chocolate. As for the rest of the time, there are 20 days for diversions to find us by chance. Anything can happen and it is in the unknown that all the best stories wait to unfold.