Recently I went on a much-needed vacation to Algonquin Park. My wife and I decided to go up alone and have a few days to kick back and relax in the wilderness. For those who may not know, we actually got married in Algonquin on a beautiful October day in 2006. Since then, while I have been up to Algonquin on boys weekends a couple of times, she has never been back. This year our vacation schedules synced up, and we were able to revisit the place we got married almost seven years ago!
We had 10 days between us, so we were in no rush. Using the long weekend to pack, we headed up to Canada on Sunday and stopped by the CNE for a while. I wrote about my experience a few posts back, but basically I wasn't overly thrilled. Afterwards we met up with some old friends and then headed up to my Mothers house for the night. It is located in Lagoon City, Ontario, and is quite a bit closer to Algonquin then if I had stayed the night in Toronto.
Monday morning we left around 11:30, and headed up towards Huntsville. Traffic was abysmal coming in the other direction, with Highway 11 so congested that cars were stopped solid in several spots. No accidents, just volume. Luckily we were heading in the other direction, against the rush of people returning from their cottages and camping. This was our plan.
Around 2 PM we arrived at Canisbay campground and we registered the campsite that I desired. Canisbay 165! One of the best developed campsites in the park. It is a site that is quite remote, stuck in a far corner of the campground in a heavily forested deciduous area. The neighboring sites are about 50 ft away through the brush.
The plan was to settle in for the night, eat a quick dinner, and then get to sleep. It was a rainy evening so an early bed time was alright by me. In the morning we went to Whitney, Ontario for breakfast. The Whitney Diner is one of those places that is a must for any visit to Algonquin. The Hungry Man breakfast is very filling at a reasonable price of $12 or so.
That evening we went to Bartlett Lodge for a lovely 5 course meal. It was expensive, but it was my wife's birthday. The meal was very tasty and the experience was worth it I believe. We then headed back to the site and got drunk. A moose stopped by for a visit and almost got tangled in my HF Antenna.
Wednesday we went hiking in the morning on Bat Lake trail. It began to rain shortly after we started, and continued to rain on and off, the whole length of the 10km or so trail. It was a good 3 or 4 hour hike, and was about noon or 1pm when we got back to the campsite. The sun had come out by then and it made for a nice relaxing day by the fire. I must say that I did walk around in the brush nude a little to dry off as I had been soaked walking that trail in the rain. I then did some DXing, but couldn't get any replies. I was only using a key, and had not brought any microphone, so I was relying on my CW skills. I stayed up late expecting the moose to come by again, but no. The most I saw this night was a mouse.
Thursday we went to Whitney for breakfast again, and my wife and I noticed a girl in a skirt with blonde hair, and a braid behind each ear. I also noticed some Germans who were traveling together. The Germans ended up being campers who were staying a few sites away from our site. But the blonde girl remained a mystery. She didn't look like a local, or a camper. She spent much of the breakfast writing on a piece of paper. I thought maybe she was a researcher or something. She was alone too, which piqued my curiosity.
We then headed to Opeongo Lake, to rent a Canoe, and explore the lake. We saw that girl there too! Now I was really curious, but since I was flirting with the cashier at the rental counter, it would have been poor manners to turn and flirt with the girl in the skirt.
The canoeing went well until later in the day when the winds picked up. Trying to paddle in a straight line into a strong headwind was not overly entertaining. We cut the canoe trip short because of that, and headed to the Visitors Center. At the visitors center, we realized a conference was going on. TEDx Algonquin Park! I didn't know what it was at the time, but I began to connect the dots. While I didn't see the blonde in the skirt there, I figured that she must have been in the park for that event. After getting home and viewing the speakers, I think that it might have been Lyndsey Mask whom I saw in Whitney.
The evening was nice, and I got a big fire going. I stayed up quite late enjoying the beautiful, but chilly night. Sitting in the darkness with only the light of the fire, I heard many mice scurrying around. But then I heard a raccoon! Until then I had been surprised that I hadn't seen any, so it was nice to finally see one.
Friday was generally uneventful, and mainly consisted of packing the tent and heading home.
All in all tho, it was a good vacation. A vacation I needed, and one that I was happy to share with my wife.