It is a badge of honor for anyone living in Ontario, Canada to canoe Algonquin Park.  High Schools students can’t wait for their year end trip, cub scouts troops venture out to explore its tributaries and dad’s around the province take their sons and daughters out for a week of bonding on one of the many routes within the 2000 km of optional waterways.

Canoe Algonquin Park

Our Canoe's Greet us at the Dock

Algonquin Park is a dream for the beginner or an avid canoe tripper.

Dave and I took our first canoe adventure together with our friends Ken and Marcia. Ken was planning a trip on the Yukon River and asked us to come along.  It was a training trip and trial run for the mighty Yukon and what a great way to prepare.

We paddled for ten glorious days in the Canadian Wilderness starting at Lake Opeongo.  Ken planned the routes, booked out campsites and set up our canoe rentals with Opeongo Outfitters. Our canoes were dropped off at a dock on the lake and we were off to explore our provinces wild north.

It was our first time attempting a multi-day paddle and there was a lot of research involved.  Packing was the main issue, especially food. Our friend Rich was an avid paddler and contributor to Canoe Routes Magazine.  We took advantage of his vast knowledge and took notes when he told us what we would need.

Mom and Baby Moose in Algonquin

Mom and Baby Moose in Algonquin

Our first purchase was a bear barrel.  Algonquin park is filled with wildlife and we needed to protect our food not only from the dangers of being visited by a black bear, but to keep it safe from pesky raccoons that just love to open boxes and take off with tasty treats. Each night we would secure our food inside and hang it from a high tree branch.

Fuel for cooking was also a necessity. We could make fires in the park, but a good camping stove is essential and we bought am MSR multifuel stove. It was excellent. It boils water quickly and cooks food to perfection. We were able to control the level of the flame and could actually simmer our food. It wasn’t needed on this trip, but we decided to go for a stove that burns all types of fuel. You never know when you will be camping somewhere and all they have is kerosene available.

Deb Playing around after a long day

Deb Playing around after a long day

After a long day of paddling and portaging, food is the highlight of any trip, and we ate like kings.  After ample research of the best food to bring, we made sure to have an endless supply of delicious treats.  Every night was a feast eating rice, beans, lentils and pasta. We went to an Indian market and bought several packets of excellent curries, bhindi, korma, and masala’s.  Their packaging is perfect for cooking.  All you have to do is boil the packets and pour them over your rice for instant healthy, hearty and tasty meals.

heron algonquin ParkHeron Algonquin Park

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There was a wide variety of food and drink. We had coffee and tea in the mornings and hot chocolate at night.  Cheese strings and chocolates, sandwiches and trail mix were on hand during the day.  Even breakfast varied ranging from eggs to pancakes to powdered milk with granola.

It seems that for every adventure that we go on, we focus more on our stomachs than anything else.

The canoeing is very relaxed in Algonquin Park.  The water is calm and if you pick the right route, you won’t see other people for days.  We spotted otters, moose and herons, and one evening we even had a visit from a bear.  A mistake I made by throwing our rotting pepperettes into the fire before going to bed.

Algonquin Park View

After we had all turned in for the night, I had to go to the loo and as I was walking to the outhouse I thought I heard someone by the fire.  When I shouted out who was there, no one answered but a grunt. I ran back to the tent to get Dave and Ken and we all spent a good half hour banging our paddles and yelling and screaming to scare it off.  Eventually we heard a splash and assumed that it had swam away.

I then proceeded to lay awake all night long infuriated with Dave for sleeping so soundly after such a scare from that hungry bear.

Ken chose a tough route and we tackled the longest portage in the entire park. The final portage of our 10 days of paddling was the portage overland from Opeongo Lake to Dickson Lake. We carried our canoes, tents, packs and the rest of our food for 5.3 Km from lake to lake.  We all ended up walking 7,5 km that day using the Portage and a half technique.

All four of us set out together carrying a load to the half way mark.  Two people continue on as the others drop their packs and turn around to go back for the remaining gear.  Once the two of us that have continued on reach the other lake, we go back for the gear left in the middle of the trail and pick up the remaining packs meeting up with the others that have now gone back for the gear and are continuing on.  It is complicated but works very well at cutting km’s off of the walk.

Dave Bouskill Algonquin Park

It was late in the summer and the nights were cold.  We even awoke one morning to a slight blanket of snow.  Our trusty  North Face Roadrunner 2 tent kept us warm though.  It’s low profile and tough exterior kept the heat in and we slept in our tuques,(Canadian for winter hat) wool socks and long johns with our sleeping bags pulled up over our noses.

Moose Algonquin Park

I highly recommend a trip to Algonquin Park if you are looking for a leisurely canoe trip.  There is very little white water, the views are incredible.  You can hike through the pine forest, swim in the pristine lakes, sunbathe on a beach or climb to the high look out and view a panoramic display of a park that is larger in area than Banff National Park in area and greener than anywhere you will see on earth.

So buy a map and plan your route. Book your camp sites, rent your canoe and go out and explore Canada’s  Wild North.

Ken and Marcia

Ken and Marcia

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25 Comments

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  2. John Bardos - JetSetCitizen

    Canada is an amazingly beautiful country. I don’t think I ever really appreciated it until I left. I am definitely proud to be Canadian!

    I had several run ins with bears and elk while I was living in Jasper.

    The closest encounter was when I was trail running and surprised a sleeping bear. I honestly almost stepped on it. Luckily it was more afraid then I was and just ran off.
    .-= John Bardos – JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Interview with the Professional Hobo, Nora Dunn =-.

  3. davendeb

    Hi Amy, you will be camping in the wilderness soon yourself I am sure. With all of the camping that you have done this summer:)

    John, that is crazy that you almost stepped on a bear in Jasper. You are braver than I am. When we were in Alberta this summer, I actually thought about “how do people go for a run in this wilderness when it is filled with bears and wildcats!”

    Thanks Nancy. Canoeing is a lot of fun eh? And the great thing about it is that it is just like riding a bike. So easy to pick back up.

    Thanks Alouise, Algonquin Park is one of the best places in Ontario for sure.

  4. @toddlucier

    It’s a wonderful inspiring place for the adventurer. But Algonquin Park is also accessible to people who aren’t confident in their skills or don’t want to invest in equipment. Guided Algonquin Park canoe trips like Morning Tea with Moose or Wolf Howl Canoe trips offer adventurists at heart to experience Algonquin Park with a naturalist guide who can help uncover the mystery and magic of the park. Guides know where and when to paddle to spot wildlife and teach folks the art of paddling, portaging and enjoying backcountry fare that is far beyond ordinary.

    Although, only a provincial Park, Algonquin is often listed among the top two most renowned NATIONAL parks in Canada. Quite a coup. Happy to call it home.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Todd. You are absolutely right and thank you for reiterating that Algonquin Park is accessible to anyone. Thank you for listing the guided canoe trips companies!

  5. Sophie

    Algonquin Park looks lovely. Really like the pictures, esp. of the moose. Magnificent creatures, aren’t they. Sounds like a great trip. Had to read a bit to figure out the badge of honour-part, though.

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  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention Canoe Algonquin Park, Canada's Wilderness | The Planet D: Around the World Adventure Couple -- Topsy.com

  8. Barbara Weibel

    Love the idea of canoeing and camping, but I’m actually a bit scared about the prospect of getting lost in the wilderness. Put me on any road with a map and I never get lost. But put me in the woods and I turn sort of stupid. I have repeatedly wandered off main trails onto smaller forks that lead to nowhere and I once completely lost the Appalachian Trail (although I hear this latter is more common than one would think, as the AT is poorly marked). I think it’s something about the beauty and energy of the forest and mountains. I just get caught up in it and go totally right-brain, and find i t impossible to engage the left brain, therefore I get lost!
    .-= Barbara Weibel´s last blog ..Tlacotalpan, Mexico – Rainbow Colors, River Shrimp, Riveting Conversation =-.

    1. davendeb

      I get lost too. Thank God for Dave, he keeps me on track. Maybe it is because I know that he is following the compass or paying attention, I have become lazy. Or maybe like you, I get caught up in the scenery and the moment.

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  13. Algonquin Park Lodge

    Indeed, Algonquin Park is a great place to visit. I went there last year, but missed canoeing. This we have booked a Lakeside inn and would be doing it for sure.

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