Category Archives: backcountry

Off to the Rockies, Day 11

The map above does not show are actual starting point, thus not giving out Nicole’s home address to the world. We did though take the Bow Valley Trail out of Calgary since it was more of a scenic route. After saying goodbye to Nicole, and watching a Magpie literally pick up some dog poop, then realizing what it was, dropped it square on her lawn furniture! As pretty as they are, they are apparently considered pests because there are just so many of them out west.

We were on the road by 7:30 a.m., mileage now 3944 kilometres, and since neither of us had been to the Canadian Rockies, we were quite excited. First we had some grocery shopping, and a stop at Canadian Tire for more camping supplies, and a new air mattress since ours had sprung a leak that we were unable to locate. As soon as we drove on to the highway, we were immediately distracted by the dog running all over the three lanes. Vehicles, thankfully all slowed right down, and a few of us tried to stop the dog by very slowly edging our cars closer to him. Matt then pulled our SUV over to the side of the road where I did get out, and tried with no luck to call the dog over. The dog eventually trotted off the road onto the hillside happy as a lark. He really looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

Finally towards the Rockies we went ,and as they came into sight, both of us were just in awe. The closer we came to them, it was like every view was a picture postcard.

Below are just a few pictures of the Rockies; these were actually taken through the front window of our SUV which my husband cleaned each time we stopped.

Once we reached the Rockies our next stop was Banff National Park, where all must pay an entrance fee even if you are just driving through, this fee is more than worth the price. We then headed up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper National park where we set up camp for the night at Mount Kerkislin Campground on the Athabasca River. We were at site #30 of 42. This campground is a self-registration camp, and we soon learned it was best to start looking for a campground around 3 p.m. each day before all the best spots were taken. On the drive we saw our first Bighorn Sheep which were of course blocking traffic. We were quite a ways down the road, so I did exit the car to snap some photos.

Banff National Park
Banff the town
We naturally stopped in Banff for coffee.
  • Bighorn sheep on the roadway
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Bighorn Sheep
Our campsite at Mount Kerkislin campground
Our campsite at Mount Kerkislin campground.
Beside the Athabasca River Mount Kerkislin campground
After setting up camp we went for a hike, and found the Athabasca River not far behind where we set up our tent.

The following pictures were taking from the vehicle as we drove through the Rockies to our campsite. There wasn’t a site on the road that didn’t leave us awestruck.

Ontario to Whitehorse, Day 2 Ontario

Our day two drive took us to Agawa Bay Campground (site #323) in Lake Superior Provincial Park. The drive through Lake Superior Provincial Park is up and down mountains, around curves, giving you pretty spectacular views of Lake Superior.

We drove this route in 2006, when we took our kids, at that time aged 12, 14, and 17 to White Lake Provincial ParkWhite Lake Provincial Park 2006After driving for a few hours, we remembered that we had forgotten our two cans of Bear Spray on the kitchen table, off to an outfitters to purchase another couple of cans. We would be camping in areas where there are bears, so we always carry bear spray with us. Thankfully we have never had to use the spray, even when we have camped where a problem bear was in the area. Why are there problem bears? People do not keep their site clean. Always lock your food in your car, or if in the back country, hang it high in a tree. A picture of dad for middle child

For lunch we stopped at Serpent River.Matt at Serpent River Ontario Lunch Serpent RiverSerpent River 4

Our campsite at Agawa Bay was only a few steps from Lake Superior. After setting up camp, eating dinner, we walked over to the beach to watch the sun go down. The sunset though, was unbelievably long! As we waited, we chatted with other campers. Of course my husband had to bring up the topic of the Green Flash Sunset Phenomenon. One of the women we were talking with, burst out in laughter (along with me), stating her husband has been waiting for years to see the “green flash!” We did not believe the “green flash” was a real thing, but the link above says it is real. Go figure. Apologies to my husband, for not believing that he has told the truth for the past thirty odd years. Geez. (In truth, I sent him a text saying “fuck me, you’re right, damn, the green flash exists!”. We did not see the green flash that night.

Sunset Agawa Bay 3 Sunset Agawa Bay 5 Sunset Agawa BaySunset Agawa BaySunset Agawa BaySunset Agawa Bay

Canoeing to Burnt Island Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park

Panorama view of our campsite

For our 30th wedding anniversary this year, the only gift I wanted was for the two of us to spend time together, away from everything. Thus we chose to go camping in the back country of Algonquin Provincial Park Thanksgiving weekend.

After checking with our adult children that they didn’t mind us going away for Thanksgiving, we left Hamilton at 7:15 am. As we were driving towards Algonquin, my husband decided that we should add an extra day to our trip to avoid the traffic coming home.

Once we arrived at Canoe Lake, we then changed our destination from Little Doe Lake to Burnt Island Lake since there were just too many bear warnings for the first area. We are quite prepared with our cans of Bear Spray, plus we keep a clean camp site and make sure our food is always in a barrel tied high up in the trees. (The one exception is my cream, which is in a thermos, in a thermal bag, tied in the water).

Food barrel tied high in trees.

Food barrel tied high in trees.

Keeping my cream cold in the water

Keeping my cream cold in the water

Matt and I ready to embark

Matt and I ready to embark.

We left Canoe Lake at 12:30 p.m., arriving at the first of four portages at 1:45 p.m. Our itinerary went as follows: Canoe Lake to first portage to Joe Lake, then Joe Lake to the East Arm, then to Joe Lake; we avoided the second portage into Lost Joe Lake since the water was high enough to paddle through the river; the next portage was from Lost Joe Lake to Baby Joe Lake, where I proceeded to fall trying to get back into the canoe (the lake was not deep enough for us to sit in and paddle, I walked well hubby pulled the canoe through the river); soaking wet from the waist down and with sore knees since I fell onto rocks, we headed towards the portage to Burnt Island Lake, at this point we had to do the portage since there is a dam between the two lakes.  Once in Burnt Island Lake we found a campsite around 5:15 pm. We had spent approximately five hours in the water.

Day two: We awoke around 7 a.m. with a drizzle of rain. Erect second tarp beside the tent, so we do not get wet from the rain. Our daily was spent lazily by the fire playing scrabble and cribbage. There was quite a violent rain and wind storm Saturday night, apparently the remnant of Hurricane Nate. The tarp over our tent did an excellent job of keeping our tent dry. Once the tarp would fill with water, it poured off each side. Around 5 a.m., there was one last huge wind gust that made one of our ropes snap, but this was easily fixed. Another day of relaxation, until I picked up the bear spray and accidentally sprayed myself in the eye. I had neglected to put the safety back on the can after going to the toilet. It sprayed forward, but then there was a back-wind. Thankfully we always have a jug of water on hand, so Matt quickly jumped up with the water, and flushed my left eye.  The rest of the day was again spent just relaxing and enjoying the view and silence.

Our two cans of bear spray

Our two cans of bear spray

Day three: Was shorts and t-shirts. We did some fishing and took lots of pictures. In the afternoon we went for a canoe ride, where I became so involved with picture-taking I didn’t realized I was moving back in my seat, only to fall backwards into the canoe. It hurt, and I couldn’t right myself back into the seat. Matt paddled back to the campsite so he could remove me from the canoe. (I tend to be the comic relief).

Laying down in the canoe because I fell backwards.

Laying down in the canoe because I fell backwards. Please ignore the rat’s nest of a hairdo I have.

Day four: Monday, another day of tuning out and enjoying nature.

Day five: We packed up our campsite and started the paddle back home.

Over the five days, we snapped, between the two of us, with our Nikon’s and phones over 1000 pictures. Here are a select few:

Tip of the canoe

I couldn’t get enough of the sunsets in Algonquin:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our daily view:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Selfie

Selfie

Red merganser resting on the warmth of the rock

Red merganser resting on the warmth of the rock

 

red breasted merganser having a stretch

Red breasted merganser having a stretch