Mileage 6500 km. Having spent our first night in a hotel, after camping for fifteen days, neither Matt nor I slept well. At home we sleep on a waterbed, and when camping we are on an air mattress, which is similar, so sleeping on a actual mattress is quite different. We found the bed far to hard, with both of us tossing and turning, plus I think we missed the fresh air, and the nighttime sounds.
Travelling back down through the Yukon, we chose to stay on highway 1 towards Upper Liard, where we then took highway 37 south, back into British Columbia. Cell service was choppy, then non-existent in the interior. I had told our adult children we would be out of contact for a few days, to stop them from worrying. Middle child is the worry-wort of the three, and we enjoyed listening to the messages she would leave on our phones, always starting with “Parents are you still alive?”
We saw three more bears on this drive, evidence of previous forest fires, and repaving of the road. At times the road was not paved, but just stone, making for a somewhat bumpy ride in some areas. The scenery was beautiful. At times, it was just a road which had been plowed through the middle of a forest.
We arrived at Boya Lake Provincial Park around dinnertime, site #37 with a gorgeous view of the lake. We nestled our tent within the trees, finding it easier to sink the tent pegs in dirt rather force them into stone. Once are tarps and tent were assembled, we decided to go for a walk (with our Bear spray in hand seeing that it was noted, when we entered the park, that a bear was roaming the area).
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 Park. After 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.
For lunch we stopped at Serpent River.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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:
I couldn’t get enough of the sunsets in Algonquin: