Tag Archives: vacation

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:

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Our daily view:

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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

 

A true empty nest summer

Matt and I on one of our summer walks

Matt and I on one of our summer walks

The summer is over and a different summer it was for my husband and I. This was the first time in twenty-seven years where not one of our children spent the hot summer days at home. The eldest has lived in her own place for a couple of years now, middle child is off on the other side of the world (home in less than ninety days now), and the youngest was able to get summer employment with the university he attends, thus it only made sense he would continue living away from home. The youngest did come home for a week in August, and really milked the “I am on vacation” attitude.

Our summer was spent with me working in my vegetable garden, drying herbs for the winter, canning, and swimming pretty much every day. When my husband wasn’t working, he spent his time re-building his shed from the ground up, and erecting a deck around the new pool. There was no camping this year, or canoeing, which I missed horribly. We did spend a few days in Quebec visiting our son, and after his vacation at home, I drove him back to university. This meant, it would be just me and our two dogs on the return trip. It took me two days to get home. The first day I drove for about five hours with loads of rest stops, laying in the back of the van with the dogs. I then stopped at my friend’s house for the night, knowing I would not be able to make the entire drive in one day. The next day, what is normally about a four-hour drive, if I was with my husband, took me ten hours. My legs kept going numb making driving difficult, so again I stopped at every OnRoute, for a nap. Thank goodness both our dogs are great travellers, as long as you give them walks at the rest stops, otherwise they both happily lay beside me while I rest.

Another reason we weren’t able to go anywhere this summer was due to my migraines. Ever since I started menopause, my migraines have become unmanageable. After keeping track of them for four months, it seems I was/am getting about fifteen plus a month. Due to the magnitude of them, the specialist believes I am a good candidate for Botox treatment, so in a couple of weeks, I will be stuck with approximately thirty needles in my head and neck area. One bonus of the treatment, is she promises to remove the wrinkle, well actually indentation between my eyebrows. Of course my husband doesn’t notice the wrinkle, he says he sees me like the day he met me when I was twenty-two. Such a nice guy or a good liar? I think I will believe “nice guy”.

How was your summer?

A flying condom wrapper hit me in the head

Last month hubby and I had the opportunity to go away without kids for two weeks, and we took it!  Granted there were only two of our three children at living home and they are 23 and 21, so having mom and dad out of the house for a couple of weeks really isn’t a big deal.

Not a lot gets done in regards to personal grooming when you are on the road for two weeks, camping most of the time. Showers were had, but trying to shave one’s legs in a campground shower stall is next to impossible, if you want to do it with hot water. Plus there were a number of days where it had rained and rained so the comfort stations were not in their best shape.

Picture of us on Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia

Starting to look haggard

So after two weeks away from home, it was time for hubby and I to pretty ourselves up. I was fine with taking care of myself, hubby was able to trim his beard to perfection, but then came time to deal with the back hair. I know, eww, and he required my assistance.

Some woman may like a hairy man, and certainly I like his hairy chest but when it comes to back hair, no thank you, I do not want to sleep with a grizzly bear. Over the years we have tried different methods of hair removal. There was the waxing episode (insert laughter), it did not go over well, sure enough it removed a lot of hair but he couldn’t handle the pain (and he has the nerve to suggest I wax my nether regions, ha!). Then there was the cream removal treatment, it didn’t really work either, I had to keep slathering it on, then showering it off for him, then slathering it on again, showering, and so on. The final and most successful is plain old shaving with the electric beard trimmer, it’s quick, painless, and does the trick. Voila! He’s been beautified.

Now sex on vacation doesn’t really happen when you are driving, and stopping, and driving all day, then trying to find a place to stay, particularly since this was a spur of the moment trip, and nothing was booked. We were exhausted most nights, then we would be camping, having to cook our dinner, set up the tent, the air mattress, sleeping bags, and hubby’s nightly fight to start a fire with soggy wood (he usually won after soaking everything with camp fuel). Don’t get me wrong, I would not trade the camping for anything, I loved every minute of it, and so did my husband, but we were tired, and even if sex was on our mind, we were tired.

So, when we arrived home, we had to make up for lost time. Now, after years of bad timing you would think middle child would have learned by now, that when you knock on your parent’s bedroom door, you do not just walk in. Apparently the poor girl has not learned, and is once again scarred for life!

After slamming our door shut, she yelled she was going to check the mail. About ten minutes later I sent her a text message asking if we received any mail, she sent me this back:

No
Please
I’m tainted
My brain is overloading
I’m about to throw up
WHY
GET A FUCKING HOTEL ROOM
DISGUSTING HUMANS
I WANT TO DIE

The poor girl. Now a few weeks have gone by, and I must say she has gotten her revenge, not on purpose, but she has. This morning as I was driving the dogs to the dog park with the windows open, I was suddenly hit in the head by some sort of plastic wrapping, which then drops down to the floor. I look down, and what do I see but an open condom wrapper, OMFG – is the thought! I’m distracted by the dogs, until I arrive home, and as I am letting the dogs out of the car, I actually find the used condom in the back of the van. She got me. I’m grossed out. I’m happy she’s playing it safe, but in my van, ewww, Get a fucking hotel room daughter.

Hotel Frontenac

Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City