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:

Our daily view:

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


October has passed

October was a somewhat busy month this year, and also a month where I backed off social media quite a bit. I would check my Twitter, Facebook feeds daily, Google+ not so much, I read blogs but only seemed to have the energy to comment on a select few. My mind itself was blank, not really knowing what to blog about.

At the beginning of the month we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. Our two kids who still attend College and University out-of-town were able to make it home, putting a very large smile on mom’s face. I see middle child much more often since she is only a few hours away, and is able to commute home every other weekend with one of her classmates. Whereas, I had not seen the young man since the beginning of September, he is a good nine hours away in Quebec. He arrived home well after midnight, and though very tired, gave his mom one of the hugs you really never want to end.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at home again this year, I do miss going camping during that weekend, but it is far too difficult to coordinate. Instead of baking our turkey in a conventional oven, we baked it in the backyard in a garbage can. Sounds completely weird, but a twenty pound turkey is cooked in roughly two hours and is delectable. Everyone complimented on how well it tasted, it literally melted in our mouths. If you are interested in viewing the video, you can see it here. Please note that Cocoa did have a taste of the turkey before baking, but we figured since we were cooking it at such a high temperature, a few licks of the turkey was no big deal.

Thanksgiving turkey ready for baking
The turkey is ready for baking;  in this picture we have our son, the young man, beside him is Cocoa the beagle, then my husband Matt, and in the far corner is middle child’s dog Bear.
The charcole is afire
The charcoal is afire. Depending on how well it burns we may have to add more.
Our Thanksgiving turkey is ready for the table.
Our Thanksgiving turkey is ready for the table.

Thanksgiving weekend is also the weekend of our Wedding Anniversary, this year we celebrated 27 years of wedded bliss. Actually, we did absolutely nothing, which is quite fine with me. I am not one for celebrations, preferring small quiet get-togethers.

Picture of Matt and I
This morning selfie was taken on the day of our anniversary ~ October 10th.

October has been a month of sorrow, with the murder of Cpl Nathan Cirillo. I did not know him personally, but being from my hometown, and the same age as my eldest, plus the fact he was killed standing guard at our National War Memorial, affected many of us Canadians to the core. In the past I have not attending the Remembrance Day ceremonies held on November 11th of each year, this year will be different, I will attend and thank all of those who have died for our Country.

The last few weeks of October have also been quite depressing, dominating the headlines now is the alleged sexual assaults committed by Jian Ghomeshi, former host of the ‘Q’ on the CBC. Many of the arguments have centred around women not coming forward and pressing charges (as of yesterday, two women have gone to the police). From my own past experiences I understand why most women do not come forward. I was explaining this to my husband last night, and told him how my own sexual assault still haunts me, and if things had been different back then, I would have gone to the police, I do regret that but at the same time will live with my decision.

More happy/sad news ~ the eldest is moving out this month, she will not be five minutes away but instead an hour. Sure we can chat daily on the phone but it is not the same as her sitting with me in the living room chatting. Thus with the other two still away at school, we can be referred to as “empty nesters”  for now.

I didn’t mean I was getting a divorce

I sent a text this morning to my son, the young man. This is how the conversation went:

Me: “Do you remember if Dad has a tool to cut my wedding ring off?” Note: In hindsight I probably should not have started the conversation like this.

Son: “This is not how you tell your kids you’re getting a divorce”. See above note.

Me: “lol”
Me: “I am having a problem with swelling and the ring has made my finger raw. I have tried to get if off with soap, olive oil and it won’t budge. I have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, so the ring has to come off”

Son: “I’ll cut it off”
Me: “You are not at home son”
Son: “Gen Gen too” (he’s referring to his sister, saying she can cut it off).
Son: “And yes, dad has a tool, just ask him where it is” Does he think I am going to cut the ring off myself? I’m pretty sure that would be a very bad idea. If I missed there would be blood everywhere, and I would faint.

Son: “Why are you asking me anyways, I’m 800 kilometres away?
Son: “Do you want me to fix the fridge too?” This is an ongoing joke in the family since we all tend to call my husband, their father (when he is at work) if something breaks or is just not working.

After my conversation had ended with my son, my husband finally answered my text, saying yes he can cut the ring off with his Dremel too.

This Friday is our 27th wedding anniversary, which will be celebrated with me driving to pick up middle child from college (a five-hour drive – there and back), then later that night, well 2 a.m. to be specific I will drive about an hour to pick up the young man somewhere on highway 401. That is what I am doing to celebrate my anniversary.