Saturday, June 2, 2018

Victoria Day in Algonquin

The May long weekend was approaching and we didn't have any plans a week before. The weather was looking good so we decided we should go camping in Algonquin Park. We thought we'd check the online reservation system to see if there were any sites available. As you might expect all the sites were booked except for the non-reservable ones. We decided to take our chances and to see what was available when we got there. We did this once before but arrived really early on Friday. We weren't sure how quickly the sites would book up but thought we'd give it a try.

We left early enough that we made it to the park by 6:00 p.m. I guess that's early enough for non-reservable sites since we were able to get our first choice. We chose site 114 in the Pog Lake Campground. It was only a couple of sites away from the beach and it turned out to be fairly private on the one side (not so much on the others).

We headed for our site, set up the tents and had some pasta salad that we brought as a quick meal. It was a beautiful night to be outside. It seemed more like summer than spring. It was warm, the sun was shining and we were about to be treated to a beautiful sunset. After eating and cleaning up we headed to beach to take it all in.

Tents All Setup

Sunset at the Beach
After the sun had set, Sarah and the girls headed for the tent while our son and I grabbed the canoe and began exploring the lake. I hadn't looked at a map so we had no destination in mind. We paddled across the lake and found a river. We started paddling the river and before long it became clear that there was another lake close by. We made our way around a few more bends and eventually came upon the lake. We noticed Highway 60 across the lake and realized we were on Lake of Two Rivers. We often like to look at maps and plan where we're going, but it can be a lot of fun to just go with the flow (or against it as the case may be).

Admiring the Stillness

Smooth as Glass
It was cloudy when we awoke Saturday morning. After breakfast we thought we'd go for a stroll around the campground to see if there were any good sites we should consider for next time. By the time we were ready to go it started drizzling a bit. We grabbed our raincoats and headed out. The rain got heavier and heavier as we went. By the time we got back we were soaked. During our walk we may have discovered why there were no bugs. We found ice in one of the streams. Not just a thin coating but a good six inches. Given that black flies lay eggs in running water, it's no surprise there were none.
Icy Stream
We decided that a rainy afternoon would be a good time to head to the Visitor Centre. The kids love it there. They always learn something new. We ended up spending a couple of hours there and by the time we left the rain had subsided. We played Bocce Ball on our site until it was time to cook up some sausages. By the time we had finished cleaning up the rain had started again. We made our way into our tents and listened to the rain pound down.

In the morning, we were happy to see that the rain had passed. We hung up a bunch of things to dry (Note to self: our recently acquired second-hand tents need to be waterproofed.). We decided to take advantage of the nice weather  and do some hiking. So we headed for the Two Rivers Trail, which we haven't hiked before. It was a nice and easy 2.1km. There were some lookouts with some nice views. We all had a great time. The girls have recently started to enjoy hiking more. Not because the enjoy the scenery, the fresh air or the exercise but because they have decided to use the interpretive trail markers as snack points. At the beginning of a hike they look at the guide and decide which points should be the snack points. Those points then seem to become almost an obsession for them. I feel like we're doing something wrong here, but at least they're having fun.
Checking Out the French Trail Guide

Along the Trail
Checking Out the View

A Couple of Big Trees (and Kids)
We stopped at the Lake of Two Rivers picnic spot on the way back for some lunch. The sun was out and there was a nice breeze off the lake. It was a good place to stop for lunch.

When we got back to our site our daughters wanted to play at the beach and our son wanted to do some fishing. We grabbed the canoe and our fishing gear and off we went. We paddled around much of the lake. We didn't catch anything but we did spot a lone turtle sunning itself. It must have been quite cold because it didn't pay any attention to us despite the fact that we got quite close.

Enjoying the Sun
Meanwhile, the girls were playing at the beach. Our five year old couldn't resist going into the water for a swim. If I remember correctly there had likely been ice on the lake two weeks before. Needless to say she got quite chilled.

When we arrived back to the beach our older daughter wanted to go for a paddle. I took the two older kids while Sarah got our youngest daughter changed and warmed up. We explored a bay that we hadn't check out yet. We found an old dead tree in the water that the kids wanted to explore. 

Lounging Around 
Checking Out the Log

Log Selfie
We headed back to our site played more Bocce Ball and had some burgers. It was shaping up to be another beautiful night. Our son and I headed to the beach to toss a ball back and forth while we watched the sun set. A great end to a great day.

Another Beautiful Sunset.
Monday morning we had breakfast and packed up then we all headed out for a paddle. The older kids were keen to share the log they had found so we headed that way. Our younger daughter had noticed a beach that she wanted to check out so that was the next stop. While at the beach the girls discovered what looked like a cool den.
I Wonder What Lives in Here?
We paddled to the river that leads to Lake of Two Rivers and made our way to the lake. It was very windy and the wind was coming right across the lake. We didn't stay on the lake for long. We had a nice leisurely paddle back to the beach. We made our way back to our site, had some lunch and loaded up the canoe.

I'm really glad we decided to camp for the weekend. It was nice to be able to spend the time together outside. This trip marked four consecutive seasons of camping in Algonquin Park for us, three of which were bug free. I can't wait for the next adventure.

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