September 19-22, 2009

A four day trip through the north bit of Algonquin Park

Once upon a time at an evening ‘hall pass’ beer session at an Ottawa South drinking establishment, the subject of a canoe trip came up between Martin and I. Martin said he had never done any canoeing, but he thought he might like to come along on the next one I did.

“Seriously?” I asked. I mean, after all, it’s not everyone’s idea of fun. And as the full time parent of two pre-school age boys, his time off is at a premium. But he insisted he was serious. How could I say ‘no’? And so was born the plot to go paddling this fall.

We planned the trip over several more evening beer sessions. I brought the map, emailed an equipment list and booked the campsites. The destination would be the north end of Algonquin Park. We’d travel for four days. Our loop route would have a ‘safety valve’ in case it proved too much.

And then the day came.

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

Standard caveat: we travelled for two days with only one PFD between us. That is a risk that no one would tell you to take - especially not in September when the cold water would significantly shorten the amount of time you had before hypothermia would claim you. But two adventure-starved fathers of young children were just daft enough to do it. We didn't get caught. But that doesn't mean you should try it or anything you read about in this report. Get training. Get real advice. Get a guide.

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