After a long winter, our first canoe trip of the season finally came to light! A great weekend in Algonquin Park. As always, there were some ups and some downs on this trip, so we decided to tell the story in the form of a letter to Algonquin Provincial Park. Enjoy!
PSA: The water is damn cold – Wear Your PFD! Trips aren’t awesome when you die. Just sayin’.
Dear Algonquin Provincial Park,
I am writing this strongly worded letter to you, in order to inform you of my most recent visit to the park and the experience that I had from April 28th – April 30th 2017. There was some unpleasantness… But please allow me to set the stage for you with a little bit of the backstory here before I get into my list of things I’d like you to fix.
After a few days of back and forth discussion about where to go our first canoe trip of the year, our friend The Tom decided on and booked two nights on Tattler Lake in your provincial park. Perfect, we have a destination. The Tom and his two friends, Joel and Shannon, got up at an ungodly hour Friday morning and drove up to the Shall Lake access point, launched their two boats and paddled out to the campsite a few lakes out. The Tom (solo) in his boat and Joel in Shannon in another. Matt and I connected at my house a little later than expected because of… I quote… “Things and Stuff”. We got on the road and to the access point at about 4 pm.
This is where my list of complaints starts. Please address these individually and provide me with feedback as to how you will rectify each item.
1. Wind Pollution – Someone took the liberty of ordering a non-stop headwind for us and it was unacceptable and unwanted. There was no way to turn this option off. It lasted the ENTIRE way in. This made for a difficult paddle.
2. The water level was so high that portage entrances were hard to navigate. The ice-out just happened which MAY have something to do with this. I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.
Side-note: Hilarious conversations were had in the canoe on the way into the park as could only be expected. Two guys paddling their asses off, laughing hysterically while cabin/cottage folk looked at us like we were on bath salts or something.
3. To get from Kitty Lake to Booth Lake involved paddling UP what seemed like Niagara falls, as the water level and flow were so high that we paddled forward as hard as we could and still went backwards. I believe the canoe must be malfunctioning. You must have installed magnetic fields that messed with out boat or you have an alien problem. There are only two things that mess with this kind of precision machinery.
4. Crossing the Bering Strait twice! Because of the headwind and the size of Booth Lake, coupled with the fact that we did not bring a map, we were forced to cross an open section of lake we now refer to as the Bering Strait. An additional crossing was needed as the first crossing was the wrong way and unnecessary. Try and make your lake systems less complicated, or provide this information before hand so we can trap and haul King Crab 🦀 next time.
5. Tattler Lake is just simply too far from the Shall access point. It was damn near dark by the time we found our friends. We could smell the campfire they had lit… From about 19 nautical freaking miles away. This made it very disheartening to find out that each new bend in the landscape was not our last. Ok maybe this might be more my fault, as showing up just before dark seems to be a thing with me. You’re off the hook on the daylight part & come to think of it, the distance part as well… It was our first paddle of the year so it was awesome to be in a canoe again.
6. Our thunderbox had the most wonderful direct view of our campsite. I enjoy showing my ass to the world, but not during certain activities.
7. On a good note, the campfires were amazing… Drinks and laughs with friends. Always amazing in the wilderness. You earn a purple participation ribbon here.
8. On the last morning we woke up to hail, ice, freezing temps, rain and to top it all off with a cherry…another headwind. Now part of this is to be blamed on The Tom and Matt – They seem to be included on all types of these trips. (See previous canoe trip with The Tom, recommended by Matt) But that doesn’t excuse you… We did not ask for these things in the notes of our reservation.
9. I feel even worse for The Tom as he has to paddle all of this solo. We saw him using dry bags as ballast to get some weight in his boat. You may want your customer service team to follow up on his trip.
After writing this letter, I now realize what an awesome first trip this was and thank you for doing as little as you could to accommodate us. Although you still had snow on your portages, thanks for at least getting rid of the ic. We will agree to share the blame on some of the items above, but please correct the rest and get back to me.
Ha! In all seriousness, what a great first trip of the year. It had some ups and downs like every trip does, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s all part of the adventure.