10 October 2016

Hiking and canoeing in Algonquin

Sunset in Algonquin park in Fall

I signed up to a trip on Saturday to go hiking and canoeing in Algonquin national park. Despite a number of small mishaps it was a lovely day and a fantastic opportunity to get out of the city and see some of beautiful Ontario. It was apparently the best weekend to see the fall colours and all the beautiful and vibrant reds, oranges and yellows made me desperately wish I was a better photographer. I suppose there are only so many photos you can take of trees though. Unlike the guy who sat in front of me in the car. Apparently his limit is somewhere around the 200 mark.

The group of about twenty met a a local mall and set off together from there. The group leaders gave us our sandwiches before we departed and I felt like I was about ten years old on a primary school class trip. That sandwich didn't make it to Algonquin and I discovered I don't hate mustard any more. The first stop was Ragged Falls where we wandered back and forth through the woods snapping photos of the trees in all their autumnal glory to the backdrop of the crashing waterfall. The air was so crisp and fresh and I wanted to bag it and bring it back to the city with me.

Ragged Falls in Algonquin Park in fall

 After that we set off towards Canoe Lake where we were to do our canoeing. We were about two hours behind schedule at this point due to previously mentioned mishaps and a roughly 5 km traffic jam on the 400 highway, which we decided to walk alongside instead of being cooped in the car, but we made it with enough time to spend an hour and a half canoeing on the lake. I was put in a group with two lovely ladies: a teacher named Slavi and an older French lady named Catherine. It was a windy day and we were on the water about ten minutes before the first group capsized. Three girls and their iPhone 6's took a dunk. About 20 minutes later the second group tipped over. After 50 minutes canoeing into the shore, log stumps, and other boats the teacher and I suggested heading back early for hot chocolates. I didn't fancy becoming the third group to take a swim that day.

Canoe Lake in Algonquin National Park

So after everyone else successfully made it ashore without going for a dip we waited for the six girls who were having their clothes dried in the staff room and then set off for our only hike of the day having run out of time for the other two. It was sunset by the time we arrived which turned out to be just perfect as the sun setting over the trees was an absolutely spectacular view. On the way down we stopped briefly to look down at a river when I saw a moose trotting up the road followed by a baby moose, mooseling? mooselet? mooselt. A baby mooselet. Naturally I got super excited and freaked out and started calling everyone over to see. Highlight of the day.

When we got down off of the hiking trail it became clear (just before we drove off and left her there in the dark) that we were missing one of our group. She had wandered off by herself to take photos. In the near dark. Alone in the woods. The group leaders naturally freaked but found her twenty minutes later. She thought the whole thing was hilarious. I did not. From there we went to a brewery on the way back towards the city where some people stayed but I chose to grab a bite and then join the people heading home. But not before seeing one of the French girls walk straight, smack into a floor to ceiling window thinking it was an entrance into the toilets. I laughed heartily. I'm a terrible person. 

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Maira Gall