Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Algonquin Park canoe/portage trip

I just returned home to Toronto from my very first canoeing/portaging trip. It was quite an experience. There were 8 of us on the 4 day trip to Algonquin Park in Ontario (Near Huntsville), and fortunately, all 8 of us made it home in one piece.

My buddy Tim and I totaled 4.76KMs of portaging, and I would estimate approximately a total of 30KMs of canoeing. The longest single portage was 1.2KMs, carrying our 2 person canoe through a narrow hiking trail with steep hills, and being unprepared for this portage due to a lack of planning left Tim with approximately 30 mosquito bites on his back and arms. He didn't bring a shirt or shoes with him, so he was carrying the canoe through a dense forest in his bare feet. We really should have looked at the map before setting out on our trek. We learned our lesson the hard way ;)

There was a very friendly chipmunk at our first campsite on an island that was brave enough to approach us and eat food out of our hands. We managed to play a little joke on the little fellow and give him the experience of a lifetime. We set our canoe paddle strategically on a rock and piled some nuts on the end of the paddle. When the chipmunk was lead on to the paddle, we pushed down the other end of the paddle, sending the chipmunk through the air. Twisting and turning through the air like a runaway tire wobbling down a hill, the chipmunk reached a state of bliss that no chipmunk has ever experienced. To complete the superman move, the chipmunk gracefully landed on top of the plastic tarp we intentionally hung about 6 feet in the air. I'd say that chipmunk easily cleared 10 feet, maybe even 15 feet in the air. He came back for more immediately after the event.

The above chipmunk flight was caught on video, including our enticing of the chipmunk to stand on the paddle. The link will be posted shortly.

One thing this trip has done for me is made me realize how easy we have it in the regular civilized society. In our every day lives, we don't need to spend hours searching for and chopping firewood, boiling lake water to make it drinkable, bathing in a lake, or defecating in the woods. We really do have an easy life here in Canada. Eating dried fruits, smoked meats and granola bars in the woods for 4 days made me realize how many luxuries we have in our every day life that we take for granted.

Well, my next trip is in 2 days. I'm driving down to New York City for 5 days. I'm going from one end of the spectrum to the exact opposite. I'm going to enjoy all of the simple luxuries that New York City has to offer, and upon my return, I'll write an entry about my trip to the big apple.



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