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6/25/2021 12:57 am  #1

Mid June Family Trip

Well 2020 was a bad year for canoeing because the timing of the first lockdown and the birth of my first born son prevented me from any tripping at all. Suddenly it's mid-June 2021 an the stars have aligned, wife can get away from work, 3 1/2 year old daughter is rocking her new 36" paddle and 12 liter backpack, and we are fairly certain our recently acquired senior citizen dog won't jump out of the canoe. An early spring and a just-lifted park-wide fire ban suggests that the mosquitos will be "light", for mid-June. So we book a site on Craig Lake and a "3-seat canoe" from Swift and spend 2 furious days of packing what seems like tons of gear.

Wednesday June 16th, the adventure begins. After several hours of driving, plus a couple of hours of breaks, we get to Swift in South River and the guy plops down this tiny 17' Keewaydin that indeed has 3 seats. I assumed a "3-seat canoe" would be fricken huge! There was no way we were fitting in that thing so after a bit of searching our guy found us a lovely 18.5' 2-seat Keewaydin and we were speedily heading for the access, grateful that our daughter was still transfixed by the TV and our son had not yet become cranky. 

The first portage, ~400 m happens between the access and the first pond. This occured much like our typical singal poratges except daddy has to head back for the 2nd pack that weighs something like 70 pounds and mommy has so suffer with a heavy lug strapped to her chest and the daughter and dog in tow while waiting paitently at the end of the portage, fending off the lighter than seasonal hordes of mosquitos. Then we get on the water, paddle a couple of hundred meters and get hit with the second ~400 m portage. These first two poratges are more enjoyable than the final 90 m poratge into Craig. Low water means that it is better to land on the alternate extended portage landing rather than fight through thigh deep mud. The extended portage is not well cleared and has you passing over a potentially sole sucking creek before joining up with the proper portage trail. When heading out this way we encountered a guided tour of 4 canoes carrying a diverse group. The group of older ladies were awed that we were traveling in the backcountry with the little ones but we were equally impressed that an 80 year old was enjoying our same adventure.

Suddenly we are at our little island on the west side. Crankyness has long ago took hold of the kids and it was fine enough to set up the minimal camp needed, stuff them full of granola/cliff bars and off to bed with mommy, never to be seen again until the next day. Our sleep setup was the height of luxury, a MEC camper 4 with two Mondokings and a single Neo-Air, wall to wall thick plush thermarest. On our island the mosquitos were only a minor problem durring dusk. I managed to set up the food hang, get a fire going, cook up some hot dogs, and enjoy some rum and stars with the dog.

Next day I set up a couple of tarps for us to hang out under durring tommorow's forecast rain and protect from the relentless sun. Then the horse files came out. Not that many flies and not as anoying as the mosquitos on the portages, but damm they hurt when they bite. We took an afternoon paddle to the beach on the east island and spent alot of time swimming before fighting the typical afternoon algonquin wind to get back to our site. The evening was a treat as my daughter stayed up long enough to see lots of stars while I was toasting us perfectly golden marshmellows. Also seems like she's a bit of a pyromaniac as she was endlessly putting sticks in the fire until they got a glowing red ember and them smacking them on the ground.

Funny thing when we were approaching the east island beach is that I can see a floppy green tarp and what looked like a 15' square Aquaquest emergency tarp. I've been looking at buying such a tarp but I can't stomach the hideous orange color, so I think there was a $250 tarp just sitting, for the taking. I say this because as we approached the beach we saw 2 guys in a tandem leaving the site and we never saw any other activity there durring our stay. I suspect the 2 guys were working for the tour operator and put up the tarps and a couple of conspicuously placed tents in order to "reserve" the double site for the ~16 tourists that we saw while heading out on Saturday. 

Friday it rained but that was ok, it kept the flies away and was a different experience. Things cleared up by nightime. Also, my son finally decided to take his first unassisted steps right there on our site. That's something money can't buy and a story that will be with him for the rest of his life. Learning to walk in Algonquin Park!

Last edited by solos (6/25/2021 1:11 am)


6/29/2021 9:19 am  #2

Re: Mid June Family Trip

Sounds like a great trip!  Any tips for getting toddlers to sleep on a Thermarest?  Besides the obvious "put them there and keep them there?"  I'm taking my 1.75yr old out in August and he's just about to get a toddler bed,


6/29/2021 8:49 pm  #3

Re: Mid June Family Trip

IanTendy wrote:

Sounds like a great trip!  Any tips for getting toddlers to sleep on a Thermarest?  Besides the obvious "put them there and keep them there?"  I'm taking my 1.75yr old out in August and he's just about to get a toddler bed,

My wife does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to my son's sleepy times. He's a bit of a momma's boy and likes to be held until he's out and then you have to place him down gently without waking him up or else you start over again. Hopefully this will get easier once we send him to daycare. On the other hand my 3.5 year old daughter is mostly good about going to sleep but just wants some company until she passes out. I find that everything works a little easier when they are physically tired and if I keep them up about half and hour past their normal bedtime.

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