Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trip Log - Pog Lake - Algonquin Provincial Park, July 13-15 2012

Several years ago, friends of ours invited us to share a campsite with them while they were attending Bolerama, a gathering of people camping in fiberglass campers.  On average there are about 110 of the light weight campers at the annual gathering, most of which were ranged around the group camping sections of Emily Provnicial Park outside of Peterborough, Ontario.

We were hooked and within the year, we'd bought our own little fibreglass egg.  For the next few years, we attended Bolerama, until the event was no longer being held at Emily Park, but rather in the Waterloo area, which was too far for us to travel.  Instead, on the weekend Bolerama is held, we get together with our friends and head to Algonquin.  This year, we invited a few other friends from high school along and had a wonderful weekend at Pog Lake.

We started planning this trip back in January, heck maybe even before them.  We already knew we wanted to go back to Pog Lake, but we really wanted sites closer to the beach, on the water so the kids can fish whenever they wanted, and of course sites that were next to each other because the kids basically treat it like one large campsite. We spent a long time deciding on which sites would be perfect and then when the day came where we could reserve them, they were already taken.  After a bit of a scramble to pick the next best of the available sites, we settled on 119, and 180 in Campground A.  Our other friends booked site 181, which was kitty-corner to our site.

We arrived just before two, and had to wait for the previous campers to finish packing up. While we hung out at our friend's site waiting, we spotted a species of bird I'd never seen before.  I looked it up on my iPhone and quickly identified it as a Brown Creeper.  These birds are really small, and move up and down tree trunks in the same manner as nuthatches.

It didn't take us long to set up (haul out the camp chairs, and take the coolers and food bins out of the camper....that's about the extent of setting up for us) and made a quick lunch of grilled cheddar sausages, then took the kids swimming.  I could sum up this whole camping trip by saying we swam...a lot.  It was hot and sunny the whole time we were there, perfect camping weather, especially when there is a beach close at hand.

Okay, we did other stuff too.  After the beach, I pulled out my brand spanking new 10" dutch oven and  made an apple spice dump cake.  It smelled amazing and tasted amazing too.  Unfortunately, after dinner, everyone wanted to go for a swim again, so it was dark before we got to eat dessert, and the cake wasn't warm anymore, and I couldn't take any pictures of it.  Also, I'd lined the dutch oven with tin foil so clean up would be easier, and it must have bubbled over the top of the foil.  There was a perfect circle of tin foil glued to the bottom of the pot.  It took Chris ages to scrape it clean with the little Lodge scraper tool I bought (which he told me I didn't need...he changed his mind.)  To make it worse, the mosquitos were out by then and were attracted to the flashlights as we tried to clean up so we got bit a million times.

The next morning I tried out something new...originally I'd intended to call them ultimate blueberry pancakes, but ended up changing the name to Smurf Cakes.  What I did was take just-add-water pancake mix, add a few scoops of blueberry baby food as well as thawed, frozen blueberries along with the juices that formed as they thawed.  Add enough water to make the batter to the consistency you like.  The inside of the pancakes were a perfect Smurfy blue.  For the syrup, I poured table syrup into a small pot and added about a cup of fresh blueberries and let it boil down a bit.  It was super yummy.

After breakfast, I let everyone else go to the beach while I cleaned up.  Now, I should mention that each family does their own food, so I wasn't cleaning up after 16 people, just our family.  By the time I got finished and headed to the beach myself, it was almost lunch time. (Not because there was a ton of dirty dishes, but because we'd slept in.)  We had quick grilled cheeses made in my pie iron, then all the families got together and did the Spruce Bog Board Walk Trail.  I've only done this trail in the winter, and didn't realize the boardwalk extended almost the entire trail.  It was very neat, and very easy for the littlest members of our group since there were no roots or rocks to trip them up.  Usually, Chris will climb any large rock or rock cut we come across on a hike, but this time he was carrying one of the toddlers, so our son took over the tradition.  Once up there, he proceeded to pretend he was a super model...he gets that from his dad, I swear.

In the picture, you can see the button on his shirt.  The older kids gathered up bags of recycling and took them to the Pog Lake gatehouse and got these buttons.  They could also get them for joining in organized beach clean ups and other things, with a total of six buttons available to earn.  If you get all six, I think their name goes into a draw for a free camping trip for the whole family.

After that, it was back to the campground for a quick swim, then we started getting ready for the pot luck dinner.  I made a lasagna in the dutch oven and it turned out really well.  There were lots of salads, chips, veggies and dip and I grilled texas-toast garlic bread on the little BBQ as well. We were all stuffed and there was enough food left over we could have invited a few other sites over for the meal.  The guys took the older kids fishing (they caught a few small rock bass)

Breakfast the next day was basic eggs and bacon,  Then at lunch we ate up some of the left over sausages, cookies, and made individual pineapple upside down cakes on the BBQ.

Pog Lake doesn't have the same level of privacy as Canisbay does, but it certainly has more character.  The campsites are set in a grove of tall pines and it just has a more rustic, northern feel to it. Where Canisbay's woodland is made up of mostly deciduous trees, Pogs were mostly coniferous  I will say, at Pog, the vault toilets are few and far between, and the comfort stations always seem to be full of women doing their make up, or blowdrying their hair.


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