Saturday, August 9, 2014

Day Trip: Algonquin Park - Logging Days - July 26, 2014

After four years of trying and failing to make it to the park for Logging Days, we finally got our act together.

As we expected the parking lot was packed, and they had a team of guys directing us to available parking spots.  We chatted with one of them for a minute as somehow Biscuit managed to escape the car.  I had clipped his leash on, and then unclipped his seatbelt from the ring and it popped the leash clip back open.  Chris caught him quickly, and the volunteer asked us about what kind of dog he was (we got this a lot through the day.)

I admit I had been leery of taking Biscuit.  At home when I take him for walks, he doesn't like it when people come up to him, and the trail was really busy.  I had visions of him biting children, nipping people on the butt and getting loose and eating the logger's lunch.  He was actually really good.  He pulled a lot at first because he was excited, but calmed down eventually.  People came up to him and let him sniff their hand and he let them pet him!  I was shocked!  He went a little nutty when other dogs got close, but we kept a good distance and it was okay.

The first demonstration wasn't so much a demonstration as a performance.  We arrived just in time to see the start of the Waikimi Wailers start playing.  It was really cool.  Some of the people in the crowd were singing along, and more and more people were piling into the Camboose so we headed out after a few songs to let more people in.

At the stables, they were giving out free temporary tattoos, and scavenger hunt sheets for the kids.  I'm not sure what the prize was, but the kids had fun looking for the answers.  There were people demonstrating how logs were squared off, how a cadge crib worked, and how the alligator boats worked.  It was really cool.  We've walked this trail many times and though there is information there on the display boards, it was nice to get a more detailed description of what it was like to actually do these things. You really get a new appreciation for just how hard these men worked.   For example, it took a team of 6 men a full day to square a log, and it took 18 men, about 28 hours to haul a boom of logs across Cedar lake using a cadge crib.  The Alligator took about 6 hours and less men, but was only really useful on big lakes, of which there aren't many in Algonquin (comparatively speaking)

Squatch got to try out using a cross cut saw, and brought home his timber cookie home.  A booth further up the trail had people branding them, but the wood was too wet, so they had pieces of lumber there to brand and hand out.  Kids could also try their hand at making rope but the line ups in these two spots was really crazy, so Squatch only did one.

We didn't have time for the Logger's Lunch (and the kids wouldn't have eaten it anyway) but it did look good.  Beans, potatoes, fried bologna, homemade bread and a butter tart.  Next year we will try and get Chris to take the day off so we can come back and have time for lunch...and maybe Biscuit will be better behaved around food by then.  Because we were in a bit of a rush, we had to skip some of the demonstrations too, but like I said...next year...

All in all, this is a really fun and educational day with activities that keep the kids from being bored.  I highly recommend it.  It's also dog friendly.  There were "dog water" stations throughout the trail.  Even though it wasn't super hot out, it was nice to have.  We actually had thought they might make the trail dog free for the event, since there were so many people there.

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