Monday, November 3, 2014

Trip Log: Algonquin Park - Canisbay Lake - September 25-28, 2014

With the fall colours being so spectacular this year, we made a last minute decision to go camping for the weekend.  Of course, everyone else had the same idea and all the campgrounds were full so we planned to leave early and hope to get a non-reservable site.  Then, luckily, I checked online the night before to see if there were even any of those left and saw a green circle!  Yay!  Someone had cancelled and I quickly booked the site.

We ended up getting a late start.  Dad was supposed to be helping a cousin on a job, and hadn't been told all the details so instead of being done around noon, he didn't get home until closer to four.  We were mostly packed by then so we headed up and got our permits by 5:30pm.

The people in line ahead of us didn't have reservations and ended up getting the last non-reservable site available (so it's good we got to book one!) and they were told section 1 would be opening the next day if Coon Lake filled up.  I guess both Coon lake and Canisbay section 1 are usually closed by now, and with the high demand, they decided to open them up.

Canisbay was beautiful.  The leaves were all gold and orange, and all the campground roads were like something out of a commercial for Vermont or something.  It was wonderful just being in the campground.

We had dinner as soon as we got the trailer set up.  Right away we had a problem.  The propane line for Mum and Dad's trailer wouldn't work so we had no stove.  We did have a little portable BBQ but one of the burners was acting up.  We managed to make do with it, and heated up ribs, as well as roasting brussels sprouts and cooking carrots.

After it got dark, dad and the kids and I headed down to the beach to try our hand at shooting star trails.  The night sky was absolutely amazing.  We didn't end up shooting star trails, but did get just some nice night sky pictures.  It was our first time trying this and so we took a lot of bad ones too.  The kids were getting cold, so we headed back to the site and they went to bed while Dad and I sat up and took more shots through the canopy of trees.  Dad's remote shutter release wasn't working so we had to share mine but it all worked out well.  We had tons of fun with it.

The next morning, I got up at 6:30 with Biscuit and walked down to the beach.  The reflection was wonderful and with just a touch of fog on the lake it made me hurry back to the trailer to get the camera.  Dad didn't get up, so I took the kids down.  Unfortunately we had to take Biscuit.  He's learned how to open the trailer door and I didn't know where dad had put the keys so I could lock in from the outside.  After that, we went back and mum and dad still weren't up!  It was nine and I fully expected dad to be up making coffee.  So we went exploring more.  We checked out the site we'd stayed at two summer's ago, then we followed a trail down to a little tiny beach where a bunch of canoes were cached.

It was ten by the time mum and dad got up, and we finally got to make breakfast.  Peameal bacon, potato, pepper and onion hash and bagels.  We'd planned to make pancakes and maple baked beans to go with them but with only two elements, it just would have taken too long and we were already wasting the day.  Then we realized we hadn't packed dish soap.  It's the one thing I ALWAYS forget!  Dad and I drove to the Two River's Store and picked some up, as well as some brownies...I couldn't help myself!

After cleaning up, we headed out to take in all the colours.  We did the last little bit of the Beaver Pond trail, went to the Opeongo Algonqiun Outfitters, spent a grand total of 3 minutes at the Visitor's Centre, then went down to Rock Lake to check out the colours there.

When we got back to camp, having skipped lunch, we got right to work making dinner.  Tonights meal was an experiment, tex mex peppers and black eyed peas over rice with chipotle Chop Chop salad.  We went back to the beach for more star gazing/picture taking, and then headed to bed.

The next morning I made my super healthy oatmeal for mum, dad and I while the kids had instant oatmeal.  One of these days I'll get them to eat the better stuff.  We also had bagels.  While I cleaned up the dishes, mum and Bubbie went down to see if we could get a non-reservable site for one night.  We got the last one!  The site was empty, but we held off moving our trailer over there because the people who had been on the site had an RV and it was possible they had simply gone out for breakfast.  We figured we'd go out and take more pictures then come back around one and move.

Our first stop was the Cache Lake access, then we were going to hike the Lookout Trail, backwards just to the actual lookout.  The parking area was packed with lots and lots of cars parked on the side of the road so we turned around, headed to the two rivers store for ice cream, then returned to Canisbay to move the trailer to our new site.

After the move, dad, Bubbie and I went into Huntsville to see if we could get a replacement for the propane line section.  We also needed groceries since we were staying an extra night.   As we passed the west gate on our way out of the park, we saw a huge line of cars waiting to go passed.  Police were there and as we kept going we were stuffed by just how long the line was.  On the way back, we hit the "trip" tracker in the car and it was 5.2km from where the last car had been stopped to the gate.    Crazy!

Our first stop was Henrietta's Pine Bakery in Dwight but they were sold out of all the things we wanted (no surprise) so we stopped at Tim Horton's then went to Arrowhead for a quick photo detour of Stubb's Falls.  Groceries and a replacement battery for Dad's remote shutter release were easy to get, the propane accessory, not so much.  We'd have to stick with the BBQ for all our cooking. (yes we could have had a fire, and we did, but as usual the wood sold in the parks was so wet we mostly had smoke...I did make corn bread to go with the peppers the night before but it just tasted like really strong smoke...really gross)

Dinner was hot dogs.  The kids really wanted to roast theirs, but as I said, the fire was pathetic so we just did them on the BBQ.  We also had salad and rice.

Deciding to skip the beach that night in favour of roasting marshmallows, we spent a lazy evening at camp...and the kids roasted a total of 1 marshmallow each for a s'more, then went to bed.  Dad and I sat up around the fire.

The next morning, mum left early as she had to work.  The rest of us had a quick breakfast of bagels, coffee (not for the kids) and Squatch had a hot dog, then we got the trailer mostly packed up inside and went out for a while to take pictures.  This gave the tent parts of the trailer time to dry out before we folded it all down.

We ended up stopping at the side of the road twice, once on a hill that had rows of fog and trees in the distance, and once at one of the areas near the end of Lake of Two Rivers where a fog bank was slowly receding.  Next we tried again to do the Lookout Trail but again changed our minds because of the number of cars already there (and tour busses!)  Instead, we hiked the first few kilometers of the Centennial Ridges trail, just to get to the first look out, then headed back.  Biscuit decided to get snarly and tried to bite a few people which made the return trip a bit of a nerve wracking experience.

Back at the site, we began final preparations to leave when someone pulled up on the side of the road near by and walked over.  Our first thought was it was the next person to book the site and they wondered when we'd be gone.  It turned out, the man had seen Biscuit and wanted to ask about him, as he too has a blue heeler.  After talking and sharing stories on our dog's quirks, we realized we'd gotten our dogs from the same farm, only from different litters!  How crazy was that?

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