Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Third Time Unlucky

It seems like things are conspiring against me and my plans for camping this year.  We were supposed to go to Mew Lake in Algonquin for a few nights on my birthday, but Bubbie had a workshop for a school sport she had to go to.

Our Easter plan to go up to Algonquin for a picnic and some hiking fell through too.  My mum and I misunderstood each other and she thought we weren't going, so her and dad went without us.  We were heading up to meet them at their house and when I texted her to let her know, she informed me they were already in Dwight.

As for our first booked car camping trip?  Bubbie's got another school event for the first day of that trip, so we won't be getting the early start I'd been hoping for.

But hey, if you believe in things happening in threes…that means the summer shouldn't have any issues, right?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day Trip: Algonquin Park - Leaf Lake Trails - March 16, 2015

Monday of March Break was beautiful this year, so we piled all our stuff into the car and headed up to Algonquin Park to do some skiing.  Last year, the kids and Chris had skied the smalls loop of the Leaf Lake Trail while I walked Biscuit around the Logging Museum Trail (3 times) and they were really eager for me to join them this year.

As we were getting our skis on, one of the Park Staff pulled in and asked us some questions.  He informed us the smallest loop was groomed and track set, but that the warm weather had made it impossible to do the rest as the groomer kept over heating.  He suggested though, that we at least take the small detour to Dee's Cabin.

So we headed out, turning right at the first fork in the trail to do the loop in a counter clockwise direction.  Chris decided to demonstrate how Squatch had fallen there last year, and began flailing around like a crazy person on the ground while making pitiful whining noises, not realizing Bubbie had the GoPro on and was filming the whole thing.

They had told me there was a bit of a hill…a bit of a hill?  The whole first kilometre was uphill.  It wasn't steep, just a really long incline that had me huffing for breath and losing feeling in my legs.  Eventually, we got to another fork, and took the short detour loop to get to the cabin.  This meant more up hill, and after a few minutes I started getting a really bad headache.  This continued through the whole day, and only got worse by the time we got home.  I seriously thought I'd burst something in my brain with all the exertion.  

The cabin was nice though.  And the trail was really great.  As the Park employee had said, once we turned to go to the cabin, there was no tracks, and the icy spots made going down hill a bit scary for Bubbie and I.  We took off our skis for some of them, but once we got back to nice tracks, we stopped doing that.  Chris wasn't impressed.  I don't know why he gets so upset about us doing that.  It's not like it's hurting him any, and besides, I was carrying not only the GoPro, but my DSLR as well.  I'm certain he'd have been far more upset had he had to buy me a new camera and lens because I fell on it.

After we got back to the car, we packed up and headed to the Visitor Centre to pick up some drinks, then went to the Costello Creek Picnic area.  Unfortunately, it didn't look like there had been much melting there at all.  The picnic tables still had a foot of snow on them.  At home, we were down to just the snowbanks, everything else was bare ground.  It's amazing what a few hours driving distance makes.

Because we'd all been so hot after skiing, we'd taken off our snow pants and didn't feel like putting them back on, so we just ate in the car.  Kind of lame, I know.  But it didn't put a damper on our day at all.  Lots of fun was had by all.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring is finally here!

It's official.  At least here, it feels like spring.  Today's temperature is supposed to get up to +11 and the sun is shining. (And won't it be great to get back into the habit of not having to specify a plus or minus when discussing the temperature?)  After yesterday's rain, our yard closely resembles a swamp (I kid you not, I heard Red Wing Blackbirds out there this morning, so I'm not the only one who confused the area with wetlands.)

Apparently, in Algonquin Park, it's a different story.  We are heading up there tomorrow, but from what I've just read, the Cross Country Ski trails are still open, though conditions might be iffy.  We'd planned to just have a picnic, maybe see if there's enough melt going on for there to be moose hanging around the roadsides, but it doesn't sound likely.  We'll still picnic and maybe feed the birds at the Spruce Bog
Trail, it'll still be great.

It's not too long till the opening weekend, and for anyone looking to head out to the back country as of the last Saturday in July, you should be aware, Algonquin Park has posted an advisory saying they won't be issuing back country permits until at least May 8th.  A really cold winter and slow spring thaw has resulted in apparently, record high levels of ice depth for early April.  Now we could still get a few weeks of super hot weather and lots of rain, but as of now, canoe camping is being delayed by a few weeks.
From Friends of Algonquin Ice out Page

There are some people who are mad, mostly people who have already booked their trips for that first weekend of trout season, and I get it, I do.  Getting time off work can be tough, rescheduling it even tougher.  Not to mention, after a long cold winter, we're all aching to get out there again.  On the other hand, some good arguments can be made.  Booking a trip for opening weekend is a risky proposition.  If the ice is actually out the dangers of being on the water are very, very real.  But even disregarding the safety issue, in the last few years, ice out hasn't been early enough to allow water travel on the last Saturday in April.  The trend does appear to lean towards earlier ice outs over the long term, but that's no guarantee.  If you aren't willing to risk having to change your plans, just plan your trip for a few weeks later right from the start.  Or switch to front country camping.

As much as my husband and I have been itching to get out in the canoe, neither of us are willing to risk an accident when we have kids depending on us.  So we'll wait a few extra weeks, do some car camping…and stare out at the lake willing it to warm up.

Has anyone got trips booked for early May?  What trips are you most looking forward to this year?