Traveling in my own backyard. Making the most of a pandemic. Let’s explore Ontario!! Algonquin here we come!

2020 has been a year to remember for sure.  In the hospitality business it’s been pretty crazy.  It’s been a roller coaster of not being allowed to open and then figuring HOW to do so while keeping guests, staff and US safe.  After more than 20 years in business we felt like we were starting over.  August turned out to be the BUSIEST month ever and Labour Day weekend ended it with a full house.  So, after saying good bye to our last guest and cleaning the worst of the mess up, we decided to take a break and took no reservations for a few days.

I reached out to a friend and asked Deb if she would be free to go camping for a few days.  Remarkably SHE had just decided to take a week off work to do some work around the house.  Well.  It didn’t take much to convince her to put that off and go on an adventure instead.  Deb has all the equipment, including a beautiful canoe, so we started planning a canoe trip to Algonquin park, something I’ve dreamed of doing for years but never had time off when it’s suitable to go.  YAY!!

Saturday, September 12

It was a gorgeous fall day as we launched Deb’s beautiful canoe onto Canisbay lake and began our search for a campsite.  We headed to the right and searched for the orange signs for an available site and found a nice one with a natural rock dock.  After unloading and setting up camp we enjoyed a lunch of wraps with lots of fresh veggies.  We took our food with us and set off to canoe and explore the lake.  Towards the campground and to the left were narrows that ended in a beaver pond.  We heard running water that turned out to be blocked by logs and found a portage sign so beached the canoe and went for a walk.  We met 2 people, a man on a bike and a woman who owned the kayak we’d seen when we beached the canoe.  The path crossed hwy 60 and ended on Cache lake.  We paddled back and enjoyed a dinner of veggie burgers topped with the rest of our fresh food.  Everything else was packed into the bear vault which we place a couple hundred feet from our site.

Enjoying some relaxation after setting up camp!

Our natural “dock”

Even the view from the thunderbox is amazing!

Sunday dawned rainy and miserable and we were grateful for the large tent and tarp we had set up to make a “porch”.  A leisurely coffee was enjoyed while chatting and waiting out the weather.  Breakfast of home made granola and dried apples topped with skim milk was delicious.  In between showers we explored the area around the site and took pictures of many interesting mushrooms.  Even the setting of the thunder box was beautiful.
The rest of the day was spent re-hydrating food, preparing and eating it, chatting, relaxing and wandering when the rain stopped.  It stopped late in the day in time to warm up to a nice fire.  Not far away, a man was playing guitar and singing.  It was nice and we even sang along to the tunes we knew.

Monday morning I awoke early so relaxed on the “dock” for a while before Deb joined me and we had coffee and breakfast.  It was cold and the lake a bit choppy but we had to get more food from the car so set off in the canoe back to the launch.  On the way we checked out other campsites.  Ours was perfect for the chill of fall but a sites on the west side would be better in summer as they’d get the morning sun and shade during the heat of the early evening.

Back at the car we discovered a mouse (or two??) had DECIMATED the bagels.  Seems bears aren’t the worst dangers to food.  Oh well.  Good thing we’ve got plenty.

After filling the water jugs and buying more wood, we headed off to find some hikes.  Bat lake is a 5.8 km hike rated moderate.  It winds past waterfalls, rapids and beautiful mossy forest over some seriously muddy paths.  Twice we sat on a bench just enjoying views.  Despite taking our time we still finished the hike in 1/2 hour less than the estimated time.

Back at Canisbay lake Deb was VERY relieved to find her precious canoe still locked to the sign on the beach.  We loaded it up and paddled back to the camp site.  It was a tough paddle as the wind had picked up.  Our reward was another of Deb’s wonderful rehydrated meals.  The wind had stopped and the lake was beautifully calm so we ate vegetable stew with mashed potatoes and stuffing on our dock while being serenaded by our guitar playing neighbour.  Nice!!  We even had apple crisp for dessert on the stick stove.

Lots of mud!

Funky mushrooms. Apparently they’re edible?

Glacial erratic?

This poor little guy was seriously annoyed by ticks 😦

Tuesday.  It got COLD last night.  We wore lots of clothes and used the hand warmers I brought to warm up our feet.  I burrowed deep into my sleeping bag and liner, wrapped my neck in my down coat and made a space just big enough to breathe.  When I awoke around 6:30 am my phone said it was 1 degree.  BRRRR!  That didn’t inspire me to leave the warmth of my toasty bed.

We decided to try heating the outdoors and started a bit of a fire to enjoy our coffee and breakfast.   There was a beautiful mist over the lake.  The cold has benefits!  Then we loaded up the canoe and headed back to the campground.  The lake was perfectly calm so it was a relaxing paddle.


Today we did the Whiskey Rapid hike.  It’s a 2.8 km moderate hike along the Oxtongue River with lots of muddy areas and a few good hills.  Tea Lake was the perfect place to enjoy a lunch of naan bread and rehydrated hummus.  Then the portage store.  Uh oh.  Don’t go there if you don’t want to spend money.  They’ve got NICE stuff.

Next was a nice hike at Peck Lake.  Another moderate, scenic walk.

By then it was time to head back so we filled our water jugs and paddled the 1.7 km back in 20 minutes.  Not bad!  Dinner was corn chowder and naan.  YUM!

Is the rock holding up the tree or is the tree holding up the rock?

After a leisurely coffee and finishing up the last of the granola and apples, we packed up and loaded the canoe.  It was windy as soon as we got up and it didn’t appear to be calming at all so we bit the bullet and headed out.  It was rough.  Gusts of wind created white caps that were pretty scary.  We headed directly into the wind and paddled hard.  After 35 minutes we were relieved to reach the camp ground.
After loading the car we headed towards the East gate.  At the lake of Two Rivers picnic area we stopped for a meal of spaghetti and tomato sauce.  Another gourmet meal! We certainly didn’t go hungry this trip!

Deb loves candid photos. 😉

The Beaver Pond trail is a 2 km, moderate trail and was dryer than the other trails we’d done. There were lots of beautiful views along the way and some really good hills so it was a great work out before spending the next 3 hours in the car.  It was the perfect end to a great trip.  We headed back rejuvenated and (somewhat) ready to handle work again.  Pandemic and all.

The beaver dam

A beautiful view on a lovely hike

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are dirt….rocks and roots too.

I sure enjoyed getting to enjoy a bit of what Ontario has to offer.  It’s an amazing province with so much to offer!  Get out there and SEE it!

3 thoughts on “Traveling in my own backyard. Making the most of a pandemic. Let’s explore Ontario!! Algonquin here we come!

  1. That’s an amazing blog!! Thank you for taking the time to record it all. I had the most wonderful trip with you. I truly hope we can do it again. Next time we’ll go further in!! 😁


  2. Pingback: Autumn in Ontario. Colour everywhere! The last hurrah before winter sets in | Where in the world is Grandma?

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