Roughing It

Some people go on multi day canoe trips so they can "rough it" out in the wilderness. Others manage to do the exact same trip while living better than I do at home (which, admittedly, some people might consider roughing it)--they're out there to enjoy the wilderness. This past week, I got the chance to do this second kind of trip with one of my cousins (and a few others). Definitely a good way to get out there and enjoy nature (Ralph Bice Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, in this case).

So how does one do a completely comfortable camping trip? Well, first you need an efficient method of transporting a lot of gear--we used canoes. Then you need to bring as much stuff as you can comfortably fit in said transport: food, water, wine, snacks, tents, bug tents, lawn chairs, hammocks, camping stove, plates, cups, silverware, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, etc. Basically, think of everything you might want out on your patio for a party and shove it in that canoe. Paddle and portage that gear far enough from a launch point to ensure some isolation and then set up camp--in our case, a nice lakeside spot with a peninsula and island to sit on and swim around. And a beautiful view of the sunset.

Once you establish camp, it is your home for the next few days. But, like most homes, you still go out and do fun stuff--in this case, canoeing and portaging farther into the park while still staying close enough to be home for dinner. And, when dinner is freshly grilled steak with mushrooms or salmon with butterfly shrimp, it's easy to forget that more bears than people are likely to hear you if you feel the need to scream or sing. Luckily, bears are not very fond of screaming nor singing and so are relatively likely to leave you alone. But some of the other wildlife, like the loons, will join in with singing. My biggest danger is actually insulting Toronto...corpus delicti.

But a few days of lounging, swimming, canoeing, roasting marshmellows and similar leaves one quite satisfied being out in nature. And with comfort levels like on this trip, leaving is the hardest part. Especially when the weather decides to turn really ugly (pouring rain) just as you're ready to pull the gear and canoes out of the water and repack the cars.