Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Algonquin Park Canoe Trip

Canoe trip this year was a great learning experience. This trip was probably the one I was most nervous about. From the hiking trip experience I did have some problems that i really preferred not to happen on the canoe trip. I was most nervous that I wouldn’t have enough supplies or get wet, by reason of getting the tent wet during the hiking trip. I did end up over preparing myself by setting the tent up numerous times before going on the trip. Nonetheless I ended up having an amazing time. I was finally able to understand the emotion toward Algonquin Park, for I have seen many painting of it by Tom Thomson. I was not only impressed with the landscape, but also the temperature. For some it may have been too cold, but I found it perfect for our purpose. I was never too hot and because I may have over packed a bit, I was never too cold. I’m glad I ended up doing this trip and with the knowledge from it, I can hopefully do it again.

In my two year experience of portaging I never knew what it would truly be like until we did it this trip. As difficult as it was to carry, not just the canoes, but the rest of our supplies from one place it another I felt like I learned a lot as well. Of course at first our portaging skills and efficiency was not that great and I think the reason for it was because we weren't working together as a group. Once we realized that we couldn’t do things by ourselves the portaging became way easier and quicker, we were even able to help another school passing by. We were soon able to get our canoes out in an orderly fashion and even were able to get firewood on the canoes. All in all this trip was about teamwork and I think our whole group learned that.

During the trip we came across some mini rapids. I learned a lot by the failure of our class. Most of us either got stuck or rammed into the people that were stuck. We how we need a very skilled person on the stern and for the bow person to never stop paddling. Because of this we would be going fast even if we stopped paddling. So when someone was in our way and a rock was beside them we couldn’t really go anywhere. We were literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. That helped us learn that we actually have to look before we go into the rapids if it’s safe to enter. One of my biggest fears was tipping, but I learned that it is better to keep your paddle in the water, staying calm, and keep low, rather than throwing your paddle up and freaking out. Sometimes I would forget that, but I soon realized that it’s a very good skill to remember.

With cooking groups I soon realized how much prep work was put into it, I learned that all of our food took a while even if we were efficient enough. During the day we would end up being late for something and so we would get our food later in the day. I personally think we should have had pre cut things and even pre made things. For example my cooking group was suppose to have bannock, but was unable to because we didn’t prepare it ahead of time. I learned that our class maybe should have planned a little more for the trip and for the food to make it more successful. Gratefully my cooking team caught on to our late departures off the campsite and took initiative and decided to wake up earlier than everyone else. We were able to make our breakfast and on the water on time.

I really enjoyed the time when we canoed through the tall rock area. It had a beautiful scenery and very relaxing. When we stayed on our canoes for snacks I felt very relaxed and it was fun to take a break from portaging one of our longest routes. The times spent at the end of each day were probably the most memorable and the food, whether it was my turn cooking or someone else's, was very well done. I also really enjoyed having groups that would cook for the entire class, instead of last year on the hiking trip when we had to cook for little groups. It made things less stressful when preparing for the trip and what stuff could fit in my bin. I thankfully didn’t need to think of my food having to fit in my bin or my bag.

Even though I wasn’t in the stern a lot of the time, the times I did do it I actually quite enjoyed it. I liked how my arms wouldn’t hurt as much in the stern, but I didn’t do it often because the first lake we went on to had a lot of big waves and I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to be in the stern. Thereafter each time we would switch places in the boat I would always be afraid that we would come across a lake like the first one. Luckily we never did and I was able to steer with ease when I had the opportunity.

After a long day of canoeing and portaging we would finally set up camp. I was served or cooked this nutritious, yet tasty, meal. The sun would go down and people would be huddled around the campfire, getting warm. This was probably my favourite moments every night. I would be able to talk to my friends and feel warm. It gave me a good feeling every time. Even though I loved the cool weather it would get pretty cold at night and it was nice to get a warm feeling.

Hiking up to high falls was amazing. I loved the view and the little challenges the trail had. I took many picture of the waterfalls and rocks. Even though I didn’t go on the waterside it self, the sun felt warm and I was able to enjoy the heat for once on the trip. The hike was a nice break from canoeing and very relaxing.

I can honestly say there wasn’t a lot of things i didn’t enjoy. Everyday there was something to do that was enjoyable. One of the only main thing I didn’t like was the portages, but I also might be stronger because of it and it can help me with portages in the future.  Other than that there were just minor things that bothered me, but they were quickly pushed assigned when I had something to do, like set up the tent, cook food, or start canoeing.

The thing I would change is my packing skills. I need to learn to not bring five of the same thing when I only need one or two. I didn’t have enough room for some important stuff and I think I could have compact it more.

As a whole I loved this trip! I look back at it and wonder why I was so nervous for something I knew would go over fine. I'm really proud I did it and would really consider doing a trip like that again. 

Thanks to everyone on this trip for such a memorable experience.

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