Throughout my twenties, Algonquin Park was my preferred summer destination. During a weeklong canoe trip, if I didn’t endure the aching shoulders from endless paddling over lakes and down stunning rivers, backbreaking portages and near misses with moose, then it simply wasn’t worth it.
Then I moved to the UK where the idea of camping means pitching a tent in a field next to a pub. Perhaps satisfying in its own unique way, but hardly roughing it. I craved the familiar wilderness, the tranquility and the comfort of home in the woods.
Last year I finally managed to bring my wife and son to Algonquin for the first time, along with some British friends. I’d planned a varied and exciting trip that would feature all of the park’s special qualities and hopefully indoctrinate my companions into loving Algonquin as much as I do. Sadly, in the years since my last trip there, I’d mysteriously aged. What had been backbreaking in my twenties had become nigh impossible for me and my team, adults about fifty-ish and some young teenagers. And there was rain. Lots of rain. My old reliable gear leaked, my muscles moaned, my gimpy knee screamed at me and so did my wife.
As usual, the moments of quiet stillness and clear skies more than atoned for the turbulence. I can’t wait to go back.