12 June 2017

The FIRST Provincial Park in CANADA

Location: Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Our Family's' camping history in Algonquin Park dates back to the late 1960's

Back Then ... Dann's parents would pack the family car with food, some beers and homemade wine for them and ginger beer for the kids, all the necessary camping gear and a few tents; later the family outfit evolved to include a couple of different tent trailer models. We survived black bears at our campsite and fish hooks in our thumbs, we poked rainwater through the sides of canvas tents and joyously paddled the family canoes ... the brilliantly shiny, excruciatingly noisy, searingly hot and tremendously sticky aluminium Grumman and we learned to appreciate the stable, camo-wrapped, sportsman friendly Coleman. Favourite spots were the Kearney Lake or Pog Lake campgrounds. Dad recognized, early on, the passion his kids had for the outdoors. He ' knew somebody who knew somebody ' and was instrumental in getting both Dann and Tom hired on as interior canoe rangers; each for several seasons. Lianne worked at the Canoe Lake Portage Store and later, Tom went on to work as a conservation officer in the park. 

So far we have tallied 31 different trips made, over an almost 50 year period; as day, extended weekend or multi-day back-country adventures. We have skied and snowshoed during the winter months; canoed, fished, backpacked, hiked and cycled from spring throughout autumn. This, will mark our 32nd time here.

A Historical Photo ... my oldest (not many survived; after editing, this old analogue barely did)
A typical early 1970's interior canoe ranger camp. Back-country gear then ... tea in a billy can, canvas pup tent with a tarp over to keep the rain off, rubber rain ponchos, blue jeans, braided nylon rope for clothesline.


" ... Algonquin Provincial Park is located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Southern Ontario, Canada. Established in 1893, it is the oldest provincial park in Canada. Land additions since its creation have increased the park to its current size of about 7,653 square kilometres. This is about one and a half times the size of Prince Edward Island or about a quarter of the size of Belgium

Over 2,400 lakes and 1,200 kilometres of streams and rivers are located within the park. The unique mixture of forest types, and the wide variety of environments, allows the park to support an uncommon diversity of plant and animal species. It is also an important site for wildlife research. 

Algonquin Park was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992 in recognition of several heritage values including: its role in the development of park management; pioneering visitor interpretation programs later adopted by national and provincial parks across the country; its role in inspiring artists, which in turn gave Canadians a greater sense of their country; and historic structures such as lodges, hotels, cottages, camps, entrance gates, a railway station, and administration and museum buildings ... "


Fast-forward Almost Fifty Years ...

On this trip we're going to spend a couple of days and reconnect with 'neighbours that became friends'. We haven't seen Al and Michelle in quite some time. They own a video production company that handles website advertising for a couple of businesses in The Park

A&M needed some ' human photo props' , we volunteered and everyone had a whole lotta fun ... Many Thanks to Al and Michelle at ... Allan Joyner Photography !

LOAF spent the day, thanklessly and alone, in a gravel parking lot while we ... selfishly, paddled and posed in three different canoes on two big lakes, took a water taxi up Algonquin's largest lake, saw a moose, and a couple of eagles ... all this on a perfectly, calm water, beautiful day!


A couple of days later 
... we camped and hiked with Mark and Darlene, a cousin of Helen's and his wife. That's them on the right; literally seconds before The Moose Encounter!

There was lotsa yammerin' at camp but we did find time to stretch our legs on some of the dozen or so hiking trails The Park has to offer.

Trail Photos 
... a compilation of our favourites from Hardwood Lookout, Ragged Falls (just outside Algonquin), Peck lake, Bat Lake and Hemlock Bluff ... all these trails are mostly moderate grade hiking ... a huge out-pour on the Oxtongue River, flooded wetlands, nightmarish black-fly populations, bug jackets and button-downed clothing, some nice lookouts, a Moose cow and calf encounter (rare on the trail) and an uncommon painted trillium along the Bat Lake Trail.

The Logging Exhibit Trail was a highlight for us ...

This 1.3 km loop trail does an excellent job displaying the logging history of the Algonquin area. Features include a recreated camboose camp, a steam powered amphibious tug called an alligator, antique snow plowing equipment, winching mechanisms, horse drawn logging rafts and sleds, a downriver chute, the trucks that replaced the horses and several of the cabins and buildings that loggers lived in while at winter camp.


When we visited The Park this time, I had intended to drop by and see Rob Gamble at his cabin on Cache Lake. Sadly, Rob passed away in January of this year. Helen and I were there last, several years ago. Rob and I tripped together as interior canoe rangers during the early 1970's in Algonquin Park. Here's a link to that time.

" ... In 1972 Rob began living year-round on Cache Lake in Algonquin Park.  He was an employee of the Department of Lands and Forests from 1970 through 1981; he ran the Opeongo Canoe Centre, manned the access point at Kingscote Lake, was a Park surveyor as well as an Interior Park Warden.

In 1983 Rob established a contracting business in Algonquin Park where he provided on-lake services.  He had the propane concession from Superior Propane, built cedar and canvas canoes (which he learned from Clarence Bouges), and, over the years, was involved in the building, renovating, and repairing of many cottages, bunkies, and docks. (1983-2013)

In June 2016 Rob was the recipient of the Friends of Algonquin Directors’ Award, which “honours those who have made significant contributions toward the appreciation of Algonquin Park ... ”

I will always remember Rob completing the 5.2 kilometre Bonfield - Dickson portage (the longest in Algonquin) in a single trip ... an amazingly strong and capable outdoors-man. In those days we were outfitted with cedar and canvas canoes that weighed upwards of 75 pounds (after they get wet and swell). Rob was able to carry that canoe and a loaded Woods #1 canoe pack the full distance with only a few rest stops in-between; a total load that probably exceeded 130 pounds. At the end of the carry, he would walk into Dickson Lake, roll the canoe off his shoulders, drop the big pack into the bottom of the hull and do a seal entry into the canoe. He would then sit out in the water near the portage landing and wait for me to catch up ... after-all, I was 5 years younger and had only double packed the portage!

' Paddling Irons The Wrinkles From Your Soul '

RIP Rob!


Follow us by clicking TRAVEL MAP 2017  

Click on any photo (some stock) in the post to launch a slideshow gallery of all the photos. 

All the really GREAT! photos in the Algonquin PP paddling sequence are courtesy of Allan Joyner Photography. Please visit their site!

Wikipedia may provide some content. 

Crusty & Wry ... 


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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty