Whilst we were in Algonquin Provincial Park, we decided it would be a great chance to try out Canada’s favourite pastime and rent a canoe – and it was one of the highlights of our trip!
The first day we just pottered around in Canisbay Lake – it’s a pretty big lake (at least by our standards) and gave us a chance to try out canoeing where we were never far from shore. We found out that Canisbay Lake is lined with paddle-in campsites, some even have a whole island to themselves. Maybe next time!
We landed on a few islands during our self-taught ‘canoeing for dummies’ session and abandoned Dan on one that was covered in fresh bear poop (does a bear shit on the beach?).
We’d decided that tomorrow we would head to Treasure Island on Cache Lake so we tried to find the portage that we would need. Much easier said than done! The lake narrowed and no matter which way we went the water was never deep enough for us to even see the portage, let alone get to it! After about an hour of “No, not that way! We’re about to hit a… nevermind” we decided it was a problem for future-us and headed back to our campsite for some well-deserved beers.
The next morning we were raring to go and had another try at getting to the portage! This time we knew you could get through, we’d just seen two canoes, much larger than ours, come out of the corner of the lake that the portage was in! We got this far again, you’d think the route through would be straight ahead?
Actually, after a lot of trial and error, we found it was around this tree on the bank side.
When we finally got to the portage, we had the next challenge – our canoe was perhaps a bit big and heavy for portaging. Eventually we perfected the technique but height difference did result in a few bloodied shoulders and a not-insignificant amount of foul language. Despite swearing we’d never portage again (and wondering if the rental company would let us dump the canoe at a different lake to collect) later we’d say it was definitely worth it and we eventually did make it back to our camp!
When we eventually completed the portage (and possibly the longest half hour of our lives) we were a bit surprised to find this in front of us, rather than open water.
As you can imagine, navigating through this maze took a while, but it was great fun and not what we’d imagined we’d experience from canoeing – paddling almost aimlessly through reeds with the mind-set of “we need to be over there… somewhere”.
After another short portage across what we affectionately named ‘Nightmare-Ant Island’, we were finally on Cache lake and it was all open water from there! Despite there being a number of adorable lake houses nestled in the trees along the shores and on the islands, we barely saw anyone and had the lake to ourselves – and finally, Treasure Island!
After a good few hours canoeing it was time to head back – navigating the reed maze was much easier in reverse and even the portage didn’t seem quite so bad – remind us that we said this next time we’re portaging!
This was without a doubt one of our best days in Canada so far – if you get a chance to canoe around somewhere like Algonquin Provincial Park on a lovely Summer day then go for it! (Just remember lots of water, sunscreen and bug spray!)