Tuesday 28 July 2020

Algonquin Canoe Trip - Opeongo's Revenge

This past weekend I was up in Algonquin Park again for a quick canoe trip with Paul, Emma and Brynn.  We ended up booking the trip pretty last minute and so were stuck with Lake Opeongo, which wouldn't normally be our top choice (the lake is very large, motorboats are allowed, and it can be very windy - more on that later).  Nonetheless we had great weather with full sun and warm temperatures that made swimming the highlight!

Our first night was spent on Englehart Island on the south arm of Opeongo.
view from our campsite on the south arm of Opeongo

The next day we packed up and left our site around 9am and thought we would have just a short paddle into the east arm of the lake to find our site for our next night.  However, almost all of the sites were taken and we spent around 4 hours scouring the lake for any site.  I've never seen the park so full!  We finally found one down the very far end of the lake, close to the entrance to Annie Bay.  The reward for our persistence was one of the finest beaches I have seen in Algonquin.

The girls spent hours swimming and diving in the warm water.

The wind started to pick up in the afternoon and did not relent for the duration of our stay.

Paul filling up the water jug

The next morning as we awoke and prepared to depart we were greeted with white caps and a very stiff southwest wind...the exact opposite direction we wanted to go on our way out.

We left our site around 9am expecting a 3hr trip out to the Algonquin Outfitters.  Instead we experienced a 7hr battle with Opeongo that we almost lost!  Since Paul and I each had our own canoes with a small kid in the front, we had a brutal time keeping the nose of the canoe going the direction we wanted, particularly because the wind and waves were hitting us sideways.  We kept the nose into the waves as much as possible, but sooner or later we had to make the turn to go the direction we needed to, and that's when things got interesting.  Three times the wind was too much for us and forced us to the shore, at which point we actually got out and walked the shoreline, dragging the canoes along with us until we got to more sheltered areas.  Emma and Brynn were troopers though and rode the meter high waves fearlessly!

We were all exhausted by the time we reached the boat launch around 4pm, and I do not remember a time I have felt so spent at the end of a canoe trip!

All in all, another great memory from Algonquin Park!

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