Today we talk about one of Edward and I's favorite Canadian pastime, Canoe Camping.
K: So it's uh, it's another beautiful summer day here in Montreal, and I'm really starting to feel like the summer is going to be ending soon which is disappointing. But I got something planned in the next few weeks I'm going to go canoe camping again with my wife and I got Edward back here on the podcast and I know he just went camping to a very popular destination in Ontario right?
E: That is true.
K: Right and where did you got, can you tell us a little about it and how the trip went?
E: Yes I went camping with my wife last week to a place called Algonquin park. And Algonquin park is a huge provincial park in Ontario. It's about 3 hours away from Toronto.
E: And it's similar to a place that we've been to. In Quebec called Tremblant.
K: Right, Tremblant national Parc.
E: And we didn't get to see all of Algonquin, I think it would take a really long time to see all of the park.
K: Yeah probably
K: A few months maybe
E: BUt it was even more rustic, it's even more back country than Tremblant, as in you can really get lost in the wilderness there.
k: Ok, so it's probably less developed there too I hope, like where we go in Tremblant Parc, there's nothing really built there except they kinda have plots set out for where you put your tent on so it's not uncomfortable to sleep.
E: Yeah this is even, even less developed than that.
K: Good, that's great
E: And then you also have the option, like the place that we went we still needed to rent a canoe so we had to go to one of the bigger lakes that had the outfitters store.
E: So we could rent a canoe, if we needed life jackets. Or firewood, stuff like that. But if you already have a canoe and if you already have life jackets you can go to a smaller lake and you don't see anybody. You park your car and you just leave from their. And you know you sign in. Maybe 45 minutes before you reach this lake. And after that you're really just going into the wilderness more and more. You know just seeing fewer and fewer people and you're really getting into the back country there.
K: That's awesome, to me that's the whole point. Every time I see a person when I'm camping at Tremblant I'm like NO! This is my experience, get out of it, I want to be alone.
E: Right, well when we went camping we would purposely go at the start of the season and at the end of the season. Because we knew there would be fewer people right?
K: Right, right, and it's the same thing I'm going on August 11th, and 12th, and that's the middle of the week and I purposely chose that date cause I don't want to be surrounded by tons of teenagers partying and or just I don't want to share my campsite with someone. I want to be alone.
E: Yeah that's one thing, you go to a place like Tremblant and really you're removed from everything. And it happened to me one time. Where you arrive at the campsite and you're actually going to be six feet away from another tent.
K: Ohhh.it's like the worst.
E: This is pretty, this is pretty bad.
K: This is garbage, depressing.
E: And uh you know Algonquin it's so big that that would happen less often.
E: And they had some really cool sites, like the lake we were on. They had some sites that were just little islands in the middle of the lake. And those were the popular ones. Those were already taken when we got there.
E: We thought about if we go back at the end of August or near September we could try to do that.
K: did you guys have to do any portaging when you were there?
E: We didn't, there are other parts of the park that are really popular for portaging. So portaging is where you canoe somewhere and then you have to get out get on to the land and carry your canoe and everything to another part of the lake or another part of the river. Right
K: Right you'll walk for who knows, a few kilometers or maybe more than a few kilometers with your canoe on your back.
E: you really, you really have to limit what you're carrying when you do portaging because you know when we went camping just last week. We still had a lot of stuff. Cause we were planning meals. And we'll bring the mat so we're comfortable in the tent. When you're portaging
K: Yeah you cant bring that stuff
E: You can't do that. Ok I got the tent, I got the sleeping bag, I got some food. you got a tarp. Ok that's all we can bring. Ok we've got the canoe on our heads and we're walking through the forrest.
K: When I, I remember when I did my canoe camping course in college. One of the instructors for the course, he had an eye, it was kind of like a, he had an eye problem, and someone asked him what's wrong with your eye. And what had happened was he had been camping, he was portaging, like he was doing a solo portage right. That means he was carrying the canoe alone. And generally you portage with another person.
K: He was carrying the canoe alone and he didn't notice but he walked into a a tree. And one of the little branches of the tree went right into his eye.
K: Like he couldn't see it and then that just I guess it damaged his eye forever.
E: Well, (clears throat) excuse me um.
K: Just in case you guys want to go camping. *laughter* This is an advertisement for it.
E: That's one of the big hazards cause you are going through, you're kinda bushwacking as we say, you're going through trails that have not been groomed, have not been carved out completely.So when you are doing that, and your arms are up holding the canoe you can't really protect your face very well
E: So that's something that can be dangerous. For us, for us the biggest hazard that we ran into was the mosquitoes.
K: Ugh gross I hate mosquitoes.
E: And I'm hoping that when you guys go. Cause in Canada where we are at least the mosquito season kinda ends at the end of July. But we were there around July 19th 20th. They were still probably not as bad as they were a month earlier. But they were still pretty bad. The second night we were there um the day was so calm there was no wind. And just at like 8:00 PM 9:00 PM you just heard the buzz of the mosquitoes.
K: (Buzzzing sound(
E: Yeah, and I told my wife, just listen. Can you hear that? And she's like what is that? and that's mosquitoes coming for us.
E: And were just sitting there and there was like nothing you could do. And at that point there was nothing you could do so at that point we just go into the canoe and went on to the lake just to get away from the mosquitoes. And they were still out on the lake but it wasn't it wasn't as bad as you know sitting at the campsite.
K: Well I went last year at the exact same time I'm going this year and there was almost nothing last year, and the water was really warm too so I think hopefully we're going to luck out with that.
K: Remember the, and that's the other thing. I'm going with Michelle to, like she's 4, so I can't really do any of these bushwacking adventures you know. So we're going to a place that we know is beautiful but yet it's relatively close.
K: And it's the place we went to the first time we went canoe camping, remember?
E: Oh I do yeah.
K: And the first time we went, we had a lot of fun. But the second time we went, is the time we went to the same campsite, but she had to share the campsite with these two women who we didn't know. And we were just like Nooooo, this is not fair.
E: Yeah well that's it, like I mentioned before. You go to a place with the intention of getting away from everything.
E: And if someone else has the exact same idea. There is the chance that you'll end up like closer to strangers then you would be in the city.
K: Right, right right
E: that's a frustrating thing.
E: Sometimes it's just luck, and not being lucky.
K: But then the other thing that happened the second time we went is, I mean we went for I think two nights. And there was just, what I would describe as a shit ton of rain.
K: Like almost all one day, and one night, and then a lot of rain throughout. And you and I ended up being almost for a whole day we were stuck in the tent.
E: I was thinking about this last week when we were camping cause we actually had really good weather.
K: Yeah, right
E: When my wife and I went. But I still thought of that time. And told her that story of one day, I think it was probably the second day we were there. I think it was the first full day. We woke up in the morning and it was kinda of drizzling. We went out in the canoe. It started to rain a little bit harder. We got back. We went into the tent just to get away from the rain. And it didn't stop raining until 6 pm.
E: And I think it was just uh, and I think we just took naps.
K: Yeah we just tried to sleep through it.
E: And ate granola bars.
K: But we, I think at the end of it I was getting a little bit of cabin fever, right. What would you describe cabin fever as? To the people who don't know.
E: It's a feeling of restlessness. Where you really you want to leave the place that you're stuck in. You want to do something else.
K: Yeah, right
E: So cabin fever, if you're snowed in, if you're cabin is snowed in. You have no choice to stay there to stay warm and to survive. For us camping we wouldn't have died if had gone out into the rain but we would've been miserably wet and
K: Yeah you kind of go crazy a little bit when you're locked in a small space for too long. And especially I think that's major cities, major cities always have more crime and more problems because they have so many people in a small space. That's the idea if you're stuck somewhere for a long time you're probably going to go crazy.
E: Yeah, yeah again we're really encouraging people to go camping here.
K: Go camping it's great!
E: Go with your loved ones, you'll go crazy.
K: You might not love them when you come back.
E: There was another time that you and I went camping in a bigger group. And that time it rained quite a bit, but I think that time we just got the fire going and we just tried to stay dry next to the fire.
E: That's the risk you run, that's the risk you have when you go camping and you don't really pay attention to the weather and the forecast.
K: Yeah, and even if the weather is nice, you should bring a change of clothes, bring a tarp, cause then you can just go out in the rain and it's not that bad and you can just enjoy yourselves.
E: Yeah when we went camping last week, um we knew that there was a chance that the day we came back there would be a thunderstorm and we were like, well we'll just go and see what it's like and if the morning that we have to come back we'll leave really early. And what happened was the thunderstorm was kinda cancelled I guess. They stopped predicting it in the forecast. But on the morning that we left it was really calm and we decided just to take our time and just to have a nice breakfast. And by the time we decided to pack our stuff to go back to our car the water was so choppy and the wind really picked up so we ended up setting ourselves up for a really tough canoe trip back. And took us nearly twice as long as it took to get to the site. And by the end of it it was so frustrating because we were just going straight into the wind, straight into the waves, and your paddling as hard as you can and you see that you're not moving
K: *Laughter* yeah
E: because you're just fighting everything going against you.
E: and uh when we did that that was a pretty frustrating little adventure. And by the end of it our muscles were so soar. And so exhausted, and then you just pack the car and now I have to focus on driving for 3 hours but.
K: Yeah, I always have the thought once when I go camping, I always have the thought where I just think why, why am I doing this? Why am I paying money to do this?
E: Yeah, yeah and I think that's a natural, thing to have cross your mind. And I think that's a natural thing to have cross your mind because you know why you go to a place like Algonquin or Tremblant, but at some point you're like, but why am I punishing myself? When we were fighting off mosquitotes and it's like youre having a bowl of soup and mosquitoes are diving into it you're like ahhhh I cant even eat in peace.
K: Yeah *laughter*
E: Then you're just kinda like you know I have a perfectly good home that keeps bugs out and..
K: that's it, it helps you appreciate what we have and we often take for granted.
K: Alright anyways I gotta wrap this up, because I gotta go pick up Michelle from her soccer game which is going to end in about 5 minutes.
K: Guys listening to this podcast, I know a lot of you have been camping. So I'm going to put this podcast on the facebook page, and in the comments section below, why don't you guys tell us about your camping experiences, you know the good ones, the bad ones, what do you want
E: the ugly ones
K: yeah, what amazing stories do you have for us? We'll catch you guys on the next podcast of Unnnnnnncensored English!