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Algonquin Park Minimoon

Since it’s freezing outside, let’s reminisce about things that happened back in the summer!

Okay, I’ve been meaning to write about this for months and just kept putting it off for whatever reason. But here I am. Back in July, Evan and I went on a mini honeymoon to celebrate that whole wedding thing we did in the spring (twice).

We initially wanted to go to Greece for our honeymoon (neither of us have been), but the timing wasn’t right for us to take an additional 1-2 weeks off after the 10 days we spent in Cuba for the wedding. And I can’t even say that Cuba was a wedding and a honeymoon all in one since we had 35 people with us and didn’t really spend any time just the two of us. So, we’ve decided to do Greece this May (I am so excited and basically spend all my free time right now planning that!) and instead we did a minimoon, a romantic three night vacay at the Couples Resort in Algonquin Park (not to be confused with a couples retreat!).

Ugh, summer. Come back to me.

The Couples Resort came highly recommended by several friends of ours so we figured we would give it a try. Even though it sounds sort of cheesy to me — actually the whole couples concept is sort of cheesy, but we just embraced it. It’s like a cottage resort, on the shore of Galeairy Lake in Whitney, Ontario, just outside of Algonquin Park (the biggest provincial park in Ontario if you are not familiar), right in the wilderness. And right up our alley! Give me all the swimming and hiking and leisuring. We had such a fun weekend. And thankfully weather-wise it was one of the best weekends of the entire summer.

The Couples Resort is technically a five star resort but it’s definitely on the rustic side and I can’t lie, it’s slightly past its glory years. We had read a bunch of reviews so we knew this going in. Truthfully it just added to the charm for us. We got the most basic room, the junior suite, which still had a king-sized bed, a huge double jacuzzi, a wood burning fireplace, and a full hot tub on the private balcony that overlooked the lake.

Yes, yes and yes. That’s pretty much all I need in life so I was a happy camper. Er, resorter.

Let’s break it down by all the things they have going on.

Food

First of all, the food. This is what sold us on the resort. It has an on-site restaurant in the main lodge, and breakfast AND dinner are actually included in your booking price. It’s very handy, and the food is SO, SO good. Especially dinner. A five course meal with so many different options, and everything I tried was amazing. You can also bring in your own bottle of wine with no corkage fee (*when we went but I hear they’re implementing this), or you can buy drinks extra. We brought wine with us but we were honeymooning and I wanted cocktails!

I should also mention that dinner is fancy. They require cocktail attire in the dining room, and men have to wear ties (when we were there, I think recently they changed it to a dress shirt with a jacket). I actually loved this because it gave us a reason to dress up.

Dinner is a full two to three hour affair, you choose an amuse bouche, a soup or salad, an appetizer, a main and a dessert…each! Normally Evan and I speed right through eating, so it was nice to take our time and enjoy. And people watch (this resort was overall fantastic for people-watching — some of the best I’ve seen, but that’s a whole other story).

There is a staple menu and then Chef’s specials that change daily. They also have a huge garden on site where they grow their own fresh vegetables and herbs. Oh it was all so good. Here’s a sample of what we ordered.

Melted smoked gorgonzola and dried fig in a wafer cup.

Red beets, fennel, watercress with crumbled goat cheese and chive oil.

Tomato garden vegetable soup.

Oven roasted chicken supreme with a curry sauce, creamy coconut risotto, baked tomato.

Carrot cake. Maybe the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten.

I also realllllly enjoyed their blueberry creme brulee.

On our second night Evan and I decided to stay in and order room service, so we could eat in our fluffy hotel robes. You order off the same menu, you just put your order in earlier in the day and let them know what time you want your meal delivered. We chose 7:30 and at 7:29 this deliciousness came knocking on our door:

Poached shrimp for our amuse; pork belly; watermelon salad with cress, cucumber, goat cheese cherry tomatoes, creamy cassis dressing; chicken supreme with basil dijon sauce; steak with a dark ale sauce, double smoked bacon confit potato, steamed broccolini; and for dessert citrus pie with blood orange cream in a graham tartlet and a mocha raspberry cheesecake. Again, amazing.

We ate sooo well and it was so nice that it was included because you could just go to town on whatever you wanted. I felt spoiled. Breakfast was great too, but the typical breakfast foods. Lunch was not included (though you could pay for lunch in the dining room) but I found I was never really hungry for lunch anyway. We brought good snacks (room had a fridge) and one day we went hiking so we brought a picnic lunch.

One thing I should mention… Before we left I read reviews on TripAdvisor and many mentioned the inexperience of the servers — that they were just high school kids who also did other jobs around the resort during the day, that they weren’t trained on fine dining and at a five star resort you should have higher calibre servers. This was true (I saw our server loaning out kayaks the next day), but didn’t bother us. I thought it was great that the resort had teenagers working there, because as someone who grew up in the middle of nowhere, I remember how hard it was to find a job near me! I thought our server was really sweet. Then at the end of our meal when I said I was full she nodded sympathetically and said “oh yeah, food baby?” and uhh, well, that kind of comment would probably really irritate the people who are writing about the servers being untrained on fine dining.

I did have a food baby though, thanks for sympathizing.

Activities

So many activities! These are all included in your booking price, you don’t have to pay extra. There are tons of bikes to borrow so we got our adventure on and took out a tandem bike.

Oh romaaaaaantic. There are many trails in the area and we took this puppy down an old railway trail for a couple hours. Things got a little hairy when we encountered deep sand we needed to ride through, but it was a good time. I just repeatedly sang “It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage, but you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two!” Evan liked.

As far as watersports go, they had all the things. Stand up paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats. etc. We took a kayak out and explored the lake for a few hours.

It really is a beautiful lake.

Equally fun was sitting on our balcony and watching some guy try to stand up on a paddle board for the first time.

They also have horseback riding (costs extra, we didn’t go for it), and in the winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

We of course spent a lot of time on our balcony, in that amazing hot tub, with a few drinks.

And leisuring by the pool, also with a few drinks.

And swimming!

The water was over my head at the end of the dock, which meant much diving.

Porpoising with the Porpoise 🐬

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There are also firepits by the lake, so we spent some time around those in the evening.

There’s also a big games room with shuffleboard, pool, foosball, etc. that we hit up a few times after dinner. Evan is a natural at shuffleboard, because of course he is.

One night we just sat in our in-room jacuzzi and watched The Great Outdoors on Netflix from there. It was great.

I should also mention there is an on-site museum, mostly filled with past hotel guestbooks and photos, but it’s been open since like the 50s or something, so it was interesting. There’s also an onsite gallery, where one of the owners, Gertrud Sorensen, does her landscape paintings. We wandered over there one day and Gertrud was actually in her gallery painting! We chatted with her for a bit while we looked at all her amazing work. She’s in her 80s and was so cute. She was saying that she was waiting for inspiration to strike her. Afterwards we went outside and the gallery happens to be located near the private villas and we could clearly hear a couple uh, loudly enjoying each other, so we were like “OH okay, this is where she gets her inspiration.” 😉 If you’re inspired by love I guess you can’t pick a better setting!

Hiking

There are hiking trails right on the grounds of the Couples Resort, but your booking also includes passes to Algonquin Park, the creme de la creme of hiking! We took advantage of that and had a big hiking day. We started with the Lookout Trail.

Evan is all about the guidebooks.

He picked one up and read it aloud to me in his tour guide voice as we walked the trail.

It’s fairly easy but mostly uphill until you get up to what the trail is named for, the lookout!

It was quite the lookout, and maaaan this would be pretty in the fall.

After that hike we had our picnic lunch at Opeongo Lake before heading to the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail.

Pretty, pretty. I liked. Very easy and flat hike.

Overall we really enjoyed the Couples Resort. It is expensive but I think it’s pretty good value for money when you consider all the things that are included.

I would definitely recommend. And it would be fun in the winter with the fireplace, hot tub, and cross country skiing and snowshoeing included!

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Camping!

Last weekend, so two weekends ago now, my friend Sherrie organized a big camping trip for all our friends/her friends/all the friends. This was the second annual friends camping trip, and unfortunately I had to miss last year so this time I was IN. Camping is my favourite. But we had just gotten back from a very exhausting trip (I hesitate to say vacation as we were very busy every day and it wasn’t exactly relaxing, it was a trip) so an entire weekend away camping wasn’t doable for me. I had stuff to get done at home. Evan had even more stuff to do, so I just drove up myself on Saturday morning for one night.

I arrived just after noon and everyone was already up and in the water.

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I like how they’re all like “Heyyyyyyy. GET IN HERE!”

Sherrie and I actually stumbled upon this campground two years ago when we got kicked out of Algonquin Park for being too noisy. This place, Pine Grove Point, is a privately owned campground on the outskirts of Algonquin (it’s actually where Evan and I picked up our canoe from when we were backcountry camping last year), and they are much more lenient about things than provincial parks are. They actually encourage you to bring drinks down to the beach.

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And they purposely put us all at a huge site at the very pack of the campground so we are free to be loud (though I don’t know if they encourage singing Disney songs on the beach at midnight…)

I love provincial parks, and they are beautiful and all that, but almost every time I’ve camped in one I’ve gotten at least one noise complaint. So if your plan is to have more of a party time with your friends, finding a good private campground is the way to go. For me the most important aspect of a good campground is good lake swimming. Hiking trails are always nice too, but lake swimming is probably my favourite activity of all time and something that I don’t get to do every day, so I definitely cherish it. This place has the BEST lake swimming. Clear and deep. J’adore.

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It also helps that they have a bunch of floating trampolines and a floating dock. We swam for hours and hours that Saturday afternoon. It was my dream.

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My ol’ pal Sherrie

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Kim!

My friends Dawn, Mark, Emily and Corey were up for just the Friday night, so I was sad to miss them all on Saturday. But I really enjoy Sherrie’s friends, and I have hung out with them so much that I consider them my friends. And Sherrie has hung out with my friends so much that she considers them her friends. And all our friends have hung out together so much that everyone considers everyone friends. It is a great thing.

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Eventually we packed up around dinnertime and headed back to our site. I brought myself a chicken burger to grill, however I knew from experience that the camp store/snack bar at the park has really amazing poutine. Really. Amazing.

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Obviously I had to get this. It was quite large and in charge so I had to rope some friends into helping me finish it, but I don’t think they minded. People will tell you that you aren’t eating real poutine unless your fries are topped with cheese curds as opposed to shredded cheese and I will tell you right now that I disagree. I love a good cheese curd, but I really enjoy all types of cheese so I can’t discriminate. I don’t know if that poutine would have been better with cheese curds. And I don’t even know if that was real cheese. But it was pretty perfect as-is.

And if you want to catch a glimpse inside a random camping store…

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Alllll the things you could possibly need for your camping trip, just in case you forget your…cat food.

As I mentioned, our campsite was basically a huge area at the back of the campground that had been cleared of brush.

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Complete with a sleeping/tent area, an eating/fire area (good thing, since about 16 people were up at some point over the weekend so there were a lot of tents), and a GAMES AREA!

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Sherrie brought our trusty, faithful ladder ball. It is always a good time. It is especially a good time in the dark when you tie glow sticks around the three levels and throw the balls in the pitch black, hoping for the best.

We also played a lot of Euchre, which is my favourite card game of all time.

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I do not get to play nearly as often as I like because I find it difficult to get four people together who all know how to play Euchre (I actually play online – Hardwood Euchre! It is the best! If anyone has it seriously let me know, I’ll be your partner). We had a bunch of people who knew how to play though, so we had a bit of a tournament.

We also played some flip cup. Because a party is not a party unless there is flip cup. This team was undefeated.

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And they are jerks. My team never won.

Eventually we all saddled up around the fire and two of the guys broke out guitars (and a ukelele!) and serenaded us. I think they ended up hating us though, because we were all “Can you play this? Play Neil Young! But can you play THIS?! Play this, play this!” Note to self: learn how to play the guitar, and learn how to play all the campfire songs.

Last time Sherrie and I were camping there it was theme night and they turned the entire campground into Halloween (in August), complete with a haunted house. And a bunch of adults were dressed up…

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We were not so lucky this time. But it was still a fun time.

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It was raining in the morning, so we all packed up early and I was home just after noon. Just in time for Sunday leisuring before work on Monday.

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Rained Out

Something that is very important to my positive camping experience is the food. I don’t know why, but food always seems to taste better to me when I am camping. Maybe because it takes longer and it is more effort to cook things? Who knows. But we had good food on this camping trip.

Evan borrowed this sweet camp stove from his friend Ian.

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Coleman it is not, and it does not take propane. You feed small pieces of wood into it, light it, turn it on (it runs a fan), and you have this little fire that you can cook on. Magical. Also, that green light is a USB charger, so once it’s heated up you can charge all your devices. I had no signal on my iPhone, but I was using it to read my book and listen to music so it was very handy to be able to charge it.

We used the little stove to brown ground beef for tacos.

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And it worked out a lot better than I expected! Seriously, it’s awesome.

Evan was in charge of the food, and usually for things like this I like to take on that important role so I know I will be eating well and in abundance, but he actually might be a bigger food lover than I am. And he’s certainly a better cook. And he’s more organized. So I trusted him. We had also planned all our meals in advance so I had a good idea of what he would be bringing. I was not expecting him to bust out containers of pre-chopped lettuce and tomato so our tacos would be less of a hassle to make, but again with the good common sense. He exceeded my expectations in the food department (and he brought the best snacks also!).

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We did forget a cheese grater though, so we had to finely slice the cheese with a butter knife.

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But it worked out.

The tacos were amazing. I had three of them, and Evan was just starting on his fourth when all hell broke loose.

Up until this point it was only raining lightly, so we were fine under our tarp. It started raining quite a lot harder while we were eating our tacos, and the water was not properly draining off the tarp above us so it was collecting in a pocket directly above where Evan was sitting eating his taco. We noticed it and were going to take care of it when we finished eating, but then it just started downpouring and the tarp filled with water and suddenly collapsed directly on top of Evan’s head, gushing water everywhere and ruining his taco. I was beside him but half the tarp just dropped, completely missed me, and created kind of a wall between us. When I pushed the tarp aside and saw Evan’s expression I just died. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone look so disappointed. I started hysterical silent scream laughing and I could not stop. Every so often for the rest of the evening I would picture wet Evan with the broken tarp all around him and start laughing again. Sporadically for the rest of the weekend I would just start laughing really hard for no apparent reason and Evan would be like “What? What happened? What’s funny?” and I would manage to get out “Still you and the tarp!” Seriously funniest thing I have seen in a long time. I still laugh when I think about it. It will probably be a cartoon post at some point.

So we fixed the tarp and tried to sit underneath it, with our ponchos on for extra protection.

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poncho

I have arms, I promise

Still relatively happy campers, but it was around this time that a serious storm rolled in and sheets of rain started coming down. It was honestly raining sideways. It was all fine and dandy when it was raining lightly in the daytime, but as soon darkness came it got really nasty outside. There was no way we could have prepared for an intense rainstorm, and our tarp was useless.

If the rain wasn’t bad enough, the wind was worse. It blew everything everywhere. It was absolute chaos.

Batten down the hatches!

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I think this next picture really shows how much Evan was impressed with the situation.

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If I could have chosen anyone to be in this wet experience with me, it would have been Evan. We really tried to stop everything from getting wet (including ourselves), but it was just in vain. Everything aside from what was in our tent was soaked. Eventually I just resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be wet and dirty for a prolonged period of time and I got in my bathing suit and poncho and helped Evan protect our gear. I even went swimming that night because I figured I was already as wet as I would be if I was swimming anyway.

I headed straight to our tent afterwards to dry off (with paper towels because our towels were wet) while Evan went and tied our food in a tree. He was all “Be right back!” and then he was gone for a long time and I couldn’t hear anything except the wind and the rain, and I couldn’t see anything except darkness when I looked outside, so I was afraid he had gotten eaten by a bear. All those urban legends about the boyfriend not returning after saying “be right back!” flashed through my mind and I had a momentary freakout. But he returned safe and wet, and we spent the rest of the evening in the tent while the storm did its thing outside. It didn’t stop until at least 3am, so we read our books until we fell asleep. That was actually nice and cozy (if a bit damp) and I slept pretty well as the rain drowned out all other noises of potential animals and axe murderers.

Evan did not sleep quite as well. He had his own momentary freak out in the middle of the night when he heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot and he thought it was a bear breaking the branch the garbage was tied to. He didn’t tell me at the time because he said he didn’t want to scare me, but I think it was tricky for him to sleep after that. You just lie awake listening to every noise and wonder what it is. I’m sure we all know that sleep.

The next morning we got up and surveyed the damage. Our site was destroyed. Everything was soaked and there was a river running through the middle of it all. I thought my clothes bag was safe and in a dry zone, but nope, wrong, I found it sitting in a puddle of water. All I had that wasn’t wet was the pajamas I was wearing and a sweater.

I tried to dry my stuff out by the fire…

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But our wood was wet so my clothes just got smoked out. Everything I owned smelled like hickory smoked bacon.

Our canoe took on some water as well…

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I feel like I am beating a dead horse rambling on about the rain here, but honestly it rained so much that I couldn’t believe it was STILL raining. How could it possibly keep raining? I have experienced rain while camping before, and it’s obviously not as fun as sunshine, but that was just too much.

We really tried to make the best of the situation, even though it was cold and everything was wet.

For breakfast we had Mr. Noodles on the camp stove.

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Breakfast of champions

That right there really boosted my spirits.

And in the early afternoon we were finally able to get a fire started, despite our wet wood, so that means hot dog time.

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But not just hot dogs, hot dog sandwiches!

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And the bun was toasted with butter and garlic salt. All Evan’s idea, and it was just delicious.

Our original plan was to stay over Saturday night as well and leave on Sunday, but the sun did not look like it was going to ever come out again and camping in the rain is just not as good. Evan floated the idea of going home early by me, and I had already been thinking it, but I was glad I wasn’t the first one to bring it up. As soon as I started thinking about a hot shower and my nice warm bed I could not stop. So maybe you will say we chickened out, but I’m alright with that. We packed up and said one last goodbye to our beautiful campsite.

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STILL happy campers though!

We left around 6, stopped at a little ribs restaurant on the way home, where they cooked the ribs on a barbecue in the backyard (and no one noticed how bad we smelled because we just smelled like the ribs) and I had maybe the best pulled pork of my life…

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And I was safe and home and dry by 10pm.

So it was quite the experience. I definitely enjoyed myself, and I would go again…just not in the rain. And it really is so much more convenient having your car on the site so you can be sure that you have somewhere dry to store everything.

Have you ever gone camping in the rain? Or even just been stuck outside while it was storming?

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Algonquin Park Backcountry Camping

I mentioned last week that Evan and I were headed camping this weekend to celebrate the end of summer. It was a bit different than any camping I have done before, because where we were going you had to canoe in and you could not have your car on site with you.

So you have to pack all your stuff in a canoe…

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In the rain.

And tie all your food and garbage in a tree!

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Also in the rain.

So the bears don’t come and eat it (and then eat you). Because apparently there are bears.

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Although we did not see one (thankfully).

But let’s back up. I am going to break the weekend up into two posts because there are just way too many things I want to talk about.

Evan and I both took Friday off work, and we headed up to Algonquin Park in the morning. It is a three and a half hour drive though and we made a pit stop, so we didn’t arrive until the early afternoon. I was really excited for this rustic outdoor experience.

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We had a LOT of stuff. I am not sure how we fit everything and ourselves into the canoe, but we managed to shove in all in there.

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It was kind of raining as we were loading up, hence Evan’s attractive poncho. But clearly we were very prepared. It’s a miracle we didn’t capsize.

We squeezed in with all our camping stuff and were on our way.

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I was a bit apprehensive because of the rain, but still excited for our adventure.

There are 16 campsites in total on the lake, and they are not assigned, so you get them on a first come first-served basis. It was raining lightly, and we had a feeling it might continue for a while…

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So calm and beautiful

It was very overcast, so our main goal was just to get to a site and set up before we had a crazy storm or something. Setting up/packing in the rain is the WORST. We didn’t want to paddle all the way across the lake and find the sites were taken and then have to paddle back in the rain, so we chose a site that was only about a 20 minute paddle from where we launched.

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Evan actually went camping here two years ago and stayed on this exact site and had been telling me how great it was, so I trusted his judgment. I don’t know if we would have found a better site if we kept paddling, because I thought ours was pretty awesome. It had a dock!

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It was secluded, and it was beautiful. Exactly what I was picturing. Actually, better than what I was picturing!

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We unloaded all our gear and started to set up shop.

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I have found that Evan is very handy at all the things. He has really great common sense, so I feel like everything he does will just work out. He’s good to have around. I thought that everything he suggested tarp and tent placement-wise was a good idea, so I was very pleasantly surprised that we had an easy and hassle-free set up.

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We put one tarp over our tent, and then another over where we planned to just hang out. We really thought the rain wouldn’t stand a chance and we would be warm and dry under tarp city. We were wrong, but more on that later.

Allow me to introduce you to Cloud 9. It fit in our tent perfectly.

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That air mattress was key. I have gone camping in the past without one and I have vowed never again. I was REALLY grateful that we had it. Especially when our campsite flooded.

After we set up we went on a little tour around our area, and Evan showed me the bathroom.

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Which is a box over a hole in the ground. When we opened it there was the biggest, dirtiest spider of all time sitting in his web stretched directly under the hole that is cut into the box, waiting to bite someone’s ass. NO THANKS. I will rough it, but I need to draw the line somewhere. I have noticed over the years that my body seems to be able to sense when there are unstable #2 conditions, and this would count as unstable, so luckily I was able to hold out and not have to use it at all the entire time. It did not look fun.

After we set up and were comfortably seated under our tarp and it was just raining lightly I started to get the feeling that I have dubbed the “camping feeling,” because I only seem to get it when I’m camping. I don’t even think I can describe it, but it starts in my stomach and it just spreads all over, and it is this happy contentedness that feels like all is well, and all I have in the world to worry about is when I’m going to eat next. I think I love camping mainly for this feeling. And because I don’t have to worry about what I look like for a few days. That’s a plus also.

We were happy campers.

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Literally.

And I’m pretty sure we could not have found a more perfect view.

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I have never camped where you are actually ON the lake like this. Like it is right beside you. It was so nice.

And then it rained. A LOT. But more on my most wet camping experience tomorrow. Hope you had a great Labour Day weekend!

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Campground Hopping & Halloween in August

Thursday afternoon my friend Sherrie and I packed up her car and hit the road for Algonquin Park for a weekend camping trip. I love camping, and I usually go a few times a summer. This was my first (and probably last) camping trip this year though, so I was pretty pumped for it.

Algonquin Park is about a three and half hour drive from Sherrie’s house, but the drive went by ridiculously fast. It was a gorgeous day, so Sher and I had the windows down, sunroof open, and music blaring. We sang at the top of our lungs almost the entire drive. Sherrie enjoys the same music as I do on road trips: anything you can sing very loudly and ridiculously to (a lot of old rock and 90’s beats such as Good Vibrations and Another Night Another Dream), so it worked out very well. Possibly the best road trip I can remember.

As we got closer to the park the scenery was beautiful. It was forest on all sides.

We finally arrived at Pog Lake around 8pm, and found our campsite. Sherrie and I quickly set up and started a fire, and started our leisuring.

Sherrie’s cousin Nick, his fiance, and her best friend met us there shortly after, and as they were setting up camp, two rangers in bulletproof vests came over and told us we needed to keep it down. Blowing up the air mattress was apparently very loud. Um, friends, we JUST got here. I figured it was not going to be a good omen for the weekend, but I have never camped at a Provincial Park and not gotten a noise complaint (they are very strict about the noise). So we dismissed it.

But we did listen at 1am when they came back in their vests and again said we were being too loud. And we asked about their vests and asked if they thought we looked like the type of people who would be carrying guns and they said “You never know.” Alright then.

Actually, as we were packing up the car in Sherrie’s driveway before we left, Sherrie’s neighbours (who are nearly 10 years younger than us) were also packing up their car for a camping trip at a private campground near Algonquin Park, and when we mentioned where we were going they were all “Good luck, you’re totally going to get kicked out! Provincial Parks are so strict!” but we laughed it off..

When we went to bed that first night I discovered why we were so loud. It was so silent in that park. There weren’t even crickets. There was no noise at all. You could hear a twig snap a mile away. So our voices probably carried and woke everyone and their kids up.

I also woke up at about 4am needing to pee so, so badly, and I immediately thought of my uncle and my adventures with the apple juice. I did not want a repeat of that situation (we had no apple juice), so I reluctantly went outside. And this picture haunted me the entire time:

I was terrified that a bear was going to sneak up on me and attack me at any second. It was frightening.

The next day was slightly overcast, and it did rain a tiny bit, so we spent most of the day leisuring around the fire at our campsite. We had ladder golf and frisbee cup, so we played that for a while.

And eventually we made it out on a pretty long walk to explore the park. There was a river just behind our campsite, so we hung out there for a while once it got sunny in the afternoon.

Pog Lake may have been strict about the noise, but it was beautiful, so we were ready to forgive it.

In the late afternoon, Sherrie and I headed into town to pick up her friend Alicia, who was taking a bus there from Toronto to meet up with us. Alicia had never been camping before, but it was on her bucket-list, so she really wanted to make it. Alicia kills me. She is so cute and at the same time very sassy, and her reactions to things make me laugh hard.

With Alicia’s arrival, this made five girls in our party, as well as Sherrie’s cousin Nick.

And do you know what five girls are? Loud. We are loud. We can’t help it!

We were all laughing and talking over eachother, and our voices probably just carried right up to the ranger’s station. Eventually the rangers came back over, and informed us that we were being evicted, due to excessive noise, and we would have to vacate our site by 9 the next morning.

This was very bad. We were not done our camping yet! Alicia had only been there for a few hours and she had only seen our campsite in the dark. We still wanted to show her how amazing camping was! I was really surprised this happened, because although I know Provincial Parks are strict with noise, I have never actually gotten evicted.

We didn’t want to just go home, so Sherrie sent a text to her neighbours, the ones who had made fun of us for going to Algonquin Park in the first place because we were probably going to get kicked out. She was all “We should have listened to you youngsters! Where you at? We’re coming to your campground!”

And so, at 9 the next morning, Sherrie, Alicia and I campsite hopped to a privately owned campground just outside of Algonquin Park. We got our own site right by Sherrie’s neighbours and friends.

It was the best decision of the weekend, and we all ended up being grateful we were there. It was MUCH more suited towards our camping lifestyle.

As we were checking in, the owner told us she put us by the back in the kid-free zone so we could be as loud as we wanted. And then she said there was a water trampoline that was more fun after you had a few drinks, so we should bring our drinks down to the beach.

I am pretty sure I turned to Sherrie and said “Is this heaven?”

So, that is what we did.

Sherrie’s neighbours and friends were already at the beach, so we swam around with them for hours and hours. I LOVE deep water lake swimming so much. It is one of my favourite things in the world.

Alicia is not a fan of lakes, and didn’t want to get wet, but we didn’t want her to feel left out when we were all in the water, so we floated her on a raft like Cleopatra over to the floating dock. She never even had to touch the water.

Alicia loved camping. I am just going to go ahead and say she had the best time of her life. We taught her how enjoy a sausage cooked over the fire…

How to set up a tent…

How to stoke the fire…

And many other camping activities. She was loving it.

That night happened to be “Halloween” in our new campground, which we noticed as we were walking and there were ghosts and cobwebs hanging from the trees.

And even some of the adults were dressed in costumes. Like this nurse:

In my years of camping, I have never heard of a theme night like this. The kids were going around trick or treating to all the different sites, and they had a haunted house. A haunted house!

Sherrie and Alicia were not down with the haunted house, but I convinced Sherrie’s neighbours and friends to go with me.

So here is our original haunted house crew:

The effort they put into that house was ridiculous.

The haunted house was in a hall, and they had the entire thing sectioned off into a maze. It was pitch black in there, had numerous things hanging from the ceiling, and volunteers who would jump out and scare you.

I loved it. I absolutely loved the haunted house. I ran back to the beach and was all “Sherrie, you NEED to go through the haunted house! You have to come with us!” and we rounded up some more people to go through again.

And Sherrie just happened to have light-up devil horns that she brought with her (she has learned all about props from my high school friends). So we said it was fate that we ended up there on “Halloween”.

After the second time through the house, I scored a candy apple that I dipped in caramel myself, and a bag of Doritos.

So I was a happy camper (literally).

I am so glad we ended up at that second campground. It was a much better fit for us. And the Halloween thing was just the icing on the cake. It was so funny. And I loved camping with Sherrie! We are so alike, so it was great to spend time with her.

As for eats all weekend, there was a LOT of burgers and hotdogs:

Jiffy Pop cooked right over the fire…

Massive amounts of bacon and eggs, and chips and nacho dip eaten off the ground, because we are classy like that.

Best nacho dip I’ve ever eaten.

And as for drinks, beer, beer and more beer. Since I have been home I have been concentrating on re-hydrating myself, because I’m pretty sure I only drank one bottle of water all weekend and I also used it to brush my teeth.

So that was our weekend camping festivities, and it was fun, fun times! Minus getting evicted, but what can ya do? I think it worked out for the best.

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