5 Things I Learned From Canoeing in Algonquin

17 Jun

Yep, I lost my canoe.

But before I get to that, here are five of the most important things I learned while on this canoe trip.

1) Don’t drink and drive canoe.

We considered this idea for about 30 seconds before realizing that it was the stupidest idea imaginable. Not only is it a bad idea because you might hurt yourself and you might (I’m thinking there’s a 90% chance) tip your canoe, but it will also dehydrate you at a time that you need to be VERY hydrated.  By all means though, go crazy when your on your campsite. Just avoid jumping through campfires and climbing trees. Before drinking, make sure you have everything all set for overnight. i.e., hang up your food bag! Getting mauled in your sleep by a bear because you were drunk and stupid is not a good way to go. And please, don’t drink and swim. That’s how people drown!

2) Expect to eat like a horse and remember, food and bears do not mix well.

Jiffy Pop fail

Bring more than you think you’ll need, especially if you’re on a canoe trip (rather than a camping trip). Your energy will drain so quickly, trust me. I felt like I was going to pass out at times. So stock up on the carbs and sugar because you’ll need them. Also, like I said before, hang your food up at night! That is, unless you’d like to outrun a bear. Keep in mind, bears can run, climb trees AND swim. So you’re pretty much screwed if you find yourself head to head with a bear. Don’t put yourself in that situation.

3) You cannot wear enough sunscreen or bugspray.

It was overcast for 80% of my trip. Cloudy and slightly rainy. UV rays are just as strong on overcast days as they are on sunny days. I didn’t put on any sunscreen and the only part of my body that was exposed was my legs and I got SO severely burned. I’ve never had a burn this bad. This trip was 3 weeks ago and one of my legs is still so red. It looks like I got burned in a fire or something. Be careful and don’t forget to apply sunscreen. The other thing you shouldn’t forget to apply is bug spray. I wore a bugnet most of the time and I still got tons of mosquito and blackfly bites. They’re vicious little bloodsuckers. Lucky for the people of the United States where deet can be sold legally! It’s banned it Canada!

4) It is really easy to tip a canoe.

I found it difficult to keep our canoe balanced. We almost tipped a few times. There are a few precautions you can take though. I cannot stress how much you NEED to balance the weight in your canoe. On the first day, my friend’s pack was at the tail end of the boat because he was using it as a backrest, while mine was in the middle of the canoe. I couldn’t believe how much harder it was to paddle with the weight so unevenly distributed. I had no idea this would make such a difference. For a while it got really windy with the waves getting bigger and we almost tipped because the weight in our canoe was pushing us sideways. Afterwards, we recovered by putting both our packs in the middle which made such a difference. Also, be very careful when getting in and out of your canoe because this is where you would most likely tip.

and lastly…

5) Don’t lose your canoe.

My canoe partner and I got out of our canoe at a portaging stop and as we were taking a break to relax and drink some water our canoe drifted off into the lake. Luckily, we both had a sense of humour and, luckily, we were with another two people who had a canoe and could paddle out a retrieve ours. But, what if it was just the two of us? We would have to swim out a get it, without tipping it because our bags weren’t tied into the canoe! They would’ve sunk to the bottom of the lake if we tipped it. Learn from our mistake. Don’t lose your canoe.

Click here to see the video!

And those are the five most important things I learned from canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park (in Ontario, Canada).

Stay tuned for more pictures from Algonquin, a place that reaffirms the love I have for my home and native land.

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