Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Summer's Last Paddle

Labour Day ... last day of summer holidays for most kids here in Ontario.  While families were all driving home from cottage country (generally referred to as "up north" by people living in the Greater Toronto Area), my husband and I were headed in the opposite direction. North to Algonquin Park ... again! This time to collect our son and bring him home for a year of college.

The old sign welcoming us to the park along Hwy 60
 Normally, we drive straight to our campground when visiting the park, but this time we had to purchase a day pass since we planned to do a little canoeing while waiting for our son to finish work at 5:00 p.m. This is a huge sign at the main park office as you enter the park. 

We decided to take the canoe along Oxtongue River, which is a beautiful twisting river, easily accessed from the highway. We saw quite a few cars in the parking lot (the lot is also an access point for an overnight hiking trail), but we didn't pass anyone along the river.

We couldn't ask for a more beautiful day! The sky was so blue! The air was clear with a steady breeze that rippled the water and cooled our faces. It's hard to say goodbye to the park when the weather is this nice. I'll bet a lot of other people felt the same. We've had excellent weather all summer!

After a while, though, that sun was feeling pretty hot! And that river seemed to be never-ending twists and turns. Finally I said to my husband "Do you think you'd rather be paddling on a lake rather than this river?". He quickly agreed. The river can get a bit stifling and closed in on a hot day, and it was too hot for any wildlife viewing. We turned around, and paddled very swiftly back to the parking lot ... so swiftly as the current just swept us along! It was great :)

The bottom of this river is almost entirely covered in this luxurious green water plant. It's like a long flowing grass, but it looks like flowing mermaid's hair as the current sweeps it back and forth. Very mesmerizing to watch, but rather difficult to photograph through the water. It never stopped moving with the current.

And although the river is pretty, it can also get a bit repetitive, and all my photos were starting to look the same. Haven't we been around this corner before?!

Once back at the truck, we loaded up the canoe, drove down the highway for a few kilometers and tossed the canoe back into the waters at Source Lake. Source Lake is a very pretty lake dotted with a few cottages. It's not heavily filled with cottages, which is nice, and there is also a kids camp on one of the islands. Yesterday it was dead quiet. The parking lot was almost empty, and several people were packing up their cars to head home. Usually there are quite a few motor boats across the lake. The water was fairly calm, but there was a good breeze picking up the waves a bit more. We've often had high waves on this lake when we've paddled around it before. A couple of times we had to just turn back to shore when the waves got too wild. It was good yesterday, however, and the waves were rolling up from behind us as we paddled back to the lot at the end of our trip. You could really feel them coming up under the boat! A bit weird.

A small rock garden enjoying summer's last kiss
 There were five loons on the lake, one of them still a baby. This adult loon was softly calling her mate, but he wasn't answering her. The photos aren't that great because we were quite a distance away.

The water was just sparkling off the waves!!

The few cottages on this lake are very rustic and simple. They are set back a bit from the water, but there isn't a huge amount of trees cleared off the lots either which is nice. Very inconspicuous and so nestled into the trees. This one has a nice stone chimney and the late afternoon sun was streaming in through one of the windows. A nice location on a small point ... you would get the morning and evening sun. 

We stopped at the old railway line at the top of the lake. The rails have all been pulled up years ago, but it would be nice if this was opened up properly as a walking or bike trail. There is another bike trail along a portion of the railway line bordering Lake of Two Rivers which is a really nice and easy trail. The only other trail in the park is a difficult mountain bike trail ... one loop of which we did years ago (and my husband says will never do again!).

looking back across the lake from the railway line

can you see Cody's shadow? 

By the time we paddled back to the truck, it was time to meet our son at the Portage Store. He was still working when we came down to the outfitters ... lugging canoes back to storage. Normally those storage racks are fairly empty through the summer, but now with the last day they are filled up again. Not a bad location to work, eh? He lived here on Canoe Lake all summer too.
That's my boy under the canoe :)

There is a restaurant on the top floor. We visit once during our summer camping for a delicious hamburger and milk shake.

Here's my son flipping the canoe ... up onto his legs, then ...

... kicking it up with his knee onto his shoulders ...

"Canoe Head"

"Hi Mom"

It's a tradition at the store that as each person finishes their final shift of the summer, they are tossed off the dock and into the lake. Finally, my son finished his shift and we saw him taking off his shoes ... uh oh! Some guys escorted him to the end of the dock ...

Then, one ...

two ...


He ran back to give them all a nice wet hug goodbye.

And that was it. We packed up his stuff, squashed us all into the truck with the dog and hit the highway. We were so late getting on the road that all the campers had already left the park long ago, so the first highway was empty. After we stopped for a quick bite to eat in Huntsville, we decided not to go to Plan B (backroads) and continued along the major highway south, which was also relatively empty, thank goodness! A very quick and non-stressful drive home.

Thanks for stopping by!


Goodbye Moose, until a few more weeks when we travel back for our fall camping!


  1. Catching up on your posts, and wow, you really lucked out on the traffic after all! Sounds like a perfect day to end your summer. Hope your son is thrilled with the renovation projects!

  2. What a great way to end summer. Glad to hear that you didn't encounter any traffic on the way home.

  3. Interesting that there would be more waves on the lake than the river. I would think it would be the opposite. Lovely pictures all the same, especially the views from the front of the canoe. A nice way to get some Vitamin D and some exercise. Sounds like your son had an excellent summer gig -- a fun tradition to mark the end. Good luck to him in college.

  4. It looks like a good time was had by all. Your poor son, I'm sure it's a fun tradition though x

  5. I'm sitting here reading this over my breakfast and longing to be in the canoe with you on the river and lake! It looks so beautiful! Pleased that you had a stress free journey and a lovely day. Your son looks like he took him dunking in good spirit

  6. What a fabulous summer job! And looks like a beautiful day for a paddle; great memories for all of you (and for me).

  7. Looks like you had a beautiful day for canoeing, hope the drive back wasn't too bad.

  8. Hello, what a gorgeous day. The canoeing looks like a fun time. Your son had a great summer job. I love the moose and the loon. Great collection of photos. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

  9. Such beautiful pics Wendy! Truly God's country. ;) Looks like one of those perfect canoeing days (minus a bit too much heat). I LOVE the water grasses flowing underneath and I think I would be hypnotized by them all day.

    And what a great place to work for your son. So beautiful, yet I bet a lot of fun too! I love the "throw 'em in the lake" tradition to say good-bye. Perfect send off. Ha Ha!


  10. Awww, I wonder who tosses the last guy in?
    We went into the park at Madawaska on Monday. We turned north to camp 17. We passes vehicle after vehicle heading out loaded up with canoes and kayaks. No one was heading our way. Traffic wasn't bad on Hwy 60 east by late afternoon.

  11. What a beautiful last paddle of summer! It is so so beautiful!!! Stunning in fact and your photos are amazing. I could stare at them all day long. Glad you son had a good summer and a good end to the summer too! xx

  12. Such beautiful photos, I haven't been in a canoe in forever ... Loved your photos . Thanks with love Janice

  13. What a stunning country , it looks so beautiful ! and I love the moose !
    Gail x

  14. What a stunning country , it looks so beautiful ! and I love the moose !
    Gail x

  15. Gosh, it's beautiful there, Wendy. Your photos are gorgeous. I especially love your shots of the loons, you got some good ones. I assume they will be migrating south soon? I don't know much about loons. The photos of your son getting thrown in the water are funny. You should make him a scrapbook with those for his summer job memories. :)

  16. Loved all the photos-what a wonderful summer job your son had. so glad you had an easy drive home-that was a long day for you guys.
    I hope I get to see a moose in Yellowstone next spring

  17. I stopped by for the first time. Your blog is great, lots of beautiful photos. I feel as if I were on your canoe.

  18. What a great last paddle of the summer. Late August and September skies are the bluest of all, I think. And yours are stunning! Such a wonderful deep colour. I hope your son settles back into regular life well after his summer working in the park.

  19. So beautiful. What a wonderful place to have spent the summer. Best wishes to your son for the start of his college adventure. x


Thanks so much for leaving a comment, it's nice to know when you've stopped by! :)

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