Twitter Friends & Autumn Leaves

Last weekend was finally the big My Wild Canada twitter camp out. Where a group of us all met for the first time. Our backdrop, the fall colours of Algonquin Park.

Some would have their reservations about meeting a group of strangers in the woods for a weekend, but I was excited to meet everyone. To see what their real life personalities are. I had also never seen the fall colours at Algonquin before so, double excited!

Friday night we had the car packed up so we could leave early Saturday morning. I wanted to be on the road for 7:00, but we ended up leaving at 8:00. We decided to leave the canoe behind, so we could make good time getting there. It’s almost a 4 hour drive in the best of highway conditions.

We made good time. There we no traffic on the 400 series highway, and the only stop we made was for the obligatory Tim Hortons visit in Barrie.

Even just before Barrie I was surprised to see how much the leaves had changed. Since most of the trees at home are still green. But the farther north we got, the more spectacular the tree colours.
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We had hit some minor traffic on highway 60. Bridge under construction and down to one lane. We saw another construction sign and a line up began to form. After crawling for more than an half hour, it became clear that this was the line up to buy day permits for the park.

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It wasn’t until the turn into the park office that we were able to sneak past and get to our campground.

The beautiful Canisbay Lake camp ground. Full of its golden yellow leaves.

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We got our tent set up and it wasn’t long before the rest of the crew arrived. Husband and wife teams @CanadianVoyage and @tnkcanoe, @LegendaryAdven, @Man_Camping came with his wife, and friend Tom, and @DiscoverHockley.

As each person showed up we got properly introduced, and spent the better part of an hour standing around and talking. You wouldn’t have thought this was a group of people meeting for the first time. The conversation was flowing like we’ve known each other for years.
With camp set up, and dinner made, it was time for the rest of he group to arrive. @Some_Eventful was already camping in the park with her husband and daughter, the guys from @Paddle_In had also arrived. Even a couple camping next to us came to see what the fuss was about, and they too, being fans of Mr. Thomson, were invite to join in the reading.

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Then we saw him. Our guest of honour. @TTLastSprinf with @Mark_Sanche

@TTLastSpring is a twitter account that is in the spirit of the Canadian artist Tom Thomson. He tweets as the man himself sharing journal entries, sketches and things going on in his world at that time. He had heard about out meet up, and asked if he could join in, and perhaps do some journal readings by the campfire. We happily accepted.

We all crowded around the campfire listening to Mr. Thomson read from his journals, a bottle of whiskey passed around as a toast to his spirit.
You can listen to the reading here.
He invited us to join him on a paddle on Canoe Lake the following morning, to visit his final resting place, before he slipped off into the darkness.

We enjoyed each others company well into the night, before it was time to retire for the evening.

We woke early in the morning and made breakfast.

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@Canadian_Voyage were leaving to head into the interior for the night, so we said our goodbyes. I had hopes they were sticking around, but when you come to Algonquin the interior is really the place to be.

We grabbed what we needed for the paddle, and made our way to Canoe Lake.

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Since we didn’t bring the canoe, @Mark_Sanche hooked us up with a sweet deal on a rental. Myself, Nick, @LegendaryAdven, @Mark_Sanche @TTLastSpring & his boys all began our paddle on Canoe Lake.

This was my 5th time paddling Canoe Lake and it was the most beautiful. The water so calm, like glass, the sun shining and we were surrounded by stunning fall colours.

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@TTLastSpring showed us where they initially found the body of Tom Thomson, where he believed his body was anchored on an island, then finally took us to the spot where many believe is his final resting place.

I have been wanting to make the trip here for some time but couldn’t make it. I was glad to be there, to pay my respects to Tom Thomson. And who better to guide me there than his living spirit.

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One of the larger grave markers has a beautiful but haunting inscription…
Remember comrades when passing by, as you are now so once was I. As am I am now, so you shall be, prepare thyself to follow me.

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We grabbed some ice cream at the portage store, then decided to do some hiking. We wanted to avoid the masses so we opted to do a portion of the Highlands backpacking trail.

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We did a short hike around Cache Lake, then decided to brave the throngs of tourists and hike the Lookout Trail. Shockingly we were able to park in the lot and not on the shoulder of highway 60.

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There were not as many people at the lookout as I expected so we lingered and soaked in the view. Then began the hike down.

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We returned to camp to find that we had missed @DiscoverHockley he too had headed home. We sat and ate dinner with the @Man_Camping crew. Let me tell ya, he can cook a mean rack of ribs, and that beef jerky!

Soon after @Man_Camping and the Mrs. also packed up and headed home. Their friend Tom was staying another night so we hung out around the campfire and talked of travel and books. We then moseyed on over to the @Paddle_In site and spent the remainder of the evening in excellent company.

In the morning we made our breakfast and took down the campsite. We said our goodbyes to Tom and the @Paddle_In crew with promises of getting together for a paddle.

We quickly stopped by the Canisbay Lake beach. There was rain in the forecast so it was quite foggy.

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Next we drove down to Source Lake. The water was flat and black with a mirrored surface. We heard some fish jumping so we decided to toss in a line. But no bites.

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The last stop we stopped to take pictures was just along the side of the road. I had climbed down to the marsh and was rudely asked by a woman to leave. It was ‘her spot’ and it had taken her ‘a long time to find this spot.” I saw her painting things set up, just assured her I was taking a quick photo and I would move along. After all, I was only shooting with my iPhone. Give me a break!

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By lunch time the sky cleared and the sun was shining. We stopped at Tea Lake dam for lunch before leaving the park.

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We had a great drive back to Kitchener. Very little traffic to slow us down. Poor Fingal was so tired. It was a big weekend for him. His first trip to Algonquin, and he’s never done so much paddling, swimming and driving.

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I had such a great time meeting everyone! Even Nick had to admit he had more fun than he thought he was going to have (I think all the Whiskey shots being passed his way helped) I’m looking forward to the next time I get to hang out with all these awesome people!

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