Part One — Rain
For this year’s Algonquin canoe trip, we took up where we left off in 2012. Not at the same spot, but with pretty much constant rain. We decided early on that, if the trip were to have a theme song, it would be “Waiting for the Sun.”
It was the same cast of characters; myself, Steve McKee, Ken Arthur and the friends he made along the way — literally. It could be said that Ken makes friends easily. Mostly out of stuff he finds laying around.
The setting was different. Last year we paddled on Rock Lake, Penn Lake and Clydegale Lake. Steve set up this year’s trip to lull us into a sense of false security, starting on Smoke Lake the first day with an easy portage to Ragged Lake. That would be followed by a portage the second day from Ragged Lake to Big Porcupine Lake — a vertical climb of 400 feet covering a distance of 1.4 gonzometers (roughly one-third of a light year).
Steve had hoped to reach his favorite campsite on Ragged Lake on the first night. But, since it was the week before Labour Day (not to be confused with Labor Day in the U.S.), the lake was crowded and all the choice sites taken by the time we got there.
We were amazed at the number of people on the lake. It didn’t seem possible that there could be anyone left in Canada since every man, woman and child in Ontario seemed to be driving north on Route 400.
We had planned to stop for dinner at Weber’s Grill on Route 11, but the line was out the door and halfway to Saskatchewan.
On the drive up, we passed the time by playing one of our favorite games, Name That Tune. Someone would say a line from a song and the others have to guess what it was.
For example, Ken would say, “A Beatles song starting with ‘A’.”
After about 300 guesses, Ken would forget what song he had in mind in the first place and we’d start all over.
For some reason, things went downhill quickly this trip and we degenerated from rock music to bubblegum. Which worked out well because it gave me incentive to press on during difficult portages. I did not want to keel over from a heart attack with the song “Sugar Sugar” going through my head.
With all the rain on the first part of this year’s trip, “Waiting for the Sun” became our theme song. The “King” part was added after Ken made his first little friend of the trip — a sculpture crafted from an abandoned round grill, which he called the “Sun King.”
Stay tuned for our next adventure as Ken makes still another friend out of found objects, which Steve claimed he never lost.