Marc and Norm keeping warm - Algonquin Provincial Park

Fishing Canoe Trip
Algonquin Park

May 11-13, 2001

Norm Hooper

Photos by
Denis Patenaude

Part 1

Last year at the opening of the trout-fishing season, Denis Patenaude and Jean Dupuis ventured into a secluded area of Algonquin Park and found a "gem" of a fishing pool undulated by rapids at the foot of a brook. The photos of their catch verified the size of the fish and their success. This year, Norm Hooper and Marc Pichette were invited to accompany Denis and Jean on their return trip to this "secret fishing hole" and a meeting was held to plan and organize this outing.

Marc, Jean and NormFriday May 11th. – Having readied the trucks the previous night, Marc drove to pick up Norm at 6:30 am and loaded Norm’s canoe onto the truck; returning to Denis’ to help him with the final loading of equipment. Departure was at 7:10 am. We successfully beat the traffic congestion on Innes Road and Hwy 417, arriving in Nepean to pick up Jean and his equipment and were back on the highway again by 8 am.

Stopping in Pembroke, Norm introduced the other three to a hearty breakfast at the Irving Restaurant. It was at this time that Jean informed us that he had forgotten his life jacket at home by the front door. Jean didn’t hear the last of this gaff for a while; however, we did manage to stop in Deep River at a Canadian Tire to purchase the last life jacket in stock.

Prior to registering with Algonquin Park and purchasing the last of our food and beverage necessities, Marc and Norm made an unanimous decision to suggest voting Denis "off the island" as his supply of one case of beer was definitely insufficient for this outing! We continued towards our destination. As we turned onto the narrow, stone and dirt-rutted road leading into the dense woods, the excitement of our upcoming adventure was especially apparent for Marc and Norm, as this was their first trip to the area. Throughout the jolting ride, we seemed to be driving in a downward direction - as branches occasionally hit the sides of the trucks, it was difficult to forecast what would appear at the other side of each hidden curve. There was no way that a car could endure this terrain.

Rounding a sharp curve in the road, we finally caught site of the lake and the narrow laneway leading to the beach, where we would unload our canoes and equipment. The weather was not in our favour and we readied ourselves for headwinds and a light drizzle. With our equipment covered and secured, we paddled out of the bay onto the dark, cold waters towards an easterly point and followed the shoreline to our campsite. As we approached our destination, a lone loon attempted a defense of his territory by diving around us to "blotch" our arrival. Putting in at our campsite was somewhat of a challenge because of the lack of space at the foot of a steep embankment that comprised of one sloping, slippery rock. Jean would attest to its slipperiness, later in the day, much to the amusement of the others. Only one person could disembark from the canoe at a time while the second canoeist had to gingerly step the length of the canoe. There was occasional scrapping of the canoes against the rocks while the equipment was unloaded, but we managed to prevail without incident. From the water’s edge, the slope was steep, but only a short climb to the actual campsite. We assumed that our sleeping positions would be in an incline and this would result in our sleeping bags slipping downward during the night. It didn’t take long that night, to find out our assumptions were correct!

Marc, Jean and Norm Norm and Denis' Canoes - Algonquin Park Ontario

Once the tents were installed, we used Denis’ tarp to create a roof between two trees and a second tarp was attached to it to form a wall to protect us from the steady rain and cold, northerly wind. Firewood was found to be in short supply and what wood we did manage to find was thoroughly wet. Smoke was prevalent in our campsite throughout our stay, but it kept whatever bugs there were away from the area.

Marc gathering wood - algonquin provincial park Norm on the privy - Algonquin Park, Ontario

We looked out onto the lake as we stood among the pines and listened to the wind sing through their branches - we absorbed the beauty of the wilderness! Jean and Denis directed our attention to the end of the lake where the wetlands were located and to our fishing destination - we immediately felt that a good time, over the next two and half days, was in store for us.

View from across the lake - Algonquin Park, Ontario Near the wetlands - Algonquin Park, Ontario

Because of the inclement weather, we stayed at our campsite to rest and have an enjoyable evening together, sharing a steak supper and many laughs and jokes that lasted into the late hours. Norm found it difficult sleeping throughout the night because of the sloping terrain, the constant chattering of loons on the lake and inlets, as well as hearing the strong winds whistling through the pine trees. The excitement of fishing and canoeing the next day didn’t help matters!!

Copyright 2001 by Norm Hooper