I'm heading in on Monday for five days and I can't wait! The forecast looks great, my gear is more or less packed, so now it's just a waiting game. I'm once again re-jigging how I pack things - you'd think eventually I'd just stick to something, but nooope.
The current 'problem' is that I pack my SLR in a big, heavy duty dry bag that I roll down about a dozen times to close. Except on rare occasions, that dry bag is out of reach in a dry hatch while I'm paddling, and it's always in my canoe pack while portaging. In other words, I rarely take photos or videos while I'm travelling because getting at my camera is too much of a pain in the ass, and considering most of my trips have me on the move every day, I'm missing out on a lot of opportunities.
So, while my kayak already has a front day hatch, I'm adding a deck bag. The things I've been putting my day hatch (water filter, dromendary bag, sunglasses case, miscellaneous) will move to the deck bag. The day hatch will now have the camera in it at all times, paddle and portage. It means I can (ahem) whip it out at any time there's a reason to, and will hopefully mean I take more photos while travelling, which is when my "get-there-itis" strikes and I often don't take a single shot for hours.
Beyond taking more photos while on the move, my main goal for this camping trip is this: to see the night sky, and to take photos of it. I've spent countless nights in Algonquin and I've almost never seen the stars. I go to bed early and wake up just before the dawn. On this trip (and so far it looks like the forecast is going to work in my favour) I'm still going to go to bed early, but I'm setting an alarm for 2 AM. When I wake up in the pitch black, I'm going to walk down the water's edge and breathe in the night sky. When I finally get over that enough to think about other things, I'm going to try my hand at long exposure photography. Wish me luck!
So much for camping on the 29th. Algonquin just pushed back opening day until May 4th.
I got "The Call" this morning: someone from Ontario Parks called me to let me know about the delayed opening (I knew) and that I'd have to re-book. Interestingly, when I called the reservation number to reschedule, their system says the new opening day is May 3rd. Either way I decided I don't need to be there on day one this year, and so I'm booked for 5 days starting May 9th. If the ice isn't gone by then, I'll go camp somewhere else.
(it will be. I think the majority will be off before the end of this weekend)
... that while I've taken dozens of trips into the Algonquin interior, there aren't many of them I can write about. While I have photos from all and videos from many, my camping trips from years past aren't exactly fresh in my memory. The photos and videos I have are snapshots in time with huge gaps between them. I can only write "... and then I crawled into my tent" so many times, having no recollection of what I spent the rest of that day doing, before I start feeling like a schmuck.
I have fantastic memories of every trip I've ever taken, and could tell a story or three about each of them. But to write a detailed 'there and back again' trip report means filling in too many gaps with generalities or fabrications, and I'm not comfortable with either.
On the bright side, I've booked my first trip of the 2016 camping season: a 5 day solo starting April 29th. I'm watching the satellite images closely and am feeling nervous; the ice isn't melting fast as I'd like. We'll see if it happens as planned, or if I have to reschedule. Either way, I'll write up a trip report soon after I return, and the plan while I'm out there is to film videos explaining my gear and how I pack it - writing about it is just too painfully dry.
After my initial flurry of content to get this site up and running and then adding some new trip reports, real life caught up to me and I've had very little time to keep working on it. A busy job, 6 month old daughter, a puppy and a kitchen renovation can do that. But I'm still plugging away in what little time that I have!
I'm working on two things right now: another trip report (Kiosk - Mink - Carl Wilson - Mouse) and an exhaustively detailed explanation of everything that I take camping and how I pack it (both in the pack and in the kayak). Hopefully everyone can enjoy the trip report, but the latter will only be for those who are really interested in what I do and how I do it, or those looking to compare notes on the gear that finds its way into our respective packs.
The good news (and by that I mean terrible news) is that it looks like I have more time to write about past camping trips before this season starts, as the long-range forecast is pretty miserable. A month ago, I was sure I'd be in Algonquin by mid-April at the latest. Now I'm hoping I don't have to wait until May.
This was my first trip of 2014 in early May, not long after ice-out. Lots of pictures - check it out!
This was my ice-out trip in 2015, when I was in Algonquin for opening day - May 1st. It was a short trip and is a short read, but includes pictures and video, including of me going for a polar bear dip (twice). I hope you enjoy it!
While the temperatures lately have reminded me winter isn't quite over yet, camping season is still rapidly approaching. I went to the family farm this weekend, hung out with my dad, and pulled my kayak out of the barn where it spends every winter. It made the trip home with me, and is now back in Toronto where it lives the rest of the year, down at the lake. When I pulled off the tarp, the need to go for a paddle hit me like a wave.
With the highest 'high' on the long term forecast being 6 degrees, I might have to wait another couple of weeks.
I added a downloadable, rotatable, 3D PDF of my kayak yoke. This was created for me by someone who saw my videos on the yoke and was going to build his own. You can find it on the Kayak Yoke page here
I'm plugging away at trip logs when I can find the time. I just posted a trip from last summer out of the Kiosk access point. Have a read!
March 15, 2016 is the day kayakcamper.com has gone live! I only bought this domain nine days ago, so hopefully I'm off to a good start going online already. Most of the content on this site was written in the last week so forgive any typos, grammar errors, and incoherent rambling. Everything I've written, in other words.
I'm writing this site for myself more than anything - the content is pretty niche. There are lots of kayakers, lots of campers, lots of kayak campers, but maybe not so many kayak campers who really want to carry their kayak for kilometers at a time.
On the other hand, I've almost never taken a trip into Algonquin where I haven't run into at least a person or two who was really, really interested in what I was doing and how I was doing it. Who told me they'd love to bring their kayak into the park but it just seemed too unwieldy. People have asked (and received permission) to take multiple photos of the yoke that I use, which I've been refining for years. So I'd like to think there's at least some interest in what I do, and how I do it. In the last two years, especially, I feel like I finally have my packing strategies to a really good state (but am still forever tweaking what I bring and how I pack it) and most importantly, the latest version of my yoke is pretty close to flawless.
So hopefully someone, somewhere finds this site and finds value in it, and it either inspires them to try kayak camping, or helps them refine the kayak camping they're already doing. And if that's the case, please let me know! I'd love to hear from you.
The flip side is also true. See something I'm doing that you think you've got a better solution for? Talk to me - please!