Anniversary Adventure in Algonquin: Part 1

Happy Anniversary - to us!

Thought we'd have some fun and try something different. This time, we wrote our own account of our latest adventure without peeking at each other's version. This is truly a 'hers & his' perspective versus my interjection of commentary and such. There's no right or wrong, better or worse. Just good times!

So without further adieu, ladies first...

This weekend marked a tradition of commitment to and celebration of... love. In honour of our nature of embracing a life of adventure, in our own backyard or beyond, we ditched our plans for a rest and resolution kinda day to one filled with mystery, adrenaline, and a race against time - a treasure hunt in Algonquin Provincial Park!

What I cherish about our relationship is that we are ok with this. More than ok really. To get up and go last minute is part of our story, complete with our bug out bag of first aid, survival kit, and a change of clothes should we dunk. I am so grateful that our bastion of romance includes a sense of crazy outdoor adventures, beyond comfort at times. Take this 'hunt' for example.

We reviewed the clues for the Girls Portage Too paddle as part of the Paddle In the Park Contest, marked our target, and mapped out a route. It looked doable as a day trip. Let's do this!

A 3 and a half hour drive from Port Credit (one way) to our put-in at Rock Lake. Followed by a 40-60 minute paddle to the Lake Louisa portage and voila - the birdie has landed.

Rock Lake, Algonquin Park

We scrambled to set our boat off to the side, dropped our life jackets, and so began our search for the hidden paddle. We looked everywhere. Right, left, up, down, all around. Nothing. After about 20 minutes, it was time to head out and check the other end of the portage - a 3000 metre hike.

The sun shined. Water pumped. Load lightened. Sawyer ready to rock. Time check 1:45 pm. Go!

Upon arrival, we met up with canoe campers resting on the rocks, halfway through their double-carry. A friendly chat as always with kindred spirits. But time was ticking! What if we were all looking for the same hidden treasure but noone wanted to let the other party in on the game? Soon enough, they picked up their gear and went on their merry way. Whew! Leaving us to scurry through the bush, spider webs and all.

We worked as a team. Me on the left. Chris on the right. Then switch. Again, we looked up, down, all around. Nothing. An hour and 15 minutes later. Empty handed. Still, we were undeterred. Faith solid.

However, I did have my 'moment' (or two or several). I was kicking myself for leaving my phone in the car - which had all the clues aargh! I was running on memory and fading fast.

I did my best to recall the clues. Rock Lake to Lake Louisa portage. Mark on the right, facing the water. Where oh where could you be?

Clue # 1
Known for her beauty and her bounty as well,
See her once and she'll cast her spell.
So keep your eyes open along her Rock trail,
Whether starting or ending, she hides a Tail.

Clue # 2
After 2895m, you may wish to nap.
But it's really 3000 if you follow Jeff's Map.
Yet not far from the onset, or finish you'll find
That within view of the trail, a paddle is twined.

But something was amiss. I think. Not sure anymore. I kept wondering about the capital T in Tail. What did that mean? It wasn't until later, more specifically after an hour at Lake Louisa's end, when I heard Chris shout, "the Tail means the end of the loop!" OMG of course!

Typically, trippers end the loop on Rock Lake! And here I thought the picture of the rocks meant to look closer to the shoreline where the rocks were. Ahhhhrrgh! Back we go. Laughing at how ridiculous and hilarious this whole day has become. Now all we needed to do to top it all off was to find this paddle ASAP.

So... we did an even more intensive search back where we started. We even paced back 105 metres along the trail (3000 - 2895). Who knows how tricky they can be.

But nada. Time check... 5:00 pm. Dark clouds looming.

Oh - I should mention that internet reception was pretty much nil for data. We were unable to check on status updates in Facebook to review clues. We knew this going in (as we had camped there before) so we were prepared for being off-grid and out-of-touch. As long as we did all we could, then we could leave with a sense of confidence that if we couldn't find the paddle, then surely it must have been already found.

How about we try the internet one last time? Low and behold, Chris finally got through. An update. The paddle has been found! Mixed emotions came gushing. Shock and awe more like it, with a hint of relief.

We hung our heads, not in shame, but in surrender. An exhausted laugh, a cry of hoorah! The game was over. No victory lap but the moment called for big hugs and leftover honey sticks yum!

Curious as to how much we missed it by, we reviewed the post and confirmed the paddle was found just after we launched the canoe into Rock Lake at 12:30 pm. Ahhh well then, any lingering feelings of disappointment just disappeared - poof, without a trace.

Would we have continued our day trip had we known then that there was no gold at the end of the rainbow? You bet. It's not about the gold. It's about the rainbow.

Adventure is a family affair with Sawyer.

While this day was triggered by a destination, it was the journey that excited us most. What we wanted most out of our Anniversary was to do what we do best - make a milestone memory from an adventure unlike others we've experienced. A 'thirst for firsts' if you will.

So although we didn't 'win', I am so extremely proud of us. Ecstatic to the utmost degree!

We never gave up. Worked well as a team. No disappointments. No regrets. Most of all, it was so much fun! Sawyer was in his element too running around in circles, keeping an eye on both of us during our divide and conquer mission lol!

Adventure Anniversary in Algonquin... Bliss

One last note, kudos to Angela for finding the much coveted paddle (see update here Portage Queen). And especially to Badger ® Paddles and - the masterminds of the Paddle In The Park Contest...

Thank you for your gift of adventure in the great outdoors. We couldn't have planned a better day to celebrate our wedding anniversary!

Most of all, I thank my lucky stars and karma credits for bringing Chris into my life... my rock, my heart of gold :)

Happy Anniversary babe! I love you like crazy!

An Anniversary Adventure recap...

618 km drive
8 km paddle
6 km hike
2 hr search
12 hr day... Priceless!

Stay tuned to for Chris' version of events!