Anniversary Adventure in Algonquin: Part 2

Part 1 was my take on our anniversary date a la treasure hunt. Here's Part 2 - Chris' edition...

This past Friday marked Marissa and my third year wedding anniversary. Earlier in the week, we'd made plans to get up early and go for a paddle on the Credit River, followed by a good breakfast at the local diner. From there, the day was ours to enjoy - finished off with a fancy dinner at a restaurant and maybe some music to cap off the evening. It sounds great right?

Well, things changed and as great as that plan had sounded, we ended up spending an amazing day doing something totally different.

Picking up our park permit at westgate at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Marissa called me Thursday afternoon and asked if I'd be up for a day trip to Algonquin instead of staying in town. We've done long day trips before, but feeling a cold coming on I wasn't exactly ecstatic at first. Then she went on to tell me that she was quite certain she knew where one of the "Paddle in the Park" paddles was hidden. All of a sudden, I didn't feel quite as sick anymore.

Our destination was the 3km portage from Rock Lake to Lake Louisa. We set out early and only took what we needed, two day packs and our canine sleuth Sawyer.

By 12:30 we had paddles in the water at the Rock Lake put in and were on our way. Even though I was missing my bacon and eggs, this was shaping up to be way better!

Steady and strong pace to the portage pullout

Less than an hour and we landed at the pullout to Lake Louisa. Clues in hand (a screenshot of one on my phone), we scoured the first 100 meters or so on both sides of the trail and found nothing. We thought that every canoe heading our way was full of paddle hunters so we worked discreetly and with haste. Having found nothing after the 30 minutes we'd allotted ourselves at that end of the portage, we grabbed our packs and headed out to Lake Louisa, a short 3000m away.

The 3000 m Portage from Rock Lake to Lake Louisa

According to the clues, the paddle was somewhere close to the trail at one end of the portage. So with Sawyer leading the way, it only took 30 minutes till we saw the beauty of Louisa. But we weren't there for that.

We walked up and down the first 100 - 200m or so of the trail looking at every tree, and then bushwhacking behind the same trees to look at things closer. But even after a solid 1hr 15min, we were still empty handed.

With time running out, we made the decision to head back to the Rock Lake end of the portage. We looked at the clues again and decided we may have initially missed something. Another quick hike and we were back at our canoe.

Clues pointed out that the paddle was most likely within sight of the trail on the right side when looking at the water. There were other clues that suggested it was likely at the Rock Lake end. So once again we searched and scoured, with Sawyer looking at us the entire time wondering what the urgency was. After all, his ball had not been lost.

During this entire expedition, we had very spotty reception and could not access social media for updates. Then it happened, I stood in a sweet spot and Facebook updated to reveal the unthinkable!

The paddle had been found just a short hour before we'd started looking for it.

That sinking feeling of defeat crept in... and for a short moment, we were disappointed.

But although our search may have been in vain, our trip was just the opposite.

The "Paddle in the Park" contest had worked its magic and even if it was only a day trip to the park, it would be an anniversary adventure we'll remember for years to come!

Homeward bound

A celebration was in order and on the way back along Hwy 60, just outside of Huntsville,  we stopped into the Muskoka on the Rocks restaurant for some well deserved fish and chips and a burger and fries. Oh and the cold pints of course!

What a day! Happy Anniversary baby!!! I can't think of a better way to spend such a special day with you. But I'm sure we'll think of something for next year!

As of today there are still 3 paddles to be found..........