Although I grew up just outside the city of Toronto, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to the outdoor world at a young age because my grandparents had a cottage in Severn Bridge, Ontario. It’s not the back-country, but it provided a fair amount of exposure to water, boating, fire and plenty of other cottage related chores. I only went “camping” a few times when I was a kid, and when I look back I suppose it was because of the cottage. If only I knew then what I know now, I probably would have pleaded with my family for more canoeing and tent time! Never-the-less my summers spent up north were slowly building up my outdoor skills for something I would soon come to love – Canoeing through Algonquin Park. I am what you would call a “late-bloomer” having only been to Algonquin Park for the first time in June 2009. I had the opportunity to go in 2008, 2007 and 2006 along with friends who began their tripping tradition at that time – but I declined. I didn't think I would like it. What was I thinking? While driving up the highway and eventually down the long and winding access road to Magnetewan Lake, I still wasn't so sure I was going to enjoy the next five days of my life. Our goal was to get to Misty Lake – which we did, on one of the rainiest days The Park had seen in a while. My friends told me its mind over matter, and we’re out here now so let’s make the best of it. We gathered wood, made a fire, dried out and enjoyed our time there. It was my first day and I had to compete with six portages, most of them extremely muddy, rain almost non-stop all day, and attempting to find dry firewood after hours and hours of downpour. I loved every second of it and from that day forward, canoe tripping through Algonquin Park become a passion of mine. I've since spent nearly two hundred nights in The Park, crossed hundreds of kilometres of portages, thousands of kilometres of canoe routes and well over 300 lakes in The Park – and there is no plan to stop any time soon.
I really enjoy canoe tripping with friends and family, but I also enjoy solo tripping. People often ask me which style I prefer: Camping with friends or solo? The answer isn't so cut and dry. They are two completely different styles of canoe tripping, and I love them both. When you’re with friends, you have people around you to share things with – like spotting an animal or the northern lights. It makes the camp chores a little easier because you have many people to tackle the many chores. You generally get along with everyone because you’re all out there for the same reason. On the other hand, solo tripping is amazing because you get to experience a new sense of silence and solitude. If you’ve never stood on the shore of a lake from your campsite, alone in the pitch black under the stars and allowed yourself to be receptive to the energy around you – you are truly missing out and should try a solo trip even if for just one night. Make it a lake with only one campsite on it, to guarantee the solitude. The work around camp is a little tougher because what chore you do first is now controlled by outside factors. Things like anticipated weather, time of day and other factors becomes more important when by yourself. Overall though, I highly recommend anyone who feels comfortable and competent enough to try a solo trip should do so – and no need to thank me when you return!
I’ve always wanted to document my experiences in Algonquin Park and in early 2012 I wrote two Trip Reports that generated a very positive response from readers. This encouraged me to continue to write and to create a new home for these Trip Reports. Writing about my experiences is a great way for me to share my sights and thoughts while paddling through The Park. I really enjoy reading other peoples trip reports too. They help me to plan for areas that I’ve never been to, they get me through the long winter and sometimes they even get me through my lunch break in the food court at the Yonge-Eglinton Center.
My Passion for the outdoors has taken me in new directions in life and introduced me to many new people. I’ve made a ton of new friends through connections made in the Algonquin Paddling Community, and I am grateful for their advice and expertise. Though I currently work for a big bank in the city of Toronto, it’s not where I belong – it’s not where my heart is. So I’ve begun to study Wildlife & Conservation with hopes changing my career into something more rewarding – Protecting and Preserving Canada’s Wildlife and Environment. I figure there can’t be anything better in the world than being able to work so closely with nature and to be a part of a larger picture trying to accomplish environmental and conservation goals and research. Always remember to Leave No Trace.
- Brandon Peek
TOURduPARK.com is the home for trip reports, ruin sites, wildlife and scenic photography exclusively within Algonquin Park. Here you will find detailed accounts of various canoe trips through Algonquin. The trips range from single day or single night trips, to extended solo trips of up to 21 days. Each trip report features dozens of photos, maps of the route taken and other information related to the trip. You will also find information on all 14 ranger cabins currently available for rent in The Park as well as over 80 different ruin locations/ historic sites. There are shy of a dozen memorials to those who have perished within Algonquin's boarders. Your feedback is always welcome and you can sign-up to be notified when new trip reports have been published online – Simply use the Contact Me link and select the appropriate option. The information on this website is useful to anyone planning a trip through Algonquin Park, or if you just want to escape a cold winter day. If you have any specific route questions, or would like further information I encourage you to contact me to discuss.