DAY 1 – RAIN LAKE
I love portaging. As much as I love the comforts of car camping, I also love the challenge of canoe tripping. The beauty and peace that surrounds you out on a lake is worth all the hard work. Every time I visit Algonquin I feel so thankful to live in Canada. As much as my heart loves the city, I crave the connection with nature and being out in the wilderness feels like home to me as well.
This was the first time my boyfriend and I were going portaging together. My ex-boyfriend preferred car camping, so this was also the first time I was embarking on a canoe trip with my better half. Portaging can make or break a relationship – it tests your ability to work as a team, to listen to each other, to be patient, and you have to take care of each other, all while testing your own limitations. But I wasn’t nervous at all, we had traveled and camped together before and I knew we would make a solid team. After two weeks of dehydrating all our meals and buying a brand spanking new two-man tent, we were set to go! I was super excited to leave civilization behind and set out on our adventure.
Day 1 was a light travel day. We set out nice and early from Huntsville, picked up supplies and our permit in Kearney and headed out from Access Point #4 – Rain Lake. The weather was warm and sunny, but pretty windy and as soon as we paddled out of the narrow straight the wind picked up and carried us across the vast, sparkling lake. After about an hour of paddling we arrived at camp – a site hidden away at the edge of the far island.
For lunch I experimented with a new dehydrated meal: pad thai. I used a standard pad thai recipe and made everything except for the rice noodles that are compact and light to carry. I replaced the egg and shrimp with chicken and tofu, as egg and shrimp do NOT rehydrate well. I tried re-dehydrating scrambled eggs once and they disintegrated into something inedible while rehydrated shrimp was very rubbery. So instead I slow cooked two chicken breasts and a block of tofu. Make sure you diced the tofu as small as possible and finely shred the slow cooked chicken. The chicken and tofu should be as small and as thin as small as possible so that they will dehydrate evenly. My post on dehydrating has detailed instructions for the rest of the process.
To rehydrate simply fill your ziplock bag with water until the food is covered and soak for 30 minutes. Soak your rice noodles separately and then mix everything together over medium heat. I had a couple of small packs of peanuts from McDonalds that I sprinkled on top – and voila! Outback Pad Thai! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out even though the shrimp was a bit rubbery. The sweet and spicy pad thai flavour really came through and all the carbs and protein were particularly comforting after our busy morning.
DAY 2 – RAIN LAKE TO BANDIT LAKE
The next day we headed north towards Bandit Lake. We had 1835 meters of portages as we headed through Sawyer, Jubilee and Moccasin Lake but the distance was actually quite short and after four hours of travel we arrived at camp. We had another fun island site, and we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming around the island and lounging in our portable hammocks. That evening we sat by the campfire drinking 40 Creek whisky and watching the full moon rise over the calm, dark lake.