Early this morning, Rich Swift, the General Manager of Algonquin Outfitters, and three friends headed up Lake Opeongo in one of our water taxis, on the first leg of their annual spring fishing trip. Their ultimate destination was Lake Lavielle, a remote large lake northeast of Opeongo. Lavielle holds a special place in the Swift family's hearts as it was the favorite lake of Rich's father, the late Bill Swift Sr., better known as Swifty. The trip to Lavielle is not an easy one. The most direct route in and out requires that you walk the famous (or infamous) five km Dickson-Bonfield portage both ways. Swifty claimed that as a young man, guiding for Camp Pathfinder, he ran the portage "fully loaded" in 41 minutes. Fully loaded, in those days, meant carrying a waterlogged cedar-canvas canoe and a heavy canvas canoe pack. In his uniquely colorful language, he described his physical appearance at the time as "all legs and eyeballs." Anyone who knew Swifty can imagine what a sight that would have been!
Rich and his forty-something crew (one is even fifty-something) will have an easier trek over the portage. They are testing our newest rental canoes, the Bell Northwind, a canoe that weighs, appropriately, forty-something pounds in the "KevLight" construction. Look for these at our Oxtongue lake and Opeongo stores, in the Featherweight Carbon-Kevlar rental category.
Swifty often said that Algonquin Park offers "excellent fishing for the ambitious." Good luck to Rich, Scott, Tek and Doug!