Sunday, June 26, 2005

Where did the bugs go?

After a long spell of hot and dry weather, the general consensus up here is that black fly season was a "non-event." There have been years where the pesky critters have persisted into July. Not this year! The news is not all bugless though, as mosquitoes are still out there and there has been an early appearance of deer flies.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sun, sand and three degree water

The Lake Superior trip was wonderful. We spent five days camped on the rugged coast, doing day trips to scenic locations with exotic names like the Devil's Warehouse, the Devil's Chair and a wide variety of stone beaches. Each beach, large and small, seems to have a different character: some have large round rocks, others have smaller round rocks, while other have rocks of a great range of colour and character. If you are fascinated by rocks and water, the Superior coast is a "must visit" destination.

It is not a destination to be taken lightly though. After several trips on the coastline by canoe, we live by the mantra, "travel when the lake lets you." Guide books to the area suggest that you should plan on being shore-bound one day out of every four, due to fog, wind, waves, bad weather (or all of these at once). Even during the heat wave of last week, we were wearing long sleeves and long underwear while paddling on the frigid lake. Swimming is out of the question!

Our young dog, Utah, survived his first camping trip with flying colours. His day was made when he discovered the skeleton of a moose down the beach from our camp site. This seemed to awaken some of his wild ancestry and I had to really work to discourage him from bringing trophies back to camp.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

No blog for a while - gone canoeing!

Our favourite insects, the dragonflies, hatched in great numbers yesterday. This is always a good sign. These voracious winged predators are not only beautiful to look at but they feed on smaller insects, like black flies and mosquitoes. For some reason, black flies have not been too much of a problem this year, probably due to the hot dry weather. Mosquitoes are out earlier than usual but most people have a greater tolerance for them.

Your faithful blogger is going on a canoe trip next week, so this blog will not be updated again till June 16th or so. My wife and I are off to Lake Superior Provincial Park for a little coastal paddling on the big lake. In a canoe of course! We have our own Swift Winisk equipped with a custom spray cover. I haven't figured out whether the dog will ride on or under the cover yet - we'll see! The 4 degree C (maybe 38 F) water tends to keep the bugs down near the shore but does put a damper on any swimming ambitions.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Support your local outdoor educator!

In the spring and fall, we provide canoes and equipment to a number of school groups. These groups are generally high school students and usually fall into one of two categories: "outer's clubs" or physical education classes. These groups are organized and led by some very dedicated teachers who have to pass through some incredible hoops and jumps to get these young people into Algonquin Park. Funding cuts, difficulty getting supply teachers and liability concerns are a few of of the big ones.

Neverthless, the enthusiasm and commitment of both new and experienced teachers organizing and leading these trips is inspiring. Right now, in the peak of black fly season, we have two schools out on trips. These teachers and students deserve a big pat on the back for their effort!