Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fan mail from happy customers

17 day canoe trip + no razor = new hairstyle

Patrick and Hannah from the UK contacted us back in March about making plans for a fall canoe trip. After many emails back and forth, they boarded a plane, flew to Toronto, hopped on a bus to Huntsville and took a taxi to our store in Oxtongue Lake. After a night in our tent cabins, and some last minute shopping and packing, we drove them to Canoe Lake the next day. Seventeen days later, they returned, tired, grizzled (or at least Patrick was) and totally enamoured with Algonquin Park. Patrick reported that at one point in their trip, they did not see another human being for four straight days. This experience, he said was "very cool but a bit wierd."

Patrick and Hannah rented a Swift Winisk, the ideal canoe for a two-week trip

After returning to England and getting back to their regular lives, Patrick took the time to write us this nice e-mail, and at my request, send some pictures of their trip. All photos in this post are courtesy of Patrick Bird.

Moose on a mission, somewhere in Algonquin Park
Dear Gordon/All the staff at Algonquin Outfitters - Oxtongue Lake

First of all I just wanted to say thanks for a great experience. All your team's help and advice was invaluable in making our trip as great as it was. Hannah and I just wanted to let you know we had an incredible experience on our recent visit to the Park and the team at the Oxtongue Lake store really added greatly to that. Their advice and great customer service helped smooth our nerves when we arrived and fueled our enthusiasm at the same time.

Small fish, big smile. That's an enthusiastic angler!

Our 17 day paddle through the park turned out to be more of an endurance test than we had ever imagined but we came out the other end with smiles on our faces and a desire to do more paddling. Can't ask for much more than that. I especially wanted to thank you, Gordon, for your advice by e-mail and in person prior to our trip and the young guy from Maine who gave us a lift back to the Oxtongue Lake store. He was a credit to your company, easy going and informative, he answered all our lame questions very patiently. Who knew anyone would know so much about Moose! Not forgetting the rest of the team at the store who were all really helpful.

All in all you're running a great outfitters we wouldn't hesitate to use again, let's hope we get the chance. I've attached a picture of us on the water so you've got an idea who we were.

All the best for the future.

Patrick & Hannah
There aren't many mosquitoes in Algonquin Park in September but Patrick and Hannah managed to find some. Good thing I didn't advise them to leave the bug hats behind!

It doesn't get much better than this. A lovely campsite on Catfish Lake, late afternoon sun, a fine rock to cast from and a tired paddler hoping for a brook trout.

They don't show these pictures in the tourist brochures. Patrick's caption "wet and tired in a tent" sums it up completely. Hannah is still smiling, I think.

This just in. You can see more pictures from Patrick and Hannah's Algonquin Park adventure on the Team Pickle blog. Simply click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fog, fall colours and the right formula

You have to get up early to see these fall colours!
Photo by Rob Stimpson

The fall colours are really starting to show in Algonquin Park. Right now, the best colours can be seen between the West Gate and Cache Lake, along Highway 60. I really like this stage of the colour season, when the emerging reds, oranges and yellow burst out against the backdrop of rich summer green.

One of the other natural highlights of early fall is predictable morning mist, caused by cool air moving over relatively warm lake water. With the clear, cool weather we have been enjoying lately, early mornings have been a photographer's and paddler's dream come true. I had the to fortune to attend a meeting recently at Bartlett Lodge, located on Cache Lake. Also at the meeting were photographer Rob Stimpson, paddler, author (and executive director of the Canadian Canoe Museum) James Raffan and outdoor educator Val Bishop. Combine skilled paddlers, morning mist, talented photographers, a perfect morning, Algonquin Park scenery and what do you get? A beautiful way to start the day and become part of some great images.

Your faithful blogger checks out a photogenic cedar tree.
Photo by James Raffan

Your faithful blogger heads out into the fog.
Photo by James Raffan

Gord, James and Val enjoying a morning paddle.
Photo by Rob Stimpson