‘Will I see any moose?’ was my first question before I signed up for a adventure trip into the Canadian Wilderness.
‘Yes,’ they replied.
I was sold and booked the trip.
I was heading to Algonquin Park just two hours north of Toronto. Head out of the lights of the city and you’re in an area full of lakes, wildlife and solitude. It’s a place for the naturally adventurous and the whole area is 2,946 square miles and is actually bigger than Prince Edward Island. Always one for a challenge, I was intrigued to see what activities the area could offer.
Upon day one of my adventure;
‘This is a canoe?’ I asked, looking at the wooden hollow that looked remarkably like a kayak.
Our guide nodded.
‘Are you sure it’s not a kayak?’ I protested, thinking that this was like no canoe I had ever seen.
The rest of my group nodded and it seemed that I was in the minority and it definitely was a canoe.
Still not convinced, I jumped in our ‘canoe’ and paddled far into the Lake. I was not one for water sports but the enticement that there could be a moose on the other side was enough to get me paddling.
Three hours and a water taxi ride back later, there was no moose but the solitude of Opeongo Lake had won me over and I could see why so many Canadians chose to spend their weekends here. The park has 1200 miles of canoe routes and you could spend days here and not see another soul (if you’re in low season).
Then it was time for stand up paddle boarding (no chance of moose here) so I spent the next two hours concentrating hard on not falling into the four degree water before an early night to prepare myself for the next days activities – kayaking on the calm waters of Snug Harbour.
As I had thought, the ‘kayak’ was actually a canoe and I hoped that we wouldn’t have to roll it before we were allowed to take to the water.
‘Any moose here?’ I asked as I kayaked around just a few of the 30,000 islands within Georgian Bay.
I was now half-way through my trip; I had kayaked, canoed and managed to stand up on a paddle board but there was still no moose. Tired and deflated, I boarded the van ready for our journey back to Toronto. Then as fate had it, the van suddenly slowed down.
‘Moose,’ shouted Bob our driver.
As i jumped outside, I saw a large brown animal running across the road before it camouflaged itself within the woodland.
I had fulfilled my mission and even though I heard myself saying; ‘where’s its antlers?’ I had seen my first ever moose…
Algonquin Park isn’t just for water sports, if you prefer land there are mountain bike trails, and ATVs (quad bikes) for adrenalin junkies. Travel here in the winter and you can experience skiing, snowshoeing, skating and even dog sledging. It is a place for the naturally adventurous any time of year.