Betsy and I love camping. I’m not 100% sure why, since we never really sleep that well, often get irritated with the bugs, and almost always come home exhausted after a trip. Still, we love it and keep going. This time, Betsy booked us an unspecified campground around Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Provincial Forest and scheduled to have a pair of canoes dropped off for us to paddle across the lake to where we would be camping.
If we’re honest with ourselves, there was some mild angst about taking the kids paddling across a lake (let’s say 50% of the adults had some concern) that proved unfounded. They sat eagerly in the front while Betsy and I sat astern and paddled. It was a little less than a mile in a straight line (and we definitely didn’t go very straight) from the beach where we got in to the campsite we chose.
On the way over, we didn’t let the kids paddle, because we were pretty sure they would splash everything we had brought and we didn’t really want to deal with that. We got our Canoes at 8:00 in the morning, so it was still a little cool and slightly overcast but that cleared up shortly after we got our tent set up.
At this lake, there were a number of paddle-in campsites designated by an orange sign on a tree. We were told to paddle until we saw one that was unoccupied and that we wanted. The first one we came to was a little abrupt and we decided to look for one that had an easier landing and where we wouldn’t have to be as worried about the kids falling off a boulder and drowning.
And did we ever find it. A beautiful beach about 6 feet wide and 100 feet long with plenty of room to walk out before it would drown the kids. It had a great spot for a tent, a nice fire-ring, and even a picnic table.
We spent all day playing at the beach. We ate way too much junk food. We all carved Harry Potter brooms and marshmallow roasting sticks. We caught several frogs, a crawdad, and a dead fish. We built sand castles, taught the kids and Betsy how to paddle a canoe, and hiked through the woods. We paddled out to explore more of the lake, and Lea passed out asleep while sitting up in the gentle rocking canoe. She did it again as we were paddling back to the launch-area to return the canoes the next day.
As we were driving home, Betsy said to me, “Can you think of another family camping trip that was as good as this one?” and I couldn’t. It was amazing. It combined the remote feeling of backpacking in with the abundantly supplied feeling of car-camping. I think the kids would choose a day at the beach over winning a million dollars and Betsy and I just sat there and smiled at what a wonderful family we have.