Hai-Kuul – August 03, 2005

Beauty ‘n the Beast (Requested by princess_castle)
He’s ugly as sin
She’s the most beautiful girl
A true miracle

Leave it There (Requested by princess_castle)
That cupcake is mine
I just finished baking it
Get your paws off it

Again ‘n Again (Requested by princess_castle)
Friends is on TV
On pretty much all channels
A good show, but sheesh…

Nonstop Nonsense (Requested by princess_castle)
A clown convention
Can become pretty crazy
Many red noses

A Panoramic Saga (Requested by princess_castle)
One could argue that
The centerfolds in playboy
Can be described thus

Saludos Desde España (Requested by princess_castle)
¡Hola Amigos!
Hablo español muy bien
Yo tengo hambre

*Remember, you can submit a topic to inspire your very own Haiku Poem by clicking here. You can read about Hai-Kuul here.

The Fun Paddlin’ Thunders On a Dime. Stay Tuned…

Herein lies the first part of the story of this year’s annual Algonquin Park interior trip. It is a long, sordid tale, full of darkness, evil and goblins. However, bear with it and it will serve you well. Or perhaps it will just be mildly entertaining.

The Fun Begins…

My wife and I arrived in Algonquin Park on Thursday in the late afternoon. People think I am nuts taking a day off just to make the drive easier. However, when it means we save 2 hours of driving and countless dollars in fuel, it makes a lot more sense. It’s also more relaxing.

We set up camp and proceeded to wait for the rest of the group that would be staying with us in Rock Lake. Our site was luckily located along the water (a little ways away from the swimming area), so it was like we had our own private beach.

I started the fire easily enough, and then sat down and to continue reading a book (The Unfettered Mind ) I had started a few weeks ago that I had put aside when the latest Harry Potter novel came out.

The sun was shining, descending slowly into what would be a great sunset in a few hours. It was so peaceful to be sitting there, with the waves gently lapping the sand, reading about how the mind should always be in motion like water. Some ducklings ran by my feet leaving tracks in the sand and waddling after their mother. It was a really nice moment.

Shortly after, Dave and our friend Isha arrived from Ottawa.

Of course, once Dave and I get together, things start getting silly. Here, for example, is a snippet of conversation that revolved around sleeping arrangements…

Jorge: I think our tent will fit the four of us. But if that doesn’t work, we can set up Dave’s tent, and I can sleep with him. My snoring doesn’t wake him up.
Dave: Yeah. I can muffle his face with my ass [Making the motions of muffling someone’s face with his ass several different ways with great enthusiasm, I might add.]. See?
[Everyone laughs.]
Dave: I’ll bet you’re wondering why ass was the first word that I chose…

Yes. This is how our camping weekend began. It began with Dave’s ass.

Isha brought her bag out of the car and put it near the picnic table. It was quite small for an interior bag. This brought out some more conversation fun…

Mrs. J: Oh my God! Look how small your backpack is!
Isha: Thanks.
Mrs. J: Jorge, check this out!
Jorge: Whoa. That’s small.
Isha: Well, Dave is carrying all the pots and stuff.
Jorge: Dave, you’re carrying everything?
Dave: [Shuffling through items in the trunk of his car.] Well, yeah. I guess. Everything except the tent.
Jorge: So, where is the tent?
Dave: [Looking about nervously.] Hopefully in my back seat.
Jorge: Err…

Luckily, Dave had his tent in the back seat and all was well. We ended up sleeping in the giant Coleman tent anyway. Dave and I stayed up by the fire as Mrs. J and Isha went to sleep. We figured we would wait for Dennis and Lorraine to show up. They eventually got there and set up their tent. We shared some beer, and then we all hit the sack, excited for the Interior portion of the trip the next morning…

A Paddlin’ We Will Go…

The next morning, we met up with our friend Brad at the launch point. We found out that our other two friends who had intended to leave at four in the morning were running late, and that we should leave without them. I wasn’t too worried.

Tien and Natalie had the meat from our dinners with them (they bought some steaks for us at St. Lawrence Market and had them shrink wrapped and froze them so they would keep). Worrying about the steaks staying cold was a moot point. They are amazing paddlers, so they would probably end up at whatever site we found a few hours after we got there, with the food most likely still quite frozen.

We headed out in several groups. Brad and Isha paddled a cedar strip canoe. Dennis and Lorraine paddled in a Kevlar canoe, and Dave, Mrs. J and I paddled a heavy aluminum canoe. We ended up at the portage point without incident, carried our gear across, and moved on. Along the way, Brad gave Isha the opportunity to destroy an Inukshuk*.

Interior camping works on the premise of first come, first served. We had an idea as to where we wanted to go, but unfortunately the sites were taken, and we had to keep paddling until we reached the other side of the lake (the lake is several kilometers long).

Last year we would paddle along until we found a site, and then one pair would stay at that site while the rest looked for potentially betters sites. This is a good strategy in theory. Unfortunately, due to the distance between sites, and the possibility of landforms being in the way, it is tough to communicate.

This year we brought walkie-talkies, which helped immensely. We fanned out and kept in touch, giving a good description of any sites we came across.

By a stroke of luck the site we ended up on was actually really good. There was lots of room for our tents. Someone had actually stacked some dry wood to burn in the fire pit, and the thunder box was located in an area that was out of the way, and hard to see.

Thunder Box?

In the interior there are no bathrooms. There are wooden boxes placed on top of pits that have been dug for the express purpose of…well…taking care of business. There is a hole cut out of the top of the box, and a lid that closes over top of the hole to prevent animals from making a mess…

In previous years, we’ve experienced thunder boxes that were placed improperly, either not quite over a pit (so some of the pit was exposed at your feet), or located right at the top of a hill in open view of the entire campsite.

This one was one of the best we had actually seen.

Pure luxury.

Dave – Camping On a Dime

Dave is not what you would call an experienced camper.

Scratch that.

Compared to most, Dave is an experienced interior camper. He has done it for three years, and he gets more comfortable every time. He has a try anything once attitude, and he takes the good as it arrives, and the bad in stride.

Being the easy-going type, he pretty much goes with the flow, and it’s tough to faze him. He started a few years ago without any prior experience, and just dove right in. So yeah, I guess that makes him more experienced than a lot of people.

This year, he made some purchases to solidify his commitment to the annual trip.

He bought a tent, for a price so low we were all questioning our own tent purchases. He also bought a cookware set for a small sum as well.

I subsidized Dave’s backpack as an early 30th birthday gift (Sept 12th, for you Dave fans), so he was raring to go….until he had to set up the tent.

I have to admit that even with the instructions his tent was tough to set up. He and Isha were having fun trying to figure out how to set it up when I stepped in. Not that I really helped at all, but the humour of the situation increased somehow…

Dave: So now, we have fed the poles through the guides and anchored them.
Isha: It says we have to stake the guy wires to the ground
Dave: Stake them?
Isha: Yeah. Here. Stake it!
Jorge: [A la Outkast.] Stake it! Stake! Stake it! Stake it!
Dave: OHH OH!
[Isha laughs hysterically]

This became a theme for the rest of the weekend…

Stay Tuned

There will be more to come later on in the week. Things like the knife in the ground game, and barbershop bathroom follies.

Dave has a point-form synopsis of events here.

Also, you can see some of the photos of the trip here. You’ll just have to search for pictures taken in July/August of 2005.

* – Inukshuks are not part of the natural landscape of Algonquin. The local native population has never used them. They are used elsewhere, though (up North). In Algonquin Park they are the equivalent of gaudy billboards. They are also quite hazardous when precariously perched on rock formations adjacent to Highway 60. For these two reasons they should be destroyed, and the rocks that they were built with should be spread about to make it inconvenient to attempt another Inukshuk…