We managed to spend some time with rocks and trees and water! this summer.
Our three camping trips in four weekends adventure concluded with a wonderful outing to Algonquin park, but let’s start from the beginning.
Sometime in early June the boys convinced me to take them to the outdoor megastore and buy them fishing rods. So I did. Then they quickly concluded that we have to go fishing. We decided to go to Gatineau Park and check out the campsite next to the yurt we stayed at this winter so we can compare and contrast. Because our primary purpose was to fish, Markus called it Camp Fishy.
Our secondary purpose was to see the Lusk cavern. We checked out the cave from the outside as the water was really high so I was not comfortable going in there with Markus. We might come by later on in the season when there is less water and we are better equipped to waddle through it. We managed to avoid rain (it rained while we were sleeping) and added a short canoe ride. I enjoyed the camp ground by Lac Philippe but because it was rainy the fully forested sites were a little cold and very full of mosquitos. It would be a great location during the summer heat.
Our neighbours put together a group camping trip to Long Sault. This is the second year we’ve joined and we had tons of fun. After some hemming and hawing we decided to brave the weather and head out to camp late Friday night. We arrived at 11PM and were only the third of six families that were going to arrive that day.
Beaverbrook camping is great for letting the kids run around with their friends and the adults chat and relax. Like last year, we visited the bird sanctuary with enough kids (eleven) no birds were to be found.
There was a pretty hilarious thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon which reminded us of the pitfalls of setting up the tent in the middle of the night. I was taking a nap during the storm and relived of the ’90s waterbed craze.
We had a lovely pot-luck and a huge campfire in the evening. I am not sure about exact numbers but I think there was about eighty people in our group.
Elite Beaverbrook Camping
Car camping is all well and good, but nothing beats Dan’s backcountry trips. By now, Owen had broken his arm and had to sit this one out. We are assured that Chris and he had fun. Trev, Markus and I headed out to the Algonquin Park to join three other families. We picked up our three seater canoe at Achray and paddled from the Grand Lake to the far end of Stratton lake where our site was.
Eight kids, of which mine were the oldest in the group, made for a busy picture.
The visit to the High Falls was definitely a highlight. The water was too high for us to feel comfortable going down the slide, so we left that to the twenty-somethings who always seem in abundance on this spot. We found a nice pool to splash in. Despite the high water and this being relatively early in the season, the water was much warmer than last time.
The trip back was made somewhat challenging by the wind. This was the first time I was steering the canoe the whole trip. Trevor did a fair share of paddling and I was pretty impressed with his stamina. I was also very happy to have such awesome friends who made canoeing with kids, which would otherwise be stressful, so much fun.
Sandra takes long walks and beautiful photos. There are a lot of blogs out there with beautiful photos but I find these to be particularly good at capturing the beauty in everyday objects.
I am at a loss to do a proper blog reflection here as I rarely take photos because my experience of an image is rarely matched in a capture I make. This makes me reluctant to stop and take the camera out when I see something beautiful because I don’t want to distract my attention only to not even get a good photo of whatever I was enjoying. Fortunately, Chris is the family photographer so we have a record of beautiful long walks. Here is a series from our hikes from Crikvenica to Drivenik and from Drivenik to the nearest peak a few days later.
This October we spent five days at Mont-Tremblant. We rented a gorgeous log cabin overlooking Lac Mercier.
Over the years we have developed a number of traditions to do with this short but sweet holiday. A gondola ride and a hike down the mountain is pretty much a standard now.
We opted for the most direct route down the black diamond.
It was fun, but next time I would like to take a more meandering path.
The next day we biked on La-Boucle-des-Chutes-Croches at the Mont-Tremblant Parc. Waterfalls are definitely a tradition with us.
We mostly hid indoors on a rainy Saturday but came out to check out Le P’tit Train Du Nord path on Sunday.
It has been a long time since I have been to Mont-Tremblant, and even then I was there for a very short time. I was surprised at how much there is to do in the area. I would definitely like to visit again.
Dan’s annual family backcountry trip is becoming one of my favourite events of the summer. I haven’t been away from the house since the Beaverbrook camping trip earlier this summer and despite the rain in the forecast I was not willing to miss it. We had said that we would not go if there was a lot of rain, but how do you determine what “a lot of rain” means? My final deciding point was “If Dan is going, we are going”. We’ve had a drought all summer in Ottawa and I was looking forward to rain.
I got soaked through on my way back from work so the little evening drizzle we encountered once we reached the lake was pleasant. How I missed the grays and the dark greens of an overcast evening!
We booked off a cluster of sites on Lac La Peche. The remaining camp clusters were so far away it felt like we were alone on the lake.
Saturday had huge rainfalls in the morning and in the late afternoon. Our tarps held up quite nicely and as the weather was warm and the fire sustained through the downpour, the time passed pleasantly.
The older kids pretty much entertained themselves, but the families with younger kids ended up calling it quits half way through Saturday.
There was a bit of a worry that the rain would make us miserable. I found that it was not so much the rain itself that was the problem as it was warm and hence not actually unpleasant. The worst, for me, was worrying if it would get colder, or if the kids would get sick or if our clothes or equipment would start leaking. None of this happened and the worry was moot. The lovely company more than made up for any worries, but the best part was how happy and engaged the kids were.
For about half a dozen years or so I have been planning to take up randonneuring. There are many sports I find fascinating, like water polo and biathlon, but I would not try them if you paid me. Randonneuring, I can do, nay, I want to do.
I had put a few local events on my calendar this spring without any particular intention and even as far back as three weeks ago, considered them outside of my abilities. However, I have ridden over 1500 km so far this year including four 100+ km rides (in bad and worse weather). On paper at least, I was prepared for a 200 km brevet.
At Britannia Park I knew I was in the right place when I saw a titanium Marinoni with an extra large Carradice saddle bag and fenders. Our group consisted of three bona-fide randonneurs and me. The club policy is for at least one randonneur to accompany newbs as long as they can keep a pace that will allow them to finish within the 13.5 hours time limit. Unfortunately for him, though fortunately for me, one of the guys had injured his knee earlier in the season and was significantly slower than me on the hills. Though there was no way I could keep up with them on downhill or even flats, I was able to stay ahead on the hills. On a different course, this might have not made enough difference for me to keep up, but the route we had taken had 3500 m of climbing which meant that I did not have to put in more effort than I was comfortable with to keep pace and I was almost never the last.
We reconvened every so often at depanneurs, gas stations, pretty beaches or bakeries. The conversation was sparse but interesting. All of my companions had a few Paris-Brest-Parises under their belts and had been randonneuring for a while being some decades older than me. We tended to stick together on busier roads but spread out in the quiet countryside. One of the guys mentioned that randonneurs like solitude and as I zipped though the country road behind Mont Cascades I was glad to be able to gasp at the pretty scenery and sing through the rolling hills without an audience.
We rolled over the finish line within five minutes of each other, a few minutes short of 13 hours running time. I really enjoyed this brevet. I enjoyed the calm and determination that I did not experience to such an extent when I was doing Ottawa Bicycle Club rides a few years ago. I like that there exists an organised sport which I can actually enjoy. Whether I keep doing these events remains to be seen. I don’t see myself doing much beyond 200km rides and it is questionable whether I can keep depending on other randonneur’s injuries to keep me in the running.
This is the only picture I took. I was hoping to take a picture of my brevet card but the team lead spirited it away before I got my phone out. As I was not dealing with the Twitter generation, I did not feel it appropriate to protest. Yes, my max speed topped at 65.5 km/h. Weeeee!
The next day I got to do another first. I was not up to biking so I got to sit on the back of my cargo bike for the first (and probably last) time ever.
My legs are still kind of sore a week and a half later. It is a good sore though.