March break was fast approaching and we were excitedly planning our next
winter camping trip. The pre-requisites for the trip were simple- pristine
wilderness, unlimited white powder snow, 60 cm of ice on the lakes, -15 to -20
C, blue skies, outlook for 15 cm of new snow, and no one else registered in the
Park (Park always refers to Algonquin Provincial Park, our favourite).
We registered for our trip at the west gate and
asked the MNR staff if anyone had registered for the week. Two groups of
two had, but their trip was for the weekend only.
We traveled to our starting point, and with great anticipation and excitement
loaded up our pokes and set out for our week of enjoyment and therapy. A
few final adjustments to our packs and our poke (not paulk), on with the
snowshoes, grabbed our ski poles and we are off on our adventure.
As we were snowshoeing our way along, our thoughts of what we might
see were running rampant in our minds. I know this because the Mrs.
and I talk about the imagination we both have. Back to conditions on the
trail- blue sky, -8C, no wind, 60cm base with 20cm of freshly fallen
We poked along (pun intended), arriving at the edge of the lake we are to
cross. Kathleen had broken trail for us to make it easier for me and my
poke. It had taken us about one and half hours with one water and gorp
stop. We decided to take another break here and reenergize for the lake
part of our trip. Refreshed, and knowing the ice was safe ( MNR keeps
everyone informed of the ice conditions), we set off for the next part of
The lake trip was breathtaking, picture this. Blue sky, no clouds, 60
cm of blue ice, no wind, and 10 cm of fresh snow. As we were crossing the
lake, we could see to our right two winter adventurers packing their poke for
their return trip to civilization. We both said we hoped they had a great
trip and enjoyed some of what we were about to enjoy. At this point we
noted that at the West Gate the MNR staff had said there were two groups of two
going in at the same starting area.
Another one and half hours of travel, water, and gorp; we arrived at
our destination. It was getting on in the day, 3 pm, and we were glad to
be in camp remembering the sun starts to go down around 5 pm.
Setting up camp is always a pleasure- the mind really starts to work
overtime now with the thoughts of what we are going to experience on this
trip. Animals, birds, sounds of wolves, and movements in the trees and
trying to identify what they might be.
Setup went well- that's MY job, and the little one setting up HER kitchen,.
I say this because as a guy you try and help her and she yells at you
'cause you are taking over her responsibilities. She of course is right,
so I sneak away sheepishly back over to finish putting the fluffed up winter
bags in the now set up tent.
Now dark and everything set up it is time to eat. Kathleen has
prepared one of our favourites, beef stroganoff with our own de-hydrated ground
beef and vegetables. Juice and hot chocolate (lots of fluids). And a
special treat chocolate brownies baked in our out back oven (works like a
charm). As we finish our meal and drink our hot chocolate and watch the
colours of our fire, we ask each other our favourite part of the day. It
is always nice to share these thoughts with the one you love.
Just before hitting the sack we always go for a short walk and if lucky,
look at the stars, have pleasant thoughts about how lucky we are to have each
other and all of this. Then it happened. From around a point we
could hear the human sound of someone trying to make moose calls. The
quietness and beauty of this place was broken by a pathetic effort to
communicate with the moose of Algonquin Park by this other group of two who had
come in the day before but had not left. Quietly so the sub humans could
not hear me, I started a barrage of swear words I had not used in a while, how
could those #*&^%@! break the silence of this night with this so called
human attempt to imitate the mighty moose! As we crawled into our sleeping
bags I could not leave it alone. Finally Kathleen said to not worry and GO to
A great sleep was had by us both, ah breakfast, how about some blueberry
pancakes, bacon, real maple syrup, and a pot of coffee (perked of course).
After cleanup of the breakfast dishes, we decided to go for a ski. Got our
day pack ready, water etc and arranged our skis and poles. As we left our
campsite I started again about those sub humans imitating the moose, and of
course Kathleen encouraged me to let it go. And I did.
We rounded the point where we had heard the moose calls and you would never
guess--yes you did, a mother moose and her two little ones grazing on the side
of the shore. I was getting indigestion from eating all my words said the
We enjoyed our time with them and quietly moved by for our day of
exploring. We had a wonderful day travelling to other areas and lakes and
taking in all the joy we have when we are there. Once back in camp we had
a snack and heard movement up the hill behind us. We grabbed the camera
and went up the hill to spend, as it turned out, an hour trying to film and
experience time with the three moose. The mother and her two little ones
knew we were there but did not seem to mind. Following them in waist deep
snow was difficult but to see them maneuver through the snow was a treat.
We only stopped and went back to camp when mother had found a place to rest
where she could keep an eye on her little ones, who had also settled in for the
Our trip ended 3 days later and of course I was full of words I had said
about the sub humans. We reflect on this trip often and the joy we have in
the outdoors, even if at times you are humiliated by a mother and her two little
Moose At Dusk