Monday, July 03, 2006

Algonquin 2006 Part One

One of my favourite things about camping is you get to experience the 'true selves' of your fellow campers. It kinda brings everyone together in a fuzzy,warm feeling kinda way because you're without the comforts of home. However, when you go camping raw, where you're left to surivive by your minimal devices, you experience the fuzzy, warm feeling but not before feeling the icky, slimy dread. It's kinda like locking seven people in a room for three days. If you can survive that, it is definitely a test of friendship. Is it safe to say that we passed the test this past long weekend since we didn't manage to kill each other, guys? A combination of mine and Iljya's digital camera pics, we have over 300 pics from the trip. I shall post the 'best of' from my batch for now and throw the rest into a scrapbook. So how did we fare at Algonquin? Well we definitely brought home alot of memories, both good and bad... Our trip began at Iljya's dad's house on Friday night. We wanted to get together the night before so Iljya, aka Nazi Camp Leader, could vito anything we wanted to bring on the trip that would remotely make us comfortable (and to reduce the stuff we'd have to carry). Luckily most of the stuff that was vito-ed was Nam's Chinese fan, his tape, his fishing pliers and 5 boxes of Tic Tacs! Here's what I managed to 'smuggle' on the trip (to Iljya's dismay when he found out when we got there. Thanks for ratting me out, Alex):
^Discman, deodorant, make up, body moisturizer, face moisturizer and soap
Yeah, Iljya was pretty pissed at me so I opted to not sleep in his tent, otherwise I'd be sleeping with one eye open. I admit I guess there was a bit of tension. But I didn't bring all that stuff to spite him. I really believed I needed them. So lucky me ended up in the Boys' tent, which was fine with me because I was wedged between Alex and Nam who kept me warm, something my thin sleeping bag was not.
^One of the biggest packs to carry ^The Girls rationing food for each day; the Boys being Boys ^We have to carry all this for how long?!
The next morning, at around 6:30 am with Tim Horton's breakfast in hand, we were finally on the road. We drove for about 2.5-3 hours to Algonquin's Portage Store. I guess the road trip was uneventful since I slept through most of it.
^Me, doing what I do best on roadtrips
There were quite a few people there leaving for their own portaging trips. I even saw an old friend I went snowboarding with a few months back (it's hard to think of snow in the middle of summer).
^People loading their boats and setting off for their trips ^Saying good-bye to civilzation for the next 3 days
So we set off, most of us not really knowing what's ahead of us. Just before we left, Nam had an uneasy feeling: "Guys, my nipples are hurting. Something bad's gonna happen." And not 30 minutes into canoeing, my second worst fear of this whole experience came true (first being that I would get my period during the trip and I did). Nam tipped over the canoe he was riding in. According to his canoeing partner, Yuri, Nam made a sudden movement and turned around to see where everyone was and the next thing they knew, they were in the water, gear and all.
^The rescue
This was the best picture I could get at the angle I was at (what kinda friend would I be if I paddled over there to just take pictures?). At the time, it wasn't so funny but just thinking about it now, it was probably the most hilarious things I've ever seen. Even more hilarious when people from their cottages on the lake came out on their motorboats to help. Iljya, the experienced canoeist, said he has never seen anyone tip a canoe by accident in calm water. Only Nam could manage as crazy as this. Noone wanted to be in the boat with Nam after that episode. It was really good sense that we Ziploc-ed every article of clothing we brought.
As if the canoe trip could not start off badly enough, Alex also managed to somehow get a Tic Tac stuck in his nose (and later swore off Tic Tacs) and the guys misplaced a good portion of their booze somewhere during one of the portages. And the actual portaging? Brutal. To have to carry all our stuff (the longest portage was 300 m.) was a pain and a half. I think we all realized then why Iljya wanted us to bring as little as possible.
^Finishing a portage ^Canoeing through lily pads
So we get to our site after about 3 hours of canoeing or so and 4 portages (varying in lengths). First order of business was to make a fire and set up camp. It rained the first night, but that was expected and we were prepared for it.
^Chef Kathy's Special du jour: Pasta with Spam
That night, the guys were grouchy because they had lost their booze. Frustrated and sober, we eventually fell asleep after hours of talking, yelling, playing Bullshit with the other tent and listening to the loons making booty calls. The next morning we all woke up at dawn to fish and swim. We went out on one of the other canoes to do some real tipping which was sooo fun. During the trip besides fishing and the like, there was a lot of sitting around and talking. I was in stitches most of the time, because we somehow managed to act stupid and have fun without even drinking.
^Despite my attempts to thwart mosquitoe bites, I'm now writhing in them
^The Boys
^The Ladies
^Surviving our first day together (forced smiles and all haha) ^Sexy Alex modeling my pants: "Work it, girl!" ^Me channelling Cousin Itt

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