Once Around Algonquin

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Once Around Algonquin

Posted on July 17 by Kevin Callan
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This past summer my regular canoe mate, Andy Baxter, and I took on Algonquin’s Meanest Link - a full circle the park. It took 16 days, covered 350 kilometers (220 miles), 55 lakes, 6 rivers (3 that had to be paddled upstream), and 93 portages adding up to 68 kilometers (42 miles). It was one crazy trip; one I wouldn’t do again but an experience I’m glad I had. I lost 10 lbs., gained muscles I've never seen on my body before and had mosquito bites all over my genitalia. Doesn’t sound pleasant - and some of it wasn’t. The most prominent silly portion was going up the Big East River. Never again! Four days of walking up rapids 80% of the time - sometimes up to your waist. Andy, my poor canoe partner who took some holiday time to join me, was pissed at my route choice by day two. That’s way too early for a canoe partner, and good friend, to be pissed at you. His profanity was somewhat justified, however. This route around Algonquin Park is properly titled. The Meanest Link is exactly that - mean. Problem was, my main focus of the trip was to promote more people to get out and paddle wilderness areas for long periods of time. I think the trip accomplished that. By the half way point Andy and I had gained over 10,000 people following our trip on line, all having the urge to be with us.

What kept us going was the sheer magnitude of Algonquin. This is one big and beautiful park. By day 12 we were more relaxed, more in shape. The area we were paddling in also didn’t see many people.  We were alone and truly enjoying the wilderness solitude. It reminded me so much of a quote I like from Robert Perkins film One Man in a Boat. Perkins looks out at a remote wilderness section and says “I feel like rolling it up in a ball and swallowing it so no one else can have it.”

Look for the video series of Kevin’s trip by going to his KCHappyCamper You Tube channel, and read the full account of the trip by going to his Explore Magazine blog at explore-mag.com

For even more of Kevin Callan cehck out his web site: kevincallan.com, and his book Dazed but Not Confused.

Kevin Callan

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Kevin Callan photo

Kevin Callan

Kevin Callan is the author of 13 books, including the hugely popular Paddler's Guide series and the bestselling The Happy Camper. His writing and photography appear in Explore and Canoerootsmagazines, and he is the recipient of five National Magazine Awards. Kevin lives in Peterborough, Ontario.