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    Return to Algonquin

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    So we must have liked Algonquin Park because we went back again on the weekend, staying two nights nearby and hiking on eight different trails, although two of those were only partials of big loops. The objectives were geocaches on those and I don’t know if we’re up to hikes that last 10-12 km in rough terrain yet. One of those, mainly due to the prior day’s rain, had frequent small rivers running down it and some pretty impressive mud patches. We should have taken a lot of pictures but were more concerned with not sliding down muddy hills in the fading light.

    And, somewhere along the way we decided to start a campfire blanket to go with the Ontario Parks passport we decided to do. We used to do most of the ones within an hour or so drive of home when the kids were small. Camping, beaches, and so on. Not a lot of hiking, which is more my thing, but I’ll sit on the beach with a book or a note pad (or both) while my wife swims. With the kids, it was generally about the beach and the nature centre, if available.

    If I count correctly, there are currently 115 operating parks you can visit in Ontario, of which I’ve been to maybe a dozen. Then there’s some crazy number of “non-operating” parks. I’ve probably been to eight or ten of these, too. The major difference is that a non-operating park is just the park. There’s no staff, no visitor centre, no real facilities of any kind. I like those. They’re quiet and good for hiking in.

    Algonquin is less quiet. It’s big, is easily reached from Toronto, has hundreds of kilometres of trails, which we’ve only scratched the surface of and probably won’t manage to dig very deep since a lot of those are back country trail designed for full-day hikes or multi-day backpacking trips. Or portaging from lake to lake.

    But we saw a moose in the wild. Not very close up, which is probably good since apparently moose tend to be jerks, but we saw one. We also found tracks more than once and scat twice. The live moose, though, was only a few minutes after we actually entered the park on the first day, stopping with a crowd of other people to ooh and ah and take pictures. Of course, we’d left the good camera back at the cabin, not expecting to see anything in the on and off rain. We’ll know better next time.

    Because there will be a next time. Not today and not tomorrow, but soon. Maybe when the leaves start to change for real, because I’d bet it’s beautiful in the fall.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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