Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Home from Kiosk


My lord. Could I be any more tired? My ass is dragging so low I need to buy me some of those pants on the ground, just to prevent dirt build-up in the crevices. I'm so tired my vitamin needs a vitamin.

First off, my apologies for not being around to your blog to say hi. I've been away for the last five days in a place where there is no internet, no cell phone service, no phone, no pool, one pet and no cigarettes. It was our annual spring trip into Kiosk, the northernmost camp area of Algonquin Park, a former logging town, now a ghost town that is rapidly disappearing in amongst the trees and everything Mother Nature can throw at it. We think we're going to leave our mark here on this earth forever but the minute we turn our backs, the earth reclaims what was hers.

We don't go to Kiosk to philosophize, although this place brings the philosopher out in me. Something about the wild beauty, the scream of gulls, the harsh, throaty rattle of ravens, the eerie call of loons, the thumping machine-starting rhythm of the wings of ruffed grouse – all these sounds, carried on cold northern winds, settle into the oldest part of my old soul.

No, ostensibly we go to fish – although we were almost skunked in that department. Dave caught one fish. His brother, Tom, caught another. My sister, Liz, caught enough clams to host a clambake, I caught a piece of driftwood big enough to be called a log and my sister-in-law, Susan, caught a nap. My brother-in-law Don caught a hole in his boat and managed to fix it with some silicone before the good ship made like a smaller, rattier version of Titanic and sunk to the bottom of Lake Kioshkokwi like an ignoble stone.

Doesn't matter whether fish were caught. Our thirsty lungs filled up with fresh air like sails on a great ship. We ate too much and we laughed too hard and we slept like the dead.

Right now I'm recuperating from the long drive home, the hours of unpacking and piles of laundry, and I'm absolutely warm for the first time in days. Man, it was cold up there – cold being the understatement of the year.

I'll tell you more about it later. Right now I've gotta have a bath and get ready for work. Gak. How can five days come and go so damned fast?

Dave's lake trout. No, we didn't keep him. He begged
for mercy and promised he'd send bigger relatives in
exchange for his life. We believed him. Haven't had
a fish lie to us yet.

The pensive Dave. Kiosk's scenery always makes us that way.

Don and Liz in the Good Ship Sink-a-lot.

Adorable Misty in her lifejacket.

Tom and Sue hanging round the campsite.

Trying mightily to catch a fish in the golden light of sunset.

Old pier at the place where Lake Kioshkokwi meets the Amable du Fond river.

View from the campsites.
Amable du Fond, rushing into Kioshkokwi.
When the suckers are running, this is the best place
to catch huge fish.
The ranger cabin at Kiosk. The cabin dates back to when the lake was first
settled by trappers, fur traders, lumber barons and the railroad. Tourists wanting to experience
that authentic old-time feeling can rent out the cabin for about a hundred bucks a night.
Some outdoors purists say they don't like Kiosk because of the remnants of
those old lumber days but I think it's why I love this place so much.
It's history, our history. It's who we are.

36 comments:

  1. I love your blog, what a wonderful time, glad you are warm again but thank yo once again for sharing this adventure. We love to camp too, there air is so clean, I always feel cleaner inside, spiritually too, congratulstion on your A-to -Z! xo Kel

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    1. I always feel cleaner on the inside too, but not after five days without a proper bath, a little grungy on the outside!!!!! Thanks Kel! oxoxo

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  2. Welcome back. Nice pics. You know you're dealing with good people when they put a life jacket on their dog. I love that shot. She's a real cutie.
    ~jon

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  3. It's incredibly beautiful up your way, but I don't know how you all handle the cold. 5 days really can go by fast can't they?

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    1. I was wearing several layers: a long-sleeved t-shirt, a hoodie sweatshirt, an actual winter coat and a windbreaker. Plus long johns, jeans, windpants, boots and gloves. I felt like a kid in a snowsuit that could hardly move. And after a day out on the water we were still frozen to the bone! Oh well... gotta love the cold when you're a Canadian!

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  4. Did you keep the log or throw it back?
    Glad you had a good time. Don't think I would've survived though. My idea of camping is a well-kept nature trail with a four-star hotel waiting at the end.

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    1. We threw it back to let it have log babies.
      (Four star hotel - Alex, where's that Ninja???)

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  5. Welcome back! 5 days is not long enough. You just get relaxed and into vacation head then bam! you're going home.

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    1. Thanks Austan! Yeah, no kidding. Five days isn't even close to being long enough. I'm thinking retirement is just about long enough!!!

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  6. Glad to see you back. I stayed right over here where it was warm and waved at you.

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  7. Looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing the photos.

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    1. No, thank you Squid! I always love the blue in your headshot there... makes me want to go swimming.

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  8. Misty looks so adorable. Other than that, you all look cold. Cold. Cold.

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  9. Welcome back! Regardless of your fishing success, I'm sure a good time was had by all - which just goes to show that you can still have a fulfilling time without e-technology! ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Sue! Yep, it's possible to leave the phone and computer behind... I had a couple of itches to check my e-mail but couldn't. It was like going cold turkey. Really, really COLD turkey!

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  10. It looks like you caught some fish! Did you eat them too? And you'll have to excuse this city girl for thinking Algonquin...she's talking roundtable right! As in Dorothy Parker and witty reparte ;)

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    1. Nah, Dave and I never keep our fish. We always catch and release. Dave's brother Tom cooked up his trout, thought, and apparently it was absolutely delicious.
      And HA, Dorothy Parker! Yes, there was lots of witty and witless conversation but Algonquin is a real park, one of Canada's most well known chunks of wilderness. Painter Tom Thomson made it famous.

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  11. Welcome back. It seems a good time was had by all.

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  12. Oh, wow, sounds like you spend five days in heaven. (Well, maybe if it had been a little warmer, anyhow.) Sounds marvelous, though. Only I would have cooked that fish. (They've been known to lie, ya know.)

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    1. I thought it was only the fishermen who told whoppers!!!!!

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  13. Lovely, just lovely. Welcome home, although five days would simply not be enough for me!

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    1. I seriously want to be you, Texas! Some day...

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  14. It looks absolutely beautiful. Sounds like you had a great time! Good luck with more fish on your next trip!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! We hope to make it back in a couple of weeks -try out luck again.

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  15. How did your log taste? Just throw a bit of BBQ sauce over it and...

    Love the pics, and glad you had fun.

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    1. I like my steaks cooked so well done that they might as well be a log with BBQ sauce on them...

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  16. That is so beautiful!! I laughed at your description of what everyone caught and the sinking of the boat.

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  17. Another vignette from Algonquin Park. Spent lots of summer days there when I was growing up. Even spent a little bit of our honeymoon there. That was in 1969.

    I'm sure there have been a LOT of changes since then.

    BTW, how does one get to Kiosk?

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    1. I just love that you spent so much time in Algonquin, Rob! Another cool thing about you!

      If you're coming from the south, you take Highway 11 up to North Bay and then hang a right (east) on Highway 17. Drive along 17 for about half an hour until you come to the road to Kiosk - I forget the number of the road but it's well marked with park signs (and it's before you get to Mattawa, just after Corbeil). You turn right on that road and follow it for about 25 minutes until the road ends at the park.

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  18. Envy. Quite a lot of it. That sounds like a wonderful week away. I am glad that you are warm and talking to us again but you are welcome to go away again if we get such wonderful stories and the photos to match. What a generous soul I am.

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How's it going, eh? It's SO good to hear from you. Tell me every darn thing...