Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Algonquin Getaway

Fishing at sunset on Grand Lake

Finally we hit a nice stretch of great weather. Warm sunny days spent on the water and cool nights around the campfire. Now this is what summer's all about.

This weekend we headed back up into Algonquin via Sand Gate and set up a home base at the Achray campground. From here we made day trips in the canoe to various interior campsites where we kicked back and relaxed.

Lunch break on McManus Lake
Building sandcastles Reading with a view
Laid back fishing Mommy takes the dare

By the third day we were absolutely loving it and wished unanimously that we had booked it for at least 6 nights. The kids and I caught snakes, tadpoles, frogs, bullfrogs, and even a fish or two.

Garter Snake caught at Algonquin
Bullfrog Tadpole (aka pollywog)
Northern Water snake

This is a great spot to get away from the big city and relax enjoy nature. It certainly helped too that at least on on side we had some friendly camping neighbors with 2 young children. We may even try to time our trip next year to coincide with theirs.

While on the other side were some local wankers that we found sprawled out on the beach (on the doorstep of our campsite) after returning from one of our day trips. Wasn't so bad until they decided to grope each other between sleeps, smokes, and sips of Guinness. In the end we parked our chairs right beside them and eventually they shoved off.

Until next year...

Sunset on Grand Lake

Monday, July 16, 2007

Camping at Charleston Lake

Break on Charleston Lake

Time again for our annual camping trip at Charleston Lake. This year, like many others, the McMullans joined in on the fun and games.

Sandstone Island Trail

Saturday we hit the Sandstone Island Trail, a 3.3km loop, none of which actually finds itself on an island. Not sure what that's all about.

Hiking Sandstone Island Trail
Wedged rock Hiking Sandstone Island Trail
Baby turkey vultures
Baby turkey vultures

Sunday we hit the ground running and found ourselves paddling the Charleston Lake shoreline by about 10am. Amazing all things considered. We didn't stray too far for fear of a mutiny and after about 4 km we found a nice rocky spot along the shore for a swim and some lunch.

Paddling Charleston Lake
Swim girl, swim Izzy doesn't like swimming
Teaching Izzy to swim. She hated it.

I tested out my new snorkel and mask from MEC that I had got from Santa last Christmas. Although I didn't find anything other than zebra mussels and rock bass it proved to work great.

Fishing on Charleston

A lame attempt at fishing was made by me and the boy but alas we came up short.

And of course the kids caught a snake.

Once again the inevitable afternoon wind and waves made an appearance on Charleston Lake and we quickly packed up and headed back to the beach.

That evening we enjoyed Cowboy Steaks from Reid's Dairy. Prepackaged and marinated. Very tasty, especially when dipped in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce which we had picked up earlier from Price Choppers in Lake Placid. Or as SBR says, "The Sauce is the Boss".

Swimming at Charleston Lake

After a couple of hours at the beach, the last day was spent packing up and cooking up one last meal. BBQ chicken with Sweet Mild Jakarta Curry dip served on a fresh bun. Another hit with the entire group.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Attack of the Killer Bluesfest!

Bluesfest 2007

This year's line-up for Ottawa's Bluesfest is by far the best ever. Hands down.

Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, The White Stripes, Buddy Guy, Lucky Peterson, George Clinton, Leo Kottke, Béla Fleck, Jimmie Vaughan, Steve Miller, Blue Rodeo, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, and of course moe. And that's just to mention some of the bigger names. If you've ever attended the Bluesfest before you should well know that some of the best acts are the "unknowns" on the smaller stages.

Once again my camping overlapped the opening week of Bluesfest (I may have to start rethinking this arrangement) so I missed out on Van Morrison and Dylan.

The White Stripes2
Photo by Ian David Blüm.

The first show I did catch was The White Stripes on Sunday and what an amazing show that was! It was an unbelievable the wall of sound that Meg and Jack White pump out. I would definitely recommend seeing them live and count me in for the trip.

The White Stripes3
Photo by Ian David Blüm.

The next gig I hit was moe. followed by George Clinton and the P-Funk. The moe. show was great but being slightly less than an hour it was likely the shortest set they've ever played (they're known to play at least 3 hours).

moe. at Bluesfest
Chuck Garvey and Rob Derhak of moe. Al Schnier of moe.

Last show of the evening was George Clinton aka the Funk Founder, the Atomic Dawg Architect, the Ambassador From The Mothership. You just knew from the moment the guy with the diaper jumped on stage that you were going to be funkified. The show was incredibly entertaining.

Parliament Funkadelic
Photo by Rich Anderson.

With 22 musicians and dancers in the line-up it was like a funkified version of Cirque du Soleil. A crazy ass groove with some hilarious commentary from the Funkmeister himself.

The festival runs until this coming Sunday - a total of 12 days - but unfortunately that is it for me this year. But I'm already looking forward to next...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Whiteface Mountain, ADK Park, NY

Top of Whiteface Mtn

While camping in the Adirondacks we decided to make a day trip up Whiteface Mountain. Luckily we picked the day that had the least rain and the most sunshine.

Checking out what Whiteface has to offer

Click here for the complete slideshow of our trip up Whiteface Mountain.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day, eh!

Police man Tripper

Canada is now 140 years old. Ottawa is 150. On December 31, 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the then province of Canada (modern Quebec and Ontario) and chose Ottawa. 150 years young. Certainly an achievement of sorts but not nearly as old as my favourite London pub, Ye Olde Mitre Established in 1546. Now that's old.

Here are a few photos from the day.

Petting the RCMP and chatting with the horses
RCMP musical ride
RCMP musical ride
Come early if you want to see the RCMP musical ride, the closest we got was the entrance/exit gate. No complaints though.

Snowbirds are hard to capture on film. They come and go with little warning.

And some famous faces...
Stephone Dion Eva Avila
Prime Minister

Every 5th roof top had a couple of these sharp shooters on it. Good to see they were watching over us although I wouldn't want to see their training put to the test.
Watchful eyes

Cheers and Happy Canada Day!