This year we somehow managed to get the last two sites in early July for a 5 night stretch at Achray Campground in Algonquin Park. Not only were they the last two sites available at the time but they were side by side and on the beach. Perfect.
We were a little nervous about what the weather would bring in light of the fact that June was so wet but in the end we managed to only have one sprinkling of a rain shower. Finally.
The kids spent their free time between swimming at the beach and catching frogs, tadpoles, leeches, and (many) snakes. And except for one good-sized bullfrog that ended up being snake bait, all creatures great and small were left unharmed and released back into the wild.
The only drawback of the trip would have to be the bugs. The cool, wet months preceding our week provided prime breeding grounds for all kinds of biting critters. We found ourselves swarmed by black flies and mosquitoes in the early morning and late evening and during the heat of the day we swatted and cursed the horseflies, deer flies, sand flies, and even the Chinese houseflies. What are "Chinese houseflies" you ask? Well they are the speedy little houseflies (apparently called stable fly or dog fly) that have evolved into blood sucking flies that bite rather than lick. Man are they annoying. At least with horseflies and deer flies you get to let out a satisfying victory scream with every second smack (my personal technique is to follow the smack with a rather gross but very efficient roll in order to ensure that the little bastards don't fly away only to bite you again).
In an attempt to avoid the bugs most of our outings involved a paddle to some remote campsite or jumping rock. And of course we made the prerequisite (short) hikes to the Tom Thompson plaque and the spectacular Barron Canyon.
One small highlight of the week was when we finally took the time to test out our new Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker. Although it did take a fair bit of effort (true dat!) it was by far one of the most tasty vanilla ice creams I've ever had. Thumbs up all around.
It's hard to believe that another year at Achray has come and gone. Although camping season is far from over it's always a sad moment pulling the canoe out of the water and turning my back on such a beautiful place. I can certainly understand what urged Tom Thompson to put brush to canvas when he painted this landscape in his infamous "Jack Pine".
Until next year...