Monday, July 27, 2009

Algonquin Trip 2009

"I hope something terrible happens that changes our perspective on life forever."

That's the tongue in cheek text message I sent to Geoff, the organizer of the canoe trip, the day before we set off. It quickly became apparent that the universe failed to pick up on the sarcasm.


We set out in pouring rain and it hardly stopped for hours of canoeing to a camp site on Tom Thomson Lake in Algonquin Park (about here). The rain soaked through sleeping bags, it created a lake inside our tent, and worst of all, it fucked up a medical device that one of us sorta needs to not die. That sent two of our group desperately canoeing away for help before dark fell, while the other two of us stayed to guard the camp and await rescue.

There are some perspective-changing things that go through your mind while lying awake on a cold, wet ground, unsure if your friends are okay and how you'll get out of the middle of nowhere. Stuff like "I'll never take for granted how comforting it is just to have telephones around"; "how could I have ever complained about stuff like doing laundry, when I should be happy just to have dry clothes"; "I should just tell people how much I care about them, because life is short." You know, the usual stuff everyone knows but often doesn't really feel.


All of us got home safe, a bit earlier than expected but the short time we spent there was an exciting adventure that I'll never forget. And the thing is, now that I'm back home, maybe I appreciate a bit more being able to shit without a horse-fly taking a chunk of flesh out of my ass, but that stinky damp camp laundry is still sitting there unclean. Which perhaps highlights a defining human trait: adaptability. We can think and do what we need to in order to survive even the most dire circumstances with our physical and mental health intact. But once we're back in cushy modern life, we go back to taking it for granted and striving for more abstract - and often shallow - goals than mere survival.

Still, I like to think that I'll appreciate life in civilization just a little bit more than I used to, sweat the small stuff less (i.e., be a take-it-easy), and care about what matters more.



6 comments:

Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I love those kind of 'glad the bear didn't find the pork chop in my pocket' kind of adventures. Was once canoeing near Great Slave Lake in the NWT and we hit some rapids tipping the canoe - I cared not about the gear, or the canoe, or my life. I only cared that I didnt' lose my bug hat. If funny what you think of as you are bouncing off the rocks.

SharkBoy said...

Glad you're back home and dry.
For a second there, I thought you would relish us with your own tale of Deliverance...

Phronk said...

Calvin: That's scary as hell. Like, how would you keep the bugs away from your face?

Sharkboy: Yeah luckily there was no squealing like a piggy.

EVILFLU said...

There are way too many scary movies that start exactly like that! Glad you are safe!

Phronk said...

We saw another group of canoers heading out as we were leaving; all youngish girls, really happy and excited to be going on an adventure in the wilderness. It was like a perfect recreation of the beginning of a dozen different horror movies.

katrocket said...

I also have a dozen stories about adventures in Algonquin Park, and only half of them have happy endings. I'm glad that your adventure turned out well.