This week I learned how to paddled board and drive a boat! I had an amazing time.
There is no doubt about it – the whirlwind that was last week of finalizing the purchase, picking up and packing a brand new trailer to head out for a week of camping in just over 48 hours was kind of ridiculous as we looked back on it last Sunday as we wrote our post in the beautiful confines of our site in Arrowhead Provincial Park. It still is even now as we reflect back on the full week we spent out in Wolfie Too breaking her in learning how we will camp different. But, more importantly we wouldn’t have it any other way as here we are sitting on the other side of an amazing week away that feels like we did two weeks of things in the span of one!
Monday this week there was an invite from Uncle Todd to Emelia (and of us too, of course) to meet him in the afternoon at his job at Huntsville Marine so he could take us out on a pontoon boat to tour Fairy and Peninsula Lakes in the Huntsville area. It was a beautiful day and the boat was no slouch either. We spent the afternoon lazing about on the well outfitted boat marvelling at just how beautiful this neck of the woods that Charlie, Todd & Marshall have taken up life in. And the bonus was that Uncle Todd gave Emelia a lesson how to drive the boat and even let her take and at the ship’s wheel. And she was pretty fantastic at it. She went to bed that night – too late as is the camp norm – talking our ear off about learning how to drive a boat. She was in heaven.
We had Todd, Charlie & Marshall back to the campsite for dinner that night – the lot of us all around one of the two picnic tables on our site. Marshall & Emelia held court entertaining the adults, while we all sat around, laughing and just enjoying the company of each other and the food. After Todd, Charlie & Marshall left for the night, we took our second trip down to Stubb’s Falls which was right by our campsite. This time with the rocks having dried up from the weekend rain, we were able to venture down further off the path and get a firsthand view of the falls. We had seen pictures of them on the web site when we were first researching the campground, but it was something entirely different to see them up close. They were stunning.
Tuesday Charlie didn’t have to work, so she and Marshall met us at the campsite so we spent the day at the beach swimming on Arrowhead Lake. We had great fun, and around dinner time Charlie & Marshall headed back to Bracebridge for the night while we had a relaxing dinner and then decided that we needed to try an evening swim out at one of the other beaches. The water was calm, the air cool and the sunset that was happening was absolutely stunning. But sooner than later we needed to head back to the campsite as it was getting pretty chilly and we wanted to have a campfire.
Wednesday was another huge, experience day for Emelia. Since arriving at the campsite and seeing they had paddleboards to rent, Emelia had constantly been telling us she wanted to try it. We decided with the weather really warming up that Wednesday was day for this. It also allowed us to sneak another trip into Huntsville to pick up some supplies without her losing her mind—there was something on the other side for her! Getting to paddleboard! She took to the paddleboard almost immediately not that it should surprise anyone given the muscles and poise she has developed doing gymnastics. Danielle and I even had tries at it, but after we had found out what it was like, we both almost immediately gave over any more turns we had so that she could have almost the entire two hours of rental to paddleboard. By the time we wrapped up, Charlie and messaged us an invite for dinner back at their place and an after dinner swim in Lake Muskoka… How could we refuse?
There was no better moment for Danielle and I this week than witnessing Emelia & Marshall going for a post dinner swim under the fiery sky sunset in Lake Muskoka. There was laughter, there was jumping off docks, and there were parents just sitting back taking mental Polaroids of these memories as they unfolded in front us. I tried to capture as many as I could with the iPhone in case the memory starts too fail. But as we sat there and watched the sunset closing a near-perfect day we were truly thankful for this wonderful little life we’ve carved out, as well as the people we have along for the ride. It was a beautiful moment, and while Emelia will tell you all about driving the boat or paddleboarding for the first time ever, I know without hesitation this evening was the “it” moment for Danielle & I.
Thursday was a big day for Danielle & I. Despite many times having been close we have never made it to one of Canada’s most renowned parks: Algonquin Provincial Park. The first time we went into Huntsville we noticed a signed that urged us the park was only a thirty minute drive away. We both immediately agreed that we would spend one day in the park to see what it was all about. With Charlie and Todd being busy Thursday and the weather forecast not looking so certain, we landed on it as the perfect day. We got up, had breakfast and were on our way. We drove the entire length of Highway 60 through the park from the West Gate to the East Gate taking in a couple of beautiful hiking paths, stopping at the Algonquin Arts Centre to take in the Group of Seven inspired art show. Emelia even got a chance to create her own art there, that we will try and convince her to let us hang in the trailer. Our last stop in the park was at the East end and the Algonquin Logging Museum which was an amazing interactive experience that ended with a hike through the woods to experience how the first loggers plied their craft more than a hundred years ago. Friends had highly recommended this stop, and I am so glad we went the distance to see it too. Danielle & I have vowed that we will bring Wolfie Too there for a camping experience next summer.
Friday was all about spending us much time as we could on the site. We did some hiking on the Stubb’s Falls path which was an almost three kilometre loop which was beautiful as all getout but loaded with skitters up the yingyang. We next opted for a bike ride to the Park Store to find us some trinkets to memorialize our trip. We all found something and maybe even an ice cream treat too. We hopped on our bikes and made out way back to the site—this trip about two kilometres one the bikes. We definitely got our exercise in this day!
Knowing that today was our day to come home we were pretty resigned to spend the entire day Saturday in-or-around our campsite. We let Chantelle know that this was the one goal of our day and thankfully she wanted to be part of it too, so after she and Marshall had some lunch they met us at the site where we proceeded to spend the entire day. There was some swimming. There was some napping (for Marshall). And when Todd was done work, he joined us too. Once again we fired up the BBQ and had dinner all together at the picnic table on the site. After dinner, while I tended to the fire Emelia took everyone down to show them Stubb’s Falls. When they all got back we spent a little bit of time around the fire and then it was time for us to part ways as Marshall needed to get to bed. It was bittersweet for sure, but we were certainly pleasantly surprised with a lot more time to connect with Todd, Charlie & Marshall than we originally thought. I mean it was their work week and our week off…
Today we packed up which I think we spent as much time marvelling at how much easier it was, as actually packing up. In the grand scheme of things I think we’re safe to say it is well under half the time to pack up and leave with Wolfie Too than it was with Wolfie. And I even got to try my first hand at emptying the black (human waste) and grey (sink & shower) tanks. It was surprisingly way less messy than I had anticipated! And now that I know what that is all about, I will happily poop away in all of our camping trips going forward. (Not that I didn’t this trip, though). But what a releif to have relief short a short stride away inside our trailer as opposed to those 2 am strolls to partner someone to the comfort station.
At any rate we made great time packing up, reasonably good time getting back home despite having to head back towards Toronto with all the cottage traffic returning home too. And here we sit thinking about what an amazing trip away it was, and how much we love Wolfie Too and what her space and luxury will afford us for the rest of trips planned this year. As much as I am tired and happy to be home, I can’t wait for the next trip out! And I am sure my girls feel the same too!
John captured the week perfectly. I do not have a ton to add but I did want to say one little personal bit. This week was not only about breaking in our new bigger trailer, it was about spending time as a family. We had lots of time to spend as a family of three but as important we got to spend a ton of time with my sister and her family. Being part of my nephew’s day to day is not possible with our families being so far apart. So this week being able to spend so much time with Marshall and seeing and an amazing little boy he is becoming made me happier than words could possibly express. We only get to see Charlie and her family a few times a year and every moment of every visit is absolutely precious to me. Life is so short, the kids childhood goes by in a blink of an eye and I want to be part of every single moment.
So I wanted to take this time to thank my sister for adjusting her schedule as much as she did so we could spend so much time together. I adored seeing Marshall in all his toddler boyhood, all the wonders of pure childhood happiness! We love you guys so much and this week could not have been more perfect if it tried.
So now we are back to reality starting in the morning, John and I are both back to work bright and early tomorrow and our lazy days are behind us, well at least until our next family adventure in Wolfie Too!