Tripping Course Report
May 18-21, 2012   Big Crow Lake, Algonquin Park

   Our tripping course began with several seminars to prepare us for our visit to Algonquin Park. We practiced knots, rescues and navigation, learned about risk management and searches, discussed trip leadership, and heard lots of stories under the guidance of Rob and Peter. 

We worked together to coordinate our trip gear.  Each of us prepared a trip log, a lesson to teach the group and a fictitious trip plan.  Some tried their hands at using a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer to prepare food for the first time.

    On Friday morning we all arrived at the shed early, loaded canoes and headed for Pog Lake Campground arriving well ahead of schedule… wow!  That evening the infamous emergency scenarios began.  We were a bit surprised by the first one but after that, we were ready and waiting for the others:  a semi-conscious person, a bear in camp, a lost participant, a stove explosion causing burns… and so it went.  The most exciting was Peter dressed in his “bear hat” as he approached our campsite growling.  We were ready to pepper spray him but he got scared off by the loud banging pots.

    At a bright and early hour on Saturday we drove to the Opeongo store where Peter had arranged for Algonquin Outfitters water taxis to take us north across Lake Opeongo to the north arm.  We arrived at the one and a half kilometer portage before noon and made two passes with our gear.  We got into our canoes to paddle across Proulx Lake, across Little Crow Lake and into Big Crow Lake.  About 4 o’clock a campsite was chosen on the east side of the lake and camp was rapidly set up.  Some of us went for a swim to cool down.  The weather was very hot.  In the evening dead wood was found nearby and a campfire was constructed.  Thanks to Brian’s organization, we each took turns cooking, doing dishes and collecting wood.

    On Sunday morning we were out in the canoes again before 9 o’clock.  We headed across the bay to a fire tower.  The trail ended before we found the tower but we “bushwacked” our way to the top just the same.  In the afternoon we learned how to rig canoes for lining and tracking on a nearby creek.  According to the map, we were camped near a section of forest known for huge old pine trees.  Once again we followed a trail which ended far too soon in an attempt to find the elusive huge pine trees.  At supper time we returned to camp but we had not found any pine trees larger than those at our campsite.  For dessert Brian baked pudding chomeur in one Dutch oven.  Yumm!  A second Dutch oven was baking cinnamon buns for breakfast.   They smelled good and it was hard to wait until breakfast to taste-test them.  We were amazed at the great meals that could be made on the “second week of a trip”.  We each made a 15 minute presentation to teach the group about some local element of culture, history or science.

    Early on Monday morning we packed up our gear and headed back to the portage.  We arrived well ahead of schedule but still overloaded ourselves trying to carry as much as possible on the first pass.  Some laughs could be heard at the finish.  Many of us saw our first water taxi line-up.  After lunch on the portage trail, a water taxi took us and our canoes back to the Opeongo store for refreshments and a drive home.  We had supper in Renfrew on the way and distributed gear and canoes at the YCCC shed before heading home. 

    Thanks to Rob and Peter for taking the time to teach us new things and thanks to all of the participants for the cooperation and good times!

Cinnamon Bun Recipe: (Makes 2 loaves of bread or about 18 cinnamon buns)
(Thanks to Dot Brissard in Wanham, Alberta, now deceased)

2 cups hot water (not boiling and pretty warm)
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
2  2/3  tablespoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon quick rise Fleishmans yeast (1 and a half small packets)
1/3 cup oats
about 3  1/2 cups flour

Mix above ingredients.  
Add flour until the dough no longer sticks to you or to the bowl (may need an extra 1/2 cup flour.)
Roll out into rectangular shapes.

Cover with:
a small amount of oil (1 tablespoon)
a generous helping of brown sugar (1 cup)
lots of cinnamon.

Roll up and cut into one inch pieces.  Makes about 18.
For larger buns, let sit in a warm place for 10 to 20 minutes.

If cooking in an oven:  
Oil bottom of pan
Bake 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until golden.

If using a Dutch oven at camp:
Oil the bottom of the 12 “ Dutch oven.
Place pieces in the pan to fill it evenly.
Light 18 charcoal briquettes to get them burning.
Bake with 18 charcoal briquettes, 8 below, 10 on the lid scattered evenly.
Wrap around the oven with aluminum foil twice.  
Leave a small opening in the top of the foil.
Bake 45 minutes.

Note:  This dough could also make buns, bread, pizza or wraps for hotdogs.  ENJOY!