Lake Opeongo, ON - Caroline White
When I was 16, my summer camp took me to the beautiful Algonquin Park. Algonquin Park is huge and difficult to navigate by foot, so canoeing was pretty much mandatory to be able to go anywhere we wanted to go. It was important to know the water and not feel powerless in it.
Fortunately for me, I had prior experience canoeing. Unfortunately for my group, most people did not. As we paddled halfway across the lake, a light drizzle started to fall from the sky. That quickly turned to strong winds and heavy rain. The lake’s waves grew to two times the height of the canoes. People began to panic. It was very important that we head for land as soon as possible. Both camp counselors with the group were humiliatingly unfamiliar with what to do in this situation, and were panicking as well. I decided to step up and lead the way.
After 20 minutes of struggling, our group finally reached land. We laughed nervously, happy that we were able to escape the storm’s wrath. Once the storm ended, we were finally able to enter the lake again. We arrived at our destination and began setting up tents. Everyone was sweaty, wet, and most of all, thirsty. After putting iodine drops in a bottle of lake water, we had to wait 30 minutes to ensure the water was safe to drink. That half an hour felt like forty. We all stank, and couldn’t wash our hands or body because snapping turtles lived in the lake.
Looking back, that trip was nothing short of gross and frightening. Weirdly, however, I also felt a sense of accomplishment from the trip. Deep down inside, I want to experience it again. Perhaps I’m not as much of a city girl as I thought I was.