Escaping the City Lights

For 10 years some new friends of mine have been escaping the city lights for one weekend in the summer each year. They go to get away, get drunk, get sober, switch off and disconnect. That's something I haven't done in a while. I honestly can't remember the last time I went an entire 3 days straight without a signal. If being continuously connected is the drug of the 21st century, then I had been hooked on that shit for a while. I was probably going to need more than just a few hours of rehab before I could start to unwind. Seb, Brian, Leonard and myself woke up dark and early in Toronto on a Friday morning, packed up our gear into the car and hit the road. First things first... McDonalds breakfast and a large double double from Timmy's; Let the journey begin. We made our way north towards the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. When we arrived we pulled into the parks office to pick up our fishing/camping licenses before swinging past another spot to pick up our canoes. We proceeded to load them up with a tonne of gear, with 3 out of the 4 people camping professional photographers we were rolling in heavy. Apparently we weren't as bad as these 2 other dudes who came through and loaded theirs up with Electric Guitars and Amps so they could jam out in the wilderness. If it wasn't for them flipping their canoes and destroying the gear I'm sure it would have been a damn good night!

We paddled and portaged, making our way deeper into the park beating everyone else to the perfect campsite alongside a lake. It was one of the busiest weekends of the year so there were others out there camping, but the sites were so far apart you could generally be as loud as you wanted without disturbing a single soul. I thought "This is exactly what I needed!". A physical distance to separate myself from society so I could focus on just being in the moment and enjoy the natural world around me. And with no ability to text or email I was able to let my mind wander to places usually interrupted by beeps and bops.

After a while I noticed I would sit in one particular spot for 15 minutes before moving to another spot to sit for another 15. At that point I would really need to knuckle down and come up with a plan for where I would sit after that, as you can imagine the extent of my responsibilities was almost insurmountable. Along with all that stressful stuff the first 2 days of our trip was essentially just concentrating on consuming all of the booze we bought. By the 3rd day we would have hopefully ran out and sobered up so we could really hone in and get our zen on with nature.

Everything went according to plan, endless intoxicating creative juices flowing like the river Nile, followed by a lengthy sobering up session where everything started to become more clear. You could sit and listen to the enthralling orchestra of the forest, the hum of the mosquitos, the buzzing of the bees and even the eerie calls of the loons that echo across the water. Analyse yourself as you breath in deeply the divinely clean fresh scented air, filling up your lungs to the brim and exhaling into the soothing breeze.

It was at that point that we were all a bit sick of eating dehydrated packet meals. We had to make a serious attempt at being men and catch some real food in the form of creatures swimming in the lake. Brian stepped up his game and hooked up 2 smallmouth bass. It was my first time cleaning and gutting a fish and it went terribly as expected. Hacked the shit out of it but somehow managed to slice off some nice filet chunks to fry up for dinner.

The main course however was saved for the final day. As is tradition, on the way home to Toronto from the park we made a quick stop at Huntsville for the Swiss Chalet chicken and gravy (extra swiss chalet sauce obviously), plus some Kawartha Dairy ice cream for dessert.

All in all it was a pretty sweet trip, it gave my system a nice little reboot for my continued life in the big city. As good as it is, it's always nice, to escape the city lights.

All photos taken with a Nikon D700 w/ 24mm 2.8 & 50mm 1.4