It’s the silence mainly, that keeps me returning to this amazing place. Perhaps it's the magnitude of the park also, with stunning views in every direction. Being larger than the entire province of Prince Edward Island, the more than 1500 lakes and endless miles of trails in Algonquin Park make for countless possibilities.It could also be the wildlife sightings, the chance to catch a glimpse of a bear or moose or shiver at the distant howling of a wolf pack. It could be the night skies and it's brightness, making me feel small and insignificant under its extreme vastness. It could be any combination of these factors but I am convinced that, for me anyway, it’s the silence.
Complete, and only interrupted by the welcome and equally soul-lifting cry of the loons, it seems to totally surround, wrapping your being in a cocoon of calm, deafening in its nothingness.After a day of travel by car, by foot and by canoe, we set up our camp on an island located at the eastern edge of Rain Lake. Eight of us: brothers, sons, cousins and nephews connected by blood and by our mutual love of this place.
After setting up, I leave the group and paddle off alone, circling to the other side of the island. The water is perfectly still and flat like a mirror, but for the wake of my passage. The reflections of the clouds and the trees are extraordinarily vivid, another world viewed upside down in the black still water.
I stop paddling and take it all in. The silence is complete, perfect and soul-cleansing. I exhale fully and am at peace. I remind myself to soak it in and burn this scene to memory.After some time, I reluctantly return to my group, joining in the laughter, the camaraderie and the fun. This family is a blessing to me and I am pleased with the knowledge that my sons will retain these memories forever.
At some point my youngest nephew says to me “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I agree. “Do you want to paddle around the island with me?” he asks. “You bet, Matt” I say, smiling. “There’s nothing I’d rather do.”