The first time I went to Algonquin Park was back in 2007, when I went for a long day trip. I hugged a big tree, saw a moose and a chipmunk and was generally delighted with how lovely it was there. It’s astonishing I haven’t made it back until this year, so I got pretty excited at the prospect of a 4 day weekend of camping there!
Friends Dan & Kirsty had been camping in Algonquin Park before & are all set up with great gear & know-how so they were our bastions of excellence for the trip! We decided on a pet-friendly campground (Canisbay Lake) so we could bring our dogs, and got all set with plans. Pals Fiona & Dan were coming too, so we bundled into their car with Jake for the trip! Luckily Dan & Kirsty had a lot of what we needed, and we were able to borrow a tent from friends here in Toronto who camp often.
It was so nice to get away for a slightly extended long weekend (thanks, civic holiday!). While the weather wasn’t perfect (rain showers each day, and big rain overnight our last night there), we made the most of the non-rainy parts of the weekend. For starters, we went canoeing! I had never done this before and was slightly nervous about being out on a big lake in a small boat – but it was so fun. Once we got ourselves sorted out and paddling nicely, we had a couple of trips. One was to toodle around a small island in the lake not far from the main beach, and then the other was to follow a bit of the shoreline around in a loop. It’s a calming thing, having a nice paddle on a gorgeous lake.
We also went on a nice big hike on the Track and Tower trail – it was lovely to be properly out in the woods and see a couple more lakes, and go up to the lookout there. We weren’t exactly right in the wilderness with our campsite, so the hike was great to have a taste of that and get some exercise. The dogs loved it too! Jake really took to wandering up and down the trail with us, and investigating everything. We didn’t see any wildlife, but heard a bunch of birds and saw gorgeous flora and geology!
Apart from the great outdoor adventures, it was just super to hang out with two of my fave couples! We did some fun camp cooking (and Dan and Kirsty were the BEST about bringing delicious stuff for Adam and I to add to our tofu etc), and I had my first smore and made a fire cone! And when we weren’t eating (which, let’s face it, we were eating a lot), we played some games! We also had some fun with weird fire and sparklers on our last night before the rain hit.
It was a great weekend, and I felt so rejuvenated being out there in Algonquin, which is a stunning provincial park. Having a dip in the lake, sitting by the fire, cuddling Jake and Adam in the tent and waking up to the sounds of birds was just what I needed! Sure it was nice to come home to creature comforts, but I’m already thinking about the next time I can get away camping!
If you enjoyed the photos here, my full set is on Flickr.
- Tomorrow is Star Wars day. Enjoy these wonderful geometric and abstract Star Wars portraits!
- And while we’re at it, who wants to send me this hoodie? Han and Chewie in one! Yesss.
- Finding inspiration in negative space makes for good art. See?
- Seals love belly rubs – you’ve always guessed it, right? RIGHT? Well, now you can see it in action. (From 0:35 on)
- A pen that 3D prints as you write with it in thin air? No way. This is the future. Check it out!
- Remember that kid playing Space Invaders on the side of a building? Now someone’s done it with Tetris!
- I’m pretty sure these would cripple me, but I do love the look of them!
- This is a genius re-imagining of the houses from the Game of Thrones series as modern brands. All of them are wonderful, but this is the most golden of all:
- How would you like to kick back to a smooth jazz cover of the Game of Thrones theme? Yep.
- Someone went through a lot of painstaking photoshopping to create these images of classic album covers superimposed over real life locations. That is some very specific stuff. One of my personal favourites is..
- Giant machinery playing jenga – no, you didn’t think you needed to see it. But it is thoroughly enjoyable.
- I’m looking for work right now, and I’m beginning to think I need to something creative to sell my Administrative Superstar package just like this amazing Lego Resume! It stands out from the crowd, no lie.
One of my favourite museums to visit when I was living in London (England) was the Natural History Museum, especially when it was time for the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards exhibition. This year, it’s traveled to us across the pond here in Toronto, and it’s currently on show at the Royal Ontario Museum. I attended during the member’s preview hours on Friday, and was not disappointed.
Tucked away near the Roman galleries on level 3 is a space used beautifully to funnel you through the various categories of images. Animal behaviours, plant life, landscapes and more artistic captures are presented on backlit panels, making the quality and colour (or crispness of B&W) pop amazingly. It is hard not to be drawn in by each and every image not just because of the content and composition, but the sheer beauty of them all.
There’s no shortage of amazing photography in this exhibition, naturally – but I am always drawn to the young photographer’s categories. I have been fascinated by wildlife and nature from a young age (suckled on David Attenborough’s documentaries, and the like), so it’s encouraging and inspiring to see young folks getting out into the world to snap the incredible photos displayed in this exhibition. I wish I’d had the drive and skill when I was young to do the same – although I’m sure digital photography has made it a far more accessible hobby.
Passing through the specific categories of competition, towards the end of the exhibition there are more specialized showings of photos – portfolios of outstanding nature photographers, and photo essays. The essays are particularly striking not just because of their look, but their substance – the first is a horrifying look at the ivory trade, and the other on the devastating affect of dams along the Amazon. They’re brutal to see, but tell their stories incredibly well.
I encourage you all to visit the ROM in general, but it’s also worth the little extra admission to see this exhibition. Drink in the beauty of wildlife in their natural habitats, and how incredibly skilled all of the photographers are in capturing it. If you even have a passing interest in wildlife documentaries and imagery, you will not be disappointed. And if you’re going – let me know! I would visit this again and again.
Another wave of photos uploaded to Flickr but not yet shared on social media means photo dump time! Click to see larger on Flickr.
Grab a cuppa, settle in and soon enough you’ll look up in a haze of “Oh, have I been looking at stuff on the internet for 3 hours?” Enjoy!
- Let’s start with something heartwarming and equality-affirming, shall we? Have a look through the photos at Hold Hands In Sochi, the Same Sex Hand Holding Initiative. This is a “campaign to ask everyone present at the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games to take every opportunity to hold hands in public with a person of the same sex to denounce the anti-gay laws in Russia and to call the IOC to action to end discrmination in sport”.
- I love to see animals in their natural habitats, and this series of images of the Glowing Bobtail Squid are an incredible example. Keep them where they belong!
- More nature awesome – see what it looks like scooting about on the back of an eagle. The parts where it’s gliding are so amaaaaaazing.
- Nothing specifically Adventure Time this week, but if you’re into that show you’d probably dig Bravest Warriors from the same creator. There’s a very short first season (all online to watch!), and they’ve made some mini videos to bridge into season 2, so get watching!
- I’ve never seen anything quite like this “motion graphics-infused” dance piece before, it’s super engaging!
- Ever wanted to see the Galapogas Islands? Now you can! Google street view, bringing wonderful natural habitats and animals into your computer boxes daily. (And at least we’ll always have street view of the Great Barrier Reef too, seeing as PM Tony Abbott is out to destroy it.)
- Geena Davis shows off her Olympic-level archery skills in support of gender equality in film, television & …archery 🙂
- I’ve linked to some awesome themed bedrooms before, but this Super Mario one obviously takes the cake. So super!
I hope you all have splendid plans for the weekend (and that it includes voting if you’re any of my Australian readers!). I’ll be spending the bulk of my weekend…
- …at Toronto’s 29th annual Vegetarian Food Festival! This massive event showcases what awesome businesses and organizations promote health and goodness on a veg diet, and the benefits having a vegetarian lifestyle can also have on the environment and wellbeing of animals. Lectures, workshops, cooking demos and incredible delicious food as far as the eye can see. I’m going to be meeting up with my vegan knitting group to hang out on the lawn at Harbourfront and enjoy snacks while we craft and catch up, too!
- And speaking of vegan foods, September is Vegan Mofo this year (the Vegan Month Of Food)! I took part a few years ago now, but I didn’t feel like I could keep up with the daily blogging enough to do it this year (maybe next year!). They have a great roundup on the blog of what amazing awesome vegan foodie things are being posted, so if you’re interested in finding out about the world of vegan deliciousness, that’s a great place to start!
- I enjoy this series of tips and etiquette for NYC, but in particular this one, which applies anywhere you have a subway/train system!
- If you’re still looking for awesome coffee mugs even after the great one I linked to last week, maybe you’d like to be the only one with the antidote?
- There’s a family here in southern Ontario living like it’s 1986 for a year to try and shift their reliance on technology away and let their kids enjoy life more. It’s a pretty interesting experiment.. I’m almost 100% I couldn’t stand to do it. And the mullet is really taking it too far…
- LEGO have a new female minifig, and she’s a scientist! That’s pretty awesome.
- I need a treehouse just so I can have a bicycle-powered elevator to get to it!
- Did you know there’s a whole website dedicated to geeky engagements/weddings? Well, you do now.
- Mystery underwater ‘crop circles’ explained! Grab a cuppa and enjoy the show, as everyone likes some Spirograph aesthetics, right? (..right?)
- I’m all about quirky museum-based things, and this project ticks all those boxes: “We are proud of our stewardship in developing the wonderful heritage of cereal specimen museum displays.” Amazing.
- I’ve been taking a trip back in time watching X-Men: The Animated Series on Netflix this week, it’s been great! Someone decided to take the X-Men a little further back in time, though, and created this fantastic series of medieval X-Men.
- Of course I didn’t forget about including an Adventure Time link, reader! What kind of fool do you take me for? Head to We Love Fine for awesome title card prints like this one: