Canoeing at Balsam Park

Balsam Lake Provincial Park is a lovely spot to go camping or spend the day. I went last year with a group of friends, and I would highly recommend it for anything from small group outings to large group get-togethers.

Situated on quiet and beautiful Balsam Lake, this park and campground has everything you’d need for an enjoyable camping trip or daytrip.

A big highlight of my trip was canoeing. It was the first time I’ve ever canoed (is that even a word?) and I am so glad I did.

We went out into the water — a small group of us. We tried to pair up non-canoers with canoers. My canoer partner accepted the non-canoer in me; first, he taught me the basics of propelling and steering, and then I felt like I really got a grip on how to navigate the waters.

I know I make it sound like I learned how to sail in the high seas like the captain of a ship, but really, in that moment, it did feel just as magnificent. In that moment, I was gliding through the water… propelling myself through it, it felt like nothing else mattered. I was the front canoer, so I had no one in front of me. The direction we were travelling, I could only see the dark evergreens lining the opposite shore of the dark blue waters. The expansive views took my breath away. It felt amazing. It felt like I was in control. It was a new experience.

Unlike swimming, or driving, or walking (things I’m accustomed to), it was something new. It was refreshingly moving. And it’s also great to know that there is so much out there for me to learn.

Of course, no one took their phones (except maybe me, who managed to get one photo). That one photo is on this post. It’s about all I can materialistically muster up from my canoeing trip, but the plethora of sensory information that was deposited in my head from that experience is spine-tinglingly revitalizing.

The following activities are available at your leisure at BLPP (from the Ontario Parks website):

  • Hiking
  • Canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Biking
  • Natural Heritage Education
  • Birding

Cost: Rentals (from what I remember) are just $25/day for each canoe. This includes the canoe, 2 oars, and life jackets for two riders. Each canoe can fit up to 2 riders. Since we shared the canoes, 2 people at a time, we also shared the life jackets. From the park, we also got mini safety kits to take with us in the canoe, including some inflatable safety equipment, a flare-type thing, and a whistle to signal for help if we ever needed it.

Supplies: The park ranger advised us to take some snacks and water with us. Yes you’re surrounded by water, but a water bottle would be helpful if you’re going to be out on the lake for a long time. We took a box of cookies, and water bottles, and enjoyed the round trip.

Check out Ontario Parks and Recreation’s Balsam Lake Provincial Park website for more info and to plan your trip. Include canoeing in your itinerary and tell me how it went.

Cheers,

AJ

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