Canoe Outfitters Have To Be Truly Patient, Knowledgeable, And Sometimes Even Psychic To Answer Their Clients’ Quirky Questions.

Here are some of the oddest inquiries fielded by businesses in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park last year.

  1. While enroute in the interior of Algonquin, should we assume we will not be able to
    buy food at any snack bars along the way?

2. Would it be useful to have wheels for the canoe, or are the trails to rugged for a wheeled canoe?

3. Is there a way we could get lost or go into a whitewater river by mistake?

4. Is it OK if I email you for a blackfly update May 5 in the evening, for a May 6 response? I am allergic to blackflies and my coming depends on your thoughtful and kind prediction for their emergence.

5. How far is Algonquin from Ontario? Is there a train from Toronto to Ontario and then a bus to Algonquin?

6. I’m wondering if you can suggest a secluded lake that’s not hard to get to, has lots of fish, and no portaging is necessary. Does this exist?

7. I am heading on the Western Uplands Backpacking Trail and need to know how much is it to rent a light two-person canoe for seven days?

8. How far do we have to canoe from the base in order to reach scenic surroundings?

9. We’re interested in a place that “someone” told us about. Perhaps you could tell me a little more about it. The only thing I know is that it’s an island, and to get to it or near it, we will have to pass under either a bridge or a culvert.

10. Would you be able to transport me to and from the lakes I would be canoeing on?

11. We like nature and we want to keep it pretty. Is there anything we need to know about that?

12. I live in Ottawa and want to visit, but I have no idea how to get there or what to expect at this time of year. Would you please write back?

13. I purchased longjohns at your store on January 5. To my dismay, I found out while trying to urinate they do not have a fly. I was not told when I bought them there was no fly. The salesperson was a female so perhaps it’s understandable the omission of a fly would be of no consequence to her. I do not want these longjohns for which I paid $44.95 plus tax. Can I return them for a refund?

This story originally appeared in the 2004 issue of Canoeroots. Recirc is a new column sharing some of our favorite stories from the first 20 years of Rapid, Canoeroots and Adventure Kayak.

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  1. Thanks for the giggles! Sometimes you just have to wonder! I was in Algonquin a few Septembers ago when the park was inundated with folks loving the fall colours. I was standing near a park warden when someone asked him “What time do you let the moose out?”

  2. Re: “Would it be useful to have wheels for the canoe, or are the trails to[o] rugged for a wheeled canoe?”
    Not a dumb question since many portage trails are flat, rolling, and suited to canoe wheels and some decidedly are not, speaking about the portage trails of NY’s Adirondack Park. Canoe carts are quite popular.


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