The Excellent Adventure, V10 Return To Rabbit Blanket lake

For 10 years now, I've been fortunate to travel with my good friend, Tom Green, and others, for a truly amazing time. Often, my son, Joe, or Tom's son Rob, also travel with us. This makes it an even more special bonding experience for me, as I don't see Joseph too often, and not for extended time frames like the annual camping trip.

In recent years (the past 5, I think) our mutual friend Doug Winnie has joined us. In fact, two years ago, Doug hosted the adventure at his cabin in Sonoma. Yep, we were truly roughing it in American wine country... Last year we went where none of us have been before - Newfoundland. It was, in a word, breathtaking. But most often, we find ourselves camping in or near Lake Superior Provincial Park, a 10 - 12 hour drive from Tom's home in Oakville.

The largest EAV team was in 2013, at Rabbit Blanket Lake. From left to right, Joe, Tom, Doug, Phil (Tom's son-in-law), Rob, Marley the Wonder Dog, and me.
We call it, "The Excellent Adventure," and it has indeed been a fantastic trip every year.

This year, it was just the 3 of us (me, Tom, and Doug) and we returned to our roots, so to speak; where it all began. Back to Superior.

Old Woman Bay, Lake Superior Provincial Park

In The Beginning

It was 10 years ago that Tom first invited me on this camping trip, something he had been doing with his son, Rob. I remember being flattered, excited and more than a bit intimidated - Tom was a cub scout leader, and I was worried that I would seem like a real newbie to camping, even though I had hiked parts of the Bruce trail when I was younger. I had also never met Rob, so I wondered if we would hit it off (at best) or at least politely tolerate each other (at worst).

So, I shopped for all the right gear - perfect backpack, perfect self-inflating air mattress, hiking boots etc. I packed my gear stingily, constantly removing things, tweaking the pack.

I drove to Tom's place the evening before the trip, where I got to meet both Rob and Tom's wife, Keltie. Rob and I hit it off quickly, thanks to a common interest; making fun of Tom. Keltie was just happy that someone else was there to ensure Tom didn't end up in the hospital.

And later in the evening, as we gathered all our gear in the front hall, I realized all my worry about lack of experience was for naught. It was the moment when Tom dropped his garment bag, pillow and double-sized air mattress on top of the gear, that I understood, this trip was NOT about roughing it. Not entirely, anyway.

From that year on, I would find some new, geeky camping thing to bring along. such as my combination light fixture and ceiling fan for my tent.

It's All About The Hashtag

We quickly took our trip public, tweeting during the long drive up and then occasionally from town when we could get cell service. #EAV (plus the trip number, like 2, so #EAV2 for Excellent Adventure, Version 2).

While we didn't develop a huge following due to the verbal antics and character assaults, we certainly kept our existing followers entertained. Feel free to search our #EAV10 on Twitter for the latest comic relief.

Go ahead; I'll wait.

In all seriousness, we enjoy sharing the trip with our friends through social media. We don't go overboard, but followers will see tweets on the way up, the way back, and - occasionally - during the trip.

I tend to post a couple images a day to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, mostly to make everyone jealous. ;-)

Return to Rabbit Blanket Lake

The 2016 edition of the trip was a return visit to Rabbit Blanket Lake, inside lake Superior Provincial Park, and about 20 minutes south of Wawa, Ontario

Panorama of Rabbit Blanket lake, made on my iphone 5, processed in Lightroom Mobile.

I booked the sites back in March. I knew that the ones I wanted (we booked three) were the best lakeside campsites available in the park and they would go fast. We were not disappointed with our morning views.

We each had responsibility for doing a couple breakfasts or dinners, we took turns grocery shopping in Wawa, or sourcing "medicinal beverages" from the LCBO (liquor store). And while we certainly did drink, no one got so toasted they couldn't walk, or so loud they woke up other campers. In the evenings, after dinner, there'd be some campfire chat, good natured ribbing (usually at Tom's expense, because, as Doug said more than once, where Tom is involved, the material just writes itself).

Meals and games - and furry company

Doug is our resident Games Master. He can be counted on to bring along 4 or 5 board or card games to help while away the evening. And he was no slouch this year either:

  • Farkle
  • Space Team
  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Citadels

The beach area also gave us an added element of privacy from the main road and other campers. And, of course, it was a prime location to make pictures.

Rabbit Blanket lake, by day and night

Day Trippers

Our plan this year was a somewhat less aggressive; we weren't going to do day trips/hikes every day, as we had in the past. We were going to plan some quiet/relax time around big events like the drive to Aguasabon Gorge in Terrace Bay, or hiking Silver Falls or Sand River.

Silver Falls

Marathon Scenic Lookout and Aguasabon Gorge

Trip to Terrace Bay and Aguasabon Gorge, including scenic lookout near Marathon.

Sand River

Routine

Every other day, we would make the drive into Wawa for groceries or sundry supplies. The trek in and out of town was slowed down this year, due to rock blasting along the highway. We never got to see the big KABOOM! but we saw the results.

Lots of artefacts adorn the various buildings at the Young's General Store.

Logging Roads and Lakes

There were many of both. We travelled two logging roads on a whim, Catfish lake, and I also visited Fenton-Treeby lake on my own one day.

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

I had a wonderful time with two of my best friends this week. But good times seem to zip by, compared to bad, and before we knew it, the time to return was upon us.

It's always a bittersweet experience, knowing the Excellent Adventure has come to an end, but we plan to to keep on having these adventures as long as we're able.

Final Dawn on Rabbit Blanket

For more photos from the trip, please visit my Flickr album, and keep an eye on Behance for a couple new projects.

Created By
Jim Babbage
Appreciate

Credits:

All photography by Jim Babbage

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