“November’s transition makes for great adventure”

Being a seinor guide at Voyageur Quest I find that the question, you know “that question”, at parties where you are meeting people for the first time, is difficult this time of year. “So what do you do”, followed by “well I work in the outdoors”, “Oh yeah???”, and I reply “Yeah I work as an outdoor guide in Algonquin Park”. You can imagine how the story goes… inevitably people are jealous of my job at first glance and marvel at how lucky I must be. Well around this time of year the conversation goes a little deeper with the additional question of, “Well what are you doing right now?” Until two weeks ago, I had a standard answer. “Well not much. Nobody really wants to be outside this time of year, you know, the leaves have already fallen and it is cold and rainy, so I basically have a good chunk of time off.”

Well, let me tell you, that standard response has now been scrapped!

This fall has been unseasonably warm (heck we have normally had snow on the ground several days up north by this point some years) and actually quite pleasent. Regardless of this wonderful weather phenomenon, I realize now that I was forgetting about the beauty and the quality of pacing that mid to late fall can offer. Just last weekend I hosted 4 ladies at our Cottage Outpostlookout lunch in Algonquin 1 for weekend getaway. A mother and her three daughters. Pretty standard fare some might say, well this trip was also special in that the mother was 88 years old and they were embarking on family excursions in the outdoors as a result of a medical scare. Now I consider myself to be pretty in tune with the seasons and what times are great for outdoor experiences, so here I was thinking that I could be in trouble trying to deliver a wonderful outdoors themed trip in the late fall with a quite elderly lady.

I had forgotten the core of what autuum was all about! Bundling up and going out for fresh walks where the leaves crunch underfoot, you can see through the hardwood trees to all the wonders that the forest hold, and the crisp air invigorating your lungs. Slowing down and appreciating the pace of life in which you can think, hear, and listen. Man! I was missing those things that I treasured as a child, but had started to forget as I got “older and wiser”. Cold doesn’t have to mean bad. Roaring fires in the living room light up the evenings and push away the chill, bundling up in layers for the outdoors is just like a big soft hug, and there truly is something about gulping down that cool crisp air.

And of course, this last trip we did get lucky. It was raging a storm on the day they were arriving. The wind howled and blew down trees all over the area, along with some sideways rains. As these lovely ladies arrived, however, the rain subsided and the wind slowed down. Warm filling soups and dinner fare along with crackling fires ensured high spirits on arrival, and come the next day we had fantastic crisp weather. We adventured outdoors, hiking some trails that held starkly stunning beauty in the openness of late fall, and reaching lookouts that became points of personal pride for my 88 year old client. We shared glasses of wine and hearty veggie lasgana to round off a great day while falling asleep to the roar of the fireplace. I went to sleep that night tired and with my eyes reopened.


Matt Rothwell, Senior guide at Voyageur Quest