"We are coming down from the UK and eloping near Algonquin Park, are you available and would like to make the trek?" the message read from Rhiannon and Adrien - "That sounds amazing, of course I would!" I replied.
"Why Algonquin Park?"
"We were both studying in Canada from the UK while in (different) Universities and accidentally met on a Student trip to Algonquin Park. The rest is history but ever since, that area has held a special place in our hearts."
The last time I had been in Algonquin Park it was years ago, we were camping in the middle of July and it rained - literally - all day long. I bought and slung a 1200 sq. ft. tarp over our campsite to which another tent had relocated as their campsite got flooded.
Prior to that, my wife and I had been been dating for a few years and we came up there for a day trip in the fall - it was the most magical fall setting that I could remember.
After a quick Skype call with Rhiannon and Adrien, the decision to make the 2 hour and a bit trek was a no brainer, we just clicked and I knew that this would be an awesome experience.
Fast forward to a late September day I arrive at the Air BnB that Rhiannon and Adrien rented; which ended up being a gorgeous and tastefully decorated "A" Frame cottage on the most serene part of lake Menominee in the Lake of Bays Area. Trott Cottage.
We do a quick first look and short ceremony on the dock, get the documents witnessed by the owners of the cottage and we're off on our adventure. First Stop, a picturesque parkette in the lake of bays area. On our way to our next stop, Ragged Falls, we chat about academia, hr policy in the UK vs Canada and exchange quick stories about various parts of the country - Rhiannon and Adrien's next stop was the East Coast.
Getting to ragged falls involved a quick hike and the occasional congratulations to Rhiannon and Adrien from passerby's. After the falls we jumped back in the car and drove deeper into Algonquin Park, our goal was to find some more foliage that had started to change. At that point the sky became completely overcast which helped the orange fall colours pop. At this point we were already almost 4 hours into our day, we headed back to Lake of Bays with a quick little detour to a (not so secret) outlook point in Huntsville. Due to the overcast we didn't we were going to get a sunset, but the closer it got to sunset time the more the cloud cover disappeared. What we thought was going to be a disappointment turned out to be the softest and most magical sunset I had seen in a long while (seriously, those purples!).
After the sun had set I dropped Rhiannon and Adrien back at the Cottage. Over the day I felt like I was just hanging out with 2 friends that I had known for a long time.
Rhiannon and Adrien, see you next time I'm in the UK!