Ever since I started cycling I’ve had it in my head that I would love to ride from one end of Algonquin Park to the other during the peak of the fall colours. Since returning to live in Ontario that desire has grown into almost an obsession. I wasn’t able to do it last year for whatever reason but this year I was determined that one way or another I’d make it happen.
For the past few weeks I’ve been checking back daily on the Algonquin Park Fall Colour Report to see the progress of the changing colours. Last Thursday I noticed the status had changed from near peak to peak which meant I had to act fast because it doesn’t stay peak for long before all the leaves start to fall.
I had mentioned the idea of doing the ride to my folks who got excited about the idea of doing a day trip up with the dogs to see the park as they (or myself) hadn’t been up there in close to 20 years. I also had Monday and Tuesday off of this week as my office was closed for religious holidays. We took a look at the weather and Tuesday looked like the best choice so we settled on it.
We wanted to get up there early to enjoy a full day out which meant I had to be up for 5am and out the door by 6. I headed up to my folks place where we switched out vehicles and hit the road. As we drove north you could see the leaves slowly starting to change but it didn’t seem to be until you hit the boarder of the park and the sun came out that there was a huge explosion of colour. I’d see pictures of it before but seeing it in person was unreal. I quickly got the bike out, set up the cameras and hit the road.
I had no idea what to expect from the ride but I knew it would take a while as I’d said to myself that speed getting across wasn’t the objective and that if I saw anything that caught my attention that I would take the time to stop and take a photo of it. My only expectations were fall colours at their peak. Within the first 5kms I’d already stopped 3 times and with 67kms to cover I realized that this ride was going to take longer than expected.
One thing I realized quite quickly was that Algonquin Park was a lot hillier than I’d expected but again, I wasn’t in a rush. I’d like to say that I got into my rhythm fairly early on but I kept getting distracted by the colours and scenery that it took me the better part of 30km to find my groove. It seemed with every turn the view just got better and better and without a lie I found myself having “double rainbow” moments where I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the scenery. Those moments however were quickly abolished as I’d crest a corner only to find another huge climb.
One of the huge attractions to Algonquin Park is the wildlife, and the chance of seeing a bloody great big moose. Well unfortunately I didn’t see a moose, just four wild turkeys who were none too impressed when I went flying past yelling GOBBLE GOBBLE!
As the km’s rolled on I buckled down, found my rhythm and started eating through the remaining distance. With the end in sight I got really stoked that I’d finally had the opportunity to do this ride. When I got to the other side of the park I was greeted by my folks and the two pooches, then packed up my gear and drove back through the park to hit a couple of spots that I’d missed on the ride. We grabbed some lunch, took in the views and headed home.
The total ride distance was 66.2 km’s and my average speed was as expected… slow, but I think the photos and the experience make up for that. Below is the Strava data.
It was an incredible day that will no doubt become a tradition. It was great to finally be back in Algonquin Park. If you have the opportunity, DO THIS RIDE! It was unbelievable.