From Canoes to Snowshoes: A Canoe Trip Guide’s First Season Guiding in an Algonquin Winter

Snowshoe, Winter, Creek, Water, Cold, Algonquin Park

Pierre snowshoeing across surprise creek

I’ve always been captivated by winter. Maybe it’s the twenty below nights when the forest is dead silent except for the sound of tree branches cracking in the wind, or maybe it’s the snow-covered lakes you can snowshoe, ski or skate across for hours on end. Perhaps it’s the calm of warming up around a wood stove in the heated wall tent you just set up for the night. Winter in Algonquin Park is an amazing experience for anyone and especially awe-inspiring for those who have only ever experience this unique place for a few weeks during the summer.
Log Cabin, Pinecroft, Winter Cabin, Algonquin Park Cabin

The Pinecroft Cabin, our cozy home for the winter season

That’s my case, and that’s what makes working in an Algonquin winter so special. Since the age of eleven, I’ve been paddling, portaging and camping in Algonquin’s backcountry, yet I had never truly experienced the wonder of an Algonquin winter until this year, at age eighteen.

Winter offers such a unique variety of activities and sports, ensuring there’s never a dull moment on our trips. As a guide it’s a great experience to be able to introduce activities that can become lifelong passions for our guests such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. These activities really allow our guests to appreciate the raw beauty of an Algonquin Park winter and develop an even greater love and appreciation for this unique area of the province.

snoeshow, staff, winter, river, surprise lake

Winter team 2018/2019 after the double lookout snowshoe

Sometimes it can be hard explaining the joy of living off grid and working outside all day in the winter to friends and family. “I hate winter” or “Aren’t you freezing all the time” are common reactions, but honestly winter up north isn’t the same as winter in the city. The roads aren’t an ugly sandy and slushy mess and it doesn’t matter if it’s snowing too hard to drive, because you aren’t going anywhere anyway. When it comes to the cold, you’re always moving and finding something to do, which keeps you nice and warm.

Working in the winter also allows for a great sense of accomplishment as, for example, you’ll only be warm at night if you collect, cut and split enough wood during the day to last until the morning.

If you have an innate love for the outdoors, want to experience an often unseen yet incredibly beautiful side of Algonquin while working an intense and rewarding job then a winter guide at Voyageur Quest is the job for you!