My family doesn’t camp at all. We are not outdoorsy people. So when I first heard about Algonquin, I was a little hesitant. I mean, you’re out in the woods for 4 days. You’re sleeping in tents, not having showers, and lacking electricity. Not to mention the trip is worth 10% of your science grade. To say I was worried would be an understatement.

Everyone around you is constantly building up the trip. You’re told to hike 100 km as practice, to learn how to recalibrate conductivity probes, and to identify birds by their call. Despite all this pressure, Algonquin was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far. Although I was out of my comfort zone, there were moments in the park that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Even mundane activities like brushing your teeth are completely different. Instead of staring into a mirror, you’re looking out onto a gorgeous lake.

You go into Algonquin worried about every little detail, but then you start to relax. Even though the days are packed with hiking and sample stations, you still have time to spend with your friends and really enjoy what the park has to offer. We learned about pioneer logging, wolf howling, and interpretive hiking. But the best moments were the ones spent at camp together. The final night’s bonfire was absolutely stunning and ridiculous at the same time. With seniors lording marshmallows over our heads, and a night full of stars you couldn’t ask for a better time.

Leaving Algonquin was a bittersweet experience. I was looking forward to water that was neither freezing nor boiling, and indoor plumbing; but the thought of leaving such a beautiful place for Toronto was upsetting. As I boarded my van and left Algonquin with a heavy heart, I kept thinking about coming back, either on my own or as a senior. After that there was nothing left to do but sit back, relax, and bounce to What is Love.