As we rode that evening, enjoying the magical twilight of the day, a quiet calmness spread through us; as the magic of the woods whispered, we listened.
This twilight ride was the last and most memorable at South Algonquin Trails. We had not chosen this campground before and were apprehensive about what to pack and
what to expect. It is never easy packing for days of riding as well as meeting the needs of our horses and ourselves. When we arrived at South Algonquin, on the southern tip of Algonquin Park, we found covered stalls for our horses, rustic cabins, campfire pits as well as many kilometres of beautiful forest trails. But the best part of this trip was discovered after our camp was set up and we were preparing (during a thunderstorm) to tack up and ride out on that first night.
As we tacked our horses and put on our rain gear, looking to the sky for some relief, we noticed a figure in a long oilskin coat with matching hat, heading to her cabin. She stopped to acknowledge us, and in doing so suggested she would be willing to join us on our first ride out. This person was none other than Jean Abernethy, author, cartoon illustrator and to our good fortune an experienced trail guide on her annual visit to South Algonquin. What a great place to get inspired and at the same time appreciate the quiet of a cabin, enjoying the wilderness and camping with her horse. Perhaps we unwittingly gave her inspiration for a cartoon or two over the next few days, although our humour, or that seen in us, was not intentional!
This was the beginning of great times shared with this talented author as she became our guide at South Algonquin. To our added pleasure she joined us around our evening campfires, playing mandolin and sharing her poetry.
We left South Algonquin with a deeper appreciation of the forest, the magic found amongst the old trees and a deeper contentment with our horses, ourselves and with each other.
By Janice Ecclestone