Author: Douglas McArthur, Assistant Travel Editor – Front Page, Travel Section F, Saturday, March 26, 1994.
Call Of The Wild’s … three-day expeditions in Ontario’s oldest provincial park are designed to teach the ropes to first-time wilderness campers. Participants who pay close attention could learn enough to plan future trips on their own. On the other hand, some experienced but cautious campers deliberately choose the company for the luxury of letting someone else take responsibility for safety and logistics.
Robin Banerjee, Call Of The Wild’s 27-year-old founder, has never forgotten the thrill of Boy Scout camping trips in his childhood. He may not bring a lot of capital … but he makes up for it with enthusiasm and a love for the great outdoors.
His three-day trips leave Friday mornings from Metro Toronto’s Finch subway station. That makes them equally accessible to city residents without cars and to visitors to Toronto who seek a brief side trip to the 7,600-square -kilometre park where moose, beaver and even bears roam freely.
Be warned: the tours are hard work. Group members hike, paddle and lug canoes and luggage over a 900-metre portage. They are also expected to pitch in with camp chores …
My fellow tour members, all women, included one Torontonian and two visitors from abroad, one from England, the other from New Zealand. Foreign tourists accounted for a high percentage of Call Of The Wild bookings during its first year. Rounding out our party was Tasman, Banerjee’s Australian shepherd dog.
On Saturday, we hiked around Provoking Lake, a pleasant 14-kilometre trek through a world of gold and orange to a series of panoramic viewpoints…
At camp that night, the skies cleared. We ate corn on the cob and spaghetti under a shimmering harvest moon and lingered around a blazing fire scaring each other with ghost stories.
Sunday was Friday in reverse. We ate … disassembled the campsite, canoed and portaged our way back to the highway… It was hard work, but this time, there was a sense of accomplishment from knowing what we were doing.
Call Of The Wild’s summer trips… had long hours of sunshine to set up camp and balmy evenings for lake swims by moonlight. They also had to contend with black flies and mosquitoes, which we didn’t. Instead, we got the autumn colours and the sense of camaraderie…