Where our Pathfinder community comes to
learn, play, watch and explore our camp 
while we practice physical distancing and spend
more time with family at home.

August is your last month to grab Early Bird 2021!
Stay tuned to this space, and stay...
#triptough  & #believeinsummer2021

Summer 2020 Projects

Does the Island Sleep? No, she only dozes.

The normal bustle of May Crew didn’t happen for the first time since Glenn and Sladds took over camp in 2000. And, of course, Summer 2020 was cancelled when Ontario closed overnight camps. But CPI is indeed only dozing: a tiny work crew has been polishing and prepping camp for all the action we're looking forward to in 2021.

A sign of renovations this year? A still life of items lost under the Canoe Dock over many years, recovered once the decking came off in July. Every object tells a story?

Read more here

An original song about the Pathfinder Red Canoe

Teddy, a longtime Pathfinder camper, wrote and performed an original song on his ukulele during his time at home. Take a moment to listen, and allow yourself to be transported to a quiet, solo paddle around Source.


Thank you Teddy, this is just what we all needed.

'...Just me and you in the great big Algonquin blue...'


'Red Canoe' Lyrics

The Camp Song - Where Does it Come From?

Camp song history & bugle calls for our morning/evening and flagpole traditions


To ‘rouse’ the camp, a bugler played this call in lower, middle and upper kingdoms.


Flags lowered in the evening. A slower, more reflective melody. Flags descend slowly.

To The Colors

Flags raised in morning - Nowadays we whistle, but traditionally a bugler played each day. Flags rise briskly.


Day is Done - the bugler plays this call poignantly in lower and upper kingdoms.

A few times each summer we belt out the Camp Song.

Where does it come from?


The words are familiar in the moment, but take a look at them on the page. And, the melody comes from a old popular tune dating to camp’s earliest years.

Pathfinder Camp Song

I want to wake up, in the morning

Where the Pine and Balsam grow

Where the loons are calling and the sun is shining

And the whole world says,



I want to tramp on, o’er those blazed trails

Underneath my old canoe

For it’s there at old Pathfinder

Where the days are never blue


I want to go back every summer

To the camp on old Source Lake

Where the wolves are howling and the fox is barking

And the bugler bids me wake


I want to tramp on, o’er those blazed trails

With a tumpline on my head

And when the sun sets o’er the hill tops

Turn to my balsam bed …

Where the Morning Glories Grow - Hear the Recordings

1917 Elizabeth Spencer

1934 The Pioneers

1975 Bing Crosby

CPI Earth Day 🌎

Celebrating Earth Day and Our Beloved Wild Place on Earth

Today, April 22, like every day, we think of the place that means so much to all of us, Algonquin Park and Pathfinder Island. Ice out is nearly at hand. The forest is about to hum with life once again. Our summer home is warming up to receive us.


Take time today to share an Earth Day feeling/memory or two. Post your own pics and perspectives, and tag us @camppathfinder with  #triptough and #believeinsummer2020. (Anytime you read this piece, you can add your post!)


Earth Day began in the U.S. in 1970. Established in April to mark a spring moment for reveling in nature’s beauty, it was intended to focus thoughts on man’s impact on Earth. The first Earth Day was inspired by Rachel Carson’s 1962 seminal book Silent Spring about damage from pesticides. Also inspiring: public concern about air pollution from cars and factories, and amazing images of our home planet – a tiny blue-white marble in space – shared by NASA astronauts who reached the Moon and looked back for the first time in human experience.

Like many others, Pathfinder people would have collected garbage, planned recycling projects, or demonstrated for policy change on those early Earth Days. Without a doubt, we all thought about camp and the Park on those April days. 


On canoe trips, we felt we were more in touch than most, with how fragile was the beauty and complexity of nature. Our awareness of people’s impact on Algonquin became finely tuned - litter, trail and campsite damage. Our heart’s commitment to camp and park was welded onto our love of their beauty, and our resolve to tread with our friends ‘lightly on the land.’


These feelings, it turns out, were always with Pathfinder people, long before Earth Day, and have persisted over 106 Pathfinder years and Earth Day’s growth to observance in 190 countries.


Pathfinder people feel this way today. How about you?

Campers, Alumni, Staff - What does being at camp and in the park mean to you - paddling clear lakes, sleeping under stars, catching a fish from a rushing river, walking paths most will never see, being away from a hectic, tech world?


What do you think is our path to taking better care of our fragile blue-white marble in space?


Join us and share a CPI Earth Day feeling/memory. Post your own pics and perspectives, and tag us @camppathfinder with  #triptough and #believeinsummer2020.


Camp and Park seasons and scenes leave lasting memories with us, often shape our lives, and are sometimes nearly impossible to describe.Today, if you are able, head outside, go for a walk, run, hike, or simply sit and listen to spring starting to come alive.


Tonight, take a look at your sky. How many have said or heard, “nowhere else on earth are the stars better than on Source Lake.”?

There has never been a place too far,

There are no stars you can’t sleep under. 


The wind will blow and the sun will set,

So we will keep on tripping. 


Becoming a part of nature is a part of us, 

And we get to do it all together. 


Source lake sunsets and Big Trout headwinds, 

What it is that we love is that which brought us here. 


The first time you’re lucky enough to see it,

It’s like you’ve understood it forever.

-Riley Hanson, Director of Tripping, 2020

ACF Camp Trivia Night

Friday 4/17 Pathfinder Zoom Trivia

Trivia Intro Video, by MC Trip Pierson, Pathfinder alumnus and proud parent. 

Algonquin Campership Fund hosted a staff and alumni Zoom trivia night. The event, organized by Trip Pierson, Erica Mason and Paige Clark, was a hit. The 50-60 members of our CPI family, ranging in age from 18-65+ years old, included veteran secondmen, rookie headmen, veteran staff, alumni, tripping directors, camp directors and owners. The group was tested on their knowledge of the park, camp history, and some good old 'you had to be there' moments from decades past. 


We heard epic stories, had laughs, and most importantly we all got a reminder of how important and tight this Camp Pathfinder community is. We are getting ready for more Zoom events like this, to bring some camp happiness into your homes.


The Algonquin Campership Fund helps to bring kids up to Camp Pathfinder and Camp Northway in Algonquin Park. We all know how important a summer in the park can be. If you'd like to help make that difference for a future camper, please visit the ACF page to donate. There, you can also learn how to apply for aid.

Tom Thomson

Details & clues from the artist's life, work, and mysterious disappearance 

Tom Thomson, one of Canada’s most influential painters, was last seen alive on July 8, 1917, setting out on a solo fishing expedition on Canoe Lake. Thomson knew the area well. He was an expert fisherman, canoeist, and gifted painter who paddled many Algonquin lakes in pursuit of his unique artistic vision. Days later, his swamped canoe was spotted. Thomson's body was found  eventually, on July 17 floating near Little Wapomeo Island.

Thomson's paintings changed modern art. Most were made within Algonquin. See examples here ...

Can you solve the mystery? The documents below are clues and details put together by CPI staff for our school programs, and an interactive all-camp activity from summer 2017. Staff became the story's characters while campers searched the island for clues and details to help solve the mystery of Thomson's disappearance.

Thomson CPI backstory & clues   

Thomson CPI mystery cliff's notes 

Video: Restoring Thomson's painting, "Jack Pine" 

Old CPI Film Faves 

National Film Board classics we love 

Film Time - old school...

Many years ago, we campers were shown movies from the NFB, summer-in and summer-out. Actual celluloid copies were shipped to the island on heavy reels, and screened through the searing heat of projector lamps. How many times did the film jam and frames burn up before our eyes?! These classics evolved to VHS, then DVDs. Today they live online at NFB's fantastic site.

Make popcorn and dive in!

Canoe Biographies -Named trip canoes - know the legends behind the boats

Our hand-crafted wood canvas canoe fleet is a centerpiece here at camp. Each canoe bears the name of a special person or persons in Pathfinder history, to whom the boat is dedicated. Alumnus Bob Ludwig donated the first canoe named: a Hurley build for legend Tom Dodd.


Find our Meet the Fleet here, and Our Canoe Fleet here. 

We'll feature our fleet, starting with canoe #1 on the 1st of April, sharing photos and stories of the legends behind the boats. Return here to read new entries this spring!

Linda Leckie,"Spirit of Algonquin"

A CPI Spruce Root school resource for secondary students

"Algonquin Park has played a very important and significant role in my life. When I look at my parents photographs hanging on the wall smiling from their respective places in the canoe, I feel Algonquin running through my blood. When I hear a canoe trip coming down the lake I am taken back to my early cottaging days on Cache Lake ...When I close me eyes for an after lunch quiet time, I become a Kiowa camper once again... With the taste of Bakers semi-sweet chocolate I am a canoe tripper resting in the bottom of the canoe after a long carry on a portage trail, unwrapping a special treat."


-Linda Leckie, fellow of the Pathfinder 'Spruce Root'

Run by Caleb Musgrave, Anishinaabe Woodsman & CPI Alumnus

Ever wanted to learn how to make rope out of tree bark or how to make syrup from tree sap? Now you can without leaving your home.

Caleb Musgrave, Pathfinder Alumnus, is the man behind Canadian Bushcraft, an outdoor education school. He offers free online classes while the school is shut down due to COVID-19 concerns.

"We're just trying to reach out to the community, make sure that people still learn and enjoy themselves in the woods," said Musgrave, an Anishinaabe man from Hiawatha First Nation near Peterborough, Ont.

March Visit to Camp

Friday, March 27 walk to CPI

Winter cpi journal ... March 27

"A brilliant, bright, bluebird morning ... The world has changed so dramatically since we closed down CPI. Between now and the day we all return here, the world will have changed and changed over again...


"...Hard to predict what the changes will be, but I know - and so do you - what won't change. The beauty-power-love of this place, and all the people who breathe it full of life...

"...Nothing can stop what Pathfinder is ..."



Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night in a huff wondering "Am I more like Tent 2 or the TP!?" Do you need to know which canoe trip you would be if you were to be magically transformed into a canoe trip?


Look no further.


Introducing: Pathfinder Quizzes! All your dire questions answered. Laugh, enjoy, and share with CPI friends young and old for guaranteed entertainment. More Quizzes to come...




Suggested reading, activities, projects, nature exploration and more.



A suggested reading list for our CPI community. 


Fiction & non-fiction novels, series, short stories, wilderness adventures, biographies, autobiographies, histories, coffee table books, and more. 



We will be holding a number of online events via social media and Zoom and would love for you all to participate! Themed days, 'Council Fires', and Zoom gatherings to discuss trips and tell stories.


Please join us! Keep checking back for updates.
#triptough #believeinsummer2020


For new events, click ' Show more' for details.






Fred Lamke

Hurley Canoe Works - Original Build 2000 - Rebuilt 2014 (Warren McDermott)

Mr. Fred Lamke was Pathfinder’s head of maintenance and island caretaker for over 30 years.

He was referred to camp and Chief Norton by Amy Purdy, the camp cook. He built many of camp’s classic buildings, planted hundreds of trees, kept the camp cooks supplied with stove wood and lake ice, and influenced generations by his sterling example. 


Fred is remembered as having come to Pathfinder from work in lumbering. He certainly had the classic skills and manner of a north woodsman, and was a hero figure to Pathfinder boys and men alike.


Chief Norton hired Fred to handle the island in all seasons. He worked with the senior staff including Ralph Tichenor and Nick Zona. Fred’s expertise with an axe was legendary. He used the axe as a daily tool, but he also brandished it to cut a literal mountain of stove wood for Mrs. Purdy’s cooking season (see photo above). He started the cook stoves at 6:00 am each day and stoked them to help the cooks produce meals and baking for a the whole camp, thrice daily!


An axe handle of Fred’s is displayed in the Dining Hall. It used to rest next to an old snapshot of Fred in his later years, sitting in his putter. But the real Fred Lamke was the young man. A few great photos have emerged. Now a large poster with a youthful photo and a note on his building credits will accompany the axe handle, courtesy of alumnus Gill Stanley.


Fred brought the stove wood logs to camp over the ice in winter, pulled by horses who he sheltered from the bitter cold under Lodge I, in what has become known as the stables (where bikes hang today). He is said to have slept over at camp in winter by using tent canvas to build a tiny shelter room in front of the Dining Hall fireplace. The roaring fire would warm this space only a few degrees off the -30F surroundings. One story oft-repeated is that Fred fell on the island in winter, breaking a leg. He pulled himself back to the Palace hearth to await his friends from Huntsville, who would realize he was overdue.


Lamke also cut hundreds of great blocks of Source Lake ice for the sawdust-filled camp ice house. The ice house was at the rear of today’s kitchen, similar to our current shed. Shoveling snow off a large area of Source would get the ice thickened up for later on, when the horses were accompanied by more men, off duty rangers, all saw-cutting, hauling and pulling blocks to pack in dust at the house. Photos show blocks still solid in August, brought into the sun to melt away during camp close-up. A block of Source Lake ice was large enough even then to sit on like a chair.


A good power crew teacher, team mate or solo craftsman, Fred built most of the permanent buildings in camp, including the Dining Hall and Rec Lodge, Norton’s cabin, several staff cabins, the Trading Post and more. Lamke is remembered for creating our cherished Chapel space on the island in honor of his friend, the late Jean Norton.


Swifty said Fred taught him more than all of his Cornell professors combined.


The Lamke canoe was built by Jack Hurley when Glenn and Sladds took over. Canoe number 4 honors Fred, but so does the Fred Lamke Award, a custom paddle presented to each Tripping Award winner. This traditional award was renewed in the 1990s by the vision of owner Mac Rand and cottager alumnus John Davis.


More about Fred in future “Virtual Pathfinder” features.

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