Sunday, July 11, 2010

Giving the Legs a Break

This past week I've let my legs relax a little and started to put my upper to work. The Kampen's have done countless canoe trip and gave my mom and I a great trip in the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario. So, borrowing all of their canoe equipment and truck (so generous of them!), we drove back to Ontario where our adventure began.

At the put-in, ready to paddle off

It's been a few years since I've done a long canoe trip, but it came back easily enough. We were only on lakes so didn't have any technical paddling. The trip began in a beautiful narrow lake full of lily pads and lined by rock and forest. We'd gotten a late start, so just had a short paddle that evening, including our first two portages. We had a good deal of stuff with us to make for a very comfortable trip, but that meant that we had to make two trips at each portage. Fortunately, the longest portages we had were maybe just one km long; we had between one and four portages on each day of our six day trip.

Our camp the first evening was nice, but not ideal. After a very brief rain, we were graced with a gorgeous rainbow, reflecting in the glassy water occupied by a pair of loons. It was pretty buggy so we just made a quick dinner and went to bed.

At camp the first night

The next day started off with a little swim in the warm lake, then we had a nice morning of paddling. In a bay right before the first portage we saw a snapping turtle, then two making a ruckus in the water. We paddled up to them when they'd relaxed to find the two intertwined, mating. Although the boat was right next to them they didn't seem to mind us; kind of crazy to see.

Mating snapping turtles

Getting ready to portage

Out at a bigger lake we faced some strong winds. It was very hard work at we didn't seem to be making any progress. The paddling was so hard that day that we didn't make much distance, making me a little nervous that we'd have time to finish the loop we had planned. The last portage of the day was super swampy; at times we were above our knees in the mud! After the difficult paddling I felt stiff and achy in my back and shoulders as I haven't used those muscles in way too long.

The rest of the trip the had better luck with the winds and were able to make the distances needed no problem. Our next day we got out to the largest lake of the trip and found a fantastic campsite on a rocky point. We were able to stop mid-afternoon so enjoyed time swimming, and reading out in the sun. I also was able to indulge in my first wild blueberries of the season! We also we treated to over 20 loons in a group right near us. I've never seen loons group up before so it was very neat.

Our favorite campsite, on Dryberry Lake

Some deep wading through both water and mud

We ate very well

Our next camp was on a little island on Teggau Lake which is 700 ft deep and beautifully clear. It was pretty windy on the island but an enjoyable camp. To celebrate my 25th birthday, my mom had brought pound cake my grandma made (it's a tradition that I've had for probably every birthday). It was wonderful and there were even berries on the island to add to it.

Beautiful lakes, lots of cliffs (I got to even out my tan lines a little)

Birthday cake with wild blueberries!

Yet another beautiful day, we paddled alongside some large cliffs and into narrow lakes. There were some pictographs on one of the cliffs.

One of the portages had turned into the creek bed
One of the portages led us into a spectacular section winding through grasses out into the lake. The water was crystal clear, the floor covered in bright green grass. It was such a peaceful place.

So much stuff

Coming back to the truck

On out sixth day of paddling we finished our loop and made it back to the truck. A very pleasant and fun trip. I did come down with a cold but otherwise everything went very smoothly. It was strange to be doing something so different then what I've been doing the rest of my trip, and yet it felt so much the same. It was still moving everyday, camping, eating the similar food, and just being outside all day. On the drive back to Winnipeg we got caught in a brief but incredibly strong thunder shower, then a few minutes later it was warm and sunshine again.

Crazy thunder shower on the drive back to Winnipeg. Sure glad I wasn't biking through this! All the cars were pulled to the shoulder since you couldn't see a thing.
Now my mom and I are back at the Kampen's in Winnipeg. We've been cleaning up, resting up, and getting ourselves organized for the next phases of our trips. We also got to watch the World Cup match yesterday which was fun, even if the game wasn't as exciting as everyone hoped. From here, my mom will take the Polar Bear Express train up to Churchill on the Hudson Bay and I will continue my journey west. I haven't been on my bike in over a week which feels way too long. This has been a wonderful break, great to spend time with my mom and the Kampen's, but I'm also looking froward to peddling again.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a treat! Great to have such quality time with your MOM. You will never forget these moments.

    U go girl!!

    Anne and Tom, Modesto