Saturday, July 07, 2012
The alarm goes off about 6:30 and I’m up. Its funny how anywhere other than home I’m up when the alarm sounds. At home though, I’m the snooze king, often riding it through so many cycles the clock gives up.
Emerging from the tent, Rick & Dan are talking about the loud thunder and lightning that came through about 12:30. ‘You didn’t hear that?!’ they ask. Guess the scotch did more than just put me to sleep…
Camp is very haphazard today. Going home is on everybody’s mind and while we discussed leaving camp around 9, the time arrives and passes. Because of the couple rains we’ve had, the tents are covered with splashed dirt and sand. The morning is sunny with a gentle breeze, and we’re taking full advantage of the still flown tarp and clotheslines. Dan’s also got this awesome brush we all end up borrowing to knock the grunge off our gear.
Breakfast is designed to be quick- oatmeal, hot cocoa, and anything left over in the barrel that anyone wants to eat. What is not quick, though, is our execution of breakfast…. The boys were keeping themselves busy with our GPS setting waypoints around our campsite for the others to find. They all make their way over individually, and in turn everyone gets fed. In a way, its nice knowing we don’t have a long day of paddling ahead of us.
Camp slowly migrates towards the landing for our campsite as portage packs get closed, brought down, then reopened a few times to pack up little pieces of gear that were overlooked. Finally, about 1:30PM the canoes are loaded and we shove off.
Its turned into a beautiful day. The sun is warm but not oppressive and the breeze gently pushes us up the lake toward the portage. Soon we’re at the landing & carrying our gear across. Gavin does really well with our loosee stuff and heads back across without any prompting from me to help the others. There’s a MN3 parked in the middle of the far portage landing, and after some searching around its owners are found atop a hill next to the portage lunching. I don’t blame them, it is around the time of day most would consider appropriate for a midday meal but I gently curse them for parking their canoe more off to the side. At least they put it down parallel to the direction of the path. Oh well, I’m sure I’ve been cursed at under somebody else’s breath at other portages. As it is, they end up finishing up their lunch and clearing out before we’re ready to continue on. The Crooked Lake side of the portage is tight for two canoes, and practically impossible for 3 at the same time. I end up helping get one of the canoes launched, then launch my own & have Gavin get in the bow and hold it in place with his paddle. I then help the 3rd canoe get in the water. Gavin does a good job holding our canoe in place while I’m helping the others, and soon we’re paddling again as a group towards the parking lot.
I wish we had more time to spend up here. Its nice country, almost similar in terrain as the BWCAW but definitely less rocky. We didn’t see very many people, I watched a couple canoes come and go from our lake. The campsite by us was occupied for one night, I hope we weren’t too loud for them – I tried to impress upon the boys a few times about how well sound travels across water. I can see more trips here in the future, maybe while Gavin’s at Scout camp is a possibility or after? The drive’s a few hours shorter for me than Ely, too.
Rick’s son has a video camera that he’s using to shoot video of our paddle back.
As we turn towards the bay that the private resorts and public launch are located on we all start to play a little… splashing other canoes, ‘racing’, etc. Everybody’s all smiles and laughs when we get to the launch, and our canoe happens to be 1st by maybe half a length.
Before long we’re loaded into our cars & Gavin’s playing Mario on his DS. We make a couple quick stops on our way out of the area – at the outfitter to return the paddles & PFDs, another at the visitor center for the Ottawa National Forest so Dan can pick up a pin for his adventure hat, and very briefly on the side of the road when I discovered that I had only secured the bow with a loose taut line and not the complete knots necessary to keep it in place.
We pull into home about 12:30AM after a couple other stops along the way. Tired, but happy!