It’s been a busy busy summer, a busy year actually and I have had the most amazing trips! After completing my big three solo adventures, French River, Algonquin and Killarney, I am ready for a nice relaxing camping trip with lots of exploring and down time and not a huge amount of paddling or portaging.
As I am a bit injured as well at the moment, with a pulled rib of some sort, I wanted to do my best to not over exert myself and make my injury any worse. With all this factored in, I decided to go for a 2 night stay on Spider Lake in the Massasauga Provincial Park via my Delta 15s kayak. There was one 375m portage involved which I could’ve easily carried my smaller kayak over, however, I really wanted to paddle around all weekend in the Delta, so I pulled out my old kayak/canoe cart to give it a little workout.
After some technical issues with registration and going to the access point at Three Legged Lake, then finding out I had to go back to Oastler PP to get my permit and then go back, I finally was getting ready to head out. I had brought lots of extra goodies over my last trip in Killarney as I only had the one portage and I didn’t really care how long it took me to get over it.
I avoided the portage from the parking lot to the put in by driving to the water first and unloading all my stuff, then driving up to the parking lot and walking just myself down to meet up with my kayak and gear.
It was an absolutely stunning October afternoon and I was elated that the weather would be so perfect for my trip this weekend. Leaving the put in at 2pm, the temperature was around 20 degrees and the sun was shining brightly. I had a bit of wind to contend with, but in my kayak, this wasn’t even a thought compared to paddling the canoe, so off I went with the biggest grin on my face ever.
I was momentarily psyched out by this portage sign, but when I got closer, I saw it had an arrow on it. Portage to the left… not portage here. I’ve never seen one of these, have you?
Then I found another saying portage to the right. LOL. Too funny. I was already strategizing how to get the kayak up on those rocks to start the portage seeing the yellow sign there. hahaha. Too funny.
I then landed at the real portage and was excited and scared to test out the cart. I had used this cart a few times a very long time ago. It had never really fulfilled it’s obligations and I didn’t have the highest hopes for using it here today, but I thought it was an easy opportunity to test it out. I put the kayak right on the cart with the kayak FULLY LOADED!! LOL. If I was going to do this, I might as well go big. hahaha. I got it all strapped on and off I went!
I had quite a few struggles with the cart. I think maybe my biggest issue is that I use bungees to attach the cart and they move and stretch so maybe rope would’ve worked better? If you have one of these and actually use it, let me know what you do? I found the cart a great big struggle. It got stuck on every rock, tree root and even fell off the boardwalk above. I grunted and groaned, pulled it, pushed it and swore at it.
As the 2nd half was mostly downhill, even over big boulders, I seemed to get it down the hill okay, but I knew at that moment, I would not be able to get away with this on the way out. I would deal with that later. After about 45 minutes, I made it through the wee portage and most likely would’ve had an easier time just carrying the kayak, but I would’ve had to load and unload it, so I figured I still got the good end of the deal. Regardless, I was now on Spider Lake and ready to paddle through to my site. Off we go!
I had booked site 25 after lots of research online. Site 25 had a lake behind it that could only be accessed from the site. It boasted of wildlife sightings and I thought it would be a great place to set up my hammock, read my book and watch for animals. After about an hour of taking my time paddling, I found the site and was very pleased with my choice.
The site was pretty nice. Lots of rocks which I loved, a picnic table which was pretty sweet and the lake in behind was amazing. I had no sun on the front of the site, but there was lots in the back and I figured, one way or another, I would get some sunshine this weekend while staying here.
I set up my tent in a few different spots, knowing in the forest would be the flatest and softest area, but due to the meteor shower expected both tonight and tomorrow night, I moved it to the open spot in front of the fire pit so I could sleep with the fly off and see the meteors in between.
I set up camp and gathered some wood while the Tragically Hip played on. With the passing of Gord Downie recently, I had decided this would be an all Hip weekend on my site and I would play all my favorite hip tunes and pay tribute to the wonderful man named Gord who loved our country and died way too soon.
As the sun went down, I went to get some quick shots from the swamp/lake behind the site. Then I quickly got dinner going as I hated cooking/cleaning up etc in the dark. I made a video of the food preparation and cooking which will be published on my youtube channel. I made taco salad with fresh guacamole I also made for the dressing. It was outstanding and it may not look that great in the photo, but that is, to me, usually a good sign that the food is amazing, when it looks kind of gross. hahaha.
Once dinner was done and all cleaned up, I got a fire going and enjoyed the music and peace of the area. I had not seen another person here today and was pretty sure I was on this section of the lake by myself. I made a peanut better s’more, which was as always, totally yummy and had some wine. I stayed up until around 10 and then headed to bed setting my alarm for a few different times to check out the meteors. At 4am I woke up on my own as I heard what I think were 2 animals, possibly deer, walking along the shore in front of my site. I opened my eyes while listening, not being able to see them but instead stared at the sky. It was then I saw my 2nd meteor of the night. The first one appeared around 2am when I’d woken up to my alarm. The animals steps faded into the swamp area and I drifted back to sleep. Two meteors was plenty cool for me!
I woke up well before sunrise and I was happy I did. The sky was unbelievable and I was in awe of the gorgeous colors.
It doesn’t get much better than this, does it? I got myself into some proper clothing and set out to paddle in the morning calmness, almost tearing up from the beauty I witnessed.
The sky continued to change over the next few hours, but it remained beautiful, just differently so.
The mirror continued on and the fall colours reflecting were absolutely stunning. I was a happy happy girl! I had been out for a few hours and was getting really hungry so I decided I should probably start making my way back to the site. That’s when I heard it, something in the water. I looked over and saw something big swimming. At first I just thought it was the ducks or geese playing tricks on me again, but then I thought maybe not this time. I paddled a bit closer and put my zoom lens on.
Then I suddenly realized what it was. A buck. A rare buck, with antlers, swimming through the lake. I was in awe! I paddled alongside it for quite some time before it exited the lake and made its way up on shore. What a truly magical moment!
I felt like the luckiest person in the world. I rarely see wildlife on trips as many of you know. I have deer frequent my backyard, but never, have I ever, seen a buck. What a treat! I thanked the creature for showing itself to me and making my entire year, and then slowly paddled through the mirrors back to my campsite.
When I got back, I sat at the picnic table changing my waterproof socks into real socks and shoes to warm up my feet. As I sat there, a small bird came up and sat in my fireplace and fluttered around singing a pretty song. This must be wildlife day in the The Massasauga. How amazing. It flew off just after I took some video of it and I couldn’t believe my luck. What would be next?
I was starving but I decided before getting all the food and cooking stuff out, I’d take a quick walk behind the site to the lake and see if anything was out and about. I came across this very cool tree above, that a beaver has been doing a lot of work on. I was amazed and stopped to take a video. That’s when I heard footsteps. I didn’t get excited because it always turns out to be a chipmunk, sometimes a squirrel or a bird, never anything too unique, but I got my camera ready just in case. I tiptoed through the leaves trying to be as quiet as possible and when the area where the sound came from came into view, I hit record and was amazed at what I saw!!!
It was a wolf!! OMG! At first I thought it was a wolf, then a coyote, then I wasn’t sure, so I asked a few facebook friends and it was confirmed to be a wolf. WOW! I was elated and amazed and I just stood there grinning and watching the 9 second video over and over again. Lucky LUCKY girl!
I slowly made my way back to the picnic table and robotically got out my cooking supplies and made breakfast, but I was reliving my morning in my head over and over and probably would for a very long time. I ate breakfast at noon and then went on with my day, grinning from ear to ear for hours.
After I cleaned up from breakfast, I organized my site, got myself dressed and ready for the day, I walked behind the site to the lake to set up my hammock. The plan was to rest my rib and relax while watching for wildlife.
As I’d seen so much today and really wasn’t expecting to see much more, my wildlife viewing eventually turned into eyelid viewing while napping. It was a wonderful relaxing afternoon.
Since I’d had breakfast during lunchtime, I didn’t want to have lunch. It was 4pm though, and I was hungry. Too early for dinner and too late for lunch, I took the salami I’d brought for wraps and made little appetizers out of them by putting Laughing Cow cheese on the salami slices and then rolling them up. The salami rolls were accompanied by corn chips and my first alcoholic beverage of the day, coconut rum and strawberry banana squeezy drops. YUM! and Cheers!
I sat and did some reading and eventually it was time to make dinner. Tonights dinner would be my famous ham and cheese pasta, but I’d be using peameal bacon instead of the ham as mine had some freezer burn. I was excited to make this meal as I didn’t get to eat it often. It is a non colitis friendly dish but as my colitis wasn’t bothering me and I wasn’t running off tonight anywhere, I’d decided to be brave in a different way and go for it!
I cooked while watching the sky turn pink. It was very pretty. The meal, consisted of chopped up peameal bacon, fried in a pan, then I added cooked rotini noodles, a few different types of cheese, 2 year old cheddar, marble cheddar, and Parmesan cheese on top, lots of garlic and a bit of salt. Oh, and an egg to keep everything together nicely and VOILA! Dinner is served. I will be posting a separate video on making this meal on my youtube channel. Hope you take a moment to check it out if interested.
After dinner I sat by the fire continuing on with my Tragically Hip weekend and listening to all of my favorite Hip songs. I heard something walking in the leaves and discovered a frog. Funny, as it didn’t make much more sound than the wolf did, and I laughed at the irony of it all and again, thanked mother nature for letting me see what I saw today. As I had dinner fairly early, I was ready for dessert.
I decided to try something new. I’d been enjoying and even last night had had one of Chris & Julia Prouse’ peanut better s’mores but tonight I thought I’d make up my own concoction, chocolate chunk cookie, with a peanut butter cup and roasted marshmallow. It was delicious! Maybe not as good as the Prouse PBS, but still pretty tasty. Eventually it was time to go to bed and I enjoyed a good nights rest.
I woke up Sunday to another gorgeous day. I felt so lucky because it was the end of October and the temperatures were in the mid teens and low twenties this weekend. Doesn’t get much better.
I walked around the site and took a few photos deciding what to do this morning when I heard splish, splash. I went to the side of the site and saw some rings. A few minutes later another fish jumped. Hmmm, looks like I’m going fishing? I gathered a few items and jumped in the kayak and went to the spot where the fish had been teasing me.
The only thing I managed to catch were a couple good shots of the morning sun though, but I did give it a try!
After a bit I headed back to my site and made some breakfast. Todays breakfast was an egg sandwich with bacon on an english muffin. I also had some yummy hot chocolate and a bit of baileys since it would be quite a few hours before I’d be driving anywhere.
I took my time and lounged a bit, reading the Massasauga Park newspaper and just enjoying the beautiful weather. I got a little chilly as I didn’t have any sun on the site, so I headed to the lake in the back to get warmed up before packing up and heading out.
Around 1pm, I packed up the kayak and was ready to head out. I only had about 2 hours to get to the take out and a 40 minute drive home so I was in no rush, but sooner or later, it was always time to go.
I was pretty excited once I got on the water. The current and the wind, were both behind me pushing me along. Once again, doesn’t get much better. I enjoyed the ride and took my time, paddling out slowly as I didn’t want my time here to end.
Eventually I arrived at the portage and unloaded the kayak. I put most of the big gear into tote bags to carry it across separately and took the unloaded kayak on the cart. It was a good thing because the way back was mostly uphill and the boat ended up tipping over several times. It was a huge struggle to get it up the rocks and roots and I was so happy when I had gotten it to the other side. I met some nice guys on the portage who are from Toronto and come to the park a lot and we chatted for a bit about our adventures over the weekend.
I went back to the other end of the portage and got my bags, carrying them over fairly quickly and soon I was on the last leg of the trip.
I arrived at the takeout just after 3pm meeting back up with the campers who I’d seen on the portage. We exchanged stories and chatted for a bit while we all unpacked our stuff and put our vessels up on our vehicles and shortly after that, I was on my way home.
I had such a great time at the Massasauga and was so happy I’d come, despite most likely making my injury a little worse. I would never forget seeing the buck swimming and the wolf beside my site and I was excited to get home and edit the pictures and videos and start sharing my stories.
Thank you to mother nature for the great weather and to the wildlife gods for letting me see what I saw. Also, thank you to the Tragically Hip for providing the soundtrack to not only this trip, but years and years of camping trips before this one. I am very saddened by the passing of Gord Downie. He was a great man, a lyrical genius and someone who made me more proud, if that’s possible, of being a Canadian. RIP Gord, this post is for you.
I hope you enjoyed my post on the Massasauga Provincial Park. Please check out the videos on the trip publishing later this week. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please get in touch.