Algonquin 4 Day Cedar Solo – Days 1 & 2, Aura Lee, Varley, Gull

Even though I was  still sore and tired from my last 5 day solo to Algonquin, I wanted to do another one.  I went on a one nighter in between to The Massasauga, which is a 30 minute drive from home,  but it was a rest trip and a different kind of trip. One less than 1km portage and I stayed on the same site for the day/night and headed out the next day.  The lake was small and it was very pretty and restful, as intended, but I needed more exploring and more of a challenge.

I requested a Friday off work and received approval to take it.  I had 5 days to find a route, plan it out, figure out what to bring, what to eat, pack it all and go.  Plus, I was still rushing to get my blog posts and videos done from the last 5 day trip, and hadn’t even started my Massasauga posts/videos and had work and house renos.   I felt like I was drowning, but I didn’t care. It was August and August was flying by and I felt like I needed to get in another decent trip before it ended, so here I was scrambling.

While I was at the Massasauga, I sat at the picnic table, (backcountry there is luxurious, I know, lol) and  wrote out 4 different route options.  I needed routes that were hard, but not ridiculously hard and good for 3 days. I had to find something that wasn’t too far so I could make use of the first night of the trip and get somewhere before it got dark and find something that wasn’t booked.  Not too difficult, right?  Ha ha.

When I got back home Sunday night I went online and looked at the routes I had planned out.  Every single option was booked.

Every one of them would not be feasible for this weekend. Urg. Back to the drawing board. I found a few new ones and knew that in order to find the peace and areas with less people, I would have to drive further north.  This was not an issue for me but the sun sets at around 8:15 now so that makes it dark dark before 9pm.  Getting off work at 3pm is great ( I do start at 7 though) but with a 4 hour drive added, putting in at 7pm, that leaves very little time to get to a site, set up, make dinner, eat, etc, before dark.  I could actually do all of the above except for get to a site in the dark.  It was something I was always fearful of.

After many hours, I finally found what I thought was the perfect route. I needed to stay on one specific lake for the 3rd night. The route wouldn’t work in the other direction as I didn’t have enough time to get into that site with the time restraints upon arrival and I discovered that that site for the 3rd night was a portage site.  I’m unsure about other parks, but Algonquin has many sites that are actually right on the portages.  These were great for storm days, late arrivals, and people who got stuck. This was a site, like any other, but it was on the portage so people would/could come and go right through while you were camping there.  This thought did not agree with me in any way at all, so I looked for yet another route.

I found one, one that was good.  Even though the amount of metres in portaging was only 1000m less than what I did on my 5 day trip, in 4 days, I liked it and on 2 of the lakes, I would be camping on the only site on the lake, the other, I was the only one booked on the lake.  Exactly what I wanted. Total solitude on my solo trip.

I headed to Cedar Lake at 3pm on Thursday with all my stuff in/on my car and ready to go.  I would have just an hour and a half to get to my site from the put in, before it go dark and I would have to hurry.

I stopped at the office to get my permit and the girl there was super awesome. We chit chatted a bit, she allowed me to take a photo and then I hurried on my way down the very very very long bumpy crappy awful road into Cedar Lake.  I am quite sure this road is why this area usually has sites open and every time I drive down it, I swear I will not come back again, but I do.  LOL

I made it to the put in by 6:50 and hurried to get the canoe off the car and get my pack packed. I had brought my cold food into work for the day to put it into the fridge and still needed to pack it, so I did that, parked the car and by 7:00 exactly, I was in the canoe and on my way towards Aura Lee Lake.  I had 8.5 km’s to paddle and had to paddle hard to get there before dark, even then, I wasn’t sure I would make it, but at this point, I had no choice.

The scenery was lovely along the way. I saw a group of people camping in the Brent Campground and smoke from a campfire on one of the backcountry sites on Cedar. Those were the last people I would see for the duration of my trip.

When I spoke to the girl at the parks office, she mentioned that if I got stuck, just to camp at any empty site I found. I told her that I noticed Brent was fully booked for the night and she said that they did have a few overflow sites and not to worry. Her primary concern was that I be safe and I appreciated that. The entire paddle I kept saying, there’s a site, it’s open, you could just stop here for the night. It would be so much easier, but I kept paddling even harder.

When I saw the very last site on the map pass by my eyes I hesitated and stopped paddling looking it over.  I could just stay here, I could, no one would care, no one would be put out, and I could make dinner in the daylight and set up as such and have some extra time to relax before dark.  Then I shook my head and said, that’s not challenging at all, let’s go Christina.  And off I went, paddling even harder.

At 8:15 I watched the sun duck behind the trees.  I was surprised at how early it disappeared but paddling into the sunset was really pretty and I got to see it from beginning to end. I was mad though because I didn’t have enough time to take as many pictures as I would like, but I had to keep paddling and every time I stopped to take a video clip or photo, I lost a bit of time.

I took as little as possible and kept going even though my arms were sore as I’d been paddling  hard and consistently  for an hour and a half now, I had to keep going.

When I reached the end of Cedar  Lake, I headed into Little Cedar but that wasn’t so easy. It didn’t look like there was a way in but finally I found a teeny tiny passage.  It was getting dark and I still had to paddle through Little Cedar.  Thankfully the water was mirror almost my entire trip and there was no wind so there was nothing against me, only time.

At the end of Little Cedar, I again, didn’t see a way into Aura Lee.  According to the map there was a train bridge that crossed over so I assumed there was a bridge or something similar.  Just then I saw the culvert that went under the bridge. There were 2 big round openings.  I went to go into the first one and the exit was packed with beaver dams.  Ohhh no. I didn’t have time for this.  I was feeling even more desperate. It was almost dark and I may be stuck.  I went into the other opening and happily discovered it was totally clear.  I paddled through easily and when I got to the other side I realized it was far more light out than I noticed going in. I guess being in the dark makes you see how much light you still have when you get out of it.

I paddled through into Aura Lee and almost felt relief. I was on the lake I was staying on and was grateful as I still could see and it was dusk but not dark dark yet.

Shortly after passing through the culvert, I saw the first site.  I didn’t care for it much and after a pause in my paddling, the camping snob in me decided to pass and go check out the other site on the lake. Seriously? After all that?  Sometimes I made myself laugh, and sometimes I made myself angry,  but that was the way it was.

I paddled about 5 minutes longer and found the 2nd site. There were 2 sites on Aura Lee and no one was booked on this lake tonight except me.  I pulled up to the 2nd site and didn’t like it at all. Mind you, I didn’t get out of the canoe to go up and check it out. It could’ve been amazing, but from what I could see from the water, the other site was better for me.  It was open to the water and I could see the lake from it and vice versa. Site #2 was totally closed in and foresty and I needed as much light as I could get when I arrived and also didn’t want to battle the bugs in addition to the dark,  so I turned the canoe around and paddled back to the first site.

I got to the landing and attempted to dock and get out of the canoe but had a really hard time.  There wasn’t much land to get on to here and the drop off was pretty quick.  I made it out and took my pack out of the canoe and put it on shore. I tied the boat up to a branch and went up to look at the site. It was very small, but perfect for the night and for the rain that would come while I was sleeping.  I was pleased with it.  I looked down to the shore and saw on the opposite side from where I’d put the canoe, was a tiny beachy/pebbly area much more suitable for docking.  I contemplated just carrying the canoe over, but then decided it would be faster and easier to just paddle it over.

I got into the canoe to paddle and as I was backing up, I noticed a fine line at the bow.  It looked like a big spider web string and I didn’t think much of it. I continued to back up and make my way around the bushes and small outcrop of land to the other side where the beach was and I noticed the line was pulling my canoe. At this point I realized it was a fishing line.  It was now almost dark and hard to see but I was pretty sure that’s what it was. I paddled hard backwards trying to snap the line but it wouldn’t break. It was really strong.  I got to about 2 feet away from the landing and decided to just get out as the line wouldn’t let me get any closer to the shore.  I was getting really angry as I had just paddled so hard to get here and I was wasting time on this now?  I walked to the front of the canoe to see what the deal was and how this line just magically attached to my canoe with absolutely no assistance at all.  I pulled it and around came a fishing lure out of nowhere and implanted itself into my pinky finger on my right hand. I screamed.  I was shocked, in pain, and freaked out all at the same time.  I reached for the lure, although I could barely see it as it was dark and pulled it from my finger. It felt like my hand was cut right open and I took a quick photo and video.  I grabbed some tissue from my pocket, wrapped it around my finger after rinsing it in the lake and put a hair elastic from my wrist around it.  I would have to look at it later, I was running out of light fast now.

I tied up the canoe and grabbed the remaining things from it and brought them up to the site.  I quickly grabbed some wood from the area as the fire ban had been lifted.  Due to the long amount of time it was on, there was lots of wood to find easily and I had plenty gathered up in a very short time. I got the fire started, put my partially precooked baked potato in there and grabbed my pack to get it unpacked and set up my tent.

It was now dark dark but I was fine. I had a fire going which was giving off some light and I had all my flashlights and my Luci Light out.  I set up my tent easily in the dark as I had put it up and torn it down so many times since getting it.  The next urgent matter was to find a place to hang my food. I hated doing this in the dark but tonight I had no choice. The only thing I could do to relieve the anxiety was get it done as soon as possible.  There wasn’t a very large selection of good tree branches but I found one that would suffice and got the rope up fairly quickly.

After that I got out my steak and put it on the fire and cooked it while I organized the rest of my gear, putting things in the tent and ensuring everything would stay dry once the rain started in a few hours.  The forecast for the evening was rain with a chance of thunder and lightning  from 1am Friday morning until 1am Saturday morning.  Fun! LOL

I finished cooking my steak, took it off the grill along with my potaoto and sat to eat. It was so delicious  but a very big heavy meal for 10 at night.  Not much I could do about it. I was just grateful that I had made it to the site and gotten off the water before it got too dark.  Finding sites in the dark dark is not easy and something I am always afraid of having to do.

After enjoying my very filling meal, I continued to finish my set up.  As I was fairly certain it would be raining when I got up, I set up my tarp over the big bench that was around the campfire.  (photo from next day as too dark to take one).   This way I would be able to sit on a piece of the bench and put my stove beside me and cook my breakfast without getting drenched. It was supposed to be warm also but I still needed to keep as much of my gear dry as possible while cooking and packing up so the tarp would be a great assistance.

Once I got the tarp set up and everything fully settled and where it should be, I sat and enjoyed the fire.  It had been a very long time since I’d enjoyed a campfire and it was nice to just sit and listen to the crackle of the flames with the background sounds of nature, loons, frogs and even bugs buzzing, all added to the perfect setting.  I also pumped some water in a pretty smart way, or so I thought. I had filled up my dry bag at the put in at Cedar with water to weigh down the back of the canoe. I had brought that dry bag of water up to the site when I docked the canoe and hung it from the tree. Now, I was thirsty and didn’t want to wait an hour for the purinize drops to work. I also didn’t want to walk down the steep hill to the water, which was murky and weedy right by the shore and get my feet wet to filter water, so…… I opened up the drybag, plunked the filter into it and pumped the water from it sitting beside the campfire.  I thought it was pretty ingenious and I used this method during most of the trip. haha.    I stayed up until 11:30 or so. I was doing my best to let my food settle before lying down as it was a big meal late at night and didn’t want to have any issues.  I was tired but I was also still pretty wired from the rush of getting here. Regardless of all that, I needed to go to sleep as I knew myself and I would be up early in the morning. I had to rest.

I went into my tent and by midnight I was asleep.

DAY 1 – STATS

Paddle – 5 km’s

Portage – 0 kms

I came out around 2am to use the privy and noticed the sky was full of stars. It didn’t look like rain at all and I hoped the forecast had changed. I went back to bed but at 3:30am I heard the rain begin to fall.

I woke up around 5am and went to the privy in the rain. That had to be one of the worst parts of camping in the rain and I detested it. I had put my raincoat right by the door along with a garbage bag. I put the raincoat on and put the garbage bag over my legs as best I could to cover myself. I didn’t have a problem getting wet but I was in my sleeping clothes and would return back to the tent and back into my sleeping bag wearing what I had on.  I didn’t want to get all of those other things wet once I returned to the tent, so I did my best to stay dry.  It was pouring and extremely gloomy out so I decided I would go back to sleep for a bit.  There was no great rush today. I had some travelling to do, but I also could just stay here if the thunder and lightning got bad. The lake I was on tonight only had one site on it, the one I booked,  so there really was no rush.

I woke back up around 730am and slowly began packing.  I headed out to the tarp and was so grateful it was there. It was pouring and it allowed me to make my breakfast easily and keep myself and all my gear dry.  I heard no thunder, saw no signs of lightning  and figured I should get on my way.

Last night I noticed I had 2 travelling options for today.  I could go the route I’d planned, up through Aura Lee, do a 275m portage into Laurel, then a 1070m portage into Carl Wilson Lake, OR, I could go back to the end of Little Cedar and do 3 portages, a 820, 760 and a 410 into Carl Wilson.  This would avoid a lot of paddling and I would miss about 1/4 of Carl Wilson Lake. With thunder and lightning predicted throughout the entire day, I thought this would be the better choice even though it would add 515m of portaging to my day, which I obviously detested, but what’s a girl to do. It was always better, especially solo, to be safe than sorry.

I slowly packed my gear up in the rain which wasn’t easy as I wanted to keep as much dry as possible as it was supposed to rain the entire day and night.  The tent was a bit tricky as the inside is mesh but I figured out a way to unclip the poles with the fly on the tent and then just rolled it all up like that. It was a big gross pine needly dirty mess but I got it into the garbage bag finally, then into it’s bag and into my pack.  After taking much longer than normal to pack up, I was ready to begin my day in the rain.

I had put a post up on facebook just before leaving asking what people do when it’s pouring rain but 30 degrees out.  The majority of the replies were, “get wet” “embrace the rain” and “feel the rain on your skin, no one else can feel it for you… “ LOL.  I decided it was a good idea, but at the moment, the “feels like 30 degrees” wasn’t really there and it felt to me more like the actual 20 degrees forecast. I put on my rainpants over my quick dry shorts and my rain coat over my quick dry tank top.  I packed up the canoe and slowly left my site on Aura Lee wondering what the day would bring.

It took me some time to find the portage. The area was so small that on the map it was difficult to pin point what was where.  I finally discovered the portage at the end of Little Cedar Lake, not a far ways from my site.  It was 820 metres and I was ready to roll and spend the day in the forest portaging over being on the water paddling and potentially getting struck by lightning.  Rainy days in the backcountry were always better in the forest where it often barely felt like it was raining at all.

I put the canoe up on my shoulders and began on my way through the portage.  The start was uphill and that uphill continued up, and up, and up!

I was exhausted and walking the smallest tiniest baby steps in the world, almost not even going forward but barely doing so, that’s how steep some of the hills were.

After walking as much as I possibly could with the canoe, I dropped it on the side of the trail. I didn’t make it to the end, and probably wasn’t even close. I had only walked for 10-15 minutes but as it was all uphill, I doubt I was even halfway.  In comparison, a normal, decent 1km portage takes me about 20 minutes to complete.

I left the canoe and went to get my pack. I had had no intentions of piggy backing on this trail, but I didn’t seem to have a choice. I brought the pack up, and up and up and up and passed the canoe, determined to take the pack all the way to the end of the portage.  I struggled. The terrain was tough, pretty much entirely uphill and some spots were tricky with rocks to go over covered in moss, mud and muck to wade through, and little rivers that had formed in the rain to slosh through.

After 30 minutes of walking with the pack, I finally made it to the end. I couldn’t believe how long it took and I totally entirely dreaded going back for the canoe. I thought of my options, take the pack and canoe back and try the other route? I had no way of knowing it was any different. It could even be worse or harder. Urg.  I could go back with the pack and canoe and stay on cedar or even go home?  That was about the only choices I had. I guess I had to go get the canoe.

I did so and I struggled, hugely,  to make it to the end, but eventually I got there. I was quite sure this was the hardest portage I had ever done.  I was pooped, my legs were toast from so much uphill walking and I was ready to lie down.  Over the course of the struggle, I had removed my rain pants, then my raincoat and had spent most of the portage walking with just my tank top and shorts on. It wasn’t my bathing suit, as suggested on the post, but it was wet like one.  I had been so hot my cheeks had turned bright red and in the haste of getting the rain gear off and freeing my skin from the sauna they had made underneath, I didn’t even think about the bugs. Not until I was walking so freely without my pack anywhere near me and the bugs just biting my legs, arms and especially my shoulders did I realize my bug shirt was in my pack at the other end of the portage. In the time I walked from the pack to the canoe and from where the canoe sat back to the end of the portage, I was pretty much covered in bug bites.  Hmm, at least there was no thunder or lightning.  LOL

Once I completed my worst portage ever, I looked across wee Bug Lake to see the next one just waiting for me on the other side.  The water was now covered in a misty fog and the wind was blowing it across in an incredibly eerie way.

I did the short paddle praying this portage wouldn’t be as difficult as the previous one.  It had taken me almost 1.5 hours from start to finish to do a 860m portage which shouldn’t have taken me any more than an hour and that was a lengthy estimate.

When I arrived at the next portage I was leery and anxious and I just wanted to go home. LOL.  Again, not an option.  I began the 760m portage with my fingers crossed and it paid off.  The portage was mostly downhill.  I was happy about this but also scared because now I wondered if the next one would again but uphill?  LOL.  But overall I was grateful and did the 760m in no time at all.

The rain continued to fall fairly hard but I barely noticed it under the canopy of the trees and my canoe umbrella. Forty five minutes later I was on Ironwood Lake with both the canoe and the pack.  Done and done!

 

I began paddling to the next portage which again, wasn’t very far off. The rain had stopped now and I was happy for that but curious as to if it was just a break before the bigger storm or if it was done for good.

I was able to paddle for a good 15 minutes on a rain free Ironwood Lake before arriving at the next portage.  This one was only 410m and was a lovely portage.  I was so grateful for that.  I took the canoe over in about 10 minutes and went back for my pack.

It was around 12:30 by then and I was pretty hungry so when I got to the pack I pulled out my Ursack and made up my prosciutto wrap. I ate it on the way over the portage to Carl Wilson Lake while I walked with the pack to save some time and ensure I got some energy back.  I had just did almost 2k of portages with one being the hardest one in my life and I was pretty pooped.  Now it was time to paddle.

I arrived to find Carl Wilson to be almost glass like which made me so happy. I was glad to be paddling and was a bit peeved that I opted to do the extra 515m of portaging today over the paddling, especially since there was no thunder or lightning and it wasn’t even raining anymore. I wasn’t upset it wasn’t raining but I was a bit perturbed I did all that to avoid being on the water in a lightning storm not to have any lightning exist.  Always better safe than sorry, but it didn’t mean I had to be happy about it.

Carl Wilson was a nice paddle and took about as long to get through as I anticipated, exactly one hour.  I was again worried about the next portage and would feel that way most likely for a while about portages.  It really could change your entire day, getting onto one like I had first thing and it would be on my mind for a good amount of time, I was sure

I arrived at the portage from Carl Wilson into Varley at 2:20pm and was happy. I honestly wasn’t sure I would get this far today and had backup plans to stay on several of the lakes I’d gone through in case of a storm and thunder and lightning but here I was, only 345m away from arriving at my actual lake and I was thrilled I made the attempt and had almost fully succeeded.  The entrance to the portage however was extremely swampy and smelly and mucky.  I couldn’t get very close to the walkable ground and sat for a second thinking. Then I remembered my trick from last year. I separated my kayak paddle and held each piece in one hand. I put the paddle into the ground on either side of me and pushed up and forward, like one would use ski poles almost,  and thrust my canoe and myself a few inches. I repeated this several times and voila! I was on the grassy area and could easily get out without having my feet sink into the mucky smelly quicksand. PERFECT!

I brought the canoe over first and when I arrived at Varley Lake, I was a bit disappointed. It looked as if the entire lake was covered in weeds, lily pads and was super shallow and I was staying here for the night. Over the last several hours I was dreaming of swimming.  I was dirty, smelly and hot and couldn’t wait to jump in the lake when I got to my site finally but now that might not be happening.

I grabbed the map to look at where exactly the site was on the lake as I hadn’t even done this as yet.  This is when I began to get really upset.  From the looks of the map, my site, the only one on Varley Lake, which I was so happy to get as it was the only site on the lake, was on the portage.  It was a portage site?  OMG!! I was so mad. Why didn’t I look? I had been in such a hurry to find a route and so pinched for time the last few days, I didn’t even look at the map. I had booked the sites through the Ontario Parks website and saw 1/1 on Varley and was like, yeah, a lake all to myself and that was that. AND I had just dismissed an entire route because the one site was on the portage. Mind you, it was on the middle of a portage so a bit different but still.  I weighed my options. I could stay on Carl Wilson but my canoe was now on Varley.  It would mean I would have to portage the canoe back to Carl Wilson, paddle back to where the sites were and find a site. Then tomorrow would have to add this portage to the others I already had planned,  making it a bigger day.  Sigh. I would just have to live with what I did and learn from it but man, was I disappointed.

I decided not the think the worst until I actually saw the site. Maybe it was just beside the portage, close by, but not right on it. Maybe it was a beautiful site. I did know that only 2 or 3 sites in the entire looped were booked all weekend and mostly the border lakes not the ones like this so the probability of someone actually coming through the portage was extremely unlikely but still. Urg.

I got my pack over and took my time, no longer feeling anxious to get to my site.   The sun was peeking out here and there, there was no rain, no thunder, no lightening and I had had a big day of travelling and was excited to rest, but I was scared to see the site.

I slowly paddled through the weedy, murky water of Varley lake looking ahead to see the lake get wider and open up more and not see the weeds and lily pads sticking up.  Well, at least I could swim, there was a good point.  I had done so much work to get here, I had felt so disappointed to get this as my reward, I wanted to stomp my feet and thow a tantrum,  but again, what would that do?

I saw the site and I saw the portage.  Not only were they together, the signs were right on top of each other on the exact same tree.  URRGGGG.  I pulled the canoe up to the site and just sat in it for a moment.  Get out of the canoe, set up and enjoy the day Christina, stop sulking, it’s not the end of the world.  There’s like a 90% chance or higher no one will come, but just the thought that someone could irked me, but again, what could I do?

For several minutes I sat in the canoe contemplating paddling back to the portage and camping on Carl Wilson but I decided I was tired, I had no reason to camp on a lake that I wasn’t booked on, even if all 7 sites weren’t booked and I was acting like a big baby.

I got out of the canoe and took my sopping wet tent out of my bag, beginning to feel a bit grateful. It was supposed to be raining but it wasn’t. The sun was out on and off and it was turning into a great day. I had the time and the luxury of being able to dry my tent and my wet gear and enjoy this lake all to myself.  I had to think positive and I did have a lot to be grateful for, so I did my best to focus on that and got to work.

I hung a few lines and began to get things drying. I dried out the tent with my pack towel and hung it up and stood the tent on it’s side in the sun to help it dry faster.  I rotated things around, and did my best to enjoy the rest of the day, trying not to think someone was coming down the trail every time I heard a sound.

I set up my tarp as every so often it would get really dark, the temperature would drop and it would feel like the rain was about to fall. I wanted to be prepared just in case and it was easy enough to put up and take down not to worry about wasting time.

After I had everything set to dry and all the chores done, so to speak, I decided it was time for a swim. The sun was mostly out and I was so hot and dirty from the day of portaging in the rain, I needed to refresh myself in the lake. I cooled off and felt so much better, not clean, but definitely cleaner than I had been.

After my swim I changed and moved the tent and put everything in it. It was now dry as were most of my things, thankfully.  I put up my hammock then and rested in it reading and watching the loons on the lake who were very active.

Around 6pm I got dinner started.  Today I was making bannock, a recipe I got from Sean from Paddling Adventures Radio.  I had decided to make it a few days earlier, then heard Sean talking about his on the podcast the next day, so I decided I’d test out his recipe adding garlic powder and shredded cheddar cheese to it.  Boy was it messy.  Anyone have a trick to making this un-messily?

I decided the work I did today called for a cocktail. I had brought a few shots of gin and some dehydrated cucumbers. I put the cucumbers in a cup, added water and gin and waited about 15 minutes for the cucumbers to re hydrate. It was a bit strong but delicious. I continued making dinner throughout this time and added wood to the fire to keep the food cooking and shortly after all was done and ready to eat. It smelled and looked amazing!

And it was, so very yummy.  I ate every last bite and was stuffed when I was done.  What a treat and the bannock recipe from Sean worked out great. It was perfect, except for the messy part! LOL.

I had a little chattering chipmunk on my site and he ran to and fro munching on pinecones.  He was cute and let me get close, possibly someone had fed him before?

As the days light began to fade, I laid in the hammock and enjoyed the view. The loons were active here and came and went frequently and made lots of calls and they were fun to watch.  Eventually I forced my sore bones to get up and headed over to the canoe to take it out of the water. I had left it in in case I wanted to go for a paddle, but that time had passed. I was on my next portage so the canoe would be carried next from here, so no point in leaving it.  I began closing up the site, putting things away for the night etc, but left the tarp up, just in case.

I headed to bed early as I was exhausted from the day of portaging in the rain and got a good nights rest, even though I was on a portage, I was pretty sure no one was coming through at this time and could finally relax a bit more.

DAY 2 – STATS

Paddle – 7kms

Portage – 2340m, walked 7020m

Please check back for Days 3 and 4 covered in Part 2.  See how I do on the rest of the journey and if my site on Gull Lake will be a portage site like this one,  or a regular one.  Thanks so much for watching. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please leave a message.

Happy Camping!

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4 Comments

  1. Donna Hughes September 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Hey Christina. I love how you put one foot in front of the other when faced with a not so good situation. You have your temper tantrum, get it out of your system and then you just get on with it. Can’t wait to read the rest of your adventure. I still cannot believe the amount of bites you had. That in itself shows how much you are one with nature.

    • Christina September 5, 2018 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      Lol are you sure it doesn’t just show that I’m a crazy person for being out there? Thanks so much for the amazing comment. I am so glad that you are reading my blogs and leaving these treasures for me to find. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave your feedback and I’m so happy you’re enjoying the posts. Thank you !

  2. Trevor September 6, 2018 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Christina, I remember you asking people online about campsites on portage routes…I agree it would be nice to class or identify these sites differently (ie: colour) for people in emergencies or those who want solitude.

    I wanted to ask about your canoe. I know you had written about the custom changes you made and the trouble you had balancing it for the yoke placement. In your pics, it looks like the yoke is really close to the seat…do you remove it when on the water or do you kneel in between? You also had mentioned placing rocks in the stern to counter weight or water in your drybag. Is your pack in the bow enough to stay level as well? Just looking for tips! Thx!

    Also, thank you for all your efforts with these trip reports. They are appreciated and enjoyed.

    • Christina September 6, 2018 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      HI Trevor. Thanks so much for checking out the post. Are you watching the videos also? Just curious. The newer maps actually show that the campsite is on the portage. I happened to look the other day. Woops. My map is my original one from Algonquin for my first trip in 2002 so it’s not as specific as let’s say an Unlostify map. My fault. Oh well. I learned my lesson. The funny thing was I totally changed from another route I wanted to do to this one to avoid a portage site, but that one was actually right in the middle of the portage. Just made me laugh when I was out there and I kept picking at myself for the mistake. This is how we learn. hahah.

      The canoe, it is lovely. This is actually a loaner canoe. I have one coming from Backcountry Custom Canoes to better suit what I do personally but he is very busy and I’m not sure when I will get it. The yoke is really close to the seat and I do not kneel due to bad knees but I fit just fine. I actually like the placement alot because when I need to be more stable or am booking it like on my way from Cedar to Aura Lee I push my legs against the yoke and it balances me. I”m not sure if you kayak but it is similar to how you have foot pegs in a kayak for me. It makes me feel like I am part of the boat. Hope that makes sense. I can shoot you a little video next trip if not. 🙂

      When I am on bigger water or windy areas I put rocks or a water filled drybag in the stern as the bow holds my pack. This balances out the weight so that I can keep the canoe straight when paddling. This canoe has a lot of rocker and therefore if it’s not balanced weightwise I will just spin in circles. It was made for and by the owner of backcountry custom canoes for his trips on superior and customized to his preferences so I have just made small adaptations so it will work for me for what I like to do with it. My new canoe will have less rocker and the seat much lower so it will be alot more stable. it will also be more narrow to adapt to my kayak paddle and make that easier and it will therefore be faster and easier for me to control.

      Thanks for the great questions and comments and I hope you continue to check out my stuff. Feel free to message me anytime. Hope I helped.

      c

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