Every time I look at a calendar, I feel a sense of panic. It’s AUGUST! It’s August and one of my two most favorite months of the year to camp, September being the most favorite. I need to go, go go and I can’t stop. I have to get out. That is what I hear, constantly in my head. Not only is it August, but I missed 5 months of camping due to 2 concussions this year and I need to catch up. Again, what I keep hearing over and over in my head.
I had planned to stay home this weekend and relax, find something to do, work on the house, etc, but once again, it’s August. I checked the forecast and no crappy weather or rain, just a beautiful HOT SUNNY weekend. Now, I knew I had to do something as I can’t look a gift horse in the mouth either. Where to go? What to do?
My desire at this time of year is to swim as much as possible and spend as much time in, around, near, or on the water. ‘If” I didn’t camp, I would most likely do a day trip and aim to go somewhere I could swim, but the places, surprisingly were limited near me. I had lots of lakes full of cottages nearby and few places where i could just go swimming and not endure the screaming of kids running splashing and playing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just not my scene.
I did a bit of looking around and saw a few sites open at the Massasauga for Saturday night. I could easily just go in the morning, Pete’s Place Access is exactly 30 minutes from my front door, spend the day on a site, swim, paddle, enjoy the weather, rest my tired and sore body (leftover from my 5 day trip) and then sleep there and go home the next morning. Hmmm, sounded like a good solution so I packed up some stuff and off I went.
I saw the site that I had booked had been booked for the night before. This meant that I could possibly not get onto the site until 2pm. BLAH. That sucked, but it also meant I could sleep in, take my time, and head out later in the morning. So that’s what I did.
I left home around 9-9:30 with dark clouds looming and arrived to the put in around 10, launching my canoe just after that. I had realized that this was the very first time ever that I had been to the Massasauga with a canoe. I had only ever done kayak trips here and did my very first solo backcountry trip on Conguer Lake. That was also what allowed me to come this weekend as the site on Little Blackstone Lake was after doing a 930m portage which I used to dread, but now find easy most of the time.
I found the portage easily after a short paddle and took my time going over it. In my mind, there were people on the site and as I hadn’t seen anyone pass by me to leave, I was pretty sure they either never arrived (unlikely) or they were still on site, sipping on their morning coffee, enjoying their morning, so, I took my time.
When I completed the portage, it started to rain. It was a nice light summer rain, but I was here to lie in the sun in my hammock, read a book (for real) and go swimming for the day. Rain was not on the agenda, nor in the forecast. Arg.
I waited until it stopped and then paddled to the site.
The lake is very small and was incredibly quiet and I saw no one. When I got to the site, I saw no one. No one had camped there the night before from what I could tell unless they left at 830am and here I had been waiting and taking my time. urg.
Oh well. I was here now, the rain had stopped and the sun was doing it’s best to make an appearance. Yay sun!
I set up my hammock, my tent, hung the water filter and got myself all organized. Then I got out my lunch as it was approaching noon. Lunch today was Kielbasa, cheese and crackers and I cut everything up and ate while I spent time going over my Algonquin map that I’d brought.
I had noticed that next weekend was 2 before labor day and I wanted to get another 4 day trip in so I had asked for the Monday off, my boss agreed to the Friday, and now I was stuck going in just 5 days. Not a huge issue but I didn’t have a trip planned at all so I had to find some routes that would work for a 3 night trip.
I munched on lunch and worked on some routes and found about 4 of them. They all looked good but I had no idea if they were booked or not? I did have reception but it was too difficult to do all that on my wee phone so I decided to wait until I was home tomorrow to check the rest.
Since this was to be a relaxing trip, I brought a bit of alcohol to sip on. I don’t drink much in the backcountry, but when I’m doing my best to relax and kick back, why not? I had been sent a product called Pocket Cocktails made by Barcountry Cocktails. I had asked for the Old Fashioned as it sounded like the mix I would like best, even though I didn’t mix it with bourbon as suggested. I mixed it with coconut rum instead. I was really surprised at how good it tasted and how small and light the packets are. I usually bring Mio or Dasani flavored drops on my trips if I bring alcohol, but it’s a little bottle of liquid and is much bigger and heavier than these packets. If you are concerned about weight but still want a delicious tasting drink, this is definitely a better option and something I would consider taking on more challenging trips when I bring a bit of alcohol to go with it. The cherry flavor was very authentic also and not too sweet like some mixes. I was really impressed with my beverage of choice today for sure and would certainly use them again.
With my cocktail in hand I picked up my book, got in my hammock and actually just laid there and read, something I rarely do. I have a problem sitting still. LOL
After a few hours I saw a canoe, the people who were on the site in the back corner had been here all along but were really quiet, which made me happy. They fished and I decided to go for a swim, then sat by the water for a while continuing to read and catching a few rays.
It wasn’t a very exploratory or exciting type of day, just a day to rest and get the swelling down in my legs that I’d accumulated on my last trip and do my best to be lazy.
The day went on without much excitement. I was waiting to see when my other 2 neighbors would arrive as all 4 sites on the lake were booked tonight but no one came. The site across from me was very very close and I was worried I would get some crazy loud noisey neighbors but I continued to enjoy my quiet day, listening to the loons and the frogs and the wind and feeling the warm sunshine on my face.
Around 530 I decided to make dinner. I had brought a giant pork chop that I got at the grocery store for like $1.99. I didn’t eat pork much, but it was a good deal and I had had steak so many times, I figured it would be a nice change. I had some leftover rice at the house that I put in a ziplock to heat up and some asparagus I would put in the pan with the pork chop. Easy Peasy.
As the fire ban was currently still on, I had to cook on my stove but it wasn’t a big deal and I had gotten used to it. It came out perfect and was so delicious, I never wanted it to end.
After dinner I decided to go for a little paddle to check out the sunset and do a bit of fishing but nothing was biting.
My neighbors arrived around then and I was delighted to see 2 girls paddling up in a canoe. I’m not sure why I was so happy that it was women, I think that overall in my mind they are just less loud than men, but I suppose that’s not really fair to say. I think their voices are just more soft and not as boisterous maybe, I dunno?
I was also pleased with their comments as they paddled through the lake, saying how beautiful it was, how glad they were they had come and how happy they were to be here. My kind of girls for sure!
While I was out paddling I passed their site and one of the girls asked me about my canoe and what it was made of etc. I stopped to chat and found out the ladies were from Toronto and Hamilton and were here for 2 nights, one on Little Blackstone and one on Blackstone Harbor. They were just lovely and we had a wonderful chat and eventually I headed back to my site so they could make their dinner (in the dark) and I could get ready for bed.
I read a bit more and made it to Chapter 8. I had taken this book on many trips, even a week in Cuba, and never read more than a few pages so I was quite pleased with myself.
I put my food in the big green bin that The Massasauga has on a lot of their sites and headed to my tent. I put my headlamp on and read for a bit and eventually went to sleep, listening to my friends the loons call to each other well into the wee hours of the night.
I woke up fairly early and decided to go for a paddle. The sun would be rising across from me but behind the site the ladies were on. Taking photos of someone else’s campsite with the sun coming up behind it wasn’t my idea of a great photo and by paddling elsewhere, I could choose a nicer, less invasive backdrop.
I spent some time following a beautiful heron around the lake. He let me take photos and videos of him and then would fly off after a bit. Each time, it would allow me to get a bit closer and as I hadn’t found my zoom lens before leaving my site, I was grateful for that.
I had also been wanting to take some photos of me paddling into the sunrise, or sunset, in the canoe for a while now but hadn’t had the opportunity, but here I did. I found the perfect place to set up the tripod, set it on record and headed out on the water. It took a few attempts but I got some good shots of what I wanted.
I headed back to my site to make breakfast. I had precooked some bacon and would make toast and over easy eggs to go with it. I also had a hot chocolate with baileys and took my time enjoying all of it. Things I didn’t allow myself to take the time to do on my 5 day trip the weekend before. I enjoyed camping in so many ways, and it was nice to take turns doing all the different things when the time was right.
I slowly began to pack up my things. I had planned to stay for a bit, but then realized there really wasn’t much point and I needed to get home. I had 5 videos to make from my last trip and 2 blog posts and still had to sort all the photos. I have been experiencing huge issues with my iphone and had even sent mine off for repair. The one I got was having the same issues and so they said the best thing to do would be restore the phone as new, meaning I lost a tonne of stuff, all my setting, passwords, text messages, etc. I had spent so much time trying to get it fixed, I wasn’t able to work on my videos and posts and I was really far behind and it was stressing me out, so in order to put my mind at ease, I decided it was best to head home.
After I packed up the canoe, I went over to say goodbye to the ladies. They told me there had been a snapping turtle hanging around their site all morning so I did my best to try and catch a peek but he was too shy to show himself unfortunately.
I wished the ladies a great day and slowly made my way to the portage. Two hours later I was putting my canoe and gear away and already repacking it for the next trip.
The massasauga is a great place to have a getaway and I am so happy that I live so close to such an amazing park.
Please check back next week for the 4 day solo trip I was planning on this trip and see where I ended up and how it went. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please leave a message.