Last year I went on my first solo trip in the backcountry. It was at The Massasauga and it was awesome and I have been wanting to go back.
I had every intention of spending last weekend at home. Well my new home in Port Carling, but on Friday around 1pm, I was advised I could go home early. So at 3pm, I decided to call it a day and packed up my camping gear.
By 5pm I was on my way to The Massasauga. It was only a little over a half hours’ drive to the park office from my place. SWEET!
After some very long deliberations about which site I would stay on, I finally got my permit and headed to the boat launch. Happy camper!
The water was pretty choppy and it was really windy out. Either my boat wasn’t packed properly, or, I wasn’t quite used to it after using a different kayak at the level 1 course at the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, my last time paddling. I was extremely nervous and careful and made it to my site fine, but I definitely need to pack my boat differently on the way out.
I arrived at site 508 on Blackstone Harbour and was very relieved I hadn’t tipped my boat. I got to the task of unpacking and setting up and was very very happy with my beautiful site.
As I was unpacking I was greeted by the resident beaver. So cute!
I had a few issues setting up my tent this trip. I rarely do and am unsure why, but my friends the trees were there to help me out. I’ve used this trick solo before and it works really well.
With my sleeping area all set up, I was ready to get my fire going so I would be able to cook my dinner. The fire pit however, wasn’t ready for me. It was overflowing with ashes and full of tin and metal. urg!
Good thing I brought my collapsible shovel. I cleaned out the pit as best as I could, making sure the fire was completely out and cool and none of the embers were still warm. I put all the tin cans and metal pieces on the side and would take them out when I left. I don’t understand why people can’t just take their garbage out with them??? So sad.
I got a small fire going and went to get water for my filter and hung it. Time to make dinner. I was so hungry. I brought a frozen homemade burger and it was just thawed out. YUM!
I sat by the fire and ate my dinner as the sun started to fade.
There were lots of night noises coming from the bay, but for some reason, I wasn’t afraid. I was very calm and at ease and I was very happy about that. You see, I, Camper Christina, am afraid of the dark.
I was rewarded at days end with a beautiful sunset and then a very full moon that cast shadows. It was very bright out and that made me even happier!
I put my food and anything scented in my bear barrel and then locked it into the bear bin on the site. What a great thing to have for people who don’t have bear barrels. I was surprised at how big it was also. You could easily put a few coolers in it and still have lots of room for your pots/pans/bbq/utensils etc. Great job Massasauga!
I heard a fox scream a few times just before heading to bed and if Dympna hadn’t told me what they sound like a few weeks ago, I would’ve been incredibly freaked out. If you’ve never heard a fox scream, take a listen to the recording I made, it’s very faint but if you turn up the volume you should be able to hear it around second 3 or 4. If not, google fox sounds and check out the video that comes up. Pretty freaky indeed!
I got into my tent and got ready for bed. It was then that I noticed my ankle was incredibly swollen. Something had bit me in the park office and it was very very itchy and super swollen. It was also sore, like a bruise. I took an allergy pill and hoped it would go down tomorrow. I went to bed and slept great!!
I woke up at sunrise, grabbed my life jacket and jumped in my kayak to paddle on the mirror lake and enjoy the morning sounds of the forest.
I have been trying for years now, to record the sound of loons calling in the back country. I have only a few videos and this may be my favorite one of all time. There is nothing like hearing the call of the loons in the north, especially at morning light when you are the only one around and it feels like they are putting on a huge show, just for you.
I could’ve stayed out paddling around all morning but my tummy was rumbling, so I headed back to the site to make some breakfast.
After breakfast, I cleaned up, changed into my bathing suit, brushed my teeth, packed a bag for the day and then put everything else in the bear bin. I had hung the hammock last night and was so tired, I thought a nap was in order!
Who was I kidding? I’m not a napper and never have been. I decided to test out my new paddle float and practice wet exiting my boat, in shallow waters, of course, with life jacket, of course, and wet entry as well. I got a small air bag especially made for the hull of my boat to give it extra flotation and I wanted to see if it worked. I am happy to report it did and I did 3 complete wet exits and wet entrys. I was pretty tired after that, even moreso than before. I went back to the hammock to relax for a bit and figure out the rest of my day.
My view from the hammock was pretty amazing, but, I was getting more bored by the minute, even though I was thoroughly exhausted. I decided to pack a lunch and head over to check out the portage and spend the day on Little Blackstone Lake. It was a non motorized boat lake and the option I was debating about staying on when I arrived here yesterday. I thought without baggage, I could check out the portage just carrying my boat and my day bag and see how the sites are for future visits.
I got about halfway across the lake when the stomach cramps started. Then came the gurgly sounds, followed by intense pain in my abdomen. Ohhhh dear! I was out in the middle of the lake, what to do? After much deliberating, I made the choice to go back to my site. I didn’t want to risk getting ill out on the water and no matter how badly I wanted to check out Little Blackstone, I had to go back. Safety first. It was a hard paddle back and I was happy when my boat hit shore.
It was a rough afternoon. I returned to the site around 1pm. I laid down in the hammock after a long visit to the privvy. Yuck! I felt like I had been drained of all my energy. I fell asleep for about an hour, then woke up shivering with a fever. I laid in the sun and slept until I woke up sweating, then went back to the hammock. This continued until around 4 when the sun was finally off my tent. I crawled into my sleeping bag, (it’s a -9 marmot btw, and it was like 28 degrees out?). I took an tylenol for the fever and an allergy pill for the swelling and in case it was bug/allergy related, and went back to sleep.
I finally woke up around 630 and still felt off, but the fever was gone. I really don’t know what was wrong with me? If it was a reaction to the bite, maybe too much sun? bad food? But when I woke up, I felt better and was even hungry so I made my shrimp pasta, minus the shrimp, as I noticed this morning, the block of ice they were in, was already completely melted, so I definitely wasn’t eating that!
I sat by the fire enjoying my sidekicks, bacon penne with extra garlic and chunks of cheese as it was too soft to grate due to the hot temperatures outside! LOL. I read my book for a few hours in the sunshine and just enjoyed the peace and quiet of the area. Beside the odd boat or jet ski coming from the marina through the channel next to my site, it wasn’t crazy busy here, and I was so glad about that.
When the sun went down, I jumped in my kayak and went for a little paddle. The moon was very bright again and I actually took a selfie without the flash.
I headed to bed really early and got a nice long nights sleep, even though I had slept most of the day. I woke up at sunrise and headed to the point to take photos of the gorgeous sky! I was once again blessed with the loons!
I felt great and the sunrise was incredible. I was happy I got up, but surprisingly, still tired. LOL
I headed back to my site and as it was only 630, so I decided to go back to bed. I slept until 8 and was elated. I am not a good sleeper but it seemed I was very good at it this weekend. When I got up at 8, I made breakfast first so my stove could cool down. Scrambled eggs with cheese and bits of bacon and english muffins with strawberry jam! Delicious!
I packed up my site and made it look better than it did when I got there. After I carefully packed my boat, with far less in the backpack on top, I put the bag of metal cans and bits left in the firepit, onto the back of my kayak. The pieces were sharp and I didn’t want them to puncture anything. Another shot for #CleanUpOurParks !!! I was ready to go.
It only took me 15 minutes to paddle from site 508 to the dock. Not bad at all. My boat felt far more steady and as it was only 930, the water was extremely calm. I got back to the dock, unloaded my boat, put it on my truck and 30 minutes after setting off at my site, I was driving away from the put in. Cool beans!
Including a brief stop on the way home for gas, I was home within about 40 minutes of leaving the park. So sweet! I successfully survived my 2 night solo back country kayak trip, even though I was ill. Not bad, although I was still upset I didn’t get to explore Little Blackstone Lake or more of the area I was in. Hopefully, I will be back soon to check it out!
I hope you enjoyed my post. If you have any questions or comments, please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you in between adventures.