Monday, July 10, 2006

Quetico 2006 descriptions

Ok, it's a few days overdue, but better late than never.  Dont' forget to check out the pics in my photo area


Day 1 - setting out

On the first day we set out we had to set out kinda late because I had a job interview at Hammarskjold.  So we reached Quetico's put in point [French lake] around 5pm or so.  But we set in and head on out across French L. into this windy area (saw an otter in there) that eventually leads out into the very tip of Pickerel L. and we put in at the Pines.  The wind was getting really choppy so my dad suggested we stay there for th enightg and not try to go any further.  Which was ok.  We ate our tuna fish wraps [yes, I know, we had cans of tuna in the park... that's a no-no - my bad.  So we set up our tent, hung out some wet stuff to dry and hung around the beach.  We saw a tiny beaver in this little lake at the end, but otherwise pretty uneventful.  The amount of blowdown at the Pines was amazing.  It almost looked like it had been clear cut.  Dad let me try some stern work, and I sucked, so I won't be doing that again.  After waiting what seemed like forever for the stars to come out we just decided to go to bed and get an early start in the morning.  [it was like 12:30 and there was maybe 1 or 2 stars only]  Getting any sleep was pretty hard, as my dad kept telling me to 'stop snoring' about every hour or so.  So I guess it was hard for him as well.


Day 2 - off to Sturgeon Lake

So we set off very early (6:30am), the lake was very calm so it made it easier to get across.  Pickerel was huge!  After about 2 hours or so we finally start heading into Bisk L after making our first portage (~700m) over this dam.  We go through Bisk into Beg and then into Bud then Fern and another killer portage (1.2km) into Olifaunt.  After this one I'm pretty much dead, but we're not licked yet.  Across Olifaunt and another portage brings us to Sturgeon.  By this point I'm just pooped.  It's been about 10+ hours of just portaging and canoeing and I'm ready to put in somewhere and just swim and sleep.  Dad suggests heading down to Blueberry Island... but from where we are it looks FOREVER away.  I'm suggesting spots left right and center (all close) to go instead.  He eventually acquiesces and we take a spot on the big island in Sturgeon.  For those of you who know Quetico, this is the most eaternly Sturgeon L, the smaller one, there's a much bigger Sturgeon Lake that's somehow connected to this one.  We set up tent on what will be now called "ant island" and I immediately get ready to go swimming.  I NEED this cooling down.  IT's been too long a day.  We have travelled easily 20+ km today.   I guess in my over-eagerness and somewhat sun stroked mind this is where I make my mistake.  I stand on the rock deciding where I should jump in.  I try to see, but the sun is glaring right off the lake.  I can see a large rock just about under the water to my right, and I figure as long as I jump to the left of it I should be safe [right in the sun glare].  I just give 'er and jump.  The water is fantastic... for a few seconds.  Then my left foot lands and suddenly there's pain.  I realize it wasn't near as deep as I hoped and prepare to have my cocyx broken any second.  Eventually I stop the falling and my other foot lands as well tho' not as painful and I try to steady myself so I can stand.  I can tell nothing's broken, but my one foot is cut up pretty bad.  Dad just shakes his head as he gets the first aid kit.  Pretty dumb.  So I spend the rest of the night just sulking and went to bed early.


Day 3 - a rough trip home

We wake up not as early as the previous day and we have some breakfast amidst our new friends the squirrels and ants.  The squirrels are fearless as they wait for us to drop food for them.  We find even some of them have goten into our packs and nibbled at anythign that resembled food.  Well we decide to set out after we take my bandages off and notice that it had bled into the gauze so it reopens and starts to bleed some more.  Dad does a good job bandaging it up tight again, and we head off.  We go through Sturgeon L and head into Twin Lakes.  We're now in Twin lakes and it's winding and we end up slathering ourselves in bug dope, but it was little help against the horse flies.  After 4 beaver dams and 1 moose we search for the portage.  This was apparently hard to find because dad's old map showed it to the right of a tiny river.  The new map shows it to the left.  We had just discussed how he was saying that the old route used to be very swampy and how they've changed it to higher ground... so it took a few minutes to find the right spot.  Roughly 760m this was really painful.  Turns out that the tight bandaging helpful as it is to stop bleeding (it really didn't bleed much all day) make my foot so tight that it was kinda like cramping up.  So every step was slow and steady.    We meet some nice Americans heading into Twin Lakes and warn them of the swampiness.  In Dore it's much nicer and calmer.  We start seeing a few more people and eventually we take the last portage out and end up in Portage Bay and this eventually leads back into Pickerel.  We take lunch on somethign like Watasi Island and try to get some energy to make it across the big lake.  Hopefully the wind will be with us.  We start off and just keep going ad nauseum.  After a while I decide to rig up a sail.  It's a pathetic failure.  Not enough wind to bother with it almost, but seeing as I'm just already pooped I keep trying.  After seeing many 'mirages' of what we think is the Pines we eventually make it to the real Pines.  That was one long canoe ride. Another hour of going back through French we make it to the put in point.  Man, I am done.


On the route back we start just snacking on whatever was left over.  One of which was a bag of trail mix.  Part way through the trip home I notice taht there's an ant in the bag.  I hope that there was only one.  From that point on we start looking at what is in our hand before we eat it.  I never saw that ant again, and I'm gonna go with the fact that he eventually crawled out of the bag.


I spend the rest of the night getting unpacked and then 2.5 hours in emergency, just to have them look at my foot.


Lessons learned on this trip:

 - bring some sort of reading material or distractions - there are some downtimes you just need to be doing something or there's nothing to do

 - bring some tape or somethign for my hands as there's blisters all over them

 - look before you leap

 - the "J" stroke

 - horse flies don't mind DEET

 - dad can't measure distance on a map... that 2nd day of paddling was 22.2km as the crow flies according to GoogleEarth, so it must have been more like 25 or so by lake.

1 comment:

  1. You\'re funny you know! I quite enjoyed that entry.  Nice job Mr. Accidental Tourist.  You keep that up and no one will believe you\'re an outdoors guy :D