Monday, August 28, 2006

Boy's canoe trip '06

Day 1
We started out the trip very early in the AM.  Rory dropped by about 6:30 to pick me up.  I hurried with my gear outside to meet him.  I had most things ready because I had to get them out of the car as Mandy went to work earlier than this.  We drove out to get some breakfast and meet Todd at his place to put the canoe on.  Turns out, neither of us knew where Todd lives, so luckily Rory has a phone book in the car.  We look him up and show up at his house.  After some walking about and knocking we call, and it turns out he was still sleeping.  After a little more time passes Jarron and Regan show up and we're off.  We drive very far (2 hours) before we stop to get some gas just past the French River put in on Quetico.  It is there that Rory finds out that nobody packed a life jacket for him.  So he rents one from the outfitter that also happens to run the gas station.

That settled we head on for Beaverhouse.  It's a small road.  Very scary when it's only one lane and you see somebody come up against you.  When we finally reach the end of the raod we realize that the map Todd has is stupid.  It looks like the road should almost reach the put in spot, but the red road is connected to the red portage of 600+m.  So it's easily confused.  So we put in after a bit of a jaunt, only to take another 600m portage minutes later.  Followed by another portage.  So in approximately 2 hours, we've done more portaging that paddling.  That doesn't seem right... at least to me.  We keep paddling on, despite the on and off rain.  Oh, did I mention that we're wet?  And in my haste in the morning, I didn't bring anythign close to water resistant, just a big hoodie, which is DRENCHED.  Yuck.  I hate that.

As it's over-cast all day it's hard to tell what time it is, and what we feel is about 6-7ish we find a camp that Todd rates at 1 star and make the decision to set up shop there.  It's not bad actually.  Regan sets up a nice bunch of tarps which we start hanging the wet gear on, and a fire is started.  Logs are cut up with Todd's handy folding saw and tents are set out.  Dinner is an easy sausage roasted over the fire with wraps.  You know, wraps ARE the perfect food.  The rest of the night is pretty fun as we entertain each other with stories and salamanders.  It's about this time I realize that I've lost one of my leggings for my pants.  Probably on some portage way back...


Day 2
The morning finds Regan getting the coffee, Rory complaining about me becoming the new Graham for snoring and Jarron raving about his bivy sack.  We set out for another day.  We make it to Sue Falls and take a break to climb the pretty dry falls.  But still it was very neat.  We also found some pictographs.  The one we found looked like some red splotches - more like red dots spray painted in.  Oh, and Todd caught a bunch of snags.  We leave that bay and head across to find the 1km portage.  Ouch that hurt!  We figure it would work out best if some people run with packs all the way across while some only do half track and drop and go back for more, while the people who did the whole thing go back to the half way pack to pick up the dropped packs and head back.  It worked out pretty good actually.  I just remember having to count the steps.  It was 624 from the halfway point to the end.  Math always helps me block out anything I don't like.  THe next few km of paddling was ok until the wind gusted up out of nowhere and it was, as Regan calls it, our 'near death experience.'  The paddling wasn't helping us as we were literally going backwards.  Waves crashing over the bow we decided to hit the closest bay and wait it out.  It was kinda spooky the amount of power in the wind.  We waited for a while before we headed out again.  Freak storm as there was perfect blue skies all around before, then this big black one, then blue skies again.  Then we hit Macalpine creek.  How can anything with my ancestral name be so gross?  It was mostly lining the canoe down knee deep muck.  I was afraid i was going to step out and lose my shoe in it.  Very gross!  Somehow princess sally [i.e. Rory] found a way to stay in teh canoe and keep his shoes dry.  My socks will never get clean... ever.  A few more hours of paddling finds us getting pretty dark and no camp site.  We find the first one we can see as the light is starting to fail and the 2nd canoe [rory and jarron] is now WAAY behind.  Turns out that the 18ft canoe is WAAAY faster than the 15ft.  That and Rory and Jarron are really tired.  We camp on a 1 star camp [it's not as nice as the last one, and the last one gets upgraded to a 2 star... maybe 1.5].  But there was tons of firewood on it, just had to cut up the fallen down trees - thanks again to Todd's saw.  We have a great little meal - rice and veggies in a wrap with cheese - and head to bed.  Regan and Jarron both decide to sleep outside.  Most of th enight is spent contemplating which star is which, as it is "MARS DAY" we try to find mars.  Apparently you still can't see it with the naked eye, but we try.


Day 3
This mornign starts out like any of the others, drying out wet clothes on the rocks, readyign the packs and me breaking Regan's line.  (sorry regan, i owe you one jiggly looking hook thingie)  As we head out, Todd and I decide to go looking for the pictographs that Jarron and Rory saw yesterday "oh, yeah, they're awesome, clear as day."  Although, we can't find them.  We paddle along a bit more trying to look for some of the others.  I did some some red splotch, so we'll say I saw one.  We let the other canoe get pretty far ahead before we start to catch up.  We paddle pass one lake with a TON of loons on it.  It was like a loon convention.  Regan counted 23 of 'em.  Naturally, Todd had to throw in a line where they were, because that must mean fish.  Nothing.  It was a terrible trip for fishing in general.  Mostly bass, but nothing worth keeping.  We see plenty of nice beach areas out on Quetico lake, but there's no time to stop and visit them.  Just make a mental note for another time.  We find the only real portage of this day and since it's barely 100m we just cruise over it to the other side and relax.  It's a bit of a falls so Rory and Todd cast in from the boat, Regan casts from the rocks and Jarron and I sit in the falls themselves.  Very relaxing.  And the cool thing is that like 5m after my sausage gotch are DRY!  Make fun of that!  We start paddling on again and it looks like we enjoyed lunch a little too much as the wind's started to pick up. We paddle across to find an island to take a little shelter before heading out across more of Beaverhouse.  We finally make in the mouth towards the original put in and it takes us a while to find the place where it all started.  It looks so different from this angle.  We eventually switch sides of this stream locate it.  Some park rangers have left their HUGE aluminum canoe across the landing, so Regan just gives it a chuck to the side.  After that it was some humping of packs across to the truck and then head home.  NO INJURIES [except when Regan fell with the kayak - that looked like it could hurt Regan, and almost broke Todd's clavical]


Total trip length:  56km [give or take]

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