Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quetico Canoe Trip - August 5 - 7

So, here is the opportunity I've been waiting for all summer.  I swore up and down that during my break from work I'd be doing all sorts of leisure activities.  Thus far, I have had none (aside from band trips).

Day 1
Dad and I planned to jump into Quetico around Stanton Bay and do a little day tripping around that area (as we had done the last trip with the guys).  The problem was as we were getting packed the truck (my aztek) decides to have problems with the oil change light.  I thought it was messed up... because we had JUST had the oil changed.  However, what had happened (as I assumed) was that the oil place didn't reset the oil counter thingie... and it takes me a long time to figure it out.  Turns out that when you do the reset, you shouldn't IMMEDIATELY turn the car back on, but wait 10 seconds... who knew?  So we get all ready to go and had the car all packed [note... when we do the canoe next year, remind ourselves that we tie down the bow end, then only on the body through the car -- not on the stern as well -- although it was SUPER tight and didn't move, I'm concerned about the gunwales].
So we get to Quetico main camp and check in.  Turns out that the road to Stanton has been washed out and is impassable.  Oh, well... French it is.  Quick little setup and paddle and we get our way to the Pines.  Always gorgeous at the Pines.  Plus, as we saw TONS of vehicles in the interior parking lot, there was NOBODY camped.  So we decide to stake a claim and hang out for a bit, besides... the wind was really picking up.
We have the tent setup and we scour for some wood [admiring the funny drawing somebody has etched into the sand -- kinda funny].  I decide next trip I'm getting a foldingsaw, my hatchet is brutally slow.  We decide to hop into the canoe and do a bit of fishing before the wind/rain gets worse (it had showered intermittently and very lightly).  Lo' and behold, I prove my wilderness worth by actually catching a fish!  Nice ~3-4 lb pickerel.  So, tricky part here is that I've not brought a fillet knife.  Hmm... this makes it a bit messy to get the fillets.  But we make do with my regular hunting knife.
We head back to the site and start to cook up my catch (we do so on a fire I started myself).  We happened to have some aluminum foil and cook it in the skin... it wasn't half bad.  Then we meet our new neighbours and they decide to let us have their left over fish breading... dang it.
So the wind gets that bad, that we jump into the tents and wait out the rain.  The rest of the night is pretty uneventful.  Dad goes to bed way early... well at least it feels way early.  The stars don't even start to come out until super late... but it's nice just relaxing in front of the fire.
Day 2
This day dad has it in his brain he hasn't paddled nearly enough for his new heart and wants to go check out Stanton Bay... so we head out (after I've slept in a bit) and paddle the roughly 2 hours out that way.  Dad mistakes a couple of islands, but we eventually make it there.  Nice little area, and when we walk up where the launch is, it's clear I've forgotten how nice that trail is.  Plus the landing/parking area has picnic tables and everything.  Too bad the road was gone.  I try some more fishing (unsuccessfully) and then we decide that we should head back.
Going back there's some wind... which we hoped there would be, however, instead of the hoped 'at our back' wind, it's almost a perfect cross wind.  Which makes it a) hard to steer, b) extra tiring.  By the time we reach the tent, we're exhausted.  But dad's not too exhausted to get exasperated at all the new arrivals to the Pines... almost to the point of rude.  We're all visiting here anyways, share and share alike.  He even has to go over to the tent 2 sites over and complains about the noise... sheesh.  So this night ends pretty much like the first ... we just relax and then dad goes to bed and then I play with the fire.

Day 3
So we wake up nice and early and I decide that if we can, I'd like to head back to town soon, thus relieving Mandy.  Dad then hears something you don't normally hear in Quetico -- a motor.  Weird.  So we pack up and head on out back through French and then we see the boat.  It's a Quetico worker... apparently they're doing a lot of work down by the dam area and they need to get alot of equipment in and out... she slowed down for all the canoes, being very gracious in that aspect, and expressed her disdain for the 'stinky' machine out here in Quetico.
We eventually get back in and check out.  Dad finds some blueberries around the main building (after going in and complaining about all the campers at the Pines) and we head on home.
First thing I do is check out the distance from the Pines to Stanton... 12km (dad thought roughly 6-8).

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