Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trip Log - Day 1: Cedar Lake to Carl Wilson, June 2015

Day 1                      go to Day 2                      go to Day 3
Happy Birthday, LT!  We both booked Friday off and were headed up to the Brent access point.  LT made the reservations online and was surprised at how little company we would have.  No one else would be on Carl Wilson Lake the first night and only one other campsite was booked for the night we were going to be staying on Cedar Lake. 
The plan was to leave by 6 a.m.  That was the plan in order to get a quicker start on the day.  But the birthday boy had trouble getting his butt out of bed.  I showed up promptly at 5:30 and he tried to act like he hadn’t just rolled out of bed. Ha!
My breakfast strategy to accommodate the earlier planned departure time was to make egg salad the night before, put it into flour tortillas that morning, and just make tea to drink in the car on the drive with the sandwiches.  I had also filled the car with gas the night before in a torrential downpour to avoid having to stop for gas.
We missed the plan by half an hour, which wasn’t too bad.  We left at 6:30 a.m. and were at the permit office around 10 a.m.  It took another half an hour to get to the access point and half an hour again to unpack the car, load the canoe, and get it ready to launch.  There were only 3 other cars in the parking lot, the quietest I’ve ever seen that access point.
The thermometer display in my car had climbed to 14 from 12 degrees Celsius.  The sun was out, there were puffy clouds in the sky and the wind had subsided from 5:30 this morning where the trees were waving around quite noticeably.
More important than anything else Cedar Lake was playing nice this morning.  We would not be impeded by any wind or waves while we headed to the top of the lake.  I have a lot of respect for the bigger lakes.  You can’t count that the going will be easy or even reasonable. 
Brent Access Point - Gorgeous Day!
 We made good progress, starting on the North shore crossing the lake after about 15 minutes of paddling.  We passed close to a small island that was obviously claimed by seagulls.  They decided we were a risk to their kingdom and decided to fly around us, squawking loudly, trying to deter us away from their nesting grounds.  It was pretty funny mostly because none of them pooped on us.  They got braver as we moved further away.  Very much the bravado of the posturing bully when he realizes you’re not going to fight him.
We made it to the island at the top of the lake with a campsite and a chimney on it.  There obviously had been some sort of structure here at some point.  We stopped for lunch.  The paddle to get this far had taken a couple of hours.  We had a really good lunch this time mostly because there was no bread.  Cold meats, salami, cheese cut up and fruit (grapes, apple, and pear).  The site is really nice you have a view as far as you can see down Cedar Lake.  The site gets a lot of visitors by the looks of it.
Lunch Stop
LT turned to me and said “Guess what I forgot? I forgot dinner.”  I didn’t believe him.  He had made chilli earlier in the week, carefully selecting ingredients like hot Italian sausage.  He had frozen our portion and it got forgotten in the freezer.  We keep trying to cut down on the amount of food we’re bringing.  We always seem to bring some food back.  This trip we may not have much coming back.
Continuing on we set off through a small channel into Little Cedar Lake.  At the top of that lake you’re into a small river flowing out of Aura Lee.  It has a bit of a curve and you have to paddle under a cement train bridge that is a bit dark.  It has two openings but only one is passable.  
Train Bridge - going into Aura Lee Lake
There are a couple of campsites on Aura Lee.  At the top of the lake there is a creek dropping in, the portage we were taking was to the left of that.  345m. There’s not much of an incline on this portage.  It has round rocks as the base in a lot of spots you need to step carefully.  We did this as a double carry as it wasn’t very far.
The next lake is Laurel Lake and it has 5 campsites.  The first one we encountered is an island site, it looks nice.  The other 4 are along the top border of the lake and we didn’t pass very close to them.  As we were going around the corner to left of the lake we could hear water falling, but we couldn’t see the source.  I’m always wary around rushing water I would never want to propel myself over any waterfall!  When we found it we could see it was falling into the lake from a source with jammed logs.  There’s a dam there, but I’m not sure how far up the creek it is.  It is very pretty, surrounded by forest, you just get a peek at it.
Pretty Watefall - sounded scary from afar
The 130m portage was just to the right of the waterfall.  This portage was very uphill.  Even though it wasn’t far it was still challenging.  On our way in we did this as a double carry.  I was breathing very heavily after carrying my bag up the portage.  We put in at the bottom of Little Cauchon Lake.  Shortly after that we paddled under the second train bridge.  It is made of wood with only one of the four spots under the bridge passable.  It looks like this was opened specifically for canoe travel.  Also motorboats are allowed on this lake.
Train Bridge #2
We didn’t have to go far before reaching our last portage of the day, 1070m.  I bet in the fall this is a really lovely portage.  As you follow a slight climb with plenty of well-maintained boardwalks, a burbling creek tumbles down the terrain by the trail.  However in June there are hoards of blood-sucking insects just waiting for you to come by.  I had taken off my hoodie, I had on a long-sleeved white Columbia t-shirt with long pants, a bandana on the back of my neck, full gloves, and my bug hat.  The shirt is snug.  I got my backpack on, put my gloved hands into the harnesses of my trekking poles and set down the trail.  LT was doing a single carry on this one.  I was miserable.  The mosquitoes were biting me through my shirt in places I couldn’t reach even when I took my hand out of one of my hiking pole harnesses to swat at them. 
There is a canoe rest about halfway through this portage, I didn’t even see it on our first trip through here.  The map says there’s a spring there as well.  I was walking head down, arms flailing, lips swearing, trying to make record time through this torture.
The launch site at the end of the portage is decent. We were in a narrow section of the lake before it twists to the right and opens up.  It’s a pretty lake made prettier by the lovely sunny day we were having.  It’s obvious where the hardwood trees are on the West side of the lake.  We had already paddled by the first campsite next to a portage sign on the East side of the lake.  We landed at the next campsite on the West side to check it out. 
We were travelling with 3 structures on this trip.  The tent, the mosquito shelter and LT’s birthday present, a brand new Hennessy Hammock.  We didn’t need a flat spot to put the hammock, but the site was a bit hilly.  I was tired by now and even though it’d be nice to stop, being in the shade made the mosquitoes more annoying.  We pressed on.
The next campsite had potential.  It is on the East side.  The map showed another campsite close by so we went to check that one out.  It was around a point into a bay that was a bit marshy.  We went back to the previous site.  It turned out to be really nice.  The put-in wasn’t too bad, the site faced west, we were going to have a great sunset. 
Carl Wilson Lake
Priorities: the mosquito shelter went up first.  I started putting the tent up, although usually LT does it.  It’s his tent.  I set up right up front against the shore.  I had an unobstructed view of the lake.  The tent is a really nice one, it has doors on both sides which works really well when you’re sharing it.
Getting Settled In
The mosquito tent was just behind me and LT was setting up his hammock between two trees a bit further back on the site in amongst the bugs.  He didn’t try it out beforehand at home, this was his initial attempt at hanging it.  It’s an asymmetrical shape, a parallelogram.  I had purchased a set of snake skins which he chose to use with the fly instead of the hammock itself.  We put the fly up first.  Then we put up the hammock but it didn’t seem right.  It took two tries.  He spun the hammock 180 degrees.  He had to do the same for the fly, but only 90 degrees.  He had to take the snake skins off the fly and put them on the other ends. 
He will do a gear review at some point about the hammock with more information. 
Carl Wilson tucks us in
Dinner was late, we ate at 8 p.m.  We repurposed the next day’s lunch to be tonight's dinner.  We had Kraft Dinner with chicken pepperettes cut up and mixed in.  Dessert was pineapple pudding cake.  We had chocolate for an evening snack.  LT remembered his night caps and I had some Camino dark hot cocoa.  The sunset was awesome and the moon even more gorgeous.

I slept terribly.  It was the quietest night I’ve ever spent camping.  There were no leaves rustling, no waves lapping, no animals making any noise.  However it was chilly.  I hadn’t packed any extra warm clothing.  It probably went down to 9 degrees overnight.  Part of it was being in the tent alone.  I realize now that my air mattress is a narrow one.  LT has a much bigger one as he is so tall.  Both mattresses fill the bottom of the floor of the tent.  I never realized how much I spilled over onto his side during the night.

No comments:

Post a Comment