The day dawned sunny and not so windy. The temperature was nice, the bugs, again, not so bad. We had breakfast of fresh eggs and pre-cooked bacon heated up. We lingered over a hot cup of tea, then we packed up the campsite. We launched to do the short paddle to the portage sign we had walked to the previous evening. Strange site at the portage, an overturned aluminum boat. Hmmmm, I’m not sure why that was there.
|Morning Calm Grand Lake - Portage in the Distance
We carried the bags to Clemow Lake, LT went back for the canoe. The put-in was a bit dicey, rocky, swampy and logs around the shore. The current flowed towards this side of the lake, we could hear the water nearby dropping the 4 metres into Grand Lake. Later on, when the wind was really quiet we would be able to hear that from our campsite on Clemow, a large sucking noise instead of a water cascading sound.
We did not see the other couple leave and knew that if the first campsite was open, it was the one we would have to take. We got to it, it was empty, we landed and unloaded the canoe. The site was the least nicest site I had seen to-date. It is a rocky mound with dead trees all around the shoreline. Many of them had black charring, which made it look like lightning had a party there at one point. The shoreline was not mucky, but it wasn’t dry either. I observed that the site looked like a sprained ankle waiting to happen.
|Water's Edge at the Campsite
We didn’t set camp up, we had plans to go for a hike over the long portage up to Green Leaf Lake. We packed some lunch (smoked salmon and cream cheese wraps). I had found an organic recipe for granola for the dehydrator that was so delicious, we had trouble not eating it before leaving on our camping trip. I added to it some dried bananas, pineapple and of course, some chocolate M&Ms. We had some of that with us as well.
We canoed back across Clemow and after making sure our canoe was out of the way, we set out on the portage that would intersect with the 5 KM+ trail to Green Leaf. By now it was after lunch and we should have probably stopped and eaten. But eager to try the trail and get to the apex, which was going to be a pretty high climb, off we went. At first it was a decent trail through the forest, but soon it came out into the open by the hydro line. And it went up. And up. And up. The trail by the hydro line wove in and out of the towers, and was mostly a stream with broken edged path that was either split or crossed by the spring run-off.
Elevation at Grand Lake is 221m, the portage starting point is 228m, the apex of the trail is 401m, Green Leaf is at 257m. The apex of the trail is past the mid-point. I was tired from the previous night’s lack of sleep. I was hungry. I wasn’t doing well with the big climb. The trail goes back into the woods before the apex. As we walked up the trail I started telling the Little Mermaid story, which I’m sure confused LT. Finally when I got to the point where she exchanges her mermaid tail for human legs, I said this is why I’m telling this story. When she started walking every step was extremely painful. My feet were killing me, and my knees. I had made the climb and we were starting down the trail. I had to call “uncle”. I didn’t think I’d be able to go down the trail, then back up it, then down the part we’d done already. And I was positive he didn’t want to have to carry me. We turned around and tried to find a decent place to have lunch. It was a bit buggy in the woods, so we waited until we got to the open hillside with the hydro towers. It took quite a bit of time to find a flat enough spot to sit down. Lunch was delicious, but it was too late. I really bonked. I was so disappointed in myself. First the bad sleep, then the horribly weak feeling of not having another drop of energy.
|It was so steep!
We eventually made it down the hill, back to the canoe, onto the lake, then it started to get choppy and it rained on the way to the campsite. Sigh. We landed at the campsite and I apologized, but I just had to lie down. I got my mattress out, inflated it, and lay there helplessly as LT set up camp.
|Ankle-twister Campsite on Clemow Lake
Dinner that night was: ummm, not sure with fruit crisp for dessert. We set up a tarp for a windbreak near the campfire (I can’t remember if we had a fire or not, I’m thinking not). We didn’t have a flat enough spot to set up the bug shelter. The thunderbox was flipped over at this spot as well, but into a swamp, so we would not have that luxury here.
While puttering around after dinner, I heard a huge kerplunk and noticed concentric rings right near the water’s edge. A loon popped up only a few feet away from us. I grabbed my camera and got some really nice shots.
Bedtime was earlier, probably around 10. I slept much better, I was exhausted. Around 4:30 a.m. it was probably the coldest of the whole trip. I was warm and toasty though. At 6:30 a.m. a very large bird sounded like it was going to attack us. It was flying low, flapping it’s huge wings and squawking loudly. We weren’t prepared to go into the cold to see what it was, but it woke both of us.
|Evening Calm - Clemow Lake