Friday, June 05, 2015

Trip Log - Day 2: Grand Lake to Upper Spectacle Lake; in to Little Carcajou Lake and Return (Victoria Day Weekend 2015)

go to Day 1                Day 2              go to Day 3

I woke up early.  The birds in Algonquin don’t realize we’re not keeping office hours!  I unzipped the tent and the fly to see if the sun was shining.  It wasn’t, but it wasn’t bad, just slightly overcast, not threatening.

Breakfast was fresh eggs and pre-cooked bacon reheated and tea.  The eggs we put on English muffins with some shredded cheese string.  Today’s snack was granola with raisins, pineapples and walnuts tossed in.  LT’s version had dehydrated bananas in it as well.

Our neighbours were up and out earlier than us.  They passed us, 2 canoes, 3 men.

We packed up and were on the water by about 10.  It took us 2 hours to do the portage.  LT spent 20 minutes cutting the blow-down tree at the beginning.  I walked ahead, dropped my bag and walked back.  I had my trekking poles.  These are imperative for me to have a successful long portage.  I should have had them on my hike the previous day, but you know, we were just having a peek at the next campsite. 

We stopped several times to catch our breath.  We were very happy to launch the canoe into the beaver pond, it was actually a pretty pond.  I don’t have any pictures from this section of travel. I had my large DSLR camera.  The day before, I had dangled it off my large backpack.  Today it was packed deep into my bag.

We pulled the canoe out of the pond, had a break then eagerly started the last 10 minutes that seemed to take more like 20 minutes when we were fully loaded.  We got the canoe into Little Carcajou Lake and started to look for the sole campsite on the lake.  We found a pile of rocks that looked like a fire pit, but no campsite sign.  We continued to the end of the lake where the portage is for the next lake (Wenda).  That sign was sitting on a post sticking out of the water.  There had been a ranger cabin here at one point.  We couldn’t tell where it had been.  We doubled back to our single option. 
There had been a campsite sign here at one point
Once we landed and looked around we realized that we were in the right place.  There were 4 orange corners still nailed on the tree – just no sign.  And our 4 friends from the previous day had left a long length of bright yellow nylon rope tangled in a tree.  Probably their unsuccessful attempt at a bear bag tie up.  LT spent a few minutes getting it out of the tree.  The fire pit was still smoldering from the fire the previous tenants hadn’t full extinguished.

There was no thunderbox to be found anywhere here.  We both looked for it.  The campsite was very hilly.  It was tough to make a final decision as to where the tent would be pitched.  LT picked one, set up the tent and I set up the hammock between two trees on top of a grassy hill leading to the water.  If I fell out I would roll down right into the lake. 
My hammock
Lunch was rice with salsa and vegetables.  All dehydrated food.

Nap time was scheduled.  I had set up some of the yellow nylon rope as a puller for the hammock from a third tree.  Sweet!

Settling in at Little Carcajou Lake
Dinner was a bit more complicated I made raised pizza dough using yeast.  I don’t even make this kind of dough at home.  Last year I was using an envelope mix that I’d been looking for but had not yet found this year in any grocery store.  LT made a fire, we used a rock on the side to set the pot and get the dough rising.  It easily more than doubled in size.  I punched it down and manipulated into a buttered fry pan.  I had been rehydrating the pizza sauce in one baggie and the veggies in another one.  Cut-up turkey pepperettes were the protein, along with bacon, and more shredded cheese strings.  I put the lid on the fry pan and put it on a rack over the fire embers.  I have an “oven” which is really just a special fabric dome.  I put that over the fry pan and we left it on the fire for about 20-25 minutes.

The pizza turned out pretty good.  It was slightly burnt on the bottom – but not much.  Dessert was my first attempt at a pineapple upside down cake.  It is made from dehydrated: pineapples and angel food cake.  I made milk with powder and cold water, which I then mixed instant vanilla pudding into.  It turned out pretty delicious and will go into regular rotation as a dessert option for future trips.

As we settled into the tent for the night, the spring peepers were again in full song.  Although later on, around 11, there seemed to be only one lone peeper still singing.  I guess all his buddies found themselves a girlfriend for the night.  Shortly afterwards another one joined him, but he seemed off-key, like he’d came back for seconds.

I have a 2 litre Platypus water filtration system with both a filter and a carbon filter and it has 2 bags, one for dirty water, one for clean.  I have a second filter in case the first filter doesn’t work.  LT also has a Steripen, which we use on the filtered water to kill any germs specifically the one that causes “beaver fever”.  On this lake we had 2 beaver dens that we could see – one was in the bay right by our campsite.  He came out to inspect our campsite when we were in the tent that night.  At least we surmised it was him.  As we were lying there in the dark the whole frame of the dome tent moved like something had landed on it falling from the tree, or something tripped over the frame on the edge outside.  We lay there frozen for a while.  Shortly after that the paddles were rattled.  They were stored under the overturned canoe.  I teased LT that the beaver would take his paddle as it’s much nicer than my cheap lacquered $24 one.  His is oiled and would be much tastier.  Luckily the next morning both paddles were there waiting for us with no teeth marks.

I did get up to look around the campsite in the dark to see if there was anything disturbed and there wasn’t.

go to Day 1                go to Day 3

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