Friday, July 24, 2015

Trip Log - Day 3: Wendigo to Cedar Lake, Canada Day 2014

go to Prologue     go to Day 1     go to Day 2    Day 3   go to Day 4
Breakfast on the CN railbed

When the morning arrived, we both got up and made breakfast sitting in the middle of the train track. Boiling more water to give it a chance to cool before packing up and setting off on the day’s efforts.  We would have to change our plans.  We took out the map and made a new plan.  LT would go and get the canoe.  I would walk down the track just over 2 km and try to bushwhack my way to a campsite located nearby.  We packed up the tent, LT loaded my pack on my back and we both set off on our tasks.

He was successful.  I was not.  I walked down the track and came to a point where a stream had washed the track out quite badly.  I left my pack there.  The map showed the campsite as being exactly between two streams.  I had found the first one.  I walked to the second stream and counted my steps.  340.  I walked back 170 steps and dropped my trekking poles to mark the spot.  I walked back to my pack and counted 170 coming to the same spot.
I entered the forest.  It was dense, there was no path, the ground was spongy with moss-covered logs that looked to be 100 years old.  It was not an easy walk.  I made it to the shore and there was no campsite.  I walked to my right, towards the second stream, for about 50 feet.  Nothing.  I walked back along the shore all the way to the first stream and did not find the site.  I was defeated.  A snake crossed my path and I was horrified.  I was going to scream, but no one would hear me anyways so I didn’t.  I bushwhacked back to the track. 

I didn’t know what to do, we hadn’t discussed this option.  I thought I’d walk back to the starting point and lie down and wait for LT to show up.  I was exhausted, retracing my steps down the track, seeing lots of different scat, yes and bear scat too.  I kept an eye out to my right when I could see the lake and I would call LT’s name, just in case.  

I got to the starting point and what I saw was wonderful and horrible at the same time.  His bag was gone.  It was wonderful because it meant that he’d made it back with the canoe and was in the water on his way to the campsite.  It was horrible because here I was so far away and what if he didn’t come and look for me?  (Irrational 5-year old child logic kicking in because I was tired.)

I was starting to get upset.  I was very tired, hot and slightly frightened.  I started to walk back along the track to my bag.  About halfway back, I thought I could see something (or someone – hopefully) moving along the track towards me.  I shouted LT’s name.  No response.  It was either him or a bear.  I really, really, really wanted it to be him.

Campsite with a sandy beach
And it was.  He had been yelling my name but neither of us could hear the other.  The first words out of his mouth were, “it’s a sandy beach! You almost never get that in Canada, a campsite on a sandy beach!”  He guided me back to where there was a little path in the forest, much, much closer to the second stream.  When we came out onto the most beautiful sandy beach, the site was indeed butted against the second stream, ergo why I did not find it. 

Just a short note here about LT’s trip by himself in the canoe along the shore for those 2 km.  The waves were high, the wind was high, he had to take a zigzagged pattern to progress to the campsite on his own in the canoe.
At the campsite the wind was blowing the bugs away from us, the water had some pretty high waves splashing up on the shore, I stripped to my underwear and went into the water.  It felt so good!  LT joined me shortly after.  I broke one of the big rules and used biodegradable soap in the lake as I washed my hair.  I was so miserable and the lake is so large, one hair washing wasn’t going to tip it ecologically.

We set up camp.  We weren’t scheduled to be on this lake tonight, but we had no ability to go any further.  Our new plan was to stay overnight, then canoe to the outfitter, Brent Store, the next day and find out from them how to get to our car.  The dirt road to the Brent Store from the highway was the same one we had originally come in on several days earlier.  It was just further along the same road, 35+ km in instead of 18.  There had to be a way to get out.  LT could walk from the road at 18 km in to the car.  It would be a couple of kilometers, but doable.

We decided to enjoy this gorgeous site.  We put the tent right next to the stream, which became a babbling brook late at night when the lake quieted down to silence.  We put up the mosquito shelter.  We did not have a campfire.  We didn’t have one the night before either.  Dinner was pasta with sauce, ground sirloin and veggies.  It was the perfect meal.  Dessert was fruit crisp.  I think. 

Next to the babbling brook
We spent a bit of time nursing our extensive bug bites that afternoon while in the bug shelter.  They had really done a number on us, LT was sitting in just a pair of shorts and his back had some major bites.  They got me on the back of my shoulders.  Yesterday when I would put my backpack on, it would stretch the bug shirt tight in that area and they could bite through the fabric.  Also I didn’t notice them biting while walking through the overgrown portages, there were other more pressing issues at the time.  LT was quite bruised on his shins.  Probably from picking up and putting down the canoe.

It rained a bit, we went to bed very early, we were both quite tired after the previous day.   The lake sounds came and went. 

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