We’d had our first trip of the season on Grand Lake then we’d done an easy one night at Sec Lake – not a single portage there. It was time to spread our wings and try a bigger trip. Three nights! We had pored over Jeff’s maps after LT had ordered a full set online. With each full set map order you select a free map you can give to someone else. LT picked the Central map which covers the area we were going to explore for the very first time. (And this is a good thing, as you’ll soon see.)
We would put in on Wendigo Lake, portage into Allen Lake then take a hard right onto our first attempt at black (unmaintained) portages. We would wind up North River into North River Lake and camp there. The next day would be challenging, making our way to Cedar Lake – again all black portages, longer ones than we had ever done before. The 3rd day would find us going down the Petawawa River to Radiant Lake. The final day we would do 8 portages back up to Wendigo Lake, returning to our car. That was “THE PLAN”.
In order to help with the extensive portaging of this trip, I reserved a canoe from Trailhead in Ottawa, a really nice canoe that weighed 35 pounds. We picked it up on Friday night, it was a thing of great beauty. Red, so thin you could practically see through it, it fit on the roof of the car differently than the other rentals. There was no tying the furthest ends of the canoe to under the bumpers, it was held on with straps that wrapped around its middle and went through both doors, clamped on one side. The gentleman helping us tie the canoe on, said “and a twist for good luck”, where he had twisted the straps of the canoe before tying them. We didn’t really pay attention to the remark, it was a spacey remark and he was behaving in a particularly spacey way.
The canoe looked like it had hardly been used. Maybe someone had rented it for a couple of hours of paddling at Britannia Bay or some other non-rocky, non-loggy, non-muddy shoreline. Pristine, with no scratches. I made a joke with the clerk when filling in the paperwork about maybe not bringing it back. She joked back about the value. So I asked. It was worth about $4,000. Oh dear! Here I was in possession of an expensive canoe that was pretty and unused looking. Oh dear!
|The pretty red canoe