Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Trip log - Cedar Lake to Catfish Lake: July 30 to Aug. 3, 2014 - Day 1

Day 2               Day 3               Day 4               Day 5

As we were progressing through the summer, the trips were becoming longer. This would be our longest trip so far.  Five days and four nights. But instead of making this a tough trip like our last foray into this area (read here), we would start and end the trip easier and take a rest day in the middle.

Here was the route:

Day 1: travel to Cedar Lake, launch and find a camping spot near where the Petawawa River flows into the lake, fairly close to the first portage out of the lake.

Day 2: travel from Cedar Lake all the way to Catfish Lake

Day 3: rest day at Catfish Lake, do some exploring of the lake

Day 4: travel out of Catfish Lake all the way back to Cedar Lake

Day 5: paddle back to the access point and go home.

Campsite marked with purple triangle
We didn't rush, but did leave as early as we could. We got to the access point at Cedar close to 11 a.m. after picking up our rental canoe at Algonquin Portage on the road to Achray near Petawawa. All the canoes at Algonquin Outfitters at the Brent Store were reserved for the upcoming long weekend. It was raining slightly, so we waited it out in the car. We sat and watched another couple with a pickup truck unload and launch in the rain. We waited a bit more. It started to clear a bit so we pulled the car up to the shore and unloaded everything.

Cedar Lake can be tough if the wind and waves start up. Our first trip here on Canada Day gave us a lot of respect for this lake. Our route was planned specifically around the possibility of being wind-bound here. Today's effort was to basically just get ourselves across the lake. Today the lake seemed pretty calm.

We set out and the weather looked like it was going to get worse, but it didn't really. It spit on us a bit, but nothing very serious. There was a bit of a thunder roll, but it didn't develop into anything. We went to the campsite almost directly across from the access point, it was just okay. We had a lot of time, so we went to the next one closer to the portage. It's a nice spot, but a bit tough to unload and load the canoe.

We unloaded and set up camp. We waited a bit before going out to get water in the lake for filtering. This spot has a couple of windbreaks, we put the tent behind one and the bug shelter behind the other one. The view was spectacular, you can look up the lake and you can hear the Petawawa River roaring into the lake if the wind is blowing from that direction.

Hidden tent

Rest of the setup from the other side of the windbreak
LT made a fresh lunch of ciabatta buns with cold meat. I ate most of my sandwich. We broke up some pieces of the leftover bun and were feeding them to the resident chipmunk and squirrel. There are probably more than just those two, but they have a deal where only one begs at a time so we don’t realize we’re feeding half a dozen of them.

After a bit of a rest and waiting until the weather was much nicer, we went out to explore the area near the portage and the river.  The roar of the water is pretty intense and can be a bit frightening, but LT reminds me it is coming into the lake, we're not going to be swept over any ledges here. Just for fun we checked out a couple of campsites to the right of the river, we would be coming back through here in a few more days and staying here again. We found they were very closed off with thick growth along the waterline. The breeze would probably not get through to help keep the bugs off.  

View up the lake

A bit more to the left of the view above as the sun came out

Cedar Lake rainbow, looking around the point down the lake
 Before dinner paddling pictures of the Petawawa River:

For dinner we had pizza, yum, with the banana nut bread pudding for dessert.

We did not have a campfire at all during this trip. One of the disadvantages of travelling popular routes is that the campsites are often picked clean of deadwood. It is usually more comfortable sitting in the bug shelter than sitting around the fire anyways. We can’t put the bug shelter too close to the fire pit either. However, with no campfire, bedtime is earlier.

After dinner sunset pictures:

We went to bed fairly early. We had a big day planned the following day. The food bag was hung. I left the camping pots inside the bug shelter. 

LT is a very soft spoken person. Around 11 he woke me up because he was clearing his throat very loudly. Huh??? This was not like him at all. He was telling me that there was some very noisy crashing through the brush near our camp. It sounded like a VERY large animal was in the vicinity. We talked loudly for about 20 minutes after the initial crashing subsided. LT got up and flashed light around the campsite to ensure there were no visitors and none were seen. He had brought a hatchet with him on this trip. He went and fished that out of his bag and brought it back to spend the night with us in the tent. 

Whatever creature it was, we never knew. But it made us wary for the rest of this trip. Later that night I think some squirrels paid us a visit. The camping pots were tossed around inside the bug tent and something chewed its way through the collapsible silicone measuring cup I use to portion water into the dehydrated food. The loud camp visitor was part of our conversation for the rest of this trip. Skunk? Raccoon? Porcupine? Bear!!!?

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