We were up early, eating breakfast (fresh eggs, reheated bacon) and off on the day's travels. Well, right after I cleaned up from the squirrel hissy fit in the bug tent the night before.
The morning dawned cloudy. The advantage was that we wouldn’t get overheated on our portaging. The disadvantage was that it would rain a bit on and off all day. I was glad to have my new shirt and pants from the Columbia outlet in Kingston. The fabric is amazing and dried very quickly.
After breakfast we were on the lake by 10 a.m. It would take us 7 hours to travel to our campsite on Catfish Lake today.
I brought my hiking poles for this trip, they make a big difference for portaging for me. Here were the day's portages:
Portage 1: 715m
Portage 2: 300m
Portage 3: 2345m
Portage 4: 170m
Portage 5: 80m
|Muddy put-in into the Petawawa River|
The put-in was a bit mucky, but the exciting part is that this was my first time on the Petawawa River. It was a calm paddle on flat water, there is a distinct current, but it is not hard to work against. I took a few pictures of the put-in area waiting for LT to return with the canoe, I even found the wooden cross for A. Corbeil and took a picture of that.
Portage 2: This is a short portage, however, it hasn't got a great landing site and you need to carry the canoe up a very, very steep hill to get started on the portage. You are rewarded though with the view of a gorgeous waterfall as you arrive at the beginning of the portage.
|I think this might be Stacks Falls|
|Rocky put-kn above the big falls|
Portage 3: This is the killer portage of the day. We started at 339m, went up to a peak of 408m and back down to 384m. It's a long one: 2345 meters long. There are a few boardwalks on this trail. Our day was giving us a bit of challenge by raining off and on as we traveled. We were rained on during this portage, not heavily, but enough to make it a more painful journey. It made the boardwalks slippery and the slightly muddy spots of the trail even muddier. The bugs were bad, so stopping to rest was needed, but the bugs were awful when we did stop. There is a canoe rest at the peak of the trail, but we took a rest shortly before then and didn't stop when we got there. We would use it on the way back though. Our first trip through took us 55 minutes including the 2 breaks we took.
The end of this portage is at a very pretty spot. Similar to our last trip, I was not walking the portages more than once. I sat at the end of this portage very happily. I had on Columbia long pants that I could unzip the lower legs to convert into shorts. Not because I wanted to tan, but because I wanted to wash the mud off them. I did and they dried on a rock in the sun before LT made it back.
On this trip I was carrying my small Canon PowerShot camera. At this portage end, while I was playing around with washing pant legs, taking pictures, just being fidgety, I took off my hoodie that had the camera in the pocket and I lay it on a sloping rock into the water to dry out. When I picked up the hoodie off the rock a short time later, it was like slow motion. The camera fell out of the pocket and slid down the slanted rock into about a foot of water. "Noooooooooo!" I reached in, grabbed the camera, and immediately removed the SD card and the battery. No more pictures on this trip!
|Another new looking bridge|
|End of portage 3 - and it's not raining!|
|Above the waterfalls/rapids we were portaging around|
|See that darned slanted rock???|
It only took a few minutes to paddle across the pond to the next portage.
Portage 4: This small portage of 170 meters took us into Narrowbag Lake. While on the lake, it looked like it was going to really storm on us. LT took us to the opposite side of the lake (it's not overly wide) out of the wind and it poured. This was the second time we had been soaked in the canoe today. We also had a storm hit us on the Petawawa River right after the first portage.
Portage 5: This portage was even shorter, 80 meters. It is a short hop around an old log chute and then we were into the upper part of Catfish Lake.
Initially we were in a narrow section with a lot of sharp rocks looming out of the water, many coming close to the surface. Then as we came out of that, around the corner, the lake was opening up to us. The first campsite we passed was occupied. There was a tent and the food bag was hug. We were going to try to go a bit further down anyways. We hit gold! The island campsite was empty. I'm pretty sure someone had just left. I think the fire was still smoldering in the firepit. This is a gorgeous campsite, but you'll have to take my word for it as I have NO pictures! :-(
We didn’t see anyone on our whole trip this day. Granted it was a Thursday before a long weekend.
It was a gorgeous site, a long island, with a great rocky point, majestic pine trees, a lovely breeze and the sun was out. We were home! We set up camp, got some water filtering and I set up the hammock. We had decided to not have a specific lunch on travel days, but to snack more. It was 5 p.m. when we arrived, so dinner was the next meal. We had shepherd’s pie. I haven’t figured out a suitable dehydrated mashed potato mix. I make regular mashed potatoes and freeze them in a Ziploc baggie – they thaw out in time for day 2 dinner. We skipped dessert.
We went to bed and even though it was pretty dark, there was still enough light for us to see a mouse scuttle up and over the tent fly. We could make out his silhouette, holy crap! Up and over he went. A couple of times. Later that night we heard some pretty loud kerplunks in the water – it sounded like someone was dropping a very heavy rock into the lake. We surmised it must be a loon getting in and out of its nest on the shore by the tent.