Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trip log - Kiosk Loop: Sept. 6 to 13, 2015 - Day 5

Erables Lake to Mouse Lake

Just for the record, I saw very few maple trees at either Maple Lake or Erables Lake. Most of the leaves were not changing yet, but there would be the odd renegade that had coloured up ahead of time.

Today's map:
Heavy duty portages with a sore knee :-(
Today dawned with gorgeous sunshine, thank you pink sky last night! I woke up at 6, but managed to snuggle in the hammock for another hour. The nights were getting chillier. I finally got up and set about with my morning schedule. I set up the kettle to boil and went and got the bear bag. After losing the pulley system on our campsite on Biggar Lake, I would leave a bag behind so LT would have to go get the cords that were used to hang the bags. I can usually reach the cord that lowers the bags, but I can`t get the cords out of the trees without tangling them. Too short! So I leave the garbage bag behind. I know, big kindness on my behalf! He remembers taking the pulley down, but somehow it didn't get packed.

During the night, LT could hear an owl hooting.
Gorgeous morning!
As I was limping around the site (yeah that knee was really hurting), I saw them. A posse of 6 loons swimming together. They look so tough with their black heads and black eyes, heads sweeping from side to side as though they're checking out the 'hood'. I spoke to the park staff member when checking out from this trip and she said the real term is "a raft of loons". But she did like the term "posse".
My posse of loons
They looked tough!
Tucked in here for the night
See the hill I had to cope with?
Breakfast today was pancakes with the very last of the pre-cooked bacon. We packed up camp and launched at 10:30. I had to bat my eyes at LT to get him to do 100% of the work getting stuff down the hill to the canoe. It took us about an hour to get to the end of Erables Lake and into the narrows to the portage to Big Thunder Lake. Lower water and marshier terrain equals some pretty muddy landings as shown below.

There's no good way through this!
I had dosed myself up with 800 mg of ibuprofphen this morning in anticipation of the portaging we had to do today - 3 portages with over 3 km to walk in total. I gamely set out with my trekking poles, my bag on my back. It wasn't too bad. I was slower than usual, but LT is a patient man.
Fortunately we were going left not right
This is the view going left
Somebody's home
We pulled the canoe in here
Going into Mouse Lake
Part of the way through our portage we saw them - a pair of grouse in a mating dance. He had his neck feathers all ruffled up and was strutting around. She was an adoring audience. Unfortunately, our presence disturbed them, he went right, she went left off the trail. But we could hear them calling to each other, "where are you?", "I'm over here, where are you?", "I'm over here....."

We got to Mouse Lake with plenty of time to set up camp. It's a fairly small lake, a circular one. LT was looking at sites that had the better frontage for lighting. We went left from the portage end launch point and started to look at sites. First one, no. Second one, no. Third one, maybe. Fourth one, no, back to third one. The last two were across the lake and at this one we'd be closer to the portage starting point for the next morning.
Ooooooh, a beach!
The third and fourth site had a beach between them. I imagine these sites are very popular during high summer. They both had trails leading to the beach. We strolled over to check out the beach and the other spot, even though we'd chosen ours. We officially landed at 3:30 p.m.
Our chosen campsite to the left of the beach
We set up the hammocks and the bug shelter tarp. It had started raining slightly on the lake while we were shopping around. But we never really got any more rain after that during the afternoon/evening.
Sharing a tree on a hill
Underneath the hammocks there was a hole in the ground. It was a chipmunk's home. I saw him going into it the next morning. Sorry Mr. Chipmunk! Actually we named our chipmunk. We called him ZigZag for the way he was running around the campsite, welcoming us to his neck of the woods. It had nothing to do with any nuts anyone was feeding him. No, not at all.
There's a huge stone table here
There's quite a spectacular rock table here, it defies gravity. It's kind of nice to get stuff off the ground for a change. I was tempted to put my stove on it, but I'm so clumsy, I'd probably knock the thing over while cooking on it.
Stones abound
The mosquitoes were waking up, we took the Thermo Cell out and popped in a new butane canister. But we'd keep a better eye on this use of it, no more letting it run out 12 hours again! There were lots of seagulls on this lake, noisy birds.
Evening light starts
We struggled to find a good site to hang the food bags tonight. The best place was between the 2 campsites, near the beach, although it wasn't really far enough away. I would have hung it at the other campsite. It was after 6, we were the only people on this lake. I truly doubted that anyone else would show up tonight. But LT refused to assume no one would arrive.
My steaming kettle
For supper we had soft tacos. I had vacuum sealed the soft taco shells in the opened bag from the store. Big mistake, it required quite a bit of effort to peel apart the shells from each other. Dessert was pineapple upside down cake, with the pineapple rehydrated in the Thermos. It almost tastes like it is fresh again with so much time rehydrating. And the Thermos keeps the pineapple warm.
Big no-no, but he was just so darned cute!
LT wanted to take a picture of ZigZag while I was "interacting" with him. I only had one pistachio between my fingers. The photographer set up the shot, I patiently held the nut within reach, ZigZag grabbed it, I didn't pull my hand back, I wanted the picture to be taken without startling the chipmunk. And then ZigZag bit my finger! Luckily he didn't break the skin. Lesson learned. We're not supposed to feed the chipmunks. I know this, ZigZag doesn't and I'm sure multiple people taught him to beg for food over the summer.
The beach - I'll bet this is popular in the summer
My knee was doing much better at this campsite. Also, I was taking ibuprofphen to keep any inflammation down. The knee hadn't swollen up, but there was probably some swelling inside.

It was early to bed tonight. It got dark early, we weren't getting much light into the campsite. It was 9 p.m. for our lights out. I had started sleeping with the blue foam half mattress that LT had brought for me. He had chopped a full-length one into two sections, one slightly smaller (yeah, shorty got that one). He had brought both pieces along against my protestations that I would be fine, I didn't need it. It made a difference for the warmth in the hammock as the nightly temps were starting to dip below 10 degrees Celsius. I was very glad he hadn't listened to me.

Today's numbers:

Portage #18: 1,495m
Portage #19: 190m 
Portage #20: 1,705m

Total portage distance for the day: 3.39 km 
Total distance for the day: 9.7 km
Total time spent travelling: 5 hours

Other posts for this trip:

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