Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Paddling in La Verendrye Park, QC: Day 2

Day 1 - Part 1            Day 1 - Part 2           Day 3

I woke up early and started to move in the hammock. I startled a grouse that had been nearby. I guess he gets the day shift and the rabbit has the night shift. He flew up into a tree and perched on a branch where I could see him from where I was lying. I like the visibility the hammock has. With the tent the fly needs to be opened. Often in the morning it's wet to handle, so lying in bed looking at the lake is usually not done. Not that I had a waterside view today.

Everyone got up and alternated packing stuff up and having breakfast. Today was going to be another nice day with calm waters.

It was a long morning, we paddled 8 km before making the turn at the very bottom of our route for the weekend. Just before our first portage of the day we stopped at a campsite to have lunch. We ended up stopping on a rock just offshore instead and we all went for a swim. It was easier to swim off the rock (no icky lake bottom to touch). I decided to put my lifejacket on for the swim. After a great lunch of fresh sandwiches, the girls all went back in and they wore their lifejackets for this dip. 
Bathing beauties!
After lunch, we headed to the first portage. We had a lot of company. There were at least two other groups there with multiple canoes. Alison and I did our usual race to the other side. This portage was around a rapid on a creek and wasn't very hilly. It was 265M long. Of the three groups, we all got into the water first and were on our way through Lac Bichet.

We got to our next portage, only 50M this time. It wasn't far, but each portage requires the same amount of labour with unloading and loading the canoe. A very short time later we had our last portage of the trip. It was only 170M and when we got to the other end, there was a motorboat taking up most of the beach where we needed to put our canoes in. Fortunately they eventually powered off. There was a nice little waterfall to our right.

Right about here we discovered we had someone gained an extra paddle. The park gives each canoe 3 paddles when you rent it. We must have picked it up during the melee at the first portage right after lunch. Oops. There was discussion whether we should leave it at the portage, but it was decided to just bring it back to the rental office.

Definitely needed to portage around this
Last portage done
We made a decision at lunch to push through, make this a long day and try to get all the way to Lac Jean-Pere to camp for the night. It would make our next day very short, only about a 6 km paddle back to Le Domaine.

By now I was paddling with my brother. As I was so slow, we thought maybe it would help speed up the group. It didn't. 

Almost in the big lake
We got into the big lake and headed to a spot that Mark and Julianne remembered staying at during their last trip. There was a lot of traffic and it appeared as though another group was headed to the same spot. They moved on and we jumped on it. However, Mark and Julianne went back out to check another spot, this one wasn't quite as they remembered. Turns out, the spot they had been at was around the corner, so we all packed up and headed over there. 
Our site: the "5" just above "PERE" in the lake
This site was a 5 tent pad spot, with the number 10-81. Being on the big lake it was considered part of route 10 (Circuit 10 on the map). It was a really interesting, multi-level site. The girls put their tent on the main pad. Up on a rock Mark and Julianne pitched their tent. We ended up eating dinner up in this area, high over the lake, it was a really lovely spot. I hung my hammock across from the girls, not far from the shore. 

My canoe was way up on the shore, right next to my hammock. In fact, I'd even tied a side line from the hammock to the edge of the canoe as there was no tree on that side. The night before there was a small twig tree underneath the hammock that scritch-scratched when I moved and I wanted to avoid that tonight. I didn't put as much air in my mattress this time and it would be much more comfy.

I had brought tonight's full dinner. On the menu: soft shell tacos and pineapple upside down cake. It was delicious! Mark heated each shell before we added the chicken, veggie, taco seasoning to it (I forgot to take out the cheese strings to add to the tacos, oops!). We each had 2 tacos, then dessert. 
Doing dishes up on the rock
We didn't have a fire tonight. We sat around and chatted, talking about the trip, hardly believing that we were almost done. We also didn't set up the bug shelter. Being high on the rock we had a breeze that was keeping the mosquitoes away.

One of the conveniences I wasn't too impressed with were the thunderboxes. They did not have thunderboxes here per se, they had thunderbarrels.  Blue plastic 55 gallon barrels that were half buried in the ground. They have a black lid on them with a slot cut out from front to back. At this site we had an issue with these teeny tiny red bugs that were on the lid. Granted the view from this seat was really nice, it looked on a cliff wall covered with growth and trees. But no one wanted to sit on it. 

Everyone bundled off to bed. The wind picked up overnight. I woke up to hear the waves slapping the other two canoes that were on the shore. I lay there and wondered how far they had been brought up, it sounded like they were in danger of being washed out. Do I get up? I'm awfully comfy. Hmmmm. But the canoes sound like they could be pulled out into the big lake. I fumbled in the hammock to put on my headlamp, unzipped the hammock and found my flip flops to see what was up. 

As I came down to the water, I could see one canoe. OMG, where was the other one. I looked out to the lake and in the light from my headlamp, which wasn't that great for distances, I could see a white shape. HOLY CRAP! I panicked, took a few more steps closer to the shore then realized the other canoe was on shore tucked behind the first one I had spied. What was that shape out in the water??? A big rock. PHEW!

Meanwhile my brother could hear me moving around. He'd awoken to the sounds as well and was thinking of coming down to check the canoes. I tied both of them up after dragging them up as far as I could and went to bed relieved. 

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