We only saw 2 humans in the last 46 hours. Today would make up for that in a big way! It's Day 5, Monday. And we have a busy portaging day ahead.
|Today's route (Jeff's maps)
P1 170m Erables into Maple Lake
P2 130m Maple Lake into Maple Creek
P3 805m Maple Creek into Maple Creek
P4 630m Maple Creek into Maple Creek
P5 130m Maple Creek into Maple Creek
P6 190m Maple Creek into Maple Creek
P7 915m Maple Creek into Kiosk Lake
I got up at 6:45 a.m. I didn't rush, but started to prepare to pack and leave at a decent time. I had done a lot of organizing the day before, which helped. The wind had shifted again, but this time it would be at our back.
Breakfast was dehydrated eggs with ham and veggies. I had a package of hash browns too, but I had used all the butter on the cinnamon buns, so they didn't taste as delicious as usual. It was all washed down with hot tea. Today's lunch was KD again. This time I pre-heated the Thermoses. We had pepperettes to eat with it. I didn't cut them up and put them into the Thermoses. We could just eat them on the side.
We were packed up and launched by 9:25 a.m. L.T. decided to put the canoe in at a different spot than where we had landed and it worked much better.
We passed the cormorant tree again.
The first portage was one we had come in through on Day 3. It's short and easy. We paddled up Maple Lake noticing how it's a really nice lake. Most of the campsites here are on islands. We got to the 2nd portage by 10:30. It's another short one, we were through it in a few minutes. Now we had a longer portion of creek to paddle down.
Note: we are going with the flow of the creek into Kiosk. Each of these portages goes around super rocky sections, parts of the creek covered with alders, and waterfalls. That means that we are mostly going downhill all day. Mostly.
We arrived at the beginning of the 3rd portage. It was a really pretty spot and we surprised a family of merganser ducks. A momma duck with 4 fairly big ducklings. They were so cute as they swam in a figure 8 trying to figure out how to get away.
This portage was going to be a bit longer. We stopped, had a snack, and changed into hiking shoes. For the short portages we were leaving our Keen sandals on, but for this longer one, we both preferred the support of the hiking shoes.
One of the realities of this kind of travel is your feet are going to be wet all day. In the sandals it's bearable as your feet might dry out between portages. Today was the last day, so I was willing to get my hiking shoes wet. It's a good thing I learned to do that from last summer's trip to Radiant. It's just way easier. I had thick wool socks on in my hiking shoes for comfort. So we sat down and put on the shoes.
It had started to rain while we were at this spot. Great big plopping drops of rain. At least on the portage, L.T. has his built in canoe umbrella. But it's a pretty heavy umbrella.
Also, with all the ins and outs of the canoe and the rain, the camera didn't come out very often on this leg of the journey. Which is too bad because there were some great things to see.
We knocked off P3 of 805m in 18 minutes. Back in the creek we went.
It didn't take long to get to P4. We stopped for a snack and looked at the very poor campsite at the end of this portage. Actually there wasn't a portage sign here. But as we got out of the boat we could see where it had been tacked onto the tree.
This 630m portage didn't take much time either. Little did we know this was the end of our solitude.
When we got to the end of the paddle in the creek and came upon the 5th portage, there were 4 guys there sorting through their stuff, taking up most of the room. L.T. managed to get the canoe over to the other side of this 130m portage very quickly as I trailed behind him with my bag, my trekking poles, the paddles and my life jacket in hand. He had left his bag at the entry point. He went back to get that and we tried to figure out how to put in at this point. It was completely muddy as soon as I stepped off the shore to hold the canoe. I was in about a foot of mud. Ick. All I could think about was leeches. Super ick!
The 4 dudes were double carrying their stuff, and slower than us, so we were able to get into the creek and leave then behind. However, it wasn't very far to the 6th portage and as we came around the bend of the creek to face the portage, we saw 8 people, 4 canoes, attempting to load up and launch towards us. There was no way we'd have room to squeeze in here. We had to sit in our canoe in the reeds waiting for them to clear the landing area. And it wasn't looking good. One kid was a foot offshore and he was up over his waist in water. He was holding the canoe as another kid was wrestling a bag into the canoe.
There were a guy and girl that looked to be in their early 20's with this motley crew of boys that mostly looked like they'd never been out in nature before. I really felt for them. It wasn't a nice day weather-wise, they were going UP the creek, so climbing all their portages today, and generally looked completely discouraged.
By the time they all got launched, the 4 dudes had caught up with us. We slid into the launch first, to the far left, and we both almost fell out of the canoe as we tried to get out one at a time.
This wasn't a very long portage either. We did a single carry, put into the water at the other end and managed to get ahead of the dudes. We had a long paddle before our last portage, the longest one of the day at 915m. It was a tricky one, a downhill portion that was steep. I do better with climbing, at least my knees are happier climbing than going down with probably about 40 pounds on my back a this point. Having the food all eaten had to have made a difference of about 10 pounds.
We passed another large group going up the creek on the water (thank god they had already cleared the portage). They looked in their 20's and there were about 4-5 canoes.
|So happy it's the last portage of the day!
We stopped for a rest at the end of the portage. We expected to have to paddle for over an hour to get back to the access point. I started to eat my KD. It was warmer and I had poured more boiling water over it to help keep it moist. But your appetite suffers when you exert yourself. L.T. just had a Cliff bar. There was no sign of the dudes. Those double carries do slow you down a lot. You walk the portage 3 times instead of once.
Kiosk was looking pretty good from the reedy bay we were in. However out on the middle of the lake it was a bit windier. Fingers crossed, I prayed. As we got out into the center it wasn't too bad. We had to tack a bit, going straight into the waves away from our destination to get out of the larger bay we were in. It turned out to be that the wind was at our back. We cruised along at a fast clip with the extra help from mother nature. We checked out campsites as we sailed past them. There was a large group of what looked like teens at the first campsite. I had noticed in the first big group of kids they all had orange Nalgene bottles. It looked like they had been outfitted. My first thought was how would they know whose bottle was whose? At this first campsite, I could see a bunch of those same orange Nalgene bottles.
We were able to check out a few cottages on this lake. One looked very luxurious. Motorboats are allowed on this lake, so a cottager could very well supply their cottage with anything they really needed. However they would have to generate their own electricity.
We made amazing time and before we knew it, we were ashore at the access point. The first thing L.T. did was go into the office to see if someone had left his GoPro. They had.
While L.T. had been parking the car on Day 1, another car showed up with 2 canoes on top. The lady got out and we eventually had a polite conversation inquiring as to where the other planned to go. Her and her husband were expecting their son to join them. That lovely lady spotted the GoPro on the beach and immediately brought it into the office. Not only that, but the staff was able to discern it was L.T.'s, so it was left with his full name on it. Phew!
All that was left after loading up the car was the long drive back to Ottawa. I'm glad it wasn't me doing the driving. And the chip wagon in Deep River was open for our dinner at 5. I was home by 8 p.m. and pretty tired. It felt good to get into the bathtub to wash off 5 days of camp grime.
Trip Stats:(all distances calculated using Jeff's maps)
Total distance covered: 9.7 km
Total portaging distance: 1930m
Fitbit stats - 24,247 steps with 61 floors climbed
Total distance covered: 12.8 km
Total portaging distance: 2905m
Fitbit stats - 19,726 steps with 34 floors climbed
Total distance covered: 11.25 km
Total portaging distance: 3260m
Fitbit stats - 24,074 steps with 35 floors climbed
Fitbit stats - 17,746 steps with 21 floors climbed
Total distance covered: 16.25 km
Total portaging distance: 2970
Fitbit stats - 16,784 steps with 17 floors climbed
Total distance covered: 50 km
Total portaging distance: 11.065 km
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4