Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Trip Log - Kiosk Loop: August 23 to 27, 2018 - Day 5

Day 5: AKA Algonquin Rush Hour!

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
Total: 2,970m

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!
Strike a pose!
As I walked this portage I said a silent prayer to the Kiosk Lake god. Please, please, please, let it not be windy or wavy!

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)

Day 1:
Total distance covered: 9.7 km
Total portaging distance: 1930m
Fitbit stats - 24,247 steps with 61 floors climbed

Day 2:
Total distance covered: 12.8 km
Total portaging distance: 2905m
Fitbit stats - 19,726 steps with 34 floors climbed

Day 3:
Total distance covered: 11.25 km
Total portaging distance: 3260m
Fitbit stats - 24,074 steps with 35 floors climbed

Day 4:
Fitbit stats - 17,746 steps with 21 floors climbed

Day 5:
Total distance covered: 16.25 km
Total portaging distance: 2970
Fitbit stats - 16,784 steps with 17 floors climbed

Overall Trip:
Total distance covered: 50 km
Total portaging distance: 11.065 km

Day 1                      Day 2                     Day 3                Day 4

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Trip Log - Kiosk Loop: August 23 to 27, 2018 - Day 4

At 6:30 a.m. the sky just opened and it poured rain. There was no rush to get up this morning so I could wait out the rain. It did eventually stop. I was still starving from the night before and knew that even though all the food was hung high in the trees behind our site, L.T. had a Cliff bar in his fanny pack under the tarp. I crawled out of the hammock and consumed that post haste.
Attempt to dry things
The wind had shifted overnight so an adjustment to the tarps was needed.

Today was a rest day. Everything could be done in a leisurely fashion. That included breakfast. Blueberry pancakes with butter and real maple syrup. We had the last serving of bacon as well.

The sun played peekaboo and there was enough wind to help dry out some of the items that got wet yesterday and overnight. We set up a couple of clotheslines and I got my sleeping bag and mattress out of my hammock. 

We hadn't seen any humans in the last 24 hours. Around 9:30 this morning a canoe went up the lake towards Maple Lake with 2 passengers. The rainy weather had broken up a bit by then.

We didn't wander anywhere today, mostly just around the front of the campsite. I still managed somehow to get 17,746 steps on my Fitbit and 21 flights of stairs.

A scan of the lake showed a tall dead tree to the right of our site with what looked like a majestic eagle perched in it. He was perched there again the next day when we paddled away.

Panoramic view of Erables Lake
At 1 p.m. we had lunch. A Knorr envelope of teriyaki noodles and veggies that I added rehydrated ground beef to.

At 2:30 p.m. I mixed up some cinnamon buns that L.T. fried up in the pan.

Not so round, but oh so delicious!

I had found pizza dough envelopes at the grocery store which I used to make these, as well as the savoury buns from Day 2. It has the yeast pre-mixed into it, much easier than trying to raise yeast in the backcountry.

Dinner was individual pizzas using the 2 leftover soft taco shells. We didn't have the mozzarella cheese strings but we did have a wedge of triple cream brie. I rehydrated the pizza sauce with veggie toppings (mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers). I also had picked up a sliced pepperoni product that was preserved, so it didn't need any refrigeration. It didn't take long to heat up the pizza in the fry pan over the stove. 

Shortly after being handed my pizza, I dropped it, completely face down in the dirt (are you noticing a theme here?). L.T. was cooking his pizza and he kindly offered to share his. We had eaten a lot of food so far today, it was a relief to only eat half a pizza after all.

Dessert was pineapple shortcake. It comprises vanilla pudding, rehydrated pineapple, dried angle food cake and coconut topping.

Later on, to make up for the half pizza serving, we had a few crackers with Welsh cheese. Loblaws is selling a line of Welsh cheese, brand name is Snowdonia. See here for the kind we were eating. Ginger spice, OMG delicious, especially with apple.

Today's task was to eat ALL the food so I didn't have to carry it tomorrow, my ulterior motive. Here's a picture of the food bag as it went into my backpack the next day:

This bag was completely full on Day 1

The sun finally decided to come out for a gorgeous sunset.

At the opposite side of the lake an almost full moon started to rise. It was the most amazing colour, a tangerine-pinkish shade. The sky was a steely dark blue.

Bedtime was around 10 p.m. Tomorrow was a travelling day with 7 portages. 

Day 1                      Day 2                          Day 3                      Day 5

Friday, November 02, 2018

Trip Log - Kiosk Loop: August 23 to 27, 2018 - Day 3

While I was still in my hammock around 6 a.m. I heard a paddle in the lake and peeked out to see a kayaker glide by very close to our campsite. He was headed towards the portage to Manitou. There might have been a second person with him, I didn't hear a second paddler but L.T. thinks he did.

A group of 7 merganser ducks floated by silently, one of them quacking very quietly, guiding the flock through their moves.

We stayed in the hammocks a bit later today, until 7 a.m. I had a headache, probably from the angle of my inflatable pillow. We didn't have a real breakfast today. Just a cup of tea with some granola I had made and brought along for a snack. L.T. prepared KD and bacon for our Thermoses for lunch today.

It was a red sky morning and rain was forecast for the afternoon/evening.

Here is today's map and the plan for the day:

Jeff's maps

550m into North Sylvia Lake
660m into Boggy Lake
1490m into Dahinda Lake
390m into Maple Lake
170m into Erables Lake

We did this exact same route a few years ago. Halfway through the route, halfway through that trip, halfway through the 1490m portage, I fell on a slippery boardwalk. I wrenched a knee that was already sensitive from a previous injury (torn meniscus). It's one thing to slip and fall, but to do it with a full backpack on, it can do a lot more damage. Today I would face my nemesis!

We packed up camp and started our journey at 10:10 a.m. It only took 10 minutes to cross the lake. It took another 25 minutes to walk to the next lake. We were ready to launch into Boggy Lake. We were across that by 11. We weren't 100% sure where the portage put-in was as the sign was down. 

I think these pictures are of the end of Boggy Lake, going into Dahinda. Boggy Lake isn't very boggy.

Nice put-in
Taking a break
It took us 45 minutes to do the 1490m portage into Dahinda. We took one break on that portage. As I came upon the first boardwalk, I was nervous. The boards were wet and slippery. I stepped very carefully, small steps. Phew! Then we got to the second boardwalk. This was the one. Again, I took very small steps using my trekking poles to support me. Done!

We stopped on Ratrap Lake, the island campsite (circled on the map) for lunch. It was a nice site, quite hilly. We broke out the Thermoses and were disappointed to find our KD wasn't very warm. I had to spill some of mine too. I only cried over the spilt bacon. 

Back into the canoe, we headed to the 390m into Maple. As I started down the trail, a very large frog jumped in front of me. I had been seeing quite a bit of frogs this trip, usually very small and sandy brown. This one was very dark. He startled me and I shrieked. L.T. didn't hear me and as he followed me down the path, the frog pulled the same trick, but got caught on the toe of his hiking shoe. The poor frog flew through the air like one of those cartoon frogs. L.T. felt bad, but it's hard to react with a full backpack on and a canoe on your shoulders.

It started to rain during this portage. It was heavily raining by the time we got to Maple Lake.

Perfectly balanced canoe

Rainy Maple Lake

As we came around the corner into Maple we saw the most spectacular site. With the rain, the hills were all silhouetted against each other, each one a different shade of grey. It was surreal and beautiful. I didn't have access to my camera, it was safely packed away protected from the rain. Sorry!

One last portage for the day and it was a short one. 170m, but still the same amount of effort to land the canoe, take the bags out, carry them and the canoe over, put the canoe in, load it and launch. All during the rain.

The portage crosses a road that crosses the creek

The creek

The road crossing
As we paddled into Erables, there was a small rock of an island with a dead tree on it. Perched in the tree were about 20 cormorants. It was a striking site.

Cheater photo(taken on Monday when most of the cormorants were swimming around)
Our strategy was to check out the first campsite on the left. We went to that site and weren't very impressed. We continued on to the second site. We'd stayed at this site before a few years ago and liked it. So we came back. It had a horrible put-in, but once up on the island, it was a nice campsite.

First order of business was to get a tarp up. Second order of business was to get the hammocks hung. I usually hang my hammock on my own, but I got help today. I was soaked through. I thought my MEC bike jacket was fully waterproof, but it leaked. I was cold. And cranky. 

Generally I really enjoy making food before the trip, dehydrating and prep. On the trip, I enjoy putting the meal together. Usually it's a bit more work than just pouring boiling water into a bag. There can be several steps. Given that the kitchen is on the ground, I have to be careful and use various dishes to coordinate the rehydration of the different parts of the meal. Tonight I would be a bit lazy and the dinner was soft tacos. I had the contents of what would go into the soft tacos, and a package of taco shells. I poured boiling water into a pot, added the contents, and left it to rehydrate. Doing it this way takes a bit more time, but saves on fuel. I just have to boil the water.

We were supposed to have cheese with this, we usually bring individually wrapped cheese strings, but they got forgotten in the fridge. Oops. But this meal was still pretty delicious. I use canned white chicken meat, rice, taco seasoning, veggies, red pepper, onions, corn - all dehydrated by me.

Dessert was a bit easier, raspberry crumble. I use my Thermos to rehydrate raspberries (I dry frozen ones) with sugar, when we're ready to eat it, I sprinkle homemade granola on top. Yum!!!

L.T. kindly did the dishes tonight. I didn't pull out my camera to document dinner, I was too hungry and tired.

One scene that we witnessed, a squirrel was wrestling with a mushroom about half his size. He managed to uproot it, then getting it in his mouth, he managed to drag it up a tree. I never knew that squirrels ate mushrooms! 

By now we had 2 tarps up. One overhead and one protecting us from the wind coming off the lake. 
We did not have a campfire tonight (or the next night). On an island there isn't much wood to burn, plus it had been raining, and it's a lot of work to gather and prepare the wood to burn.

It was another early night, I was in my hammock around 9:30. At 1 a.m. I woke up to a frightening sight. It was raining and the rain was coming into my hammock and making my down sleeping bag wet. Yikes! L.T. was awake as well, so I yelled over to him to tell him about my dilemma. He gallantly jumped out of his hammock to hook my fly onto my hammock ropes to help bring the fly down closer to me. Also I have a dollar store flexible windshield reflector I put between my mattress and my sleeping bag to reflect my body heat back to me. I pulled that out and put it on top of my sleeping bag to stop the bag from getting any wetter.

In any case I was still warm. I had another down liner inside my sleeping bag and it wasn't wet. I did have to get up to go to the bathroom, so I did get rained on a bit. I gratefully climbed back into my bag and was fine the rest of the night. Well, except for having hunger pangs.

Day 1                  Day 2                     Day 4                        Day 5

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Trip Log - Kiosk Loop: August 23 to 27, 2018 - Day 2

The early morning was lovely but the waves hadn't completely disappeared. Owls were calling back and forth around 5:30 a.m. I was up at 6:30 a.m. and immediately started packing my hammock. The night had been breezy, but there was no rain. Today looked like a day without rain as well. The forecast predicted rain by our third day.

The Mighty Manitou somewhat tamed

Dehydrated eggs with red peppers and ham, plus bacon
Hash browns are rehydrating in the fry pan
I also prepped dehydrated chicken and rice for lunch which was put into Thermoses.

We launched 5 minutes before 9 a.m. We made our way through this big lake fairly quickly. The waves would get a bit bigger, forcing us to tack back and forth to avoid being parallel with the waves. We stopped at one of the many portages along the upper shore as we rounded the last corner to take a break and stretch our legs. We got back into the canoe and got to the portage at 10:30. I was surprised to not really see anyone camped anywhere on this huge lake. We were looking for the crew of 13 teens, but they must have pulled up camp super early today too.

Today's route (Jeff's maps)
We met a couple coming out of the 2905m portage. We weren't in a hurry, this was our only portage today. It was a long one, the longest we'd ever done. The guy told us that the last third of the portage was on a road, great news! There were other bags at the landing. The couple said there was another couple with a dog doing a double-carry. 

We took a break and had a snack (Cliff bar for me) and drink before starting up the intimidating hill facing us. The first quarter of the trail went from 342m to 404m. That hill went up, and up, and up for ages. Once we were done that part it didn't seem long before we were on the road. According to the map, it looks about 1/3 of the way into the trail. We took a couple of breaks. We were confused by the comments of the people we met and I had an older version of the map where the road wasn't shown properly.

We eventually crossed paths with the other couple. The dog was a barker, the woman was more concerned about the dog, so didn't return an offered greeting and the man was quite far back along the trail and mumbled about how it wouldn't get any better (it did).

Taking a rest on the road:

The road was easy to follow and finally we veered off of it onto the trail going to Three Mile Lake. We got to the lake at about 12:20 p.m. We stopped for lunch. I had a few crumbs of my Cliff bar left so I fed a friendly chipmunk. This portage end has a campsite, so he's probably well trained to beg.

Lunch stop
After a leisurely lunch, we got back into the canoe to check the next campsite out. We paddled over to it, got out, but weren't overly happy with it. The fire pit area was all quite wet, it didn't look very inviting to sit around. Back into the canoe we went to the next site, the 4th one down the lake. It looked pretty good and for a bonus, it is right across from the portage we would be going on tomorrow.

It was about 2 p.m. Still early, but we'd been moving since 9 a.m. I was glad to be home for the night. We set up camp.
We were lucky this trip, every lake had loons. We'd see then while paddling, we'd hear them while at our campsite. Today we saw a loon showdown. All of a sudden two loons emerged from the lake's surface and they started to flap their wings and make a ruckus. Two other loons from either side of the lake started to call towards them, almost like the wives telling them not to fight.

A group of merganser ducks burst out of the water near our site. They seem to all go underwater, swim around a bit, then all spring up together. Then they swim around, usually in a line, with the lead duck dipping his head into the water to check for fish.

We also saw a large bird fishing. It may have been some sort of hawk. It wasn't a heron or a cormorant. It had feathers that were flecked white and light brown. It flew quite high then would drop out of the sky into the lake.

At one point a swimming animal went by. It kept its head out of the water, so it wasn't an otter or a beaver. It was too small for that. My guess is that it was a swimming squirrel. It never dove or swam underwater. It came ashore not far from us, but we didn't see or hear it land.

Dinner was lasagna, savoury buns and banana shortcake:

Banana pudding, rehydrated bananas, dried angel food cake, and coconut
Three Mile Lake

Another gorgeous evening

I burned the bottom of my big toe when I knocked over a boiling kettle, ouch! I developed a small blister that I was worried might be an issue with the next day's portaging. We had 5 portages to do covering just over 3 km.

I was in bed again at 9. It had been windy the night before, but it was silent tonight on Three Mile.

Day 1                         Day 3                     Day 4                  Day 5