Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day Five: Tuesday 06-16-09

Lakes /Rivers:

Mexican Hat Lake
325 m port
80 m port
40 m port
140 m port
60 m port
100 m port
Jake Lake
40 m port
200 m port
Lunch Lake
150 m port
East Lunch Lake
70 m port
80 m port
150 m port
15 m port
Bunny Lake

Total Distance: 12 miles (19.31 kilometers)

Ports: 1450 meters

Time: 7:32

It stayed fairly warm last night. The weather did change after the first two days, but I would have preferred that it wasn’t so warm. I woke up at 3:50 am but I didn’t start moving around until a little before 5 am. I’m stiff, but not sore. By 5:24 I had done my stretches and I had everything out of the tent. The sun was already up above the trees when I got out of the tent. There were a few clouds in the otherwise deep blue sky.

I can hear the sound of some rapids to my south. I think there is a portage over there also.

My hands are sore from all the small cuts I’ve gotten. I forgot my hand lotion.

This was the second campsite where I got to use my ground stakes for the tent. I also got to use some stakes for the tarp. There weren’t any days in the two weeks in Wabakimi that we were able to use ground stakes last year.

A flock of 20 Canadian Geese flew over head at 6:22 am.

It clouded up fast before I got on the water. I would have been on the water at 7:00 am, but I spent about 25 minutes rigging up the foam around my ankle. I first put the foam around the ankle, but that cause too much pressure when I put my boot on. Then I cut the foam into three strips. I position then off to the side of where I was having the pain. It seemed to help right away, but I could still feel some pain.

I was finally paddling toward the portage at the falls at 7:24 am. The lake was absolutely calm and it was already warm. I came to the first portage at 7:45 am. There wasn’t anyone at the campsite across from the falls. I was surprised that no one was there. It looked nice and big, but I didn’t go over to check it out. It looked well used from what I could see from a distance. This portage showed it was 325 meters long. It began to the left of the falls. I had on my map marked that the trail crossed the creek to the other side. I was told it shouldn’t cross. I walked up the portage and then I came to an area of the portage where it appeared I needed to cross to the other side. I looked at possibly walking across the creek, but it was too deep and there was a strong current. Looked like a disaster ready to happen if I tried that. There was a faint trail going forward that I walked. I had to walk further off this trail into the woods away from the water to get around several blow downs. I got back to the creek where it made a sharp bend going away from me. I was on the outside bend and I still needed to walk across some standing water to some small rapids. That’s the farthest I could go and I would have to put the canoe in front of some small rapids but there was enough fast water to cause problems. Back I went to the area where I needed to cross the creek originally. I dropped my pack and walked back for the other pack and canoe.

When I got back to the first pack I put the canoe in the water and quickly threw everything else in. The canoe was a little wobbly in the current as I quickly pushed the canoe upstream while jumping in. I crossed over to the other side further upstream.

As soon as I got everything out of the canoe it began to rain. I got in my pack, located my stuff sack with my rain gear that was under the flap of the pack. I was getting pretty wet by the time I got the rain gear on. The rain came down hard.

The rain was making the walking over the bedrock very tricky now. The rocks were very slippery. I had 7 more portages to Lunch Lake which was about 7 km away. Little did I know at this time this portage would actually be the first portage out of 13 today.

The foam placed around my ankle seemed to be working pretty well. The ankle was not as sore as yesterday.

I was hoping to get to Lunch Lake. Once there I would check the time before making the decision if I would go any further today. These portages so far on this trip have been unpredictable that I can’t just judge what time I’ll get somewhere based only upon the distance.

I didn’t write down too many of the times today because of the rain and the number of portages.

Here is what I wrote on my field notes about the portages:

2nd portage: 80 meters, don’t remember too much about it (so it must have been fine). Double portage

3rd portage: 40 meters. Short portage, ok, double portage

4th portage: 140 meters. I took my rain gear off now that the rain stopped. There were many jack pines lying over the trail. Most if not all were lying on the ground. I just had to step over them. This was a double portage.

5th portage: 60 meters. Double portage

6th portage: 100 meters. I was having problems with my yoke so I tripled portage this one. I later saw where my aluminum gunwale was coming loose causing some play in my yoke. When I got done with this portage it was 1024 am. I was now on Jake Lake. Way too early to stop so I continued on. Two more portages before Lunch Lake.

7th portage: 40 meters. Double portage.

8th portage: 200 meters. I took lunch at the end of this portage at 11:33 am. I double portage it. I was feeling pretty good. Based upon my rate of travel so far and unless something drastically changes I should make it to the campsite on Bunny Lake at 3pm. Again, that’s if the portages don’t have some strange twist to them or too many blow downs.

9th portage: 150 meters. Double portage.

10th portage: 70 meters. Double portage.

11th portage: 80 meters. Double portage.

12th portage: 150 meters. Up a rapid incline, then the trail leveled off and was wide. I was pleasantly surprised.

13th portage: wet. Double portage.

Wow! I made it to Bunny Lake. I paddled to my campsite on Bunny Lake at 2:56 pm. I have been looking over my shoulder most of the afternoon racing the dark clouds that had been forming behind me most of the afternoon.

I learned my lesson in 2007 to pay attention behind me. On that trip I wasn’t paying attention to the skies behind me. I almost got caught on North Bay of Basswood Lake, a very large body of water, in a violent intense storm. I had made it to shore just in time to grab my packs and canoe and haul them into the woods. I tied my canoe up to some large red pines. I was going to try and set up my tent but there wasn’t any way possible. I ended up throwing the tent over my body while sitting next to a large red pine out of the strong wind. I got completely wet prior to throwing the tent over me. I was very lucky. You can read about that adventure in my trip report, Quetico’s Trees, Rocks and Water: A Solo Journey.

I was beat, but I needed to set up my tent and rain fly just in case it started to rain. It continued to threaten to rain, but it never did. Next routine chore was to filter water.

At 4:15 pm I sat in my therm-a- rest chair and finally relaxed. I didn’t fall asleep, but I felt my body jumping and my head nodding. After a half hour I felt much better so I got up and cooked some dinner which was venison spaghetti, vanilla pudding with some dried cranberries thrown on top, some coffee and hot cocoa.

Hey, hey, I found my hand lotion. I forgot I put it in a smaller bottle and I didn’t mark it. My hands are still sore.

I’ve straighten up camp, but I haven’t felt like doing a whole lot. The wind has been up and down. Now the wind has died down.

I think I hear some thunder in the distance. I better button things up even more.

I walked around the campsite and took some photos. I waited until about 9:30 pm before I said heck with the sunset I’m going to bed.

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