Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day Four: Monday 06-15-09

Lakes /Rivers:

Welkin Lake / Beanish Creek
300 m port
Wrist Lake
100 m port
Streak Lake
70 m port
Amber Lake
600 m port
Nutria Lake
Beaver activity area
Mexican Hat Lake

Total Distance: 11.75 miles (18.91 kilometers)

Ports: 1070 meters

Time: 6:41

It was warmer last night than the night before. I woke at 4:00 am, but I told myself it was too early. I woke again at 4:50 am. This time it wasn’t too early. I slowly began to move around inside my sleeping bag. Oh, boy was my body stiff and sore from yesterday’s activity. I slowly began doing my lower back stretches.

I’ve written in the past why I do the stretches, but I haven’t mentioned it for a while. Back in either 1997 or 1998 I herniated a disc in my lower back. I was lucky to have it corrected with a couple of cortisone type injections into the ruptured area to reduce the swelling. I’ve tried to maintain some sort of abs and back exercises with stretches ever since that time. This is in addition to the other activities I do.

When I got out of the tent I was greeted with mostly blue skies. It looked like it was going to be another nice day. Yesterday it was way to hot to be paddling and portaging with the clothes I need to wear. In fact, I have to say it really wasn’t that enjoyable after a certain point, but I know when I look upon it later on it won’t seem that bad. The main thing was to keep hydrated and to splash water on my body when I needed to do so.

Both my tent and tarp were dry this morning so I took them down right away.

My ankle was feeling pretty good in my Danner boots this morning. I wouldn’t make up my mind if I was going forward on my intended route until after I put my NRS boots on.

Breakfast was done. My bags were just about packed except for the boots I was wearing. As soon as I slipped my right NRS boot on I had instant pain and it was intense. That does it where are my maps?

Yesterday I looked at my maps, but I really didn’t see another route or maybe I was subconsciously hoping to complete my route therefore nothing really jumped out at me.

Now when I looked at the map I saw if I went back east on Beamish Creek I would come to a 300 meter portage that would take me to Wrist Lake. Wrist Lake was where I was going to camp on day 6. This would cut off three days of travel. I checked my map of the 2006 burn and it appears that this portage was just outside the burn, so most likely it was in fairly decent shape. Bottom line, there wasn’t any other option.

I took my NRS boot off and found my compression wrap. I wrapped about half of it around my foot and ankle then cut off the rest. I put some heavy duty duct tape over the outside of my ankle. Did it help…not really? I just put up with the constant pain of the boot putting constant pressure on the ankle and the additional pain with each step I took.

I had the general area marked on my map of some more pictographs that were located along Beamish Creek. All I knew was that there were some. What or how many I didn’t know. I hadn’t planned on going this way at all. Since I was going to go by the area now I would look for them.

When I was done wrapping my ankle it was 7:44 am. I was now paddling to the east with the bright, warm sun in my eyes. This area was still in the burn from 2006, but in about 4 km I will be out of it. Just past the burn area I could see an area of some rock outcroppings that looked like a typical place to find some pictographs.

I checked along the rock face as I paddled by looking for them, but nothing really stood out. I took a couple photos of what I believe were some red blobs. I wasn’t quite sure if they were anything or not, but I had a lot more rock to check out so I didn’t spend any time other that taking two quick photographs.

When I got back home I sent Claire and e-mail asking her what the pictographs were at this site. Claire sent me a photo of two stickmen pictographs.

In reviewing my photograph I did capture a stickman or human figure in the upper right hand corner of my photograph. The top part of that drawing has some of the rock that has flaked off. I’m missing the other drawing that is to the right of the one in the upper right hand corner.

Now look at the center of my photo. Is that a drawing? What I find interesting the photo sent to me by Claire doesn’t show this possible drawing. There were supposed to be three to four drawings so maybe this was one.

Now I wish I would have spent some time photographing / documenting them. I just wasn’t sure what I was seeing at a distance and I had a lot more rock to cover.

I have a book, Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes, by Selwyn Dewdney and Kenneth Kidd, Second Edition. They don’t mention these pictographs, but they do mention the snakish form on page 121 on Beamish Lake. This would be a completely different area. Claire sent me a photograph of the snakish form, also.

There was another book recommended on pictographs, Reading Rock Art: Interpreting the Indian Rock Paintings of the Canadian Shield by Grace Rajnovich. I have ordered this book.

Shortly past the pictographs I turned to go north into the narrows before reaching the 300 meter portage on river left at 9:06 am. I found the portage right away. Overall compared to the other portages I’ve been on this one was in pretty good shape. There were a couple wet areas. If the water was higher it would be even wetter, but after a short distance the portage goes up to higher ground.

I took a couple of photos before I made my first trip across at 9:12 am. I finished the first leg 7 minutes later. My right ankle was hurting with each step I took. It just confirmed that I made the correct choice in shortening up my route.

I triple portage this one since there was some steep up and down sections to the trail. I finished it at 9:47 am. Before I shoved off again I looked at my map to see what lay ahead.

When I began paddling I went north up the west arm of Wrist Lake. After about 2.5 kilometers of paddling I reached the main body of the lake. The SW wind was blowing fairly strong now so I stayed closer to shore and headed more south to SW instead of cutting directly to the next portage to the SE. I put on my PFD for the first time in a while because of the waves, but it came off again when I got closer to the south shore.

This second portage is at the east end of a sand beach. I arrived at 10:40 am and double portage it. It was flat and only 100 meters long. I didn’t write the time I finished with the portage. I remember it being wet, but most of the portages I’ve been on have some portion of it being wet. I think I was starting to get over heated again from the sun.

It didn’t take long to get to the third portage that was 70 meters. Again I didn’t write the time I arrived. I had lunch at the end of this portage. I remember I needed to get in the shade. It was hot out and I felt even hotter! Lunch was from 1127 to 1201 pm.

The next 2 km was really hot. I was suffering. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I kept splashing water on top of my head and letting it trickle down my spine. Oh, my body tensed up from the cold water. This really seemed to be long, tough 2 kilometers.

I came to the end of this waterway in the NE bay looking for the 600 meter portage. I got out in one area off to my right and walked a ways on a trail, but it appeared to be an animal trail. I got back to my canoe to look in a different area. I looked at a low area next to a ridge off to the left. Yup, there it was hidden! I had a little bit of water left in my water bottle so I drank some before my first trip across with my heavy pack. There were some areas of standing water and muck. Nothing unusual about that! It took me 12 minutes to get across. The sweat was just dripping off my hot body. At least I was still sweating! I kept thinking to myself I would much rather have it cool like it was a few days ago. I triple portage this one. I finished it at 1:38 pm.

Now I was in the narrows that led to Mexican Hat Lake. There was about 3 km of travel before reaching the main body of water. Before that I had to go through probably about a kilometer of beaver activity and dams. There was one area where my canoe almost tipped because the bow stem was down in the water on one side of a dam and the stern was balancing on top of the dam. The canoe just wanted to roll when it got to that point but I caught it just in time. I got a little wet, but I needed it.

Once I hit the main body of the lake I headed toward the islands along the south shore. The wind was helping to push me there a little quicker than normal. I took the campsite on the larger of the two islands. If it wasn’t so hot I would have gone further to the east to check out the campsite closer to the falls near the next portage. It would’ve taken me about 15 minutes to get there and if it was taken, another 15 minutes back. I wasn’t going to do that with this decent campsite where I was now. I got to this island site at 2:25 pm.

The very first thing I did was to get out of my NRS boots and into my Danner boots. Relief! My ankle stopped hurting when I walked. Then I took my shirt off. Filtered some water since I needed to drink some as quickly as possible and as much as I could.

Now it was time to set up my tent. Afterwards, I walked down the shore a ways and took a bath. It was very refreshing. Then I put on my boxers and Danner boots. I was starting to feel much better. I got my chair out and inflated the therm-a- rest so I could sit down and relax. I grabbed my maps out of my pack to see what lay ahead tomorrow.

A couple of very large seagulls have been hanging out in front of my campsite. They must think I’m going to do some fishing. It’s now 6:57 pm and a couple loons are swimming toward me. They got pretty close but they swam away under water when I got up to get my tripod out of my pack. Eventually I was able to get some photos with my 18-300 Tamron lens. Maybe they will turn out.

There was an eagle flying along the south shore of the lake for a while.

I sat back down and put my 24-70 mm Nikon lens back on my camera.

A flock of 12 Canadian Geese flew over head going further north.

When dinner was finished I straighten up camp. I also put up my tarp. I’m facing to the east so I really can’t see if any storms are building in the west.

Back to my NRS boots. I’ve been trying to think of what I brought along on this trip to put around my ankle to keep the pressure off my ankle. I need something soft on the inside and something hard like a thin plastic on the outside to keep the upper part of the boot from rubbing against the tendon.

Well, I don’t think I have anything like that. I’ll have to keep thinking!

I tried calling my father on the Iridium Sat phone at 7:45 pm. My father’s phone line was busy. I called back at 8 pm and got through, but the call was dropped after one minute. I called back and we spoke about three minutes before I ended the call. The reason I called was to see how the reception was with the phone. I really didn’t have too much to say other than I was fine, but I would be coming out early. I know I shouldn’t have mentioned the ankle, but I stressed the fact I was fine. Lesson learned.

The lake is very calm and it’s still very warm out. I had to spray myself with some DEET because the no-see-um came out in full tonight.

I think I found a possible solution to my ankle problem. I brought my Really Right Stuff Ball head (BH-40) on top of my tripod. It’s fairly expensive and I didn’t want to take a chance of damaging it. I had an old waterproof bag that floated that could be used for a cell phone or some other type of electronic device. It was no longer waterproof so I cut it up and put some bungee cord around it. I then put it on top of the ball head for protection. I think there must be some foam in it. When I cut it open there was some foam. Tomorrow I’ll figure out how I’ll wrap my right ankle. Maybe it’ll work…looks promising anyways!

When I looked at my maps it looks like it will take two full days to get back to Leano Lake. I’ll probably camp tomorrow night on Lunch Lake. It looks like 985 meters of portages. Paddle to Leano Lake on Wednesday then drive back on Thursday morning.

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