Sunday, May 10, 2009

Algonquin PP Jul 27 08 - Day 3

The ubiquitous canoe stand - an icon of the
Algonquin portage trails

Sometimes there is more going on at night in the tent than you'd expect, - now that's not what I was getting at! The first time I woke up, I found Marylou's headlamp on. I couldn't leave it to drain the battery so I woke her up to turn it off. Found out she couldn't sleep and felt odd/claustrophobic so she turned her headlamp back on to make her feel better. (apparently she just fell asleep - ops!) I told her to get out and get some fresh air. I couldn't understand as we were using the Eureka Tundraline which is a 3 man tent and there is more than ample space compared to our usual 2 man MEC Wanderer. She did feel better after she came in and did eventually fall asleep. Weird.

The next time I awoke was to a mouse using our tent as a playground! The critter kept climbing up to the peak of the A-frame tent and glissaded down the side as if it was a huge slide! Mind you, I couldn't blame the bugger cause if it was me, I would have done the same thing! Weird.

Our very wet campsite on Three Mile Lk where the mouse
effectively used our A-frame tent as a big slide!

Despite waking early, I decided to sleep in, especially to allow Marylou to get some more rest. By the time I thought it was fitting to get up, it started to rain, - crap! So I slithered back into the sleeping bag and hoped it would stop soon, - which ultimately meant more time for sleeping, reading, and writing. It was beyond procrastination at this point. We got up at 11:00!!! Whoa!

For our tardiness, we had a 2800m portage to begin the day. This would get us to Manitou Lake and complete our first loop. We were a little apprehensive, but generally "pumped" to get through this as quickly and painlessly possible. (What's the chance of that?!) Thankfully it was relatively flat as it followed a logging road most of the way. I have to say it went much better than I expected as we finished in just over an hour.

The portage to Manitou Lk was definitely long
but thankfully fairly flat.

Our bigger concern was the headwind and waves that were being funnelled up this arm of the lake at the put-in. We saw an outboard across the other side loading up the group camping there with their canoes and whisk them away. "Was it that bad?!" Well with the Pal and the shallower depth, it was obvious as we paddled across the biggest waves to the other side. Confident of our ability to handle the conditions, my only concern was seeing the 2 - 2 1/2 foot waves make its way over the gunwales. I knew with the Prospector it wouldn't have been an issue, but that wasn't the case now so we plodded on quickly before we took on too much water. Thankfully the big pack and barrel that fit snugly across and above the gunwale helped to deflect some of the water out.

Of all the places I could have stopped for a break on the 2800m
portage, it had to be below a loose creaky branch!!
See video below

Once we rounded the point, the rest of the paddle on Manitou was easy. We pulled up on a broad sandy beach at the east end of the lake where we began the 1190m portage to the Amble Du Fond river. I noted some cabins with outboards in the vicinity and realized that despite the fact the beach was fairly deserted, I could see how popular and crowded this spot could be on a nice day. The river portion had some nice campsites along its shores but we decided to continue on to Kioshkokwi Lake for the night. We paddled down a swift before pulling out at the next portage, of which this and the next one went downhill bypassing some extensive falls and rapids. Unfortunately our late start meant that there wasn't time to view them.

Finishing our last portage, Marylou checks for campsites on
Kioskokwi Lk before heading out

Once on Kioshkokwi Lake, we headed east and found camp on an absolutely beautiful headland. The type where you wished you could have stayed a few extra nights. Flat tent sites, open forested canopy, great firepit with benches, elevated vantage points, and a nice rocky platform to go swimming from. (which I did!) I also forgot to mention it included a way-too-friendly camp mouse that visited us in the shelter and wanted to inspect our assortment of edibles. It was promptly kicked out. (not literally!, sheesh!) By the way, Kioshkokwi means "lake of many gulls" in Algonkin of which we were well aware of. It seems that even the "winged Lake Ontario posse" has a weekend wilderness retreat!

Considering the dramatic skyline, what would make me
hope there would be no more rain?!!
Arghh! - Three Mile Lk

When the sun and blue skies poked through the grey cloud cover earlier, we hoped for some good weather ahead. We laid out all our wet gear and clothes in various places to dry out, but of course once everything was done does it not start raining again!?! We were still in recovery mode from the extremely wet Obabika River trip, but it was evident we were not going to get any reprieve. We slept with the tent fly doors closed.

Next: Day 4 - "There are 3 big fat snakes down there!"

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