Thursday, November 19, 2009

St. Nora - Sherbourne Lake Loop

Trying to pack in the pitch black shores of St. Nora Lake
Photo: Dimitry Sapon

Our group of guys from the Romaine River trip wanted to end the paddling season with a final trip together. After some discussion and our first failed attempt in October, we finally agreed on a weekend in November. Everything was set to go until Rob had to bail out at the last minute due to the requirements of a new job. After some quick calls we salvaged the outing by finding a replacement partner in Ben's dog Igloo so that no one would actually paddle "solo"! We weren't going to stay home, especially considering how nice the weather was recently.

Our most trusted guard dog and protector of our
canoe gear and (usually) food, - Igloo!

The short weekend trip was up in the Leslie Frost area, so immediately after work Friday we headed north out of the city with the rest of the traffic. Our only issue was that we were going to be paddling in the dark due to the shorter daylight hours and the recent change in time. Good fortune had it that when we got there the water was calm, the stars were out and it wasn't really all that cold! We purposely planned to travel only a short distance to the first campsite due to the lack of light, but since it was so amazing paddling under the stars, we opted to continue further on down the lake. It really was a cool way to start the trip!

The boys portaging back to Sherbourne Lake after finding
out Orley Lake was a dead end

It was great to get back out paddling with the boys again. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery, the mild temperatures and just hanging out together. As ideal as it all sounds, there still was some hiccups along the way. Like Dimitry's headlamp dying before heading out in the dark, (he "apparently" checked it at home, - yeah right!), Igloo rolling in some crap (she's not sleeping beside me!), finding out we ended up in a dead end lake (who's idea was this?!!) and then there's Ben. Where do I start? He apparently forgot all his batteries for his dSLR so we ended up lugging his Pelican case during the whole trip for nothing, he brought a grand total of 7-8 stale Ringolo's that Dimitry and I couldn't stomach (so that's why he didn't have any!), and more importantly he forgot to bring implements for obtaining firewood! (saw and a real axe) Ben, always known as the "Axeman" on our canoe trips let Dimitry and I down when he pulled out a pathetic Canadian Tire hatchet as a replacement for the real stuff! Especially considering the time the year when we hope to have a blazing fire to keep us warm! Well, all was not lost as we managed under the trying circumstances. We honed the art of collecting small pieces of firewood, practiced the "martial art" skill of breaking wood with our hands and feet, and kept warm from constantly feeding the fire! Dimitry and I forgave him but decided we would let him come on our next canoe trip only with conditions!

Dimitry wondering what this hatchet could be
used for? Hmmm,...maybe pounding
pegs into the ground?!

Well, the weather certainly didn't feel like November and getting out to paddle was motivation to speculate about another. This time of year, you just never know what you will be hit with in terms of snow, cold temperatures and the water freezing up, but let's see. I don't know for certain if this trip was "it", but the thought is already depressing! I might as well hope and dream a bit and you just never know where I'll end up! (crossing my fingers!)


Ben quietly solo paddling down Sherbourne Lake (and
wondering why Igloo doesn't stop whining!)

FYI: We were unexpectedly surprised to find out at the end of the trip that we breaking a new bylaw(?!). The HHWT staff were nice enough not to give us tickets for apparently camping without permits! Only weeks ago, they changed the bylaws which now require permits from Jan 2 to Dec 18 (basically all year round!) Oops! Previously no permits were needed after Oct 31, so I just assumed the same but not anymore! If you decide to head up to that area, just be aware!
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