Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Yesterday, Marylou screamed when she scared a grouse on the way to the box. Today she got to stretch her lungs and vocal chords again when she scared a bird off its nest! (lol!) I don't know what it is with her and birds, especially with a full bladder, but its a good thing she didn't wet herself! See the bird yourself below!
After breakfast, we decided to do some exploring before heading back to the Obabika river. We first checked out a not-so-pretty 20 foot falls across our campsite that was obscured by vegetation. We then headed northwest to Lahay lake to check out another set of falls which entailed 2 portages, (595m, 360m) through another unnamed lake. Wonder how I can get them to name one after myself? (Lake David, Davey Lake, Davey Crochet Lake,....yeah,....nope!)
The first portage was the hardest to find, but the trails were in fairly good condition with a few downed trees. At the end of the second portage there was a unfinished dilapidated log cabin with junk strewn about. Always make you wonder what the story is behind it, but nonetheless it was disheartening to see the mess all over the place.
We paddled south on Lahay to where it flushed into Nasmith Creek. The falls were nice, but nothing spectacular. The only downside was that it started to rain, (surprising?!) - and we didn't have our rain gear. So we headed back into the forest and huddled by a large rock, which kept us fairly dry. Once it stopped, we headed back.
After we picked up our packs at the campsite and began heading back, we stopped at what looked like a portage trail. (it was hard to see yesterday in the fading light) Curious, we got out and followed what looked like the actual portage trail. Except it ended abruptly due to several large trees that had come down due to a beaver. I tried to relocate the trail, but it was nowhere to be found - obviously. We then headed back the same way, down the narrow creek, eventually finding ourselves back on the Obabika river paddling south.
Within an hour of paddling we had come to a large chute and had to portage around it. The trail itself passed a nice campsite where I'm sure most paddlers have stayed. (note for next time) The weather even began improving at this point with the sun coming out. I soon found myself too warm as I doffed off my wet footwear and shirt.
We also got to see some wildlife - muskrat, baby beavers, otters and small turtles the size of loonies. All the initial excitement was soon replaced by the painful repetitive manoeuvring around endless oxbows. It took 5 long hours to finally reach the turnoff to Wawiagama Lake, which was well marked. What a relief! Although the strong current of Wawiagama river due to all the rain was no laughing matter. It was even more exhausting to paddle the 30mins upriver fighting current, logs, and sandbars to get to the lake!
Wawiagama lake is beautiful. It is lined with towering cliffs on the west side topped by large pines. It was exhilarating to have the wind in our faces as well as the stunning scenery before us. Staring in awe at the massive cliffs, we slowly paddled to the west end to look for a campsite. Unfortunately, one campsite was not much to look at, and the other was beside a cabin, so we made the decision to head back east despite the setting sun. Our efforts paid off as we found a really nice site just as the sun was setting below the horizon. It was good day, long and tiring, but satisfying as we experienced and saw a lot.
Next: Day 4 - "You want me to go up where?!!"
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I decided to try something different. As I find myself writing way too much for one trip report, I decided to do it as a daily format. Therefore it is quicker for people to read, more pictures to see, as well as more posts. (eventually I hope to add video as well) This way I can get trip report info out faster and it will be more ongoing. I'll try it with the the Obaibika river trip and hopefully, I can get some feedback as to how people like it.
As most of you know, 2008 was infamous for record levels of precipitation; and this trip was no exception. It had already down poured just before we got to the put-in and the huge cumulonimbus clouds that hung around was a precursor of things to come. We got to a very late start because we had to stop at several places along the way up, so it was almost four o'clock by the time we were on the water!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Luckily, their adventures and photos will not be kept from inquiring minds. For those of you who would like to hear a mesmerizing story of an extreme adventure and gawk at beautiful photographs on a large screen, they will be presenting at the annual Wilderness Canoe Symposium in Toronto this year. Information regarding the event on Feb 13 & 14, can be found on this website: http://www.wcsymposium.com Trust me, I will be there!!!
As you can already see, Jim has graciously provided some photos from his expedition for us to view and salivate. If you want to see more, you can go to his website www.canoebeyond.com and look up Kuujjua under Expedition. Or even easier, here's the direct link to more of the photos from his trip: http://www.canoebeyond.com/kuujjua/kuujjua.html
Congrats gentlemen to the completion of an amazing adventure and your safe arrival! Looking forward to the presentation!!!
All photos in this post are courtesy of Jim & Ted Baird
Friday, January 9, 2009
The time around the holidays was extremely tough to get through, but in my case (as it seems to be with canoeing), when one bad thing happens, there always seems to be more. Of all the holidays that I could have used my family's company to keep me sane, there wasn't any! (some no fault of their own) After the smallest Christmas gathering in years, I was left alone to fend for myself until the new year. Of course, that was just the beginning. Dealing with the break-up, I attempted to try and keep busy or get into new things to keep my mind occupied. First off, I bought a treadmill (what a bitch that was to get it inside on my own!) to help me cope with the pain. And run I did, lots of it! It really was therapeutic, except after a good long run on Christmas morning, I got off with some odd "knee" pain and ended up limping for the next several days, - great!
I also started "hot" yoga - something that I would not normally do, but thanks to my persistent sister I thought why not? It was supposed to also relieve stress, - okay! Could you imagine me in tights trying to get into some pretzel configuration!?! Yeah, don't say it! (I did dread it once I got there and saw all these fit limber bodies) Oh by the way, "hot" is not because there was "hot" women there (they always out number the guys and yes, some of them are "hot"), but its because you are doing yoga poses in a room that is heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit! I won't go into the specific benefits of hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, but it was really amazing and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I couldn't get into many of the poses and I know I looked ridiculous at times, but I came out feeling great physically and in mind and spirit. Okay, I'm going off topic here, but the reason I brought it up was the fact that I went there alone (thanks sis!) after my injury thinking that it would help stretch out my knee and speed recovery. Nope! It somehow made it worse and put me in more pain!
The other pressing issue was a planned winter outing with my friend Ben. We were supposed to head out on a winter camping trek to Algonquin for 4 days on Jan 1st. I really needed something like this to just get out and clear my mind. We were going to hike using snowshoes while pulling sleds along the Western Uplands Trail, but the knee injury was a real concern as I couldn't properly bear weight on it. We were also then invited by another friend to party at their cottage during the same time, so we considered it as Plan B especially given the circumstances. Except, the only problem was access to the cottage. It is water access only, therefore, the only way to get there was hiking through the bush for 5km to bypass the frozen lake, which was unstable due to the recent rain. (yes, rain!) So in the end, I had to unfortunately cancel plans with Ben (sorry!!) as well as the cottage outing due to the nagging knee issue.
So here I was, frustrated as hell, alone at home, couldn't run, couldn't do yoga, couldn't party or trip, or anything that required walking! I felt I was in jail at home! When I finally went back to work (with a limp), I realized despite having a few days off, my leg was just not fit to be walking on. Just walking from the parking lot to the hospital was painful enough, so after I took care of things in the morning, I told my boss I was going back home. But first, I headed straight to an urgent care clinic (our own ER was way too busy) to find out what was going on. Once I saw the doctor, he determined it may be some soft tissue injury, - ligament, meniscus, etc. so he ordered an MRI. With the help of staff I knew at the hospital, they got me in fairly quick for the scan and I waited nervously for the results. The tech did mention that he did see something on the scan but wasn't at liberty to say as the radiologist gives the final diagnosis. So when the dreaded phone call came for me to go back to the clinic to see the doctor, I knew it couldn't be good. Diagnosis: stress fracture on the top of the tibia! Yikes! I was scripted for a Zimmer split to immobilize my leg and crutches to stay off of it! Possibly a cast (don't think so!), and 4-6 wks off! Wow! It was like I already struck out 3 times, but now they were kicking me out of the game! (please tell me this is it!!!) Maybe I should take up drinking - in quantity! (joke!) Running too much was the likely culprit, crap!
So yes, I have lots more time and not much to do. So why not start writing! (seeing that I've been so delinquent) So here I am, a slave to the screen!
So, I'm taking offers of visits, both at my place and yours! If "you" need company, my service is free! Come on people!, its a limited time offer!
Seriously though, I do have a lot of people to thank. I wasn't always alone and many of you offered support and encouragement that blew me away. I truly want to thank all of you for your support, especially those that went over and beyond. You know who you are. Also, much of the time alone wasn't always bad as it made me think alot about things and refocus myself to heal and move on. Its just frustrating when you put things in place to help you cope when they all collapse around you. I just have to pick my ass up and do it all again.
I have to say, some of the advice that was given was awesome, insightful and helpful, while some were downright hilarious! Like taking up crocheting, baking, offering a sister, speed-dating, jujitsu (help to vent), online dating, offering a hooker with an Adam's apple, drinking, baby-sitting, etc. It made me realize what good friends I have! (lol!) In regards to the online dating (looking more for friends rather than a soul mate) I even went so far as pulling up the website but stopping short of entering any info! (yeah, I'm a chicken!) Anyways, like I mentioned, I've thought about many things and have some ideas in place to pursue and refocus my life in the coming year. Canoeing is hazy, but its there. At the moment, all options are open. Getting back to backpacking, maybe some mountain-biking, do I dare say - kayaking(!), running a marathon, rock-climbing, who knows. All I know is I have to get back out there and find the peace, happiness, and joy that captured me in the first place without all the pain that may be associated with it. So I'm on a mission to live life again, find new friends, reconnect with old ones, seek new adventures and opportunities to fill the void. Thanks again, everyone! I'll keep you all in the loop as things unfold.
So for now, to kick start the year, I decided to give everyone a laugh. I've contemplated whether I should show it or not, (hope no one is offended), but I said, "To hell with it!" As you all know my passion for canoeing, sometimes I receive or purchase items that are canoe-related. There are the usual things such as souvenir paddles/canoes, books, and pictures. But how about a wearable canoe item? No, not shirts, an underwear!! Yes!, that's correct! A canoe underwear! (If any of you have one, even before me, let me know!) So on my last solo outing, I finally got the courage to take a shot of it and show everyone.
So just in case you were wondering, no, I didn't buy it! It was a gift! Like I would buy an orange underwear! Sheesh!
Thanks again everyone! Hope you had a good laugh!
Hope to have a trip report out soon!