Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mid-Summer Crisis

Ess Narrows: The familiar public access
 point to Dollars Lake

The summer is whipping by and it is already pass the halfway mark. At this moment, I am writing under a tarp (due to rain) on the shores of Smoky Lake. The normal course of events this summer has been anything but expected for Anita and I. Like most everyone, I assume people make plans and see to it that it pans out. Of course there are always glitches and unexpected events which throw you for a loop, but naturally you just deal with it and move on. Occasionally, things really go haywire and you are at a loss of what to do.

Snug under a tarp on the shores of Smoky Lake -
perfect time to read, write, and relax.

As all of you know, Anita and I are to get married this fall. With that in mind, we had plans in place for things to go rather smoothly. Well, it's been anything but. The wedding is one thing, but we also had to deal with an unplanned move, (actually multiple moves) selling, buying a house, being without a home for a undetermined amount of time, financial headaches, and even dealing with family. Our lives have literally been turned upside down. We were on the verge of scrapping the wedding altogether due to all the uncertainly and stress, but in the end, we decided to persevere and still see the canoe wedding through. Despite it all, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Much like glimpsing a flash of blue through the trees on a long tough portage, we know it will all end soon.

The Stare Down: Ironic that later on in the trip, we did
get to stare down a moose that was alive!

Remains of the moose were everywhere, not just bones.
"Oh, here's some ribs and the lower jaw!"

Of course with all this going on, our original summer plans have unexpectedly been thrown into total disarray. Anita and I had actually set aside time for canoe trips together this summer, but they have been altered considerably. Anita already missed out on one big trip to the Mississagi River due to illness, and our other big trip has been cancelled due to our move. We had one other trip which we were supposed to take at the end of July, which I was going to cancel as well, but Anita kiboshed that idea. She wouldn't be denied missing all her summer canoe trips! (I'm pretty sure I found the right woman!) So, what was supposed to 
be 10 days away, changed to 8, for issues at home, then shorten again to 5 to deal with wedding matters. We thought we'd never make it out, but thankfully we finally did.

Dollar Lake: When you're not in a rush to get to camp, you can
take time to stop and explore nooks and crannies.

Going away with pressing matters back home is hard because your mind is not at ease. However, Anita and I surprisingly didn't even broach the subject once - its as if we both knew. We honestly left all our worries behind. I'm so happy that I agreed to Anita's demand request to still go on a canoe trip, because we both really needed it. It helped to ease not only our minds, but our physical being as well. And really, what's better than a relaxing canoe trip?

Mud Lake: An unfair connotation to a lake we
found stunning and beautiful.

We spent five days paddling through crown land, exploring a chain of lakes in the Noganosh Lakes area. I've been to this area years ago, but only made it down to Smoky Lake since the group I was leading had had enough paddling and wanted to take advantage of the good fishing on that lake. I promised myself then to come back in the future and see the rest of the area. So here I am, back on Smoky Lake on the morning of day two, waiting for the rain to abate so that we can head out. Nonetheless, it was the perfect time to write as I have so little of it back home.

What's a trip without some adventure. Anita trying
to find footing on uneven ground. 

This 400M portage swallowed us up, almost encompassing
 the canoe as well. Not used much?!

We spent time exploring a chain of lakes in the area, - Noganosh, Last, Mud and John Lake. It was pretty relaxing, except for the fact we had to deal with headwind almost everyday. (Anita claims I have something to do with that!?) Other than the odd fishermen, it was surprisingly devoid of paddlers. Although, we did meet a few nice people. Tim, with his dog Goldwater, paddled into Smoky Lake with us. He was coming to fish, and he didn't leave disappointed. (Anita chastised me for not bringing a fishing rod!) We also met a family from Liverpool (now living in Canada) that was day-tripping in the area and paddled with us into 
John Lake. We ended up portaging together through an overgrown and underused trail back to Last Lake, which was amusing as you could barely see the tops of the canoes! It was no epic trip for sure, but it was a great for us - to relax, reconnect, and regroup before heading back home to chaos.

GH + EH engraved their initials at this campsite in
Aug '86. Wow, almost 26 years to the
date. Wonder where they
 are now?

We will soon be without many of our personal things in the next little while, as we are going to temporarily live with a friend. We are going to cope as best as we can, but it is going to be tough. I will do my best to update with plans for the canoe wedding, but no guarantees. My next writing assignment will be the wedding speech. It's about 6 weeks to go and boy do we still have lots to do before then. Hope you are all doing well, enjoying the summer and getting out paddling!

tSPP (S=stressed!)

I, (we) are always rejuvenated and refreshed by our time on
trips. We took inspiration from this one to refocus
and persevere through our
trying time.