Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 1: Vacation? Or Intensive Labour? One and the Same to a Canadian!

So this passed summer we decided to take a 8 day trip out to Algonquin park. What possessed us to do this? Well, I'd say part determination, part foolishness, part over-confidence, and part pure madness. The 5 of us set out with a few provisions, 2 tents, 2 canoes, and enough hard liquor to damage us far more then any bear could attempt. We left bright and early one morning, as Tim, Kel, Chris, Matt, and Renars, only to return a mere 8 days later as The Crawfish King, Long Shitter, The Chocolatier, Lost & Found, and Beam. The tale of these names will be revealed throughout the story to follow.

As with all journeys this one started out typically enough. Which is to say with a 5 hour drive. We all met around 9 in the am and departed shortly there after.
After a quick fill up it was nothing but road, short of 1 quick toilet break. Roughly 4 and a half hours later we were passing through the last town before Algonquin Park. We stopped in for booze and last minute supplies (meat). We picked up loads of fresh meat just to last through the first night, as there wasn't too much portaging to do.

We arrived and registered by early afternoon. An 80$ fee for the 8 days we would spend in the park. With anticipation to get the trip moving we quickly went down to the lake, unpacked the cars, took down the canoes. We dipped out canoes into the lake, loaded them up with gear, and set off.
Now its at this point I feel I should mention we had 2 different types of canoe with us. The first canoe, a typical touring canoe. The second however, a river canoe, with no keel lines. Keel lines for those unfamiliarly with the term, are the lines along the bottom of the boat designed to keep it straight. Since the river canoe was larger, we had 3 people in it. I would take one of the first spots in the river canoe. Seemingly successful at first, we made about 50 feet out before losing control of the boat and spinning hopelessly in circles. After being left completely in the dust by our keel line inclined friends, we eventually caught up after losing control and wandering off course several times later. Finally, we all reached the river mouth we would take to the first portage.
I must say, I do reckon that this river was the most pleasant part of this day, or at least the most pleasant moment we would see till much later. The turns were easy to make in the river canoe, and making good speed, we were able to take rest here and there. After making it maybe 1/3 of the way in we stopped for a good length of time. We took out some beers, and the old cigarettes, kicked our feet up, cracked the cans, lit the smokes, and floated on a while.
Ah I tell ya, had we known the struggle the rest of the day would possess, we may never have left the river. However we were naive, and we picked our paddles up and continued on. Sometime down the river we met our first portage. Loaded with gear we took 2 trips despite it being a minuscule portage.

Upon the other side we met the next stretch of river, whilst shorter then the first was still a bit of a paddle to the next portage. After reaching the next, marginally longer portage, some of us started to feel the first bit of fatigue and hunger. We quickly managed through the portage, to reach the large lake we would have to traverse, known as North Tea Lake. We set off in motion, towards rest, food, and ale. However it would be a long travel to our destination. Approximately a 2 or 3 hour paddle.

We paddled well into the evening, and by the time our perseverance paid off and we made our destination, it was near dark.

The first thing I noticed upon docking in, was the rock bedding in front of our camp site was loaded with crawfish! Whilst everyone began unpacking I wandered the bay a little while seeing if I could catch any of the mud bugs.
Whilst crafty buggers, I eventually managed to pull one or twa from the water for a closer inspection.
Including this pair who were trying to get it on, when I rudely interrupted. Sorry there fella.

After 10 or 15 minutes in the bay with the crawfish I went up to the camp site to help set camp, gather wood, start fire, and cook dinner!

The tents went up quickly, and wood was gathered in the last bit of daylight, and again well into the darkness by means of flashlight.
With a roaring fire now built, some good size embers burning, it's cookin' time.
First up, extra large pork chops, hot dogs, and baked potatoes (as can be observed in the tin foil package on the bottom right).
After scarfin back the chops was time for a bit of a piss up. Followed by...
Burgers. And one with extra cheese. Chris likes his cheese.

After all was said and done, beers drank, food finished, all was left was to get the bear bait (food) into the trees.
And Chris with a bit of a dance to it.
And with that we called it a night. We had only 2 tents, the first night was myself, Matt, and Kel in the large tent, and Chris and Renars in the smaller.

Day 2: Sobering Revelations

To be continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment