Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 6: Grim Horizons

Day 6 had finally arrived. It had seemed like ages since we left civilization. Both for reasons of hard travelling, and just generally very eventful days making reflection seem like a longer period of time. Today would prove no exception for both hard travelling as well as a very active day. One particular reason for this, was that our friend Andy was to join us, and a small portion of us would have to break off and back track through north tea lake (from our new camp site) to get fetch him.

We didn't spend much time at our camp site of the last 3 days.
We woke up, ate, packed, took a group photo, and said farewell to our newly renovated residence of the prior days.
And with that it was back in the canoes for another day of paddling and portaging. Fortunately enough it was only 1 portage and 2 short paddles. We made the one and only portage relatively quickly. Although what our eyes beheld on the portage sign was an awfully menacing sight.
Yep, 2.8km. This is a rather burdening amount to travel with a canoe/gear loading you down.

So we unpacked and hit the old dusty.

The one fortuitous thing being the very well manicured path. Almost a dirt road, more then likely used by park workers to atv through. This straight, flat path, for 65% of the trek maybe the only thing that made this portage bearable.

However, the nice manicured path was not to last, and after just over half way it was back to hills, roots, rocks, and other such hazards. If nothing else at least it kept things interesting.

After the first trip and some relief, we had to head back to get the second load.

And of course the one good thing about making a trek back without your gear/canoe is you get to take your time, look around, and observe things you other wise wouldn't have noticed whilst hustling to drop your gear off. Such as the above sign, written in what could very well be gibberish... or Greek, but hey, whats the difference right?

Another thing I was able to notice was the very bizarre caterpillar. One of many different strange types we saw on our travels.

After a bit of back and forth, and maybe 2 some odd hours later all our gear was with our boats, ready to kick off to our next camp site. We piled in, pushed off, and made trail. In just a short while we found what would be more then suitable for our purposes.
We docked in, and dropped down the gear.
3 of the lads stretched out, took a moment, and they piled back into the canoe to go get Andy.
Meanwhile, whilst not to make ourselves completely useless, Renars and myself set camp.

After survey the area a bit, we set up tents, gathered fire wood, and started a fire.
After hauling some serious trunks of wood, we were set for lunch.

And more Vodka Tang.
After several to drink, and a good few games of crazy eights, it hit evening. It was at this point where the sun was near setting that we started to worry for the sake of our comrades unreturned.

It's at this point I should mention some of the possible risks associated with camping in this fashion. Animal attacks, canoe flips, misplaced or lost maps, sprains from portaging, falls down hills - or during portage with canoe - resulting in broken bones. Not to mention many other serious or minor accidents can take place.
After sun set and they still hadn't returned, we became hardened to the fact that something must have gone wrong. By camp time they have left at 1 or 2 pm, and sun wasnt setting till 9 or 10pm. We came to accept that we would have to rise very early in the morning, to trek out with the entire camp gear in 1 canoe and try to find them.

Fortunately, maybe a half hour later we heard shouting from the lake. They had returned, and we would not have to get up early in the am. Apparently Andy was a no show, and they waited around for a few hours for him (as we would find out later our camp watch was also off by a few hours).

After returning we all rejoiced and drank vodka, and took robaxacet to relieve the sore muscles. In fact after taking it, I was so relieved I lost all ability to move.

We ended up having a bit of supper and calling it an early night. But of course first things first, to bear proof our supply's. As you can see, we just didn't have it in us anymore.

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