portage-path

And then we were off!

{Part 1 found here}

Many moons ago I had canoed (at camps and what not), but to say I knew how to canoe properly would be a lie, and the same went for Natalie - she had actually never canoed before, but whatever, we figured it couldn’t be that hard (especially as we both kayak a lot), and so we hopped into our canoe, stuck the paddles in the water, and were off! 

In the beginning the water was beautiful, like a mirror, really. Each push with our paddles glided us further north as we made our way across the first lake.   I was a little worried about figuring out where to go, but it actually wasn’t that hard.  The map certainly helped us spot where on the lake we were, but if we simply headed north, the natural curves of the lake would take us where we needed to go. 

The first lake we tackled, Farm Lake, was a small one: 3.5km long, with an expected paddle time of 45 min. LOL, NOPE.  It took us about 1.5 hours to get across, but what was the hurry? The sun was shining, we were on an adventure, and our stomachs wanted lunch, which meant a pit stop on the side of the lake for lunch was a must. 

Nom nom nom.  Roasted veggies and potatoes for lunch. And then we were off again!

Here’s a zoom in on the map: we started at the blue pen, and were now just arriving at the pencil, for (DRUM ROLL PLEASE) our first portage.  

Our first portage was 90 meters. That will be easy, right? And it was. 90 meters is a short distance, it was, indeed it was.  We found the yellow portage sign easily, which signified the path to portage, zoomed our canoe up to land, unloaded, and then flipped the canoe over our heads, and officially partook in our first ever portage. 

UMMM, you guys. Just a little FYI encase you ever find yourself portaging… CANOES ARE HEAVY. Especially for two girls under 5′5.” But still, 90 meters isn’t that far, so we carried our canoe up the path to the new lake, sat her down, and then went back for all our things. 

Ahhh, look at how excited she is to carry our things through the 90 meter portage. And then just like that, we were back in the canoe, on lake number two, canoeing away. 

It was the afternoon by this time, which meant one of our many (many!) lessons was taught strong and hard… the wind picks up in the afternoon.  First, the sky changed:

No big deal, look how pretty it was! But then slowly and surely the wind picked up as we crossed our second lake.  And then, ladies and gentlemen, we arrived at our second, main, portage - 650 meters, which yea, doesn’t sound that long, I know, trust me, that’s why I booked it, but it was LIKE A MARATHON! 

Even getting to this portage sign was hard - the rapids were strong (slightly seen behind, and not pictured: their roar) and as we learned quickly, paddling up stream is no joke! When we (finally!) hit the land, I hopped out, and pulled Natalie to land - look at her smile… right now she has no idea what’s about to happen.  Poor girl… 

We unloaded our canoe, grabbed the canoe, hoisted it above our heads, and then… THE BLOODY MOSQUITOES ATTACKED, like whoa. Never in my entire life have I seen mosquitos this bad. So there we were, running through this track with a (very very heavy) canoe on top of our heads, trying to fight off mosquitoes as we balanced over logs, and went through swamps. Simply put, this was AWFUL. I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from not doing a portage trip, but learn from us - apply LOTS of mosquito repellent *before* a long portage. We got sweaty, it was hot, and the hungry mosquito wanted to feast! Not fun at all. 

And then after what seemed like a up hill voyage equivalent to Odysseus trying to find his way home, we had to g back to get all our stuff, and do the portage all over again!!! However (phew!), for the second time through we sprayed ourselves with the  mosquito repellent which did help a lot. 

And then, voila! We were on our destination lake, Booth Lake. 

To bring you up to speed: We started at the blue pen, first portage was the pencil, second LONG portage ended at the tip of the red pen. Cool? Cool. 

Now to find our campsite, our spot of land where we’d call home for two nights. So, you see those little red triangles on the map? Well those are campsites. You can’t book a specific campsite, just a guaranteed spot on the lake, so when you arrive at the lake, you need to paddle around and look for the orange campsite signs, and if no other people are there, and you like the spot, it’s all yours! (Apparently in the heart of summer, if you’re last, you have to go all over the lake to find the last empty one. Luckily they were all empty for us!)

By this time the wind had really picked up and the water was choppy (despite these photos not really showing it!) which made it HARD to paddle, but we were determined to find a nice spot, and one that was fairly open (as we figured there’d be less mosquitoes there) so we paddled onwards and upwards…

And then, ta-da! We came across this empty campsite… 

Dear Diary, giggity giggity jackpot! 

It was open, south/west facing, and complete with out little own beach! Hurrah! And so we paddled up to the shore line, unloaded our things, and claimed out spot for the next two nights!

~ to be continued ~