09 July 2009

BW Trip Day 4 - Lake Insula to Alice Lake

The site last night had a decent breeze so the skeeters weren't too bad. We didn't go to tents quite so early. Still, we were in tents by 9:30. I read for a bit while K journalled. It got dark enough that I lit the small battery-powered lamp I brought. Then I gave up and just lay there resting.

The Boy Scouts that Kara and Storm saw must be camped on the same lake. About the time was getting ready to sleep, I started hearing this strange plunking sound. I thought at first it was the wind blowing something against one of our food barrels but it was to same rhythm pattern over and over. I finally figured out it was drumming. It sounded like they were beating on food barrels. It's gotta be the Boy Scouts.

Next thing I know, I'm waking up, the light is out and Kara is asleep. Then I realize what woke me up.

The...well, there's no polite adjective I can put here so I'll just leave it out...Boy Scouts are at it again. It's a quarter after midnight and they're beating their drums again. And it goes on for the better part of an hour. I thought one of the things Boy Scouts were supposed to be is courteous. Hmph!

Eventually, I did get back to sleep. I woke up around 7 with Mark rustling around camp and making breakfast.

He made the scrambled eggs with bacon bits (awful!) and we had one of the coffee cakes (strawberry cream cheese, yum!) and some hot cocoa left from yesterday's breakfast. I also had half a PB&J. Kara didn't eat any of the eggs (smart girl!). There were eggs for 6...one pkg for 4 and one for 2, we only used the 4-pkg.

We also discovered that, while they gave us bread for the French toast we ordered, we didn't get anything to make the batter with. We have all these pkgs of powdered milk but other than the scrambled eggs with bacon bits, there's no other egg. We also have a couple granola breakfasts and a mac & cheese dinner that we didn't order. I think the food got a little messed up.

We hit the lake 9-ish. All we had to do was paddle across the cove to the portage. It was a weeny little 10-rod portage, pretty smooth and level.

Last night, Kara was talking in tent about how she wanted to try to portage the canoe but didn't think she could do it. I told her she'd probably be surprised. the canoe weighs something like 80 pounds but once you get it balanced on your shoulders it's actually pretty easy to carry. She'd already seen the portage, she knew it was short and easy. It might be the perfect portage to try it on.

We portaged the first canoe and most of the gear. She decided she'd give it a go. I was already loaded with a pack so I couldn't help her get the canoe up but her dad was on his way back and I told her to wait for him to help her get under it. Then I hoofed it to the other end to get my camera. If she was going to carry the boat, I wanted to get it recorded.

She and Storm came up the trail and she was carrying it! (See pic at left) Storm was up front helping guide it but she was under it.

At the far end, we loaded up in the same rotation as yesterday...Luis and me (stern), Mark, Kara and Storm in the other boat, this time with Mark in the duff postion.

Luis has a real power stroke. Unfortunately, it's the only stroke he has. He hasn't yet masterd the right amount of effort for the situation. But he's gaining! I got him to paddle more vertically instead of sweeping so it's easier to make the boat track straight. And when I remind him to ease up on the power, he does. He's good about taking instruction. I figure I'll give him some pointers on land where he doesn't h ave to turn around and it will help. He didn't really want to do the vertical paddle...he said it felt awkward...but when I can explain why, he'll get it.

We made it to Alice Lake and the wind caught up with us. Previous days had been almost calm. We paddled across to where the sandy beach sites were marked on the map. Our plan was to get a good camp site and do a layover day there. There's a small portage off Alice that goes to a place that has Indian pictographs on the rocks. We met another group at a portage that said it was worth the trip.

(our Alice Lake beach camp) We battled wind across Alice and paddled past one site. The 3 boat got there first and didn't stop for whatever reason. We got to the first camp on the far side and it looked good. It's slightly protected from the wind with a deep sandy beach. It looked good but Kara and Storm checked out the latrine and pronounced it "not so good." It was early in the day so we decided to go up the shore and check out other sites...figuring if none were better, we could come back.

We made it as far as the other side of the cove when the wind hit us...waves, some whitecaps, and lots of wind. We decided to head back to the first camp rather than fight the wind for no good reason. We were set up before noon.

Luis was an industrious firewood gatherer. Kara and Storm puttered around the beach. They had some sort of scheme to write something in the sand and take a picture of it but I think they lost interest before completing it. Mark napped on the beach. I wrote. It's a good short day.

Luis wanted to learn to play backgammon. I have a checkerboard and backgammon board drawn on one side of my Thermarest pad for just such an occasion. I went for a walk down a shore trail and found little pinecones to use for my markers. He picked up wood chips to use for his. We laid the pad across the food barrels, placed the pieces and played. (see pic at left) He picked it up pretty fast and played pretty well. Mark watched and when we finished, he and Luis played.

Kara and Storm went out to get water while it was still really windy and were gone a long time. We thought they were just padlding around but when they came back they told of their harrowing adventure of wind and waves and currents. They were kind of frustrated at the time but by the time they got back to camp they were talking about their "story to tell."

After the backgammon game, it was sunny and warm and I thought it a good time to go for a swim. I changed in to my suit and by the time I got to the water, it was completely cloudy. We'd heard thunder occasionally but only faintly. I was about knee deep in the water when I saw a streak of lightning far off across the lake with rain streaks in the sky.

I yelled up the beach that we should put the tarp up. Storm said they were putting stuff away. I ducked under to get my hair wet then got out, dried off, put on dry clothes and helped with the rest of the battening.

Then we all sat on a log facing the far shore and watched/waited for the storm. It never came. The sky lightened and we figured it missed us.

So we unbattened everything and started supper. Luis and Mark made chicken noodle casserole that was pretty tasty. We were about to start either dessert or dishes when Storm said he felt rain drops. We looked across the lake and could see the line of rain coming. We threw stuff under the tarp, got rain gear out and it started sprinkling. Then, about that fast, it was over without having actually rained.

We broke out the marshmallows and stoked the fire to toast them. Then we did dishes. It started sprinking again but, like the first time, it was short and that's all it was.

After the "rain," it was dead calm and the sun shone brightly across the lake a bit before sundown. Then the skeeters came out with a vengance.

Luis serenaded us with his practice on trumpet mouthpiece. He's auditioning for some position when he gets back and has practiced every day. No trumpet, just the mouthpiece. He's got chops... He finished up with Taps. It's 8:30 and 68 degrees.

The squirrels are very bold at this site. We named one Reggie. He races through camp and snaps up bits of noodle or marshmallow. There's also Regina. She turns up her nose at such things and instead steals my entire stash of backgammon marker pinecones.

After the storm, a pair of loons hunted in our cove and we could hear them call. I love the sound of loons!

Luis marked a mancala board on my Thermarest between the checker and backgammon boards and gathered small stones from shore for markers. We never got around to playing before day's end, though.

Kara and Storm are covered in bug bites and mosquito welts. Mark and I have been bitten but don't have any welts.

We heard and saw some seagulls. Alice is a big lake but no motors are allowed.