12 July 2009

BW Trip Day 7 - Lake Four to Lake One

5:05am and 50 degrees. I got up and started breaking camp. By 5:59 we were on the water. It was perfectly calm with a little mist rising from the surface of the water. What a difference from 12 hours ago!

We crossed Lakes Four, Three and Two then did the 2 short portages (40 and 30 rods) to Lake One. We found a campsite on an island (our first and only this trip). It's a cool site in terms of rocks/trails to explore and it's on the lee side of the island so no wind to deal with. The tentsites aren't the best but I'm still glad to be here.

(view from one end of our island of the two smaller islands nearby) We landed and were setting up camp at 8:40am ... about 20 minutes ahead of when we would usually be hitting the water. Good thing too. When we were leaving the last portage, a woman came across with a pack and said there were 6 boats waiting. Before noon, our other group paddled by our island and said there was a huge bottleneck at the portage. They waited a long time to get through. I can believe it. We've seen a steady stream of canoe groups coming across the lake ever since we got here. Looks like we planned it just right. I'm not sure the wind we feared materialized ... I don't see waves or whitecaps ... but our timing to get a campsite has been perfect. We should be in good shape to meet our pickup tomorrow.

The kids (Kara and Luis, left) went through all our food to separate all the stuff we haven't eaten. Here's what we didn't eat...1 jar peanut butter, one bottle grape jelly (both unopened), 2 pkgs oatmeal, 1/2 a loaf of bread, 38 pkgs hot cocoa mix, 4 orange drink mixs (2 qt each), 1 lemonade mix (2 qt), 3 Kool-Aid sticks (2 qt each) cherry and one tropical punch, 3 pkgs cider mix, 7 envelopes powdered milk (1 qt each), 2-person French vanilla mousse, 12-person chocolate pie, 6-person lemon cream pudding, 2-person vanilla pudding, 5 coffee pods, uncounted pkgs of creamer and sugar for the coffee, 10-person garlic mashed potatoes, 2-person chicken goop, 6-person beef stew with dumplings, box of mac and cheese, pkg fruit/nut granola, pkg trail mix, fish fry stuff (batter mix, lemon juice, tarter sauce). We did not starve.

Storm and Kara made lemon pudding for lunch so cross that off the list above. I had the French vanilla mousse, so cross that too.

I took a hike around the island. It definitely got windier. Kara and Mark went off to the dam to fish.

I've come to the conclusion that Luis is just one of those people who needs stuff to do. We hit camp and he immediately starts a fire, goes to get water, cuts/gathers firewood.

When we got to camp today and were setting up tents, he wanted to lay all the sleeping bags out on the rocks to warm them. Why we need warmed sleeping bags at 11am, who knows?

We did lay them out once or twice previously because they'd gotten a little damp, but that's a different issue.

He also hung the tarp off to one side as a shower curtain so people could bathe in privacy. We're all looking at a hot shower by 9 tomorrow morning so no one was really interested.

Then he got this idea that we should empty out one of the food barrels to do laundry. He heated water in every pot we have and hauled the barrel down to the water so he could add cooler lake water as needed. He's agitating the clothes with a paddle and heating more water. Again, we're out of here early tomorrow so the rest of us have zero interest in doing major laundry today but he wanted to do his so more power to him. We've got all day and nothing on the agenda.

Personally, I'm spending my down time reading, walking the island, listening to the breeze in the trees at the top of the island...and NOT paddling.

I washed my hair, worked on my speech for Dad's birthday luncheon, studied some Spanish, treated some water. Just a lazy day at camp.

Luis says he's going for a swim, I say "Sure, wear a PFD." Then I putter around for a while before Storm says, "I lost him. I thought he'd drowned but then I saw the paddle again." and I'm thinking, "What?!?" "Where is he?" and "What's he doing swimming with a paddle?"

The answer to the 2nd question turned out to be: 2/3 the way across the lake, heading toward the camp on the far shore "to say hello."

To the 3rd question, I have no answer.

He was floundering along, the PFD was riding up over his shoulders, he wasn't making any progress and it looked like he was just flailing around. Storm and I got in a canoe to go after him. He towed behind the canoe until we could get to some rocks where he could actually climb into the boat. We paddled back to camp.

I am responsible for his safety out here and it freaked me out a bit. I probably gave him more of a dressing down than warranted but it was a really stupid thing to do...mostly heading off alone like that.

Storm and Kara made supper after Mark and Kara got back from fishing with no fish for supper. Instead, we had beef stew, mashed potatoes and chocolate pie (cross those off the "didn't eat" list). It was a LOT of food and I can't believe we ate it all. It's just that much less to pack out. I did dishes and packed up a lot of the kitchen stuff.

We're not going to do breakfast before loading out tomorrow...just get up, break camp and load out. We'll try to leave before 7 and be at the pick-up before 8.

That plan is somewhat hampered by the fact that we don't know exactly how long it will take. By miles on the map, we figure less than an hour...assuming there's no nasty wind and we don't get lost en route. Both seem unlikely...

We had another animal adventure around dusk...this time, mine. Luis was playing his mouthpiece on the far side of the island with Kara. Mark and Storm were in their tent reading. I was in my tent and heard snapping twigs, saw bushes and saplings waving around, and heard the sound of scraping and chewing. I was looking out the back window of the tent to try to see what it was and if it was going to come into camp...it was only about 8 feet from where I was. About then, Kara came over the island to the front tent door and whatever it was moved off toward the water. I said, "What was that?!" She said she thought it was her dad and I said, "No, he's in the other tent." She got freaked and dove into the tent with me.

Storm came out of the other tent and was trying to talk her into going to look for it (he's a lot braver today!) but she wouldn't budge. I put on my shoes and we went looking for it. I wanted to start with where I'd seen the branches moving to see if there were tracks. We didn't see any tracks but there were grass and weeds pressed down in the direction it took off in so something had definitely been there.

We tracked up the trail a little more and stopped to listen. We saw more branches moving but couldn't see anything. The movement and sound stopped but we didn't hear a splash like it had gone into the water and had no idea what it had done.

We decided to cross over the island and come at it from the other side. we tracked around and came at the spot from the other side. As we got closer, we heard something along the shore and went out onto the rocks to see better.

It was a big beaver dragging one of the branches that had been waving around through the water. That explains the flattened grass, the waving saplings, the scraping sounds and why we didn't see it.

We went back to camp to report. Kara, not wanting to be in our tent alone, had gotten into the other tent with her dad and was GREATLY relieved to hear the report.

About that time, Luis was calling, "Beaver!" from the other end of the island so he'd found it too. Kara and Storm took off to go see it. They must have really disturbed it this time because I heard the tail slap twice.

The kids all came back to camp, laughing over Luis' idea for "Latrine Inspector" badges for Kara and Storm.

They got flashlights and went to wait for the stars. It's 9:20 (59 degrees). They're going to have a bit of a wait. It's only dusk now and won't be dark for a while yet.

Cross "long underwear" off my list of clothes I brought but didn't wear. Last night I got a little chilly before morning and it was definitely a chilly paddle. I'm wearing the longies to bed tonight.

9:50 and 57 degrees...it's closer to star time...I'm going to bed.