Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Algonquin Park - Day 1

Lake Opeongo to Proulx Lake.

Arrived at Lake Opeongo at 1210 on Sunday, August 7th 2011. M checked in with the park rangers and the outfitting company. Meanwhile; I stayed at the car and finished stuffing our gear into our packs randomly.

We had done a final last minute shop at a Canadian Tire in Lindsey, Ontario, at about 0800hrs that morning for things like bug repellent and a cook stove (we were prepared), and I had trouble fitting all the last minute gear into the packs (which were already stuffed to capacity).

The water taxi was scheduled to take us to the North Arm of Lake Opeongo at 1300hrs and drop us at the portage route into Proulx Lake.

The scenery was remarkable but we were both too busy scrambling to get the bags packed and more gear from the outfitters to notice.

And then it started to pour.

We finally leave at 1400hrs and get to the Proulx Lake portage entrance by 1500hrs. The skies are clear-ish as we struggle through the 1.3km of bug infested forest - uphill most way.

We finally figure out how to go more than 30m at a time without me stopping (what? Canoe's are freaking heavy). Poor M carries the 17 foot long, 75lb canoe on his shoulders. With his full pack. I eventually figure out that all his mumbling is his asking me to balance the back of the canoe for him. So I balance - until the saw falls, that is. Then I let go with no warning and he struggles to put the beast on the ground. Thankfully we are at the mouth of Proulx Lake.

Looking at Proulx Lake from the end of the portage trail.

Proulx Lake is gorgeous, but we can't dawdle there - the thunder is rolling overhead and we are noobs - we need to get to the first campsite before the rain comes down.

We paddle as fast as two noobs can to beat the storm to camp. We win. Tent is set up. Rain starts. Quickly we toss the remaining gear and some fire wood under a make shift lean-to that we created by lashing a tarp to some trees.

By this time EVERYTHING we have is soaked - sleeping bags, clothes, tent... We waterproofed (sorta) but obviously our skills were lacking and no match for mother nature.

Dinner and coffee under the tarp followed by a half dozen rather unsuccessful attempts at securing our packs in the trees (this is bear country, people. Food and gear need to be hung at least 12m above ground). My pack snaps the branch. M tries to catch it on the way down and realizes - as the branch hits him - that the pack isn't the only thing falling from the sky. My mug breaks but we decide to worry about that in the morning.

We take out the food and put it all in a bag and hang the bag from the tree - but only 4m up. Our packs would sleep under the canoe. If a bear ate everything, well... at least we hadn't blistered ourselves paddling. Yet.

Night 1- Proulx Lake campsite.


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