Thursday, August 25, 2011

Algonquin Park - Day 3

Big Crow Lake to Hogan Lake - 7-ish km paddle, 3.75km portage

When in the *&^% is it going to be morning? My body screamed sometime in the middle of the night. Back aching, burned knees swelling, shoulders and arms (particularly around the elbow region) demanding amputation... I tossed and turned all night - in agony - and every time I moved, M was rudely awakened. Thankfully he is a good sport, and was also in pain and waking me up.

Daylight was an opportunity to get out and stretch and couldn't come fast enough. It hardly arrived, though; the skies were overcast and the threat of rain loomed.

A quick breakfast and pack up and we were on our way for the day. This time the rain refused to hold. We got within 500m of the portage trail from Big Crow Lake into Hogan Lake and the rain was falling. We pulled off on the last campsite on the lake to wait it out.

Big Crow Lake - waiting for the rain to stop.

Eventually it had slowed enough for us to continue - without the hassle of soaking wet gear.

We met three camp counsellors with six 10 to 12 year old boys on the trail opening. They wished us luck, telling us that the hill was bad, the rest was fine.

The blasted hill! was almost the entire trail. Just when we thought that the hill was ending, we would start up the next.

We decided to double for most of the trail - we would both take our packs to one point, M would go back and get the canoe, I would carry on to a further point, then go back to get the other pack. Doing this we managed to complete the trail without incident (like killing ourselves or each other).

There was one point that had me question safety. A boardwalk had been placed over a boggy (and since it had been raining, a muddy) portion of the trail. The boardwalk consisted of logs that had been cut in half and placed on top of stumps. Which made them rickety and two tree trunks wide.

The map showed that we would hit a cart trail and then, 750m or so later, the end of the trail. Not the case! I was so stoked to get to that cart trail. Only to learn that it was an unmarked road.

Eventually... Not soon enough... To the tune of 3.5-ish hours later... We arrived at Hogan Lake. We paddled in exhausted silence and set camp on an island site - the first we came to.

Our first view of Hogan Lake

The end of the portage trail. Finally downhill, but we need to go back up it to get home.

We aimed for this island, hoping it was the one with sites on it. Of course, it wasn't.

The site was on a hill with what appeared to be a 90 degree incline. There was no firewood. We ended up pitching the tent at the bottom of the hill just off the beach and decided that we would leave first thing in the morning, without having to unpack our gear or go back up that blasted hill.

I can't say what time we went to bed. We did so without dinner and without the aid of the sunlight - which was still playing hide and go seek with the clouds.

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