Hobie Cat Forums

It is currently Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:05 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:17 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:55 pm
Posts: 87
Location: Virginia - USA
Great trip report from the past! Bob

_________________
Bob
2013 Oasis w/ Sail
Virginia


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:31 am 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:55 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
After some renewed interest in this old trip report, it prompted me to re-read and re-experience the sense of adventure and challenge I found so rewarding when I first set out on this trip back in August 2009. I found myself geting excited again and eager to return to this setting - embark on another adventure - and share another story - to test the Hobie Adventures (and my mettle) again in a remote, beautiful, and unforgiving environment. What would I do? Where would I go? Who would I go with? As it turns out - a clue was already available in the old trip report itself - in the plaque created to honour James McOuat (pronounced "McHewitt") near where he drowned in his fishing netting - at his castle on White Otter Lake many years ago.

Image

"Roofing and windows were hauled in across fifteen portages from Ignace". I was left wondering what this must have felt like for the enigmatic hermit of White Otter Lake. About 25 miles (40 kms) of paddling and portages - carrying roofing and window materials across 15 stretches of rough, undulating land between countless lakes. The same portages he traversed almost 100 years ago. I am aware that this won't be easy. But rarely are the most fulfilling and satisfying adventures found along the most easily traveled routes. What did he see? What did he experience? I need to know - and I intend to find out.

So this summer I plan to re-trace his route with my two Hobie Adventure kayaks. I anticipate using a large-wheeled and durable cart to haul the kayaks over the rough land from lake to lake. Currently the front runner is this one:

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Paddling/CarRacksCarts/PRD~4015-488/wck-expedition-canoe-cart.jsp

Image

This is what the trek looks like beginning at Ignace (Agimak Lake) from the north, all the way to White Otter Castle to the south. Most of the portages are short. However, the longest one is about 1/3rd of a mile (600 m) in length.

Image

The route is part of Turtle River Provincial Park and includes numerous remote campsites along the way.

So look out for the follow-up to this trip report in the summer of 2013. I'm thinking of calling it something like: "What Did Jimmy See?: 25 Miles and 15 Portages - Do It Like McOuat"

Mike


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:56 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:29 pm
Posts: 2383
Location: High Point, NC
Now that's an adventure. I'd guess that much of the countryside there hasn't changed in the past 100 years.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:08 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:55 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
Tom Kirkman wrote:
Now that's an adventure. I'd guess that much of the countryside there hasn't changed in the past 100 years.


Hi Tom - the lakes and shoreline appear to be completely untouched. And in general, the further north you travel - the truer your comment becomes. However, as you can see from the Google Earth images, there has been some logging activity in some sections (tan coloured areas) nearby which is unfortunate. Still - the wonderful thing about portages is that they naturally limit access. It would be hard to access these areas without a kayak, canoe, or float-plane. So I still suspect the level of solitude along the route will be welcoming.

Mike


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:43 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 2409
Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
G'Day Mike....been a while.
Since the introduction of the TI and problems with it's weight on scupper carts, dolly carts, where the hull is supported on a cradle are now recommended. It might be worthwhile for you to browse the Island transport forums and look at some of the dolly cart ideas there.
SunEsailor developed one using the trailer cradles and others (including me) have come up with similar designs. I'm thinking the AI trailer cradles cut down to hull width and used as a cradle with a HD Cart (much like Hobie's new TI cart cradle) might be a good option for you. I've been using the Tuff wheels and it looks like they will last forever! I've got around 700km on them now and they still look like new. I couldn't go back to pneumatic tyres now. I got a couple of flats on my previous tyres which left me exhausted trying to complete my commute. Dragging even an empty Adventure on a cart with a flat tyre is no fun.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:49 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:55 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
stringy wrote:
G'Day Mike....been a while.
Since the introduction of the TI and problems with it's weight on scupper carts, dolly carts, where the hull is supported on a cradle are now recommended. It might be worthwhile for you to browse the Island transport forums and look at some of the dolly cart ideas there.
SunEsailor developed one using the trailer cradles and others (including me) have come up with similar designs. I'm thinking the AI trailer cradles cut down to hull width and used as a cradle with a HD Cart (much like Hobie's new TI cart cradle) might be a good option for you. I've been using the Tuff wheels and it looks like they will last forever! I've got around 700km on them now and they still look like new. I couldn't go back to pneumatic tyres now. I got a couple of flats on my previous tyres which left me exhausted trying to complete my commute. Dragging even an empty Adventure on a cart with a flat tyre is no fun.


Hey Stringy - I've been reading through some of the threads you've been contributing to over the past couple of days. I think it would be useful to modify any kayak cart with a cradle that better fit the underside of the hull like you've done. I was also looking at the C-Tug that many are now using as a cart. However, for rougher trails (with roots and rocks) it appears that the C-Tug might not be durable enough. For rougher portages, many seem to be recommending a cart with larger wheels. For a while the Wheelez Tuff-tire cart was a front-runner too. I love the idea of puncture-proof tires. However, it seems that these carts also lack the durability I would need for the environment I plan to use them in.

Mike


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:50 am 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:55 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
Well - as an update - I still haven't tackled the 15 portages from Ignace, ON to the castle. We had to delay our plans for now. In the meantime, I thought I'd add this excellent video that provides additional details of Jimmy's life and other fascinating photos and information about the castle, including photos of what it looked like before it was restored. After watching the video, it really puts the entire project as well as the man behind it - into perspective. I plan to re-visit the castle this summer with Mrs. Quetico and some friends who have never experienced it. Of course - I will be bringing the two Hobie Adventures. I intend to shoot more video and take many more photos of the area.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SueKFSvJRDE

Mike


Last edited by Quetico on Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: ~1
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:55 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:55 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
Part I - Seven Years Later: The Return to White Otter Castle

On July 4th, 2016 (Independence Day for our American friends!) I set out with Diane, Chris, and Lori (our Slate Island crew of intrepid misfits) to tackle White Otter Castle yet again. The others had never seen the castle in person, so I was unanimously relegated to tour guide duties for this 4 day excursion. I merely hoped that I wouldn't get us lost. It had been 7 years since my last voyage to see Jimmy McOuat's remote masterpiece and enduring monument to persistence and ingenuity, and I was looking forward to sharing the experience with the rest of the group. This area really feels special and I was hoping the others would notice this as well.

Here are Chris and Lori in good spirits just before the arduous 2 hour paddle across Clearwater Lake. Before the day would end, the smiles would fade a bit - the challenge of slicing through 12 miles of wind and waves, while fending off armies of relentlessly aggressive ankle-biting flies - would see to that.

In behind we see the Hobie Adventures sitting patiently and stoically, packed full of many of the same items that were carried so impressively on their last visit to the castle. Yes - the Hobies were once again assigned to touring duties - a role they have fulfilled remarkably well.

Image

I was quick to note that unlike my last encounter with Clearwater, the conditions were much calmer this time around. At least inside of the bay....... Our strategy for tackling this wide bodied expanse of water north of Atikokan, ON was the same as before: Head to Big Island and then follow the left-side shoreline to avoid crossing the lake at it's widest point and risk running into problems should the weather suddenly throw a temper tantrum. You can just make out the bay we'd be heading to in the photo - if you peer out towards the far left hand side of the lake in the distance. It looked like a long ways away - and it is.

Image

I'd been thinking about purchasing a kayak trailer for the Hobie Adventures for quite some time, but finally settled on a Malone kayak rack kit for my Aluma utility trailer instead. A dedicated kayak trailer would be ideal, but I wasn't keen on having two trailers crowding my driveway, as well as the hassle of registering and insuring both (not to mention the costs involved). The rack kit is designed for trailers constructed of angle-iron, but with a little bit of improvisation, including cutting down the steel uprights (thanks to help from Chris and my good friend Ron and his angle grinder), everything ended up coming together. I have to say that it's much easier to live with than the car-top rack I was using previously. And it's nice to just dump the heavy stuff in the trailer and capitalize on the extra gear hauling capacity. With that said, even under the weight of the two Hobies, the trailer's suspension is still quite stiff, as it's made to carry much heavier loads (i.e., it still tends to bounce on rough roads) so I was extra cautious about taking it slow knowing the kayaks could experience an unceremoniously rough journey before even getting to the water.

Image

Once outside the security of the bay, the reputation of Clearwater Lake as a body of water that demands respect was evident again. Granted, it wasn't as threatening as my first introduction years ago, but the wind made for a trickier paddle - especially for our canoe crew. In an attempt to "go-to-school" on my last trip and implement some improvements the second time around, I decided to bring along a large and heavy duty WCK Expeditional canoe cart (seen placed on top of the canoe below). I wondered how much work and time it might save, getting our boats and gear across the almost half-mile portage into White Otter Lake.

Image

Aside from the lake itself, another thing that was very clear was that our Hobie Adventures were less burdened on this trip judging from the amount of freeboard exposed in the image below. I chalked it up to forgoing the large plastic jugs of freshwater that weighed down the Hobies the last time out. On this occasion, we'd be relying on Chris to pump lake water through his filter for drinking.

In calmer water, yet still without any passing pedestrian available to ask directions, I opted to peruse a Turtle River/White Otter Provincial Park map to verify the location of the upcoming portage. Unfortunately, Clearwater Lake was not included on this map.

Image

Undaunted, this led me to utter a refrain that would become increasingly familiar during our 4 day trip: "When we get closer, the route will be obvious". There are just so many islands, bays, inlets, passageways, and ever-present greenery that everything blends in to a featureless backdrop in the distance. As you get closer, landmarks and the topography in general become more defined and provide better clues to the navigation puzzle. With that said, it can still be very easy to lose your way. A map is essential. I knew from our last trip that we stuck to the right hand side of the inlet leading to the portage, so this seemed like the most obvious approach. Soon, in the distance, the portage revealed itself (or at least the shiny pickup trucks did). The trucks are used to ferry paying boaters into White Otter Lake.

Image

We were eager to fix the cart to the canoe and get underway to save as much time as possible. You never know when you might need that extra time should the weather change suddenly out on the water. I seem to remember it taking about 2 hours to complete the portage previously with the Hobies, sans cart. Of course, this included not only carrying the kayaks overland, but unloading and then reloading all the gear from them which can be a little time consuming. The advantage in this area definitely goes to the canoe. But even at this point it was abundantly evident that the advantage on the water was clearly in favour of the Hobies. We were outrunning the canoe with very little effort.

Image

So how well did the cart function? With a carrying capacity of 350 lbs we figured we were likely over-extending those limits with the canoe. Yet the cart handled the weight, ruts, rocks, and undulating ground with aplomb. We were duly impressed. Granted - it still wasn't a walk in the park pulling and pushing the boats up the hills along the portage. Yet it was much better than traipsing back and forth numerous times along the length of the road, covered in - and awkwardly carrying - gear. And then transporting the boats the same distance.

Image

Once on the other side of the half-mile portage, we just wheeled the boats over the wooden ramp and into the water. Even with a lunch break, the overwhelming consensus was that the cart had earned its keep. We were done in about a third the amount of time that we estimated it would have taken us without our wheeled wonder.

Image

Back on the water, I figured it would take another 2 hours to reach Fish Island, our destination for the day. We were pleased that we had completed half our days journey. The first part seemed relatively easy. But the second leg would definitely take its toll - especially on the paddlers. They were simply working harder. Chris is a seasoned paddler while Lori is not and it was evident that her strength and determination were waning. Yet, they still pressed on. Diane even admitted that she was becoming stiff and sore with all the time spent on the water. I usually recommend that we take a break every hour on shore. But with darker clouds looming in the far distance, we decided to forge ahead with no stops. We had also given ourselves an extra couple of days leeway in our trip - just in case we were wind or storm bound. This was a good decision.

Here is one part of those legs now, on White Otter Lake.

Image

When you're tired, stiff, sore, and generally exhausted, it's heartbreaking to find that your campsite - your final destination for the day - is already occupied. The last thing you want to do is to keep pressing on - desperate to find another site. By the time we navigated around the rocky shoreline of Fish Island we were pretty weary. Fortunately, the site was empty. I raised my arm and fist in triumph. This is a really beautiful campsite. And it would be ours for the next three days. We had earned it. I normally like to set up the tents, cots, mattresses, and sleeping bag myself while the others relax and enjoy the moment. But Chris refused to let me take on those duties alone. The women? As the photo below depicts, they were more than willing to let me have my way. Unfortunately, the relaxing didn't last much longer after snapping that shot. While I was finishing setting up the second of two tents, a stealthy wind suddenly emerged - and quickly grew stronger. The wind caught the tent and sent it for a ride down the beach - despite having had it pegged in at the time. Once we returned the tent to its rightful spot - we loaded each interior corner with a large, heavy rock. Then proceeded to look for the stakes. Fortunately, we eventually found them all. Some were thrown quite a distance. The addition of more large rocks covering each stake would ensure that the tent wouldn't again launch like a dirigible. At the same time Chris managed to get a tarp up over a large wooden table (the kitchen area) and the others sprung into action, putting gear away, and readying our site for the rapidly approaching storm.

Image

It wasn't long after I snapped this photo that the storm hit. It's hard to describe how much driving rain and fierce, intense wind we battled into the evening that first night. We were under two tied out tarps and were holding onto them to provide extra support. We even wrapped part of the tarp around us as we huddled together, hiding from the hard driving wind and rain. Yet - in little time we were all drenched. The wind was so strong that we had to yell despite being shoulder to shoulder. We had not eaten since lunch and settled for some pepperettes, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs. We wouldn't be cooking in these conditions. When the wind abated somewhat, we all retreated to our tents to put on dry clothes and rain gear. Hoping that things would improve enough to begin cooking supper, the weather turned once again with the wind and rain increasing their ferocity exponentially. It made me think of Armageddon. But the strange thing was...... we all secretly loved it. Embraced it. We were together in the middle of nowhere, fighting a common, unrelenting foe. Actually talking under the tarp. No cell phones. No other distractions. Everything felt so palpable - immediate. The weather really brought us closer together. This is what adventure is all about. That night, we experienced what many might consider a disastrous evening, and turned it into an exciting, stimulating, and memorable one. Over the next few days, when we encountered other travelers on the lake, we would ask if they experienced what we had experienced that night, and each group recounted with awe, how they endured and enjoyably suffered through - a storm for the ages.

Image

We all agreed that our next day would be a peaceful and restful one. The castle could wait, even if the storms would not. But amid all the challenges so far, we knew there would be light. We had made it to our destination - and we all shared a certain amount of satisfaction with that. It rained well into the night. Yet when Diane and I woke up around 3AM - like clockwork - when nature called - we were astonished at how clear the night sky suddenly appeared while staring up from next to the tent. There were just so many bright stars. It had been a long day. Needless to say, we slept very soundly that night.

Little did we know, we would soon have some visitors to share the island with the next day.

What events unfolded on Day 2?

Mike


Last edited by Quetico on Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:31 pm, edited 20 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:19 am 
Offline
Site Rank - Admiral

Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:52 pm
Posts: 176
Location: North carolina
A lot of good information in this post that I have to move this topic in my post tab.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:12 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:55 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
Part II - Canuck-shucks

The next morning we woke to warm and sunny weather. The forecasted temperature was anticipated to be about 80F, though it felt much warmer than that with no wind and the sun steadily beating down on us. As this was our rest day, we capitalized on it by positioning chairs along the hot, sandy beach and enjoying um... copious quantities of cocktails, while periodically dipping in the beautifully crystal clear and ball busting ungodly frigidly cold water. Yes the water was cold by any standard. And we each uttered a litany of curse words when the water first nudged the top of our inseams when wading out. But it was so wonderfully refreshing to fall into it after sitting and sweating profusely in the hot sun - that we didn't care. We relished it. I even drank large quantities of it - intentionally - while swimming around. And it even tasted just like cold, fresh, clean water. Imagine that. It sure beat the effort involved in pumping and filtering it into a plastic container. Any Finn will tell you that there's something about swimming in cold water that seems to cure anything. Wait a minute - I think that saying refers to saunas... Either way, they both seem to have remarkable healing powers. The next day, we would be seeing if mild hangovers were included in the list.

Image

Much like the day before, there looked to be a front coming in from a distance. It made me think of the Caribbean and tropical storms and I wondered whether these kind of daily weather patterns were rather regular here. Granted, I wasn't drawing from a very large sample of experiential data - so I was a bit doubtful. Yet - it would seem somewhat coincidental if the same weather patterns occurred at the same times on consecutive days.

Image

What is a Northern Ontario outdoor experience without the presence of loons? Their soothing calls would echo across the vast lonely stretches of flat, opaque water and reverberate through our tent. This is the nightly soundtrack of the north.

Image

We spotted some reflections sparkling way off in the distance towards the left side of the island shown in the second photo above. We knew they were canoes. Aluminum. And there was more than one. The first presence we'd seen since arriving on Fish Island. We wondered where they were headed. Diane took out her binoculars and we all shared glances to see if we could fill in more details. There were three canoes and there seemed to be three people in each one and they were headed in our direction. Within about 30 minutes, they passed in the distance and continued south of the island. A few minutes later, another group suddenly appeared from where the previous group faded from sight. My guess is that they were hoping to land on our beach to take a break - then discovered that it was occupied. A woman called out with what sounded like "Da ya'll mand if wer half lanch ern ya'll b!tch?" The words sounded ominous and threatening to us docile, peace-loving Canadians, yet the tone and timber sounded puzzlingly friendly. I instinctively reached for my Star Trek universal language translator. She repeated "Do you mind if we have lunch on your beach?" Was this the canoeing equivalent of a hostile takeover? The translator read "American". We yelled "Sure!" and they paddled their way to our little slice of Nirvana. Of course - Diane - being the most easy-going, loud, gregarious, amicable, good looking, sociable, and ambassador-like person (i.e., the most stereotypically American) of our group, immediately went over and introduced herself. It turned out that they were a group of Boy Scouts and leaders who were on a 9-day paddle through the region. One leader mentioned that there were 20 groups (yes - that's not a typo) of Scouts currently in the area. That was news to us - we hadn't seen a soul. Then again - it's a pretty vast area of water, islands, land, and seemingly endless expanses of even more fresh water. The group confirmed that the others who passed by only a few minutes earlier were also Scouts. Most of our new visitors appeared to be from Texas. One leader was from Maryland. The youngest Scout was 14 years of age. And all seemed to be having a blast. It wasn't long before they were making fun of our accents. We played along, of course. Being good sports, we absorbed many "Eh?" jokes - like "How many "A"s are there in the Canadian alphabet?", and laughed heartily, even though we knew we'd be crying ourselves to sleep on salty tear drenched flannel camp pillows later that evening. I recounted a time when over the February school break, I had driven from Thunder Bay, ON to visit my dad who was wintering in Florida. On my return trip I stopped in Baton Rouge, LA for fuel and as I entered the store to pay, I held the door open for a couple of other patrons who were walking in as well. I couldn't quite make out what the first person mumbled - but it sounded like "Showwww preece ate!" I assumed it was a polite gesture. Then followed the other one and this time I heard it more clearly "Showwww 'preesh-ee-ate it!" I think it was Mike from Texas who laughed really hard and continuously at this story. I like to think it was part of my contribution to forging a bond with our fellow adventurers. We continued to chat as they ate lunch. The leader from Maryland asked us about our favourite sports teams. Chris chimed in with the Montreal Canadians. I knew that his finely crafted yin needed some suitable yang and I responded with the Boston Bruins to much fanfare. Then, knowing he was from Maryland, I blurted out that I was a huge fan of the Orioles. His eyes lit up immediately. "Really!!!" "No" - I responded - "Are you kidding?!?! - I'm a Jays fan". We both laughed hard (I was about to say something about Manny Machado, but a little voice inside me that sounded strangely like Derek Jeter convinced me to hold back). The youngest Scout talked about how he had caught the most fish of the group - including an unbelievably large bass (10 lbs! according to his cute estimate). He believed that he may have even hooked on to a bigger one - but it ended up snapping his rod and breaking his line. It was a sad story for us to hear from such an enthusiastic young angler, out on a most remarkable wilderness adventure.

Following lunch, as the group was about to continue onward - to the site north of the castle - the weather started to appear more gloomy. We told them that they could take their time and stay with us as long as they wanted. One of the group took out a small football and started tossing it around to the other Scouts along the beach. We started preparing for another storm. As the wind began to pick up and the rain started to fall, the half-time activities ended, and the group made their way into some tree cover and huddled under a tarp. And like a repeat of the night before - and as Hendrix might say - the wind began to howl. The rain came down hard. We too huddled under a tarp. Diane took a photo of Chris and I sipping a drink and embracing the moment.

Image

I believe it was at that time that Chris quietly divulged something that made me a bit teary. More things make me teary nowadays. I tell younger people - "As you grow older you have a lifetime of experiences and memories to draw from - with each passing year - you see more and you understand more. The years give your emotions clarity". And that "You'll understand the emotional impact of those experiences better as you grow older". At that moment on our site, I felt like the first time I had watched the extended version of the Budweiser Clydesdale "Brotherhood" ad. Geez that one gets me everytime. I can't even tell the story of the ad to others without breaking down. So what did Chris say that tied me into emotional knots? He told me that he had discretely given his fishing rod to the young Boy Scout. The Scout was in awe, and the leaders (two of his parents) were moved. I'm getting a little tearful writing this now as I recount that moment. For similar reasons to what I outlined above, Chris remembers vividly what it was like to be young, and be on an adventure, as well as the thrill and pride that comes with catching fish. That was an incredibly admirable, considerate, and classy thing to do.

It wasn't the only thing that was done discretely though late that afternoon. Diane secretly made her way to our visitor's encampment and heroically presented the teenagers with a donation of limitless value and desirability (where was I during all these secretive shenanigans?!). Later on that day after the weather cleared, and our serendipitous visit from the Scouts had come to an end, Diane confessed that she thought the teens would appreciate sharing a jumbo bag of nacho cheese Doritos while huddled under their temporary home. With the knowledge that the smell, the crinkle of the bag, and the orange, red, black, and white colours that don it can trigger immediate cravings in snackers comparable in intensity to cooking high grade heroin in drug users - I responded "Really??!?" And then laughed. She had initially told me that the bag disappeared. I just assumed that Chris and Lori ate it in their tent following a late-night crazed snack attack. I would have loved receiving that kind of gift as a teenager. These kids were truly roughing it. They read us the list that even included a requirement to use moss - toilet paper was forbidden - when out in the back country. Yes - for those of you who know Diane - that gesture says so much about her - I can't believe that I didn't predict that sly maneuver. If that wasn't enough, Diane also gave one of the leaders a sealed container of waterproofed matches. It was good timing, as the leader confessed that coincidentally all of their matches were waterlogged and unusable. She was very appreciative.

Here are the Scouts getting ready to continue north toward the castle. They thanked us for our kindness and generosity. One leader actually apologized for "Being typically American and throwing around the football on the beach". I responded that we were thinking about bringing our balls and gloves for an activity on the beach, and thought it was great that they were having some spontaneous fun. This prompted a reappearance of the football and a few passes between us. Later, I made a joke that we weren't the best representation of true Canadians - true Canadians were nicer and friendlier. They laughed. As they were preparing to leave, dark clouds were once again forming and edging closer to our campsite. I suggested that the group go right of the island inside a more narrow channel to stay closer to shore and to take advantage of better shelter from the wind. The paddle to the castle would be only a little more than 1 hour away.

Image

We wished them good luck and told them that we hoped to see them again, as we planned to visit the castle the next day. The youngest Scout promised us heroic feats of angling, and lots of fish. As they were leaving Diane requested that they hold up their paddles. Then she captured this parting shot. A few minutes later, as the crew were further out in the lake, Chris overheard one of the leaders saying to the group something about "If we had met up with a group of Americans....." and Chris couldn't quite make out the ending, but caught a few words and the gist of it. The tone seemed very flattering, humbling. We've met a lot of Americans while traveling. They are among the most generous, and friendliest people we've met. Yet we were curious to know what insight the leader had to offer late that afternoon. And could we earn a badge?

As they were nearing the island out from our campsite, it started to rain and the wind started to pick up yet again. We wondered if the rain had reached them as well, and were a little worried. But about 15 minutes later, everything cleared up and we were relieved that our temporary camp-mates - our fellow adventurers -would be able to reach their destination for the day.

Image

After they were gone, Chris and I decided that we would attempt to make a fire. There is nothing like an evening fire, on an island, in the middle of a lake, in the middle of seemingly nowhere. We knew that it would be a daunting task. Yet - we didn't know quite how challenging it would turn out to be. Everything was so utterly wet. Thoroughly drenched. Waterlogged. We started small. And things started looking up immediately. But we couldn't get the small fire to generate enough heat. We both proceeded to blow heartily on it, trying to flare the small glowing embers. Just when we'd make some progress - the fire would dwindle again. I've never been unable to start a fire in any past attempt. This is something I secretly take pride in. Neither had Chris ever failed to get a fire going. We were both incredibly stubborn. We kept blowing. To say that we were blowing on the fire for 2 hours would not be an exaggeration. At one point we both sat down and stared at some embers and were incredulous and resigned to the fact that tonight there would very likely be no fire. We were completely exhausted of air and enthusiasm, and both of us had nothing left from our bag of clever tricks. We looked at each other - seeing in each other's eyes that defeat was imminent. And then - the ritual would repeat itself. Once we had a rest - one of us would slowly rise, approach the fire, fall to the ground, singe our eyebrows, and do our best impression of a bellows. Each time trying to get a better angle on a more direct path to the embers - hoping to make some progress. Our knees and hands were covered in dirt. Diane suggested I jump into the lake. I felt done - but I just couldn't allow myself to give up.

Image

Then suddenly - something changed. We could tell that we were making some progress. The fire seemed more robust - and was building strength. We looked at each other and confessed that we had never worked so hard, for so long, to make a fire. Later, we placed some other pieces of wet wood around the rocks so that they could begin to dry from the heat of the flicking flames. It was a hard earned accomplishment.

Image

Once again - in the distance - strange cloud formations started to emerge. It made me think of the expression that those who live in dynamic climates like to share: "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes". We sure had our share of changing weather patterns so far on our trip.

Image

And this shot really is a testament to the expression above. When this seemingly came out of nowhere, we sat in awe before Diane had the sense to capture it. It was like Mother Nature was taunting us. "You guys so struggled to create that fire. Watch this, I can make fire appear right on the surface of the water".

Image

We thought we'd move the Hobies up the beach a bit, just in case we experienced an unexpected storm overnight. When I look at the photo below now - to me it really captures the spirit of our moments on the island.

Image

What would tomorrow have in store for us? Would we make it to the castle? Would we find the old prisoner of war camp that so eluded mine and Paul's efforts seven years ago? See Part III to find out.

Mike


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:12 pm 
Offline
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:55 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
nap wrote:
A lot of good information in this post that I have to move this topic in my post tab.


Thanks for responding. These reports require considerable investment in time and effort. I'm not naturally gifted at this. Part II took me 8 hours to complete. I'm glad you appreciated the work I've put into it.

Part of my goal for these trip reports is to show others who are perhaps considering purchasing a Hobie - that they can serve camping and touring duties quite well. I can say this with much certainty - we were much less fatigued than the canoe paddlers. But the canoe has lots of advantages too, including storage capacity and ease of packing. I'd love to see Hobie develop a mirage drive that could be fitted to a canoe, without having to breach the hull. I can dream can't I? :) The mirage drive is a winner.

Mike


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group