May 3-5 2018
# of portages: 4
Total portage distance: 598m
Total distance: 10km
We wanted to go to Algonquin for this weekend, but alas there was still ice on the lakes so we had to audible to Kawartha Highlands. This didn’t bother us though, as we hadn’t been on a canoe trip since last year. This time, I was prepared! I had a bunch of new foods, and wanted to share them with Shane as we prepare for a big trip over Canada day. This was to be a wonderful weekend, buuuuuttttt……
I forgot the food. Again. For the second canoe trip in a row…
Safe to say I was inconsolable. But! Luckily I realized it on the drive up, which was fortunate because I was able to stop in at grocery store on the way up and resupply. Also I was able to get the exact moment I realized I forgot the food on video, which was hilarious in retrospect. Further, this was just a hope skip and a jump to the site so there was not big portages to carry the heavier food over. Once I had my wits about me again, as well as enough food to survive two nights, I was soon kicking off from shore into the frigid waters of Bottle lake.
I’ve been through this lake multiple times, but always in the fall. In the spring the water was much higher, and it made navigating easy as pie. No rocks to avoid, you just point where you want to go and paddle. I needed to make tracks, as it was 6pm and the sun was starting to dip. About 2 hours late I rounded the northern island to see a haze of campfire smoke billowing gently from our site, and hailed my old friend who had set up camp earlier that day.
Turns out he had been busy. There was little in the way of wood on the site, but he had made do with what was on hand by slicing a thicker softwood into thin slices, perfect for getting the fire going. While it was warm in the sun, once nighttime fell we were definitely in need of a warming fire. Shane also set up our accommodations for the night. Instead of my usual tent, we would be sleeping in Shane’s ice-fishing tent, which he furnished with a cot for himself, a lantern, and a propane heater. Life was good as I helped him finish cutting enough wood for the night and we settled into dinner of pepperettes from the gas station.
It was a cold night, but the heater helped. Shane had brought a new summer bag to try out, but it was less than stellar even with the sunflower heater pointed right at him. I laughed as I saw condensation on my side of the tent and dry walls on his side the next morning. Apparently the heater was enough to dry it all away. We got coffee going and had a hearty breakfast of eggs and real bacon, a rare luxury that we could afford due to temperatures hovering around zero all night.
We passed the day fishing, gathering nice dry wood, exploring the lake further than ever before, and testing out some of Shane’s new gear. He had a weather radio, new camp chair, and a pocket saw (with real chainsaw blade) to test, and everything passed with flying colors. I worry the pocket saw may dull too quickly versus a fixed blade, but it did the trick in a pinch. The sun even came out from time to time and graced us with some vitamin D, exactly what we needed after a long winter.
Dinner was that night was the highlight of the trip. Shane has gotten into sous vide pressure cooking, which is perfect for a night or two outside of refrigeration. We got pork chops with a honey BBQ sauce, potatoes, and stuffing cooked to perfection as a tasty treat. It was filling, delicious, and quite safe to eat. Definitely something we’re going to be bringing over Canada day.
Another cold night gave way to a wonderful morning. Not a cloud in the sky over a lake of glass. We dragged our feet as I made coffee and bacon. I ran out of fuel for the stove as the bacon finished, an unfortunate side effect of a clogged jet from the day before. I did a quick field strip that fixed the issue, but the damage had been done. Lazily we packed up, a chore made easier by the fact that we could just move the floor-less hut shelter out of the way of our sleeping gear and pack up in sunlight. Lazily we coasted back through a short portage and then home to the car. Fishing this time of year was a bust for us, but other than that this was a perfect spring opener.