The week prior was spent arranging to borrow gear - little things like a canoe and stove (thanks, Geoff & Lin!), tent and compass (thanks, Noah!) and car (thanks, Wallis family!). Without time to leave Friday night, and nowhere to store a canoe overnight, we opted to pick up a canoe from Geoff's on Saturday morning, on the way out of town. Then we decided we should get a map of...err, where are we going?...and some fuel for the stove. So we drove back downtown, along with several thousand Blue Jays fans, through inevitable construction sites and lane closures. Once Terri bought maps of all the possible parks we might be going to, and fuel, and whatever other essential details I'd forgotten (while I drove around with a 16-foot water craft on my roof, looking impatient and out of place), we headed north.
Terri called for camping permit availability on the way there, after we decided Algonquin was the place to go. Somewhere near access point 3... I was momentarily distracted by an errant foam block coming off the car roof & canoe and bouncing into traffic, which required taking the slightly less than ideal Hwy 427-Finch-Hwy 400, route and the creative use of a towel, but other than that, smooth sailing all the way to Kearny.
The portages were generally easy to find. The first involved stairs up a brutally-steep hillside, but as Canadian ambassador to the Australian tourist, I wasn't about to indicate a diet of double-doubles and donuts makes even a half-Canadian soft, and I threw the canoe on my back and charged up. About 500 metres of balancing a few dozen kilos on my C-6 vertebrae, I requested a change in back-packs, but otherwise we knocked of the first 780 metres of portaging with a minimum of fuss. We stopped for a break on another rock outcrop, and enjoyed some terrific paddling.
unwatched/unreachable locations (of which there are many while carrying 4 bags or a canoe) with impressive skill. We also had a slight diversion in a portage easily seen from the water, but once we lodged ourselves in a marsh full of carnivorous plants (cool!) and shoe-theiving weeds, became hidden. But all part of the fun.
|Terri knocks off a canoe-toting portage|
All these travailes prepared us (or had us dreading) the final 1810 metre portage from McCraney Lake back to Rain Lake. We doused ourselves in DEET and alternated walking and shuffle-jogging, while swatting vigourously and swearing, and even more so when the trail walked BESIDE the destination lake for far-too-bloody long, but reached the end alive, and made us all the more grateful for the cool escape as we dove in for a swim.
That was pretty much it. We retrieved our tent we'd left at the campsite, paddled back to the car, and made it to a river-side patio in Huntsville in the daylight, for Terri's first poutine, while sitting with well-to-do and decidedly less-scruffy-looking locals.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a car to return. :)