Day 4 of my SUP camping trip began a little later than usual. I was only planning another 14km route so I enjoyed a slower than usual breakfast, a 2nd cup of coffee and sat by the water for a while before packing up and setting off from my island campsite around 11am.
I would eventually be heading west through Burleigh Falls, into Lovesick Lake and finally to Lower Buckhorn by the end of the day, but Stoney is such a beautiful lake that you’re going to want to take the scenic route. I paddled along the east side of Juniper Island and made my way towards the north shore of Stoney, generally avoiding the main channel, and then traveled west. Rounding Horseshoe Island I found a quiet and deserted section of the lake. There is at least a kilometer of undeveloped shore and a number of cottage-free islands. The sign I found on one of the islands suggest that it is camping friendly:
Burleigh Falls, just around the corner at this point, is another popular stop along Highway 28. I stopped for a swim at the base of the rapids, before heading through Lock 28.
Lock 28 in Burleigh Falls is a big one. I was not feeling like a portage, so I paid $10.80 for a lock pass and sat in comfort on my board as the lock lazily lifted me up 7 or more meters to Lovesick Lake. According to the lock operators I was the first one to ever pass this lock on a SUP. They took my picture as I passed, hoping to put in on the Parks Canada website.
I made my way to Lock #30 at the western end of Lovesick Lake, the smallest lock in the system, rising just over a meter, and I wasn’t planning on going any further but the portaging efforts of my first day were now well behind me and I was feeling like I really should go a little further each day. I left my gear at the lock and set off into a powerful headwind to explore Lower Buckhorn Lake.
Lower Buckhorn is definitely worth exploring! It is a beautiful lake, dotted with islands and, at least the eastern end, isn’t as developed as most lakes in the area. The non-operational Wolf Island Provincial Park separates Lovesick and Lower Buckhorn to the north and camp sites are available on a first-come-first-served basis. I had planned to camp in the Park but the allure of running water and a picnic table won me over on that day and I set up camp next to the lock.
Also of interest here by the lock is a canoe/kayak ramp built by the local cottagers association to make for the easiest portage ever!
…and with the tale of any camping trip you might want to ask “So how were the mosquitoes?”. Well, I’m glad I asked. They weren’t bad except somehow this happened to the back of my left arm:
Had I slept with my arm against or outside of the mosquito netting? I have no idea! The rest of me was fine…
Tomorrow would be by far my longest day yet. I would travel at least 30km on day 5 of my SUP camping trip, most of it into a headwind…