SUP Camping 2014 Day 5 – Sitting and Staring

The sun wouldn’t peak out from behind the clouds all day, and the wind would not let up.

I got up, paddled out away from the slightly swampy shore to wash up in the morning and to collect water, otherwise I don’t think I left camp all day.  Anyhoo, here’s what the site looked like from the water on a sunnier day (taken on my way by on day 2)…

My site on day 5 as it appeared on a much sunnier day

Camping on Stoney Lake again. My site on day 5 as it appeared on a much sunnier day

The wind shifted again in the night and my sheltered site was no longer quite so sheltered.  The wind blew straight into camp, coming in from the west at around 30km/h, gusting to 50.

a single spot of blue sky appeared briefly through the clouds on this cold and windy day

a single spot of blue sky appeared briefly through the clouds on this cold and windy day

After breakfast it was time to sit, stare, shiver and hope for the best.  Mid-August and the day time high reached around 14C.  I sat, waiting for the wind to die down long enough for me to make my escape.  I could make it to Youngs Point in about 2 hours if the wind were to calm down….  Still the wind blew.  “That’s okay, I can wait….”, I kept telling myself,   “Perhaps it’ll die down in the evening….  Perhaps by 4 or 5pm I’ll have my window, such has been the wind pattern these last few days…”

Sick of the billowing of my tarp I tie it up like a boneless roast and go back to sitting, staring and shivering.  I was definitely not dressed for such weather…IMG_6171

I wander around the island a bit, collecting some firewood as the wind finally dries it.

A light drizzle comes and goes all day, never really making it past the trees into my camp despite the wind’s best efforts…

Well, this day came and went but the wind never slowed for a moment.  Nothing quite like a day like this on an island by yourself to help you learn to just let go of your plans/attachments.  Probably a life lesson in there somewhere 🙂

I went no where on this day but felt quite at ease about it.  I was dry, my stuff was dry and I would warm up by the fire right before bed and call it a day.  Perhaps it was just the kind of  day that I needed.

IMG_6175

I’d been carrying an emergency blanket around in my 1st aid kit for about 20 years!  20 years and I have never felt compelled to open it up. It still had the price tag from ‘B+B Surplus’ on it and that store has been gone for at least 15yrs!!.  Well, on this night it was finally time to crack this thing open because it was absolutely freezing!  I unfolded it until it was about 2’x5′ and laid it out between the double layers of my hammock.  This, I hoped, would be enough to keep me warm…

…and onto the last day of the trip, Day 6.

SUP Camping 2014 – Day 4

Last night’s storm was brutal!  I hang my gear to dry, including my dripping wet sleeping bag and wait until nearly 1pm to get going, with everything still quite wet.  Leaving Wolf Island Provincial Park behind, my plan was to return to my island site on Stoney Lake from Day 2 of my trip.  Actually my original plan was to paddle further west, towards Buckhorn, perhaps exploring the lower end of the Mississagua River, but the ‘Severe Thunderstorm Warnings’ thwarted those ambitions and I chose an easier route, 1 that brought me closer to home.

Day_4_route

I arrive at Lock 28 at 130pm and the 1st round of boats were just going through.  The storm caused an interruption to the 3-phase power supply, so the lock had not been working until around the time I arrived.  This was not one of the old-fashioned manually operated locks so the boaters had to wait…

Hydro crews had just fixed the 3-phase power interruption as I arrived.

Hydro crews had just fixed the 3-phase power interruption as I arrived.

Once the opportunity presented itself I sought refuge from the 30km/h headwind by getting out of the main channel and made my way through the Lost Lagoon.  I had passed through this way last year and it seemed to take forever.  This year it seemed much shorter and more familiar.  I paddle right by the hidden logbook of the lost lagoon, since I had signed it a few days ago and had taken the time to enjoy some of the entries left by other paddlers.

The lost lagoon

The lost lagoon

Back to the island site by 430pm.  It’s now beginning to feel like a home away from home and I immediately hang my gear to finish drying in the strong wind, as dark clouds pass quickly overhead, threatening rain once again.

IMG_6161

Fearing a windy repeat of the night before I pack up yet again and paddle to another, more sheltered site, on the other side of the island, just as the sun is setting.  Another 20mm of rain arrives in the night, but I sleep high and dry in my mosquito hammock  🙂

…onto Day 5.

SUP Camping Trip: Day 3

Day 3 of my stand-up paddle board camping trip began early once again.  Without feeling rushed I had enjoyed my breakfast, packed everything up and was ready to launch by 8am, but it would be 30 more minutes before I was actually underway.  I was speaking with Dave and Kate, a couple from Toronto who were sailing and camping their way up the Trent-Severn.  They too were looking for a spot to camp on Stoney Lake and we were comparing notes on our maps when a cottager, on his way to Granny’s for breakfast, overheard our conversation and offered some advice.  He knew Stoney Lake well and pointed out an area on the map where he was sure we’d find an island to camp.  Like many that I would encounter on my trip he was incredibly generous with his time and very helpful.  I left Youngs Point behind and set off in search of my next camp site.

Leaving Youngs Point behind I entered the south end of Clear Lake around 9am

Leaving Youngs Point behind I entered the south end of Clear Lake around 9am

I entered the south end of Clear Lake before 9am, again it would seem that I’d have the whole lake to myself for a while.  By 1030 I had reached the other end of Clear Lake and the Canadian Shield began to reveal itself as I made my way between some islands into the lower end of Stoney Lake.  I rounded Davis Island, passed through another channel and could see the not-so-subtle McCracken’s Landing way off to my right.  Based on the directions I’d received I knew I’d gone too far.

McCracken's Landing on the south shore of Stoney Lake

McCracken’s Landing on the south shore of Stoney Lake

I made my way south towards McCracken’s Landing and then west along the shore, doubling back towards my destination.  I found the island at last and it had 4 designated campsites.  This island is free of cottages and can be found just south of Stock Island, but I have yet to come across a map where it is identified.  I was paddling around the island, exploring each campsite when Jack, the cottager I’d met in Young’s Point, came by on his boat to make sure I’d found the spot.  As I’d mentioned, the people I encountered this week were incredibly helpful, hospitable and generous with their time.

I chose my site, left my gear behind and explored the area a little further when Dave and Kate came along and chose a site of their own, we’d be neighbours again for the night, with a few hundred feet of forest between us.  I toured around some more, eventually making my way over to McCracken’s and enjoyed a cold refreshing coconut water on their patio.  Glamping at it’s best!

I think the photo below sums up how I felt by late afternoon.  Camp was setup, firewood collected, water purified and it was time to enjoy my hammock for a while before some swimming and supper.

It had been a long day, and it was only 3pm!

It had been a long day, and it was only 4pm!

IMG_5709

After dinner it was time to enjoy a quiet campfire and to reflect on the incredible day that I’d had.  As the sun set over Stoney Lake I reviewed my day’s route and planned one for the following day.

SUP route for Day 3

SUP route for Day 3: 14km + some uncharted exploring of the area

August sunset on Stoney Lake

August sunset on Stoney Lake

Stay tuned for Day 4 of my SUP camping trip.