SUP Camping 2014 – Day 6 – 35km

Day 6 Route for my 2014 SUP camping trip

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I’m up at 7 and begin to shiver as soon as I undo my sleeping bag. I debate making some breakfast and coffee but decide to just get moving.  I pack up, put on every layer I’ve got  and am underway by 8am.

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The wind, while not as bad as the last couple of days, will still be in my face today, for at least the 1st 40min anyways…

I kneel down for the the first 30min until I am nearly across to the west side of Clear Lake and at least partially sheltered from the wind.  Then, finally back on my feet, I enjoy the scenery as the next 90min takes me at last into Young’s Point.

Back to Granny’s Restaurant for breakfast which leaves me too full to paddle as a light rain blows in.  It’s a slow day at the lock so the lock operators offer their hospitality and a spare chair in their office to pass the time and wait out this round of showers.

1pm, seems like the clouds will never break, but it’s time to start moving again.  A light drizzle continues and I set off into a light headwind towards Lakefield.  On this wet, cold, windy and cloudy day I didn’t really feel like a whole lot of sight seeing but I did feel compelled to snap a few photos on the way into town.

The water tower in the distance tells you that you’re almost there

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On a nicer day you might even want to stop at this picnic area on the side of the Otonabee.  Perhaps on the way up next time?

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Kneeling through the worst sections of wind I make good time, arriving at Lock 26 90min after leaving Young’s Point.

Should I stay the night, I wondered as I finished another bottle of water….  Nope, I’d had enough of being wet and cold.  Time to go all the way or at least give it a try.

It was 3:05 as I left Lock 26 behind.  20min of hard paddling and I was at Lock 25, waiting to be lowered to the next level.  You get a 10min wait as you get lowered down so no sense holding back on the way there, not when the locks are that close.  15min gets me to Lock 24, and another 10min break.  Lock 23 isn’t far away either, but after that it would be 8km to the Lift Lock.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to the Lift lock until just after 6pm, so the lock operator, on his way to his car at the end of his shift, looked sympathetic as he pointed me to the easiest portage route.  1 more portage to go soon thereafter to get past Lock 20 (there’s no lock 21) and I was into Little Lake to face one more stretch into a strong headwind as I made my way across the lake.

Wildrock Outfitters was closed by this point, so I’d have to wait another day to return my gear.

35km after 7 hours and 17min of paddling (including lock time) and I’d arrived back to my put in.  Phew!  My longest day ever on a SUP!

My description of the last couple of days may not make this kind of trip sound like a whole lot of fun. But what’s a nice, warm, sunny day without a cold, wet, windy one to help you appreciate it.  It’s all good.

See you on the water!

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SUP Camping 2014: Lakefield to Stoney Lake Day 2

I was up at 6 and on the verge of leg cramps.  Could have sworn that I’d hydrated well yesterday, but my legs were telling me otherwise.  I downed some water, washed up and walked over to Foodland to pick up a few things for my trip.  Grabbed a coffee from McD’s on my way back and sat by the water to enjoy it.  It was nearly 7am.

a clear and quiet morning at Lock 26 in Lakefield.

a clear and quiet morning at Lock 26 in Lakefield (looking south)

I had a washroom key to return but the lock operators wouldn’t arrive until 9 so there was no hurry.  I packed up slowly and finally handed in my key around 915 before setting off.

As you put Lakefield behind you, the Otonabee River opens up into Lake Katchewanooka.

Lake Katchewanooka

Lake Katchewanooka

Only an hour in and I was ready for a break in the shade.  I stopped in this exact spot last year….  I downed a full litre of water before I was on my way again, through this weedy section, and back over to the main channel.

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I arrived in Youngs Point, it was just 1130.

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I brought my gear ashore and began the short walk over the foot bridge to Granny’s Restaurant for breakfast.  The place was packed, but I was seated quickly and a hot cup of coffee arrived soon thereafter.

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It was nearing noon of the 2nd day of my camping trip and I hadn’t even struck a match yet, this was feeling a little strange…  Grandpa’s #2 (uh, that doesn’t sound quite right) breakfast special filled me right up; 3 eggs, 3 sausage, 3 bacon, some home fries and 2pc of gluten-free toast!

If you’re not in a huge hurry, and up for the scenic route back, hang a right as you come out of the restaurant, walk 100m, and enter the trail on the left hand side of the road.  This will take you to the dam.  Cross the dam and you’re back at the lock.  While you’re there you might as well take a stroll through Lockside Trading – no visit to Young’s Point is complete without it.

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The trail through Young’s Point Conservation Area

It was 1pm before I set off from Young’s Point and headed into Clear Lake.  There is a continuous flow of high-speed boat traffic on Clear Lake on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I look up to see 4 boats abreast coming straight towards me and decide it’s time to cross to the east side of the lake in search of calmer waters.

By 2pm I’m at the north-east end of the lake and passing amongst the many islands. I tour the area briefly and arrive at my island camp site by 330.  The garbage in the fire pit is still warm.  I spend the next 20min clearing the site of broken glass and garbage 😦  The next thing I do is tend to the fire pit.  Most fire pits are around 3″ deep and 4 feet across.  Not much good for anything but wasting firewood.  I cut the firepit into a 1/4 of its original size and build up the sides.  This will protect the fire from the wind and reflect the heat where you want it.

Cut the fire pit into a quarter of its size and build up the walls.  This will protect against wind and reflect the heat where you want it.

Cut the fire pit into a quarter of its size and build up the walls. This will protect against wind and reflect the heat where you want it.

…and here’s today’s route if you want to check it out, just click to enlarge:

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530 and my hammock is up and enough firewood gathered to get me by.  Not much left to do now and lots of time to do it.  I enjoy my dinner, clean up and take a sunset tour on my SUP before settling in by the fire to reflect on a wonderful day.  The full moon shines upon me and it’s time for bed, uh, time for hammock?

 Check out Day 3 of my trip.

Happy paddling!

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!

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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.