Day 5 of my SUP camping trip would be my longest day of paddling yet. I would eventually cover over 30km, with the last 20km into a strong headwind, but there was no reason to hurry, at least not at first.
I was on my way by 830am and began by exploring the northern area of Lovesick Lake, before returning to the main channel and passing through the Burleigh Falls Lock (#28).
Another incredibly vocal Osprey drew my eyes up to the sky.
There was still much to explore on Stoney Lake. Getting away from the main channel, I made my way through a narrow passage formed between some islands. 10min in, and the water full of lily pads, I was beginning to wonder if this was even a navigable channel. It was like paddling over a wet carpet. Making my way out at last, I rounded a corner into the open water and some cottagers came down to their dock to say ‘hello’. If I recall correctly their last name was Finley. They asked if I’d found the lost lagoon guestbook while I was in the channel. I hadn’t. Someone maintains a logbook of the “lost lagoon”, and it is wedged between the rocks to be signed by anyone who happens upon it. Was it a geocache? I had no idea. They offered to take me to it and quickly hopped in their canoe to lead the way back through the thick lily pads.
I hope some of this cottage country hospitality makes its way to Toronto. It’s not that people aren’t helpful in the big city, but these folks are really willing to go out of their way to help someone out! I wrote of my SUP journey to the lost lagoon in the guestbook and was on my way after another chat with Greg Finley as he shared his stories of paddling in the area and the 1000kms he once completed for a voyageur re-enactment. Amazing!
My next stop was St. Peter’s-on-the-Rock, an Anglican Church on Stoney Lake, only accessible by boat. I wasn’t on my way to a service, I just felt compelled to check it out while I was in the area. Interestingly it is to be found between the areas known as “Devil’s Elbow” and “Hell’s Gate”. Hmmmmm….
I liked my campsite on Stoney Lake from Day 3 so much that I made my way back there on Day 5 for my lunch break. My journey home was officially underway and I had been saving a celebratory snack for this vary occasion. I had portioned and separated all of the ingredients that I would need to make my favorite gluten-free cookies. Making them in the field would be a first! My only substitution was some OvaEasy powdered egg mix in place of a fresh egg.
They turned out great!
While I was indulging, the wind was picking up. I got underway at last, and as I entered Clear Lake a strong head wind turned the waves into white caps. Standing on a board in a strong headwind is brutal! I knelt down for the next couple of kilometers until I was across to the west side of Clear Lake and past the worst of the waves. It was 430 when I reached Youngs Point. I went for a quick swim, gathered some water and relaxed for a few minutes when it hit me – I didn’t really want to camp at Youngs Point again. It was 5pm as I set off again, the sun still high enough in the sky that I figured I could make the 10km to Lakefield, even with a strong headwind, before the sun would set.
A strange thing happens after a few days of repetitive activity. A switch is flicked in one’s body and suddenly you feel indefatigable (or maybe it was cookie power at this point)! I made it to Lakefield by 715, kneeling part of the way to battle the headwind, but arriving full of energy.
30km were covered today and it felt great. A week ago I was wondering if this trip would be possible, or if my board would sink under the weight of me and my gear. 5 days in and not only am I starting to think about a ‘next time’, but I’m starting to see the potential for a much longer journey. Anyone care to join me?
Stay tuned for the last day of this adventure, Day 6 of my SUP camping trip, an easy 18km journey into Peterborough.