SUP Camping 2014 – Day 6 – 35km

Day 6 Route for my 2014 SUP camping trip

Day_6_route

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.

IMG_6181

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

IMG_6183

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?

IMG_6182

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!

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 2014: Wolf Island Provincial Park, Day 3

A noisy flock of crows lets me sleep in until nearly 6am and a beautiful sunrise was there to greet me on the 3rd morning of my SUP camping trip.  IMG_6090

I tried the Mountain House ‘Scrambled eggs with bacon’ for breakfast for the first time.  Once the excess water is removed/consumed it’s not bad, although some of the larger pieces of egg are a bit spongy…  but at just 320cal I should have cooked 2 of them.  How far will 320cal take me on a SUP?  I add a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil to up the calorie count and then enjoy my cup of coffee.

Breakfast_day3

I was camped on an island on Stoney Lake and would be making my way through Burleigh Falls, Lovesick Lake and over to Wolf Island Provincial Park, just 11km if I went straight there, but I add another 5-6km as I explore the area on my way.  Day_3_route

Burleigh Falls was my 1st real stop.  I take a swim at the base of the rapids, and watch some Osprey soar overhead.

IMG_6126

I am thankful for my lock pass as I make my way through Lock 28 at Burleigh Falls.  It’s at least 7m high and the stairs are incredibly steep!  There is no lock 29, so the next one is Lock 30 at the western end of Lovesick Lock.  It raises me just 1.1m into Lower Buckhorn Lake.  As the wind begins to pick up I explore the western shore of Wolf Island Provincial Park, stepping off my SUP occasionally to check out some of the deserted campsites.

The Ontario Parks website doesn’t have a whole lot to say about Wolf Island Provincial Park.  It is a non-operational park and there are a number of sites where people seem to camp.  I visited 4-5 of these sites and they were all very clean with little to no broken glass or garbage.  1 house boat was tied up against a small island for the night, but otherwise I had the area to myself.  I made my way as far as Black Duck Bay before heading back through the lock to Lovesick Lake, where I received a weather update from the lock operators.  “45mm of rain”, they told me in passing.  Huh?  Must have said 4-5mm…?

IMG_6137

Black Duck Bay

The site I’d chosen had an incredible view of Lovesick Lake….

IMG_6141

… and there were still a few berries to be found for dessert…

IMG_6140

Choosing my site based on the view may not have been wise.  During the night the wind picked up and shifted, and, 40 or more mm of rain blew sideways into my site!  I woke up shivering and soaking wet at 2am.  After taking a moment to adjust my tarp against these conditions I climbed back into a wet sleeping bag and zipped it up for the 1st time on this trip.  I warmed-up slowly and then slept through the rest of the torrential downpour until around 6am.

IMG_6148

At least gathering water wouldn’t be a problem.  A few minutes is all it took to fill all of my containers with the water that was pouring off my flysheet.  I drank my fill.  I cooked breakfast over my bushbuddy stove under the tarp with some dry branches that I had stashed inside my barrel overnight.  Downing 2 ‘Mountain House’ packs of scrambled eggs w bacon and 2 cups of coffee I felt warm at last and then slept another 2 hours.  By the time I woke again the rain had finally stopped, but the wind had not.  I’d be facing quite a headwind to get where I was going…

 Check out day 4 of my trip