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.

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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.

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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.

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SUP Camping Trip: Day 4

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.

Day 4 SUP route: Stoney Lake to Lower Buckhorn through Burleigh Falls and Lovesick Lake

Day 4 SUP route: Stoney Lake to Lower Buckhorn via Burleigh Falls and Lovesick Lake

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:

A camping friendly island towards the north west end of Stoney Lake

A camping friendly island towards the north west end of Stoney Lake

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.

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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.

Lock 28 - Burleigh Falls, definitely worth the lock pass fee to avoid the portage

Lock 28 – Burleigh Falls, definitely worth the lock pass fee to avoid the portage

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 Lake

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!

An ingenious canoe and kayak roller/ramp between Lovesick Lake and Lower Buckhorn

An ingenious canoe and kayak roller/ramp between Lovesick Lake and Lower Buckhorn

…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:

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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…

Happy paddling!