Summer has once again come and gone, way too quickly in my opinion. I ended off my summer with a portaging trip to Bon Echo over Labour Day long weekend. According to my friend Alicia (one of the fittest people I know), it didn’t really count as back-country or portaging due to the fact that we carried a bunch of “non-essential” gear and also barely portaged much in distance. But hey, it was more than I have ever done, and I think more than quite the number of people I know.
I was initially worried that it would be difficult for us as a group to physically carry all the personal and team gear that we needed at camp, but it turned out completely fine. The walking distance we had from parking lot to canoe docks was about only 10 minutes, and our canoe trek to our camp grounds was about 20 minutes. And we were able to carry everything in one go 🙂 In a sense we didn’t really “portage” as we had often opted to the full canoeing route. Though several times we did do the canoe and portage mix route – but our portaging distance was quite short….and we mostly just pulled the canoe instead of carrying. And by we, I mean the guys.
The canoeing part was pretty cool as we would travel through different parts of the lake; some sections had lots of lily pads, others were kind of swampy, and of course some just regular open lake. I wish I had a go-pro to document it all. I brought my dragon boat paddle which I think helped me as it was much lighter weight, and the shape of it helps pull more water. Steering was kind of hard when Matt and I shared a canoe cause the strength disparity between us was too huge…but, throughout the weekend we managed to work it out a bit better. We basically would just have to keep changing our paddling sides to counter balance and make sure our boat was not too slanted.
We were there for 2 nights and 3 days (but mostly just 2 full days), and somehow I feel like we spent most of our time doing chore like activities more than anything. Not that it was not enjoyable, but it was surprising how fast time flew doing simple things such as gathering firewood, collecting clean water, cooking, and cleaning up – all before the sun set. I got to experience some very simple tasks that I didn’t have the opportunity to do before such as lighting a match and chopping wood (which is actually quite strenuous), as silly as it sounds, was a bit of a small camping milestone for me.
One of the activities that I had been looking forward to was canoeing at night as my friends had gone to Bon Echo just a month ago and had told me how beautiful it was under the stars. It was definitely a sight to see, but paddling in the dark was extremely difficult! Especially when you are trying to look for your camp-site. We had gone out to the main camp grounds to use the shower facilities, and the sun had already set by the time we were ready to head back. Using flashlights to guide the way did not help too much as the lights attracted mosquitoes and also made the surrounding areas even darker – rendering it even more difficult to see. Luckily for us, James stayed back at our camp site and became a light house for us.
The only true “recreational” activity we had done was a mini hike onto the cliffside by Mazinaw Lake where they had several look out points. The hike itself wasn’t too long with many of the checkpoints being relatively close. But with the heat, I was definitely sometimes a bit out of breath which made me worry for my upcoming Peru hike!
I’ve done quite a bit of camping this summer and I am looking forward to more relaxing, staying-in type holidays especially now that the weather is getting chillier. But I got Peru to conquer first next week >:) I’ll be embarking on the 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu in exactly one week’s time. Here’s to hoping that it won’t be too cold or rainy, and that I’ll be able to come back with awesome stories, photographs and memories.