home again home again
Unsatisfied yet again with our breakfast of stale coffee and instant oatmeal, our thoughts quickly turn to imaginings of real food. We begin brainstorming our next meal from the food at home in our newly acquired solar powered freezer. Angela and I agree that chicken burgers and a dram of rum would not only be our ideal lunch, but also provide enough motivation get us back home ....today.
Wasting no time packing up our wet camp, we discuss the merits and pitfalls of the 26 kilometer journey ahead of us. To put it into an urban perspective, this would be like paddling north up Toronto's Don Valley Parkway from Lake Ontario to just above the 407 in Markham.
Con: The wind will be against us the whole way,
Pro: Chicken burgers.
Con: It's raining.
Con: Complete exhaustion.
We take one last look around camp for any overlooked items, say a quick good bye and thank you to the site, then shove off. Once on the water, we take pause for a photo op.
Drifting along side-by-each with the rangers in the wind, I take the opportunity to ask about the rusty old spring mattress and hunt camp detritus piled high in their boat. They explain that when they are not trying to deal with potential forest fires, their time is mostly spent cleaning the park. One confides that the oddest thing he's ever found was an old rotary telephone, "just nailed to a tree in the middle of nowhere." As we part ways, Angela and I thank them for their cleaning efforts.
Refreshed from our much needed break, we resume our northern paddle through the narrows linking Noganosh to Smokey Lake. In addition to the water travel, our route today requires about a kilometer and a half of portaging. Once past Tornado's fly-in camp on Smokey Lake, we will quickly be met by the first of three portages along Smokey Creek.
Making our way west along the cottage heavy Pickerel, the winds blow hard at our bow, as if from Georgian Bay herself. We slog along, observing the myriad of family logos painted on the Canadian shield that mark the final destinations for droves of lost and unfamiliar weekend visitors.
Finally after a strenuous six kilometer jaunt, we reach our last turn south down Ranger bay. One kilometer of smiling and waving to our neighbors sees us to the dead end of the small finger of water, and the trail head to our property. Triumphantly we march, fully loaded through half a kilometer of our wild "yard" to our little slice of paradise. It's now 3:30 in the afternoon. Our 26 km trip, surprisingly, took us only about six and a half hours. Home at last. Angela fires up the range as I reach for the highball glasses