Date: Sunday, August 2, 2015
Weather: 21 degrees Celsius, sun and a thunderstorm
Distance: ~3 kms
We knew at the start that the day had the potential for iffy weather.
I awoke to small steps walking past my tent and down to our granite dock. I looked at my watch: 6 am. One mom and daughter pair were already up and moving to catch the morning’s sunrise. I wriggled out of my sleeping bag liner – too warm to sleep in the sleeping bag overnight – and started to pack up the interior of my tent.
Over the next hour, the rest of our group began to stir so Jenny and I fired up the stove to boil water for coffee and tea. Always start the day caffeinated! As women perked up, we whipped up breakfast and enjoyed our perch over a quiet bay of the lake. The girls ran off to explore our site one more time.
Dishes and camp tear-down happened somewhat simultaneously. Moms wrangled their daughters away from playing to help take down tents and roll up sleeping bags. Jenny and I finished packing the kitchen and our own gear and everyone helped set up the staging area down on our dock. One by one we loaded canoes and pushed our women and girls out into the lake, asking them to stick to shore until Jenny and I had shoved off.
We followed the western shore north into Three Mile Lake where we rafted up and enjoyed a mid-morning snack. Our sunny morning dissipated and thick cloud cover rolled in. We picked up the pace to our portage into Balsam Lake.
This was a great portage for our girls to learn on. It’s a short carryover, really. 30 meters and paved with tight gravel as it was an old tramway for the logging industry, all three girls ran the gear that they could carry and then the taller girls helped their moms portage the canoes.
By the time we loaded back up and set off, the clouds were threatening so we made haste for a campsite. Lightning struck in the distance as we were paddling into shore. We quickly pulled everyone and everything out of the water. Jenny hung a tarp and I tied up canoes. Everyone pulled on rain gear to warm up and brought packs and barrels under the tarp to dry out as best they could. We set out a picnic lunch and waited out the thunder and lightning.
Once the thunderstorm had passed, we told the girls once again we were good to set up camp. As they picked spots for tents, we listened to the drone of a generator from the direction of yesterday’s fire. The crew was still working on hot spots.
We spent the rest of an overcast afternoon chatting while the girls played, explored, and swam (well-after the thunderstorm had moved on). The fire pit at this site had tall rock walls and we opted for a small campfire after dinner so that the girls could make s’mores once on this trip. Yes, we actually found some dry wood!
Darkness seemed to fall a bit earlier as the cloud cover was still thick, so we retreated to our tents to read and play cards.
For the rest of the trip report, click here.