Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016
Weather: 18 degrees Celsius, sunny
Distance: ~6 kms paddling plus a 200m portage from David Lake into David Creek and a 745m portage between David Creek and Bell Lake
We all slept a little more warmly overnight compared to the previous evening. Yet there was something soothing about a morning fire so one of the women got it started while Jenny and I made an easy breakfast of porridge, coffee, and oranges.
As women finished breakfast, they wandered back to their tents to pack up their belongings. Bags piled up around the beached canoes and soon the campsite was clear. Jenny led us in a pre-paddle stretch on the rocks. With one last glance around, we started loading boats and heading out to the end of David Lake.
The steady headwinds slowed our progress a bit but women kept their spirits up and their paddles moving. The portage into David Creek was quiet when we arrived. We moved canoes off to the sides of the trail and started moving gear over the short, flat trail. By the time the last boat made it over another group was bearing down on us. We loaded as many of us as we could get out into the water. I looked back at our last boat. A guy from the other group was carrying Jenny’s day bag. I shook my head. They must be in an extreme rush.
All four of our boats pulled aside and waited for them to zoom by us. A second group took advantage of the space and also flew by. We try to encourage women to stay present on the last day of a canoe trip, to not worry about their at-home to-do lists, to carry on at a pace that makes sense for us. Without Jenny or me having to say anything, we knew these women got it. After the space had cleared of the other groups’ frenzy, we continued on our way in the same high spirits that had permeated the whole trip.
It was a short paddle to the portage between David Creek and Bell Lake. Once we saw the other groups move on, we landed on shore. One last time all the gear and canoes were brought across the trail – wide with mild rolling hills and beautiful boardwalks – in two trips. We ate a little snack and moved on. The trailhead to Silver Peak from this access point looked like a parking lot with six canoes lined up on shore.
We rounded the last bend and saw four canoes making a beeline for Killarney Kanoes’ docks. We held up once again and let them clear out before docking and making quick work of unloading our gear.
Women had to travel as far as Waterloo to get home so Jenny and I gave our thanks for a wonderful trip, hugged everyone, and let them get on their way. Anyone who could still stick around enjoyed a tailgate lunch off the back of Jenny’s truck.
By the time we made it back to Sudbury the skies threatened rain. We made quick work of the food barrels and Jenny sent me onwards to Pembroke. Tents could be hung to air out and dry on a sunny day.
On the four hour drive down Highway 17, I reflected on the trip. It made me happy that women were creating companionship on these trips. That was what Wild Women was about for me: women enjoying each other’s company, experiencing the backcountry, and leaving feeling fulfilled.
I am honored that I could help facilitate that for dozens of women and girls this summer.
For the rest of this trip report, click here.