Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Day 138–Camping Stories II

HPIM2078 (Small)

Continuing on my first solo camping trip into Algonquin park – Part 1 here.

So I had planned out my whole trip quite well, the route I would take, and all my meals etc.  I have a small gas stove in case there was a fire ban, a long sleeve shirt and hat to protect from the sun, lots of dry food like trail mix and things that would not rot on route.  I also had a water purifier, although at that time it was ok to drink right from some of the lakes, with only minimal risk of getting beaver fever. 

It was the first night on Opeongo Lake where I encountered my little friend.  I was lying in my tent half asleep, when I felt something fall on my sleeping bag.  Before I knew it, it had crawled up right to the top and was on my chest – I could barely make out his shadow, he just sat there, looking down at me as if to say ‘Hey, who are you?’.  I brushed him off and he scurried away.  I still don’t know how he got in or out, as I could not find any holes in my tent. 

At nightfall, I could clearly hear the echoing sound of the Loons… it  was haunting.  That alone is enough to make me want to go back there again.  (Here is a good clip of Loons calling).  I was actually stirred out of a dream that night to their calls, and fascinatingly enough, the sounds had merged with my dream which needless to say, was quite strange.  Not long after, to my surprise I also heard the sound of coyotes or wolves howling in the distance.  It was a spooky… a crying sort of sound, to which I was in awe for a while after words.  

I portaged roughly 5km to get to my second destination, where I planned to stay on Little Crow lake for the second night, but I was excited to head up Crow river to get to my next campsite.  It was a lot farther than I had planned for, as the river was small and very winding.  The wind was strong and against me for the most part, as it was a flat area with lots of long grass.  This paddle took me roughly 4 hours or so.  I met a couple in a canoe coming the other way, and recall asking them if it was much farther to the next portages, which they said no, thankfully, as I was getting tired.

It was along this route that I came around a corner, and suddenly there was this huge Moose in the water 20 feet in front of me!  (not quite as big as this one though) The wind was pushing me towards him, so I had to quickly back-paddle. He was grazing in the water and didn’t even flinch when I saw him.  So I sat observing him for about 15 minutes. 

I recall the clouds getting dark, there was a storm approaching, and I was nowhere near my destination.  This of course, is the perfect time to get lost.  The river I was on was getting narrower and narrower, until I was getting covered in cob webs from the grass as my canoe scraped by.  When I finally turned around I did not know which way to go.  Being religious at the time, and a bit distressed, I asked God to show me the way – no response.  About 10 minutes later and a few more prayers, I saw a pack of ducks take off.  This I took for a sign, and headed in that direction, and luckily it was the right one.  The sky was very dark now, and I had to paddle like crazy to get across the lake to my campsite without getting soaked or struck by lightning.

The next day I had some time to take a hike and check out the large Red pine trees along an old trail in the area around Dickson Lake.  And being the only one on the lake, I got a really cool island campsite for the first time.  Little did I realize how fortunate that would turn out.  As night settled in, I was sitting by the fire and I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. “What the hell is that?” I wondered.  It was a light in the sky.  “hmm… weird” I thought, kind of spooked, not knowing what it was.  “Aliens” I thought lol.

Then I saw it again, and again, until I finally figured it out.  It was the Northern Lights.  “Ahh Cool” I said to myself, as I put my sleeping bag on a flat rock area with no trees obstructing my view so I could lay back to observe the free spectacle.  And an Amazing spectacle it was…  they moved in and out, appearing out of nowhere, getting larger and brighter by the minute, until eventually they filled the entire sky!  I was astounded and could not stop saying “WOW!”.  No words can describe, and the link I gave does not even do justice to what I saw that night.  I have never seen anything like it.  They were coming in from all sides, and appeared to zoom up in an arc, heading straight up into the sky.  It gave me chills and this awesome sense of wonder, a feeling of infinity.  That was certainly something I did not, or could not have planned for, but thankfully, I was in the perfect spot at the perfect time to see it.  

To end my trip I had a 5.3km portage, which I did in 2 trips – one with my canoe and one with my pack – so 16 km in total.  Finally there was the 2 hr. paddle back via Opeongo Lake.  My back was sore by the end of that run.

Overall it was a fun journey.  These days however, I am on a different kind of journey – the Journey to Life. This particular adventure has many fascinating and surprising turns of its own.  Anyone is able to take it, if one can find the the courage to face ones fears and stop denying what we have all allowed to exist in this world.  This has to change, and we all have to change, so we can stand and work together to become the solution, rather than the problem in our world.  The Journey to Life is the Ultimate Adventure of All Time, and I would not trade it for anything.

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