Friday, September 10, 2010
55 degree low/68 degree high. Winds E/SE 10-25 mph.
I woke up late again, maybe 8:45-9am? I saw two groups out on the lake during my late breakfast. Oatmeal again, yum! And at least 3 cups of coffee (I lost track). The wind is stronger this morning, still out of the east/se. GRRR. The wind has to be blowing from the ONE direction that could make this site miserable. I content myself with studying my map for a bit to see what other sites I can find today and read more Ecclesiastes. I decide that I won't go far unless the wind dies down a bit and drink yet another cup of coffee. If the sun comes out, I'll paddle around the east side of three mile island and try to check more sites off of my list. Another group comes canoeing past my site while I sit and wait for some sun and for the wind to go down. I really don't care for cold, windy days. Cold I can tolerate, wind I can't stand. At least there were no bugs to speak of so far this trip. Little did I know when I set off that my adventure was just beginning!
I finally decide to get off my butt and go canoeing. It's why I was here, right? Since I was not going to be portaging anywhere I figured that I had better make the most of the lake I was camped out on. Seagull is very interesting. It has high rocky areas, burnt out, blown down areas, and then near pristine tree laden areas also.
Overall, it was a neat place to explore. The first few sites I came across were OK. There was one on Fishhook Island that had a great sandy beach on the north side, but not very many trees. Because of that beach, tho, I'd give it at least 2 stars.
I saw this group of adventurers while checking out the site on Fishhook island. After paddling around for quite a while longer (while constantly checking my map/compass) I decided that maybe I was halfway around three mile island. It was very windy on this side! My canoe loved the challenge, she kept bouncing along, happy as could be. I was grateful that I had such a seaworthy vessel. These were 1.5-2' rollers I was in now. At one point, I allowed the wind to carry me near the shoreline and spotted these
markings along a cliff. Pictos? On three mile island? I hadn't heard there were any here, but you be the judge. I didn't stay long, I barely had enough time to take the one pic before the wind had almost pushed me into the rocks. About this time, I noticed the group I had taken a picture of earlier. Finally! Another campsite to check out! But alas, it looked like they were taking a lunch break. As I paddle closer, one of them flags me down. Seems like they needed some direction. I told them as near as I could tell, they were probably halfway down this side of three mile island and were standing on the first campsite on Wolf Point, according to the map. They had thought they were much farther, and were completely lost. I was amazed. Their map reading skills were worse than mine! They were heading toward Alpine lake for some fishing. I wished them luck and told them to keep heading West/SW. Once they cleared this island, there should have been a large (windy) section of lake to cross, and then the portage. They thanked me and I was on my way. I never did get a good look at that site, but it looked like it had an OK landing area (albeit all rock) and quite a bit of a slope that went up. It was still windy here. As I paddled around the corner away from them, I found two more sites. The western site on Wolf Point was beautiful! It had room for at least 3 tents, a large sandy beach, and still had all of its trees! The blowdown/fire had not damaged this site. Humanity had taken its toll (It was a well used site) but nature had not. I bumped this up to a 5 star on my list of sites, and debated with myself about how great a site I was actually on. I'm thinking 3-4 stars now. From what I had seen, I was fortunate to find such a great open site on this lake! Now if only I could do something about this E/SE wind ...
It may have been around 3pm (?) and I had gone around the SW end of three mile island when I realized something horrible! I had forgotten my life jacket at the beautiful site I had seen earlier! NOOOOOO! The wind was not a factor now, it was almost driving me home. I was making good time. So I checked my map (again) and deduced that I had 3 choices. 1: Keep going and say goodbye to Mr. Lifejacket and all that it had contained (1st aid kit, thermometer, my SAFETY while on the water). 2: Paddle back, against the wind, into the rollers, 1/3 of the way around the island (I had realized this when I was at least 45minutes to 1 hr away from the site). 3: "Bushwhack" back to that site from a site I had been at the previous day which was almost directly north of where I had left my lifejacket. It looked like maybe 120 rods. That didn't look too far, considering I had taken a 205-240 rod portage the day before. And it looked fairly flat according to my map, except for the two 'edges' of the island. I decide to bushwhack. My friends have been talking about doing one anyway, what better way to see what one may be like than trying to go from point A to point B on an island, without any gear? I found a decent place to tie off my canoe, grabbed my water bottle and some salted nut rolls and headed off.
Here is a pic of the last time I could see my canoe when I headed up the cliff and into the unknown. After slowly making my way up and down a few large rocks (really not cliffs here, just huge boulders the size of a house), skirting a marsh on a moose trail, and then finally finding a game trail (HEAVEN compared to a straight bushwhack!) For those of you with a map, I went from camp 473-camp 459. I arrived at my destination (459). I ended up right in the middle of the camp I sought! And there, in all its glory, was my lifejacket! Right where I had left it. *DUH* I'll never do that again. After taking at least a 10 minute break, I slogged my way back. I never did find a decent trail after the game trail ended, but here is where I ended up when I finally reached the water where my canoe was.
Not too bad for a newb with a compass! Believe it or not, it took me at least another 15-20 minutes to GET to that canoe from where I was standing in that picture. The crisis was over! I had rescued my belongings, and I was headed back toward 'home' for the night. What an interesting day this had been. I had learned that yes, I can paddle my canoe thru 2' rollers. I could use my compass competently. And I NEVER want to bushwhack somewhere with gear unless I am in much better shape! The wind started picking up as I was headed back toward my campsite, but since it was blowing my way (for once) it was a non-factor. I saw these eagles
while on my way back.
Once I arrived back at camp, I had another cup of coffee (love my instant Cappuccino!) and layered up to get warmer. The sun had disappeared again and it looked like rain. Once more, I had some beef stew. Once I had started my meager fire, I took down my tarp.
Why pack it up in the morning, wet, when I could do it now, while it's still dry? I didn't really need it at any time while I was there. My tent will keep me dry tonight.
I sit around tonight and enjoy my last fire and contemplate what I have done, what I still have to do before heading out, and enjoy the fact that I am here. I did it. I head off to bed once it starts drizzling, and sleep fairly soundly tonight.