Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 17 - Julie

Today is our day of "lasts"......
Last time to take down tent...bath in canned food...pee on the rocks...wake up to the sound of birds and rippling the sun rise and set over the glisten of the lake...paddle through paradise.....sigh :(

Glen Ross - The Gateway to The Trent Severn...22.5 km

A little bit of wind today at our faces...makes for a hard last day. We have to pass through 7 locks today...the most in one day we have had to do.

We cross our last lake today which is quite nice...small and clean. "G" doesn't know the name of the lake but we decide to name it "Swan Lake".
Half way across we spot a small island with a family of swans(4 babies, mommy and daddy) swimming peacefully and last some wildlife other then geese and turtles! We slowly go in for a picture...quietly so as not to scare or threaten the swans!
Jeff is just getting his camera out when Papa swan spots us... spreads his wings...starts running on the water...squawking...beak wide open...and charges Jeff! Good thing his camera is hit the water as he grabbed his paddles and made a run for it! "Did you get a picture of that" he asks? Yeah right! I was too busy laughing and couldn't see through the tears...
All I can say is I'm glad all these animals are charging him and not me!!!

We got to the "finish line" at 2:15. Hard to believe that our journey has come to an end after 17 days!

Jeff's brother Greg and his nephew Noah pull up just as we are getting out of our kayaks...our Chariot home!
Thank you guys for wasting a day in long weekend traffic to come pick us up! it was really appreciated!

Noah took kayak for a spin while we packed the truck and had our final lake bath!

Next stop Tim's...Swiss Chalet...and home.

Greg gets us to Victoria Harbour in record time (much to Jeff's dismay)...he didn't know his truck could go that fast!
A glass of wine with Melanie (thank you) to Jeff's Mom's for a visit...she was so cute when she saw her "Baby" home safe and excited and grabbed her camera!

Bittersweet...can't wait for hot shower and my bed....but, I am really going to miss the little tent...the sound of crickets...and Jeff snoring!

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Day 17 - Jeff

Woke up early today, must be that final day excitement to finish the trip, we have a quick breakfast and pack up camp for the last time, sigh, funny how after more than two weeks it really does feel like home. Pretty sure we will get used to cold drinks, soft bed and hot showers very soon after getting home.

Another beautiful day out today and the first day we had to paddle into the wind, sucks but not terrible, just means if you stop paddling you stop moving unlike the extra glide you get normally. We are both a little tired and that probably adds to what seems like a long day even though we only did 22.5 which on any other day would have been a breeze.

Ok, this may sound overly dramatic but swans are damn scary. We come across our last lake and in the distance you can see a family of swans just swimming by, very pretty.

We get close to take pictures but far enough away as to not disturb them, I'm reaching for my camera and father swan who is about 50ft away takes off in full flight right at me across the water. Head forward, beak open, squawking and six foot wing span, drop camera in the water as I reach for paddle to protect myself or at least get away. Good thing camera attached ot it would have been gone. We see another swan later and this time we avoid the beast. Took Julie half hour to stop laughing, no sympathy there.

We pass under the 401 at 1:30 and officially complete the Trent Waterway at 1:43 after going through Lock 1 in Trenton, to the sights, smells and sounds of city life, arrgggghhh, coming to an end, if I could swing time off we would paddle through and up Rideau to Ottawa, next time!

Our finish line (and pick up spot) is the highway 2 bridge just at the mouth of the Bay of Quinte, how could we come this far and not stop and get a picture under the "Gateway to the Trent Severn Waterway" sign.

Few more paddle strokes and landed on the shore and start waiting for our ride, they got stuck in traffic so are running late, jeesh. My Brother and nephew Noah arrived moments later, home time baby.

Love my brother but 140-150 all way home with kayaks on top? Really? After doing 6km/hr for 17 days with a max speed of 12km (once) 140 feels fast, especially when he takes turns at 120, waiting for kayaks to launch off the side.

Arrived back up north in Georgian Bay to drop off my brother at 730, funny how it took us 15 days of paddling to cover the same distance by truck in 3 hours. Stuck around long enough to have beer and wine and that hot tub looked sooo good but wanted to get back to city. Dropped in to say hi to my Mother otherwise I'm in big trouble and know she is excited to hear about the trip.

Off by 9:15 and back to city, have now officially driven longer than what we paddled today. Back to Julies by 11:00, hot shower and shave and watching 'True Beauty'.

Off in the morning to return kayaks while Julie goes to work, blah.

Soooo relaxed.

Day 16 - Julie

Ranney Falls-Glen Ross...26km

So I guess its obvious that Jeff is an addict...8am this morning, lock master Joe drives down to our camp site (cause he's not walking the 70 steps down) with 2 Timmies in hand! Hero of the day! Jeff is a happy camper!

10 am departure...

We haven't been eating much during the day so we decided to stop for lunch today. I can't believe I'm about to admit this...but, I ate a Mr Noodles today! Arghhhhh...I want a salad!

Mr "Gadget Man" finds a short cut on his GPS through a swamp...turns out to be the ugliest part of our trip...swamp land with old run down cottages and trailers lining the shoreline! Also ends up adding an extra 1.5 km onto an already very long day. if it wasn't for the Cows charging at us from shore and the fish that knocked into the side of Jeff's kayak almost sending him into the would have been a boring route...however.....:)

We finally made it to Glenn Ross....the water here is disgusting! Green gunge floating on surface....bath time is not looking good!
The lock master has let his employee go home early and there is 1 more boat coming through the locks...its a manual one. Good deed of the day...we get to help open and close the lock.

I spot a garden hose steps from our camp and when we are alone. We hook it up and take a cold shower...but clean water!!! Ahhhhh!

There are beautiful gardens at most lock masters something to do when they are slow I guess. Jeff has discovered that some even have vegetables growing in them. He realized after dinner that they had tomatoes and green peppers here...upon showing these to me he knocked a pepper off the vine! Oh shit....pull out the duct tape!

We are both very tired at this stage of the game! I am finding that once Mosquito hour hits and we go to tent to wait for the critters to disappear we fall asleep...or should I say pass out!!!
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Day 16 - Jeff

Been very cold out in the morning last couple of days, half expect frost, brrrr. Sleeping bags will hold up to zero degrees so all good. Joe, the best lock master in the trent showed up with Tim Hortons. Very nice, might have dropped a few hints the night before.

Julie packed up camp by herself today while I blogged to catch up and drank my Tims, nice to do nothing for a change.

Stopped at Percy Reach for lunch before crossing our 2nd last lake, nice spot overlooking the lake and would have been a great place to camp, we relaxed and stretched our legs good.

GPS or better known as "G" showed a little detour through a back channel which would keep us out of the wind for most of the way, it did but damn, ugliest stretch of the trent we have done, we were begging to be back on the Otonobee, ended up adding an extra km to the day though and we did just over 26km.

Downside was the swamp was hot with no wind to be had, sucked because it was so dirty you couldn't go for swim or splash water on your face. We did get chased by cows though, yeah I said it, COWS. They saw us and ran down to the water from across the field and right into the water, Julie was scared but I lightened the mood by coming as close as I ever have to flipping out of the kayak, big fish jumped and hit my kayak, startled me and almost went swimming, she laughed hard at that one. Nice!

Stayed at Glen Ross lock, unfortunately there was duck weed floating all over so made taking a swim to clean up out of the question, ended up showering under a garden hose, man that water was cold, worked like water and soap should.

We even got to lock a boat through, lock master sent his staff home and a last minute boat came through, Julie and I kicked in opened and closed the lock doors, cool.

I think it was a nice night out, I missed it, went in at 9 to get out of mosquito time and fell asleep, opps, sorry Julie, cribbage final will have to be later.

Dear Glen Miller lock staff, Julie sends her apologies for ruining your vegetable garden, she actually asked me to duct tape the green pepper back to the stem but I refused. Note to self, lock staff have lots of down time and all have gardens, good for fresh veggies but wait until the staff leave before raiding.

This is our last camp night, tomorrow we scale the summit so to speak.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 15 - Julie

Healey Falls-Ranney Falls (Campbellford)...10.2 kms.

Short day so we decide last night that we will sleep in and take it easy. 7:30am we are both up and moving. So much for sleeping in?!

Oatmeal, fruit cups,coffee...and 2 tylenol are part of our breakfast these days. Seems that a few days ago our bodies are starting to feel the effects of over- use. My shoulder hurts...Jeff's wrist hurts....muscles take a little longer to wake up once we get going. Tylenol rocks!

We barely start paddling and we are done! Didn't I just pack this tent up? Nice early day...spent almost as much time in locks as we did moving...nice short day!

By far this is our nicest camp site of the whole trip. We are at the bottom of the lock (70 steps high)...tent is on a point over-looking water surrounded by cliffs and trees...with a view of a suspension bridge...and we are the only ones here...finally!

Tim Hortons is 1.92km away from us...need I say we go!
Jeff's lucky day...Canadian Tire is right beside Tim' we go...for what he's not sure...just walks up and down all the aisles...just in case he sees something he needs?
Well, we got batteries, camp toilet paper and an air freshner for our tent. Starting to smell pretty musty in there.
It now smells like fresh linen....ahhhhh!

On Charlene's recommendation we head to Dooher's bakery...apparently the best donuts around. We got there half an hour before they closed and they were cleaned out! Must be good!

We stumbled upon "The World's Finest" chocolate factory store. Turns out they are having an 11 year anniversary sale...started today...15 pounds of chocolate for $19. should have seen the bags of chocolate people (mostly older) were walking out with!
I try to talk Jeff into dumping some of our gear that we don't really need so we can make room for 30pds of candy...he doesn't go for it...sales on until Aug 08...might be worth a trip back.
Jade are you in ;)

We grab a sub, some beer and coolers and head back to camp to enjoy our nice private little piece of heaven.

So, if you were going fishing (alone) and you walked down 70 steps and found a guy and girl having drinks and dinner on a small secluded point would you start fishing beside them???? No right?!
"Party Crasher" is here! Are you kidding me buddy?! Arghhhh!

9pm...Mosquito hour! Into tent (which smells like fresh linen) of cribbage...starts to rain! Jeff gets the munchies and eats his fav chocolate bar from factory...gummy bears and 3 bags of Crispers...I have to remind him Air Freshner is not edible...I'm afraid!

Another perfect ending to a perfect day on the Trent!
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Day 15 - Jeff

Wish I had more to write about paddling but today was our shortest day yet, a whopping 10.2km and Cambelford as expected. Weather perfect again today and 10k is a really short day, you feel as though you just got everything packed and then going through it all again.

I'm ok with it though, Julie has all but forbid me from setting up/tearing down our sleeping quarters lately, not complaining, we have a very good system going (Jeffy sips Coffee as he types this and watches Julie roll thermarest pads and swearing because she can't get it into the bag until she rolls at least three times)

Quite a few locks today which means a lot of time just sitting in kayak waiting to go through so we didn't get to Cambelford until 12:30ish. We did lock through them all with the same crowd, we have been camping alongside the same few yatchs the last 3 nights and you get to know people, still waiting for the cold beverage offer though.

Tough when you are in a kayak watching people doing bbq off back, drinking wine from a glass not warm water from a jug, did I mention they have three staterooms with separate washrooms, satellite tv and air conditioning? Just drop a cold one over the side already.

They were nice enough to go slow so we could keep up and lock together and not wait for the next one, It's also cool to get to a lock and know people and they are waving from shore "made good time today" people are generally excited to hear about our voyage.

Cambelford is a nice town to paddle through as the canal goes right through town and it's like a boardwalk with shops and stores along the way, some really old buildings, which are always cool to look at.

We are camped at my favorite spot, just at the bottom of the lock with perfect views down the river and up to Healey Falls, not another soul in sight, which means Julie decided to go skinny dipping, too bad I was setting up camp and missed the show.

Did the 2km walk into town to get Julie a Tims coffee and then quick trek through Canadian Tire. Julie laughed that I picked up an air freshner but after rolling up wet tent everyday, starting to get a little musty, thought I'd spruce the place up a bit.

As we were in the lock going down some nice seniors offered us a Doohers donut, apparently they are to die for, no thanks, we are going there to get some, hmm should have taken, Doohers was just closing and had nothing out, damn. On a related note, lots of seniors around eating at picnic tables, we notice that the ratio of men to women is about 8-1, women live longer but the guys who makes it to that age get their pick, too bad they are in wheelchairs.

We do find a chocolate factory outlet with some kind of sale going, no Julie we aren't fitting 30lbs of chocolate into the kayaks, don't care that it's 20 bucks / 15 lbs.

We hit Lcbo and get beer and coolers, all of which are gone now, so much for a drink tomorrow I guess. Get food and eat at our camp. After dinner we take a walk over the suspension bridge, Julie is terrified of heights and of course I wouldn't jump up and down for fun, that would be mean. Walked the coolest nature trail down the gorge but stopped after we saw our camp across the way, I think we walked as much as we paddled today.

Settled in for quiet night, drinks, cards and music when some creepy dude crashed the party, oh well, so much for our first night of nobody around, was mosquito time anyway which btw is 9:15 - 9:45, don't be caught outside during that period, take that party crasher, you aren't coming into our tent.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 14 - Julie

Always wanted to try is the day!

I was nominated again to go on the coffee run...I like this because all the packing is done when I get back to camp. I like to walk-run...Jeff doesn' out perfect!

Hastings to Healey Falls...22km

As soon as our butts hit the water...rain! Hurry to put jackets on (first time in 14 days) and it stops! Take off...starts again! Rained for a combined total time of about 3 mins...horseshoes up our asses!

The wind was at our backs most of the day at about 20 miles/hr...we were actually speeding at some points...(12 km in a 10 km zone). If you caught the waves right you could ride them for a bit...felt like we were surfing!

Made record time to our destination...met 2 kayakers who were doing the same trip as us...only opposite direction! Poor people...they are in for a hard day into the wind! Obviously they did not do their homework like my "Captain"...:).
First good-deed of the day for Jeff...gave them one of our sets of bumpers as they had none...need them at some locks where the walls are high and you have to lift kayaks up high walls.

Just as Jeff set up the tent and literally closed the zipper, the skies opened up! It poured rain for about half an hour...we got soaked but our tent didn't and none of our stuff did either...once again...horseshoes!!!

Turned out to be a gorgeous night...
3 big luxury boats from U.S.A and us little kayakers. Then just before 7pm a boat full of guys from Pennsylvania pulls in...wet, loud, friendly, and very interesting! The party has arrived! We are excited!
Jeff offers them fuel tablets to help start their bonfire...really just wants an invite so we don't have to spend the $6 for fire wood! It works...we got the invite! Perfect!
After dinner we decide to have a quick nap to prepare for our wild party night...we woke up at midnight!
Everyone was fast asleep and we missed everything! Damn! Must be getting old? Oh wait...just paddled 4 hard long days in a row...not old yet, just exhausted!!!!!!
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Day 14 - Jeff

Woke up and man did it look like rain, clouds were turning black as we were packing up our portable "home", we thought for sure we were getting rain today. Sprinkled for combined time of about 2-3 minutes, if that. Was a pain though, we put on our extremely hot paddle jackets, rain would stop, take off, rain start again, happened a couple of times, then no more rain for the rest of the paddle day.

Wind at our back again all day, other than Lake Couchiching, perfect weather the entire trip, Julie even enjoyed surfing waves today and it was a blast to see her enjoy them as much as I do.

In little town of Trent River noticed a guy on the peir waving and wearing a paddle jacket, turns out it's a couple (Brian and Rose) doing the same trip but in the opposite direction. Having just come down from Georgian Bay we don't envy what they have ahead, record current flow and prevailing wind in the face, they sounded like they were having a great trip all the same.

We swapped stories, waved goodbye and left our separate ways, us coming to the end of ours, them just starting, almost felt like turning around and doing another two weeks. Gave them a set of bumpers off our kayaks (Julie's) as it makes some of the takeouts on cement docks so much easier.

Brian, thanks for the heads up on the crazy shortcut under bridge, we decided to stay on the channel after hearing about your swimming adventure, hope the 12k headwind to Hastings wasn't too bad.

After 22k we reached Healey Falls, there is a nice resevoir between the two locks and a great place to camp, just got tent setup and bam, crazy rainfall, waited for a bit and then got in the tent, other than what we were wearing nothing got wet, my little tent is truly bullet proof. We had a little nap but didn't last long after rain stopped. so we got up to enjoy sun.

Don't get the luxury boat crowd sometimes, beautiful landscape and scenery, sitting in lawnchairs inches from the boat, facing the boat, huh? Whatcha lookin at dude, it's a boat, and you've seen it a million times, turn around.

Big bow rider shows up and out piles 6 very wet guys and all their camp gear, caught in the rain sucks. Four friends plus 2 young boys, we watch them spring into camp mode, setup tents, hang clothes line for wet stuff etc,

Spark up some conversation and they all just decided to throw their stuff in a boat and goto Georgian Bay and then back to Trenton, life's rough. They are from various parts of the USA but we knew they were American already because they don't know what "a timmies" is. Great conversations and we get an invite to the campfire.

We make dinner and at 9:15 the bugs come out and we race to tent with coffee to wait em out, 10 minutes later, sleeping. Guess our bodies our tired. Probably should have taken in all the cooking gear tho, wake up at 1230 to the sound of my stove heat sheild rattling in the wind, have to get up, arrrrggggg.

Back to sleep but we missed campfire.

Thanks Stan, Bill, Vinnie, "Whitey", Ben and Taylor. Have a great trip.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 13 - Julie

Harwood to Hastings...26 km.

Ok so lost my $200 Oakley's today (put on hat and took hat off to get wet then watched them sink)...yes I have a sunglass strap and yes Jeff told me yesterday I should wear it! There I said it....he told me so! Let's move on now shall we...........

9:45am we are sent off by Lisa...want to get Rice Lake over with before afternoon winds kick in....success! Uneventful crossing...long and hot today! Stopped at half way point at a Marina...fueled up (jeff a cheeseburger and me peanut butter on a bagel)...not there 15 mins and Jeff is approached by 2 boys approx. 12-13...they have been there for hours waiting for their Dad...Jeff springs to action and gets his cell so they can find out if they've been abandoned or not?
Clearly no-one else there cared to help the little kids!

Just as we pull back on to Rice Lake, Jeff spots a kid about 13 in a kayak (with no life jacket) trying to learn while his family is on shore watching!
He scoots over to the him a few quick tips then off we go! Life jackets people!!!!!!!!

Hastings by 3:30...then set up in the heat....feeling pretty drained after 4 long days in the sun!
Jeff volunteers to go get beer while I set up this fair? I'm thirsty so I agree.
2 old Portuguese men (think they were from Keswick) were fishing near us. Kind of sketchy so we didn't want to leave our things unattended.
One old guy drops his fish bucket in the water...finally my chance for a good deed! I dive in scoop up the bucket and make old guy happy.

Laundry...dinner (jeff made his specialty...pasta and canned green beans),!
If Jeff can stay awake might have to finish beating him at cribbage?

Fyi...just as much fun for us to read comments that people post...keep them coming!

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Day 13 - Jeff

Our arrival today in Hastings after 26km was much different from my trip last year. No 30mph wind, no 5 foot waves, no 60k marathon, no landing in pitch black, no camping behind macs milk. All around great day, was super hot out but otherwise not a complaint.

Left Harwood around 9:45 after Julie took a trip down to the Alamo to get a picture of Les for our photo album, Lisa sent us off with a smile and a wave and paddle away we go.

Was a relaxing paddle day except for the stifling heat, being on the water for hours in the sun really wears you down, did a morning 15k to beat the afternoon winds on Rice Lake, was like glass the entire way.

Stopped at McCraken Landing, there is a Phil joke/picture in there somewhere for those who follow along on my "Find Phil" posts. Had juicy cheeseburger at Langes resort/trailer park and dads cold root beer, Julie settled for bagel and peanut butter, god that girl loves her peanut butter.

Shortly thereafter, splash, bye bye Julie's sunglasses, don't want to say I told you so but I did warn her a number of times, did she listen? No! We are staring to get raccoon eyes from the sun, this should help her even out the tan.

Got to Hastings and really needed to cool down, felt like a vise on my head, decided to go get beer instead while Julie setup camp, got back and sent her off to do laundry, I am sensing a trend here, don't worry I did dinner and dishes.

Not a huge fan of Hastings Lock, too many damn fishermen, including the one that apparently will be sleeping on the grass behind our tent, he has his pillows, I wish I was joking.

Rice lake is nice when it's calm out and very scenic, time seemed to fly by. Great day and number 13 without rain. Suppose to change tomorrow and we might actually get rained on.

Hope to get to Healey Falls or maybe Cambelford, wow seems like a year ago when we started this adventure, crazy.

Day 12 - Julie

Peterborough to Harwood....approx 40km.

Who knew a day so long, boring (scenery) and uneventful could turn out to be so much fun!
I was really looking forward to the long trip down the Otonabee River. Nice relaxing and peaceful. Well, about an hour in I was ready to poke my eyes out...give me a wave...a boat...a ripple in the water...anything?....please! Omg...we had 7 hrs of nothing! Water was dirty and not very inviting...didn't even want to pee in it!
Jeff spotted a piece of driftwood in middle of the channel and (good-deed-doer) towed it to shore to save boats from hitting it...what a guy.
As usual ignorant boaters (the few that we saw) speed by us and create huge wakes. Jeff has decided to rebel and not wave at these guys more Mr Nice Guy here! That's my boy!

He spots another piece of driftwood in the middle of the channel...this time he paddles by and makes sure its centered...damn boaters!

We crossed Rice Lake in record time...wind at our backs and waves not too tough. Lisa and Bill (sister and her boyfriend) are waiting on shore to greet us. We have a bed to sleep in tonight! Thank you so much guys for everything...was very much appreciated!!! Bill the fish was amazing!!!!!

Memories of Harwood:

Cowboy Bill and his side-kick Les.

Ignorant variety store owner who doesn't like children! Jeff pays for little boys candy :)

Another UFO sighting!

Artisan water springs good back for 2nds!

Rescuing stranded kayaker who got caught in wind and waves and couldn't make it back to his car!

Laughed so hard I cried.......

Definitely one of our more memorable evenings!
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Day 12 - Jeff

Longest day paddling so far, did just shy of 40km and made it to Rice Lake. Was also one of the laziest days, seems like we stopped lots and just relaxed, clear blue skies and a nice breeze, very hot when the breeze wasn't there, lots of sunscreen today.

Set off around 9:30 but by the time we locked through the two Peterborough locks (2km) it was 10:30 and nothing but open river.

The first 5k of the Otonobee river is scenic, more because it's such a dramatic difference from the rest of the Trent, you get over that quickly though and the next 25km is essentially the same, get tired of it quick, not my favorite part of the system, a necessary evil.

Not much happened though, pulled out some floating driftwood to save motorboats from hitting as they whoosh by and swamp us, met Willie Nelson at a marina and had lunch at Whitfield Landing (picnic table on shore) and got to enjoy my can of ravioli, later decided wasn't such a good idea, kept coming back to haunt me

Stopped at a little beach for a rest to watch a canoe drag back some children in a raft who were blown off shore. Mother of the year, do not send kids out in a little raft on windy days and if you do, be smart enough to put life jackets on them.

Met Dave who pulled in a 33" Muskie, took him 10 minutes of fighting to land the monster, was cool to watch.

All day long wind was blowing pretty strong, started getting concerned about Rice Lake which can whip up pretty bad in the wind, didn't look bad and we were relieved, only about 4k across to Harwood and our stop for the night. About half way across the wind picked up as did the waves, Julie handled them perfectly and I think she was just happy to be out of that darn river. Landed just in time as the wind really started to pick up and white caps forming, we saw another kayak going out to enjoy the ride.

Julie's sister Lisa and her boyfriend Bill met us on shore, we unpacked our homes and carried our stuff up to Bill's cottage as he is a little off the water, unlike the Peterborough portage, Julie had to help this time.

Was around 630, just organizing our gear when a guy (Alex) came walking up, it was the kayaker we saw going out, he was trying to get back to his starting point when the wind came up, he couldn't make it and was stranded. Alex my boy, this is your lucky day, having been there, Julie and I spring into action, I head down to the lake to help carry his kayak up to Bill's cottage for safe keeping and Julie arranges a ride with her sister to get him back to his car. He followed us back to pick up his car after and we sent him off with a smile and some snacks. Nice feeling to have helped him out and know he is home safe.

Would have been crazy for him to make it, was paddling a nice 18 foot expedition kayak with no gear, means the wind would have blown him around all over the place because there is no weight in it, 13km dead into the wind, big waves, tired and hungry and 7pm at night, been there, no thanks.

Walking around Harwood brings back memories of growing up in a small town, complete with a selection of Jeeps with big mud tires and bass boats in every driveway. On the way to the store we have one of the funniest moments, not sure if I can do it justice, on the left is a house with a guys sitting on the stoop drinking coffee (spiked) wearing cowboy hat, shorts and sandals, older gentleman and looked like he just got off his horse, I say as I walk by, that is the best picture we could take the whole trip, he grunts his acknowledgment and across the street there is another old man (Les) sitting on his porch across the street, his house could literally be any saloon from any John Wayne movie, he yells back, "best compliment ya got all month Bill", Bills reply "yup" was just funny. Found out later Bills real name is "Tex". Of course it is. I heard banjos the whole time.

Bill (not Tex) made a fantastic dinner of fish, various lake fish including sunfish, which was surprisingly good, here I throw them back or smash against the rock to get off my hook, was very yummy. Dessert was even better and we had to have seconds.

Slept amazing, Thanks Bill and Lisa (malibu the cat) for the great evening, conversation and a place to shower, eat and sleep, makes all the difference.

Rice Lake calm and just setting off for Hastings, last large lake we have to do this trip, ok until Bay of Quinte.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 11 - Julie

Destination today...Peterborough...28km. Weather looking good and no lakes to cross! Woohoo!
Even got brave and didn't wear my skirt which seals you into Kayak so as to keep dry. I hate that thing!

On the water by 10:30
Very comfortable easy day. Met up with another Kayak (Michael) who had a beautiful boat...all wood! Floated down river with him for a bit and shared stories.
Went through 5 locks today. 3 of them were about 1-1.5kms apart. We actually went through with the same 4 boats at every one. They were waiting for us so... today was our sprint day! No pressure there!!!

Had our 2nd speedo sighting of the trip....have seen more speedos then kayaks! Ewwwwwwww!

Peterborough blew a $70,000 water pump so their lock was not working. Good thing was... no boats on the water today which means no waves. Bad thing...means we have to portage through the biggest lock in the system!!!
Jeff thinks we are going to climb up and down 96 steps (at least 5 times) to get all our gear and kayaks over! No way! I see Reggie...the grass cutter...with a tractor and trailer...light bulb!
Reggie was the "good-deed doer of the day! He took all our gear to other side which saved Jeff a lot of trips ;).
Murphy's soon as we get to other side of lock and get all set up, the lock opens up! Arghhhhh!

Found Tim's...thanks to Gadget Man...only 700 meters from camp...Jeff makes offer to do all the packing tomorrow if I do the Tim's run...only thing was we had to climb Mt. Peterborough to get there! Not happening!
So, he decides to get 2 xl for tonight and one to warm on the stove in morning.....nasty!
"Hi my name is Jeff, and I'm an addict"....

Subway for dinner, cold beer for desert, walk through park...with swooping bats and scary crickets....Jeff tripping over tent peg and me thinking someones busting out of our tent!

Another perfect day!

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Day 11 - Jeff

28km and reached Peterborough with ease.

Woke up and it was cloudy and windy, thought this might be our first day of rain, NOT! Clear, hot and sunny all day long and the wind was at our back the entire day, made for easy paddling and were a few points we were doing 10km/h with very little effort.

Stretch from Young's Point to Peterborough has 5 locks, we lucked out and didn't have to wait at any of them but did feel like a rally race at points, we locked with 2 houseboats and a 48 foot sundance (one of the nicest boats I've ever seen) at the first lock and they left for the next while we paddled 1-2 km to catch them, lock master waited for us and then we repeated the process for each lock thereafter.

We dubbed the guy driving the 48, "broker" as he must have mentioned 6 times, "just picked it up from my broker", "broker waiting in Peterborough", "broker, broker, broker etc" was a nice guy though, was afraid I was going to ding his boat and tried to keep away in the lock. Once he told us the 5 foot swim platform could be lowered into the water to fit a seadoo, I'm thinkin, how bout 2 kayaks. The two houseboats were a family on vacation for parents 40th. You get to know people when you are in locks with them all day.

Did see a few kayakers today finally and one was a gentleman Michael Gillespie, had a 17 foot wooden kayak built for fun by some guy in Caledon, a piece of art in my opinion, want one too, after the 48 foot that is, talked a bit about the trip and got his email.

Very few boats out today due to the Peterborough lift lock being down, nice not to contend with boaters for a change and the one we did see actually slowed down for us, deserved a thank you and a picture. Also meant that we couldn't go past Peterborough either and the camping situation at the top of the lock sucks, we decided to portage it.

Walked down to scope out the portage, found great spot but meant lugging all our stuff including kayaks 300-400m down below the lock, which is also 65 feet high and 96 step staircase, fun wow. On the way down we saw a lawn tractor with a trailer, hmmmm, Julie says "you know I'm asking to use that". On the way back up we meet Reggie and Julie throws him a smile and bats her eye lashes, "can you help us bring stuff down?". And so we have a lift for all the gear and Julie, Jeff however must carry the two kayaks down by himself, something just wrong here people. For all you red necks out there, god bless John Deere.

To top it all off, I just set the last kayak on the grass and hear the dreaded announcement. "Welcome to the Peterborough Lift Lock" what?! You said 10 minutes ago was out of commission until morning, oh well, was funny.

Did the 1k walk to Tim Hortons, got one for the morning which I will have to warm up seeing as Julie said she wasn't going in the morning this time because the hills are too big, me reminding her that they aren't as big as the hill I carried her kayak down while she rode the tractor, didn't seem to phase her.

Picked up subway for dinner and ice to cool the beer down, ate overlooking the river then went for a walk and did tourist pictures.

Tomorrow we do the Otonobee river and hope goat island is still inhabited, we also have a place to stay in Rice Lake as Julie's sister has a place in Harwood, means we don't have to marathon to Hastings, will still be a 40K day, our longest yet.

Day 10 - Julie

Can't believe I'm going to say this but actually looking forward to getting back in the "Bucket". 2 days off and feeling revived and had my "kid fix".

Buck horn to Young's Point...25km! Funny how a week ago 25km sounded so far and was we paddle that distance with ease...and lightning speed :)

Perfect day once again...first lock we hit was Love sick where Jeff didn't waste any time and performed first good deed of the swallowed hook on little girls fishing line and he gently removed the hook saved the fish and made girl happy.

We were feeling adventurous and "Gadget Man" found a shortcut on his GPS which took us around an island and cut about 2km off our route. We were unsure of marsh but decided to give it a shot...turned out to be so peaceful and beautiful! As we came out of Marsh-land we saw an island with a church on it...St Peter's on the Rock. Very random spot for a church?!

In the middle of Clear Lake, Jeff sees a rock with Sea gulls all over it...decides that would make a good picture. So guess who gets to climb on sea gull island which of course is covered in! I had to pee anyway...take that sea gulls!

All in all a great paddle day! Arrive at Young's Point set up camp, bath, and off to find a patio for a drink. We stumbled upon liquor store instead. Back to camp only to find that our tent is in direct line of fire of Osprey nest and fresh poop is all over the side of our tent!

Met a couple from Goderich...Bev and Brian who invited us on their boat for a drink...first offer in 10 days! Very nice people!

Played some Cribbage...haven't played in about 20 yrs which is the only reason Jeff beat me!

So off we go to bathroom (after a few drinks) to brush teeth...Jeff knocks on my door and tells me I have to check something out...pitch black outside and we see a UFO down by the bridge! WTF...I'm out of here...little red light keeps appearing and dangles for a second then shoots through the air. Keeps repeating every few seconds...Jeff has to investigate! Damnit!
As we approach we see a little Chinese man(doesn't speak a word of english) who is fly-fishing...he was using a glow in the dark lure! Think we scared him as much as he scared us!

Time for bed before the Aliens attack!

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Day 10 - Jeff

Perfect day and 26km for first day back on the water. They have been calling for rain and thunderstorms today but I get the feeling weather reports don't mean much, we have had the same forecast since we left 10 days ago and still have yet to paddle in the rain, crossing fingers that continues.

Got up around 7 and did Jeff duty, go get coffee, packed up our kayaks and said farewell to the gang at Oak Bay around 9, thanks again guys, amazing place to take a couple of rest days.

Could see black clouds circling but they kept their distance, the same could not be said for the humidity, was sticky out. Wind was at our back for about the first half, stopped at Lovesick Lock to stretch then back on the water. Burleigh Falls was a busy lock, one of the rare times there were people in the lock with us and it was packed.

Found the little rock in the water I wanted to take a picture sitting on last year, got one of Julie instead as it was a little windy and easier for me to tow the other kayak. Unfortunately, the rock isn't submerged so doesn't look like sitting on the water. Julie was a little nervous I was going to leave her there.

Found an alternate route through some random swamp on GPS and we decided to explore, was cool and a little more wildlife than we have seen so far, made it through and came out at the church , St Peters on the Rock, really cool to see a church in the middle of the lake on an island, no time for lengthy confessions.

Crossed Clear Lake (last in the Kawarthas) setup camp at Youngs Point and set off to find LCBO, met nice couple out for their 11th anniversary and chatted them up a bit, came back to camp to a valuable lesson, don't set tent up under an Osprey nest unless you like bird crap over everything. Lesson 2, if you are going to drag a tent away from said drop zone, don't leave on a hill where you play slide to bottom of tent all night.

Invited on a boat for wine/beer/conversation, thanks Brian and Bev, nice to see there are still boaters around who take that extra step for two people living out of a tent.

Went to wash up for bed and had the craziest UFO sighting, little red dot on horizon, would hover for a bit and then zoom off fast into the distance, watched it do that a couple times and then called Julie out to make sure I wasn't drunk, she confirmed I wasn't seeing things and we were both like hmmm, wtf. Manned up and went to investigate our unique find at the same time searching for the enquirer email on blackberry, not often you see UFO ya know. Turned out to be a fisherman with a lit up bobber and it was him casting that we saw. Laughed hard, too bad he didn't speak english, pretty sure we scared him and then started laughing at him. Time for bed.

Just setting off for Peterborough and heard the lift lock is down with blown transformer, might have to portage the highest lock in the system, damn. Will see what happens when we get there.

Julie is now two days behind on her blog, she says will get to it when she can, Jade will be forced to read mine now ;)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 9 - Julie

A sit around and do nothing day...don't want to bore the readers!
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Day 9 - Jeff

Woke up very early this morning to the sound of rain, will be the first time this trip where we get rain during the day, not paddling so we don't care and gives us an excuse to do laundry and clean dishes, well Julie anyway... once she woke up and 10 and let the hangover clear. My job was to post pictures on the blog, for some reason a task that lasted until laundry was finished, go figure.

Rain stopped for the afternoon and Julie was going to go for a run to practice for a triathalon she has next weekend, used the excuse her shoes were wet to get out of it.

Watched Chris (Julie' brother) walk by wearing some contraption and just had to follow to see what was going on, guess he was hanging a new street lamp at the entrance of the resort and had to climb the pole. Personally, I found out the previous night he was a sunshine boy in his youth and was wearing his climbing gear in the picture, I figure he was trying to recapture his youth so I obliged by taking pictures. He no longer sports a mullet, now that would be funny.

I went out for a kayak ride while Julie drank a martini on the beach, limited her to one as we had plans to drive into Peterborough for dinner, didn't help much though, been awhile since she has driven now and think she forgot how, I was afraid for my life and was dreaming of better days in Lake Couchiching.

If you are ever in Peterborough, go to Hot Belly Momas on George St just north of Charlotte, best southern cajun food outside of New Orleans. Then walk across the street to the Chocolate Factory, amazing. They have lots of other treats and Julie couldn't resist getting black licorice everything.

There is also an outfitting store on Charlotte St so we stopped in to get me a new drybag so I can pack my clothes better, makes easier to pack the kayak, also bought me a new camp pillow, not that I needed one but it looked cool.

Got back and packed all our stuff to get a quick start in the morning. For the first time since we've been at Oak Bay Julie has says she is itching to get back on the water.

Calling for rain and thunderstorms today but gorgeous out right now. Let's get this show on the road.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 8 - Julie

Good night sleep in a bed with a pillow waking up to the sound of fans not the squawking of sea gulls....ahhhhhh!

Coffee on the beach in the hot morning sun knowing I don't have to get in the "Bucket" today! Big Smile!!!

Jeff however feels separation anxiety already (not even 11am) and actually gets into his kayak and takes it for a sick boy! Then practices tipping and getting back in...he's a pro!

Jeff's good deed for the day...fixes my boat (after running around to find a fuse) and we take kids tubing and skiing! He's the Best!

Dinner with family...kickass game of Cranium...we won...Chris is a cheater!... way to much to drink...smores at the fire!
Awesome day!
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Day 8 - Jeff

Finally got to sleep in, woke up at 9 and was soooo happy there were no birds squawking this morning. Took a run to get coffee (not tims - sigh) and sat on the beach with egg on a bagel and just relaxed. Damn, so good to have a hot shower and sleep in a bed for the first time in a week. The 16oz steak last night didn't hurt either, thanks Tristan you little bbq chef.

Sitting on the beach relaxing and the kayaks off to the side, you would think the last thing I want to do is get back in the "Coffin" but this trip has been so relaxing compared to last year and not tired nor any sore bones or limbs, figured go for a little ride to keep the sea legs intact. Did about 1k down to the locks and back and it is a gorgeous day out.

After having done over 600km in a kayak over the last two years including some storms and very big waves, figured it was time to actually see if I could get back in the kayak from the water, up to this point have only watched youtube videos.

Started by practicing just getting in from the water, got it on my first attempt, tried a few different ways, from the sides and from the back, easier from the side. Then practiced being able to flip kayak back over from the water, a little tricky and the kayak was empty but definitely can do it. After that, got in and flipped it over, wanted to get used to the feeling of being upside down and getting out, no skirt on for the first few tries. Then strapped in, took a deep breath and flipped the "Coffin" again, a little anxious being physically strapped in and upside down in the water, Julie spotted me for this one just in case, was able to remove skirt and climb out with ease. At least now I know the feeling and won't panic if it happens for real. Julie's turn this afternoon and then we can get out of kayak for a swim whenever we want. New paddle vest floats. Whew!

Enjoying a rye on the beach and this afternoon will be trying eskimo rolls, the ability to flip completely 360 to come back up to sitting, if I can get that one I will be very happy. Easier to flip back up instead of get out climb in and then bail water, will let you know how it goes, or doesn't.

Fixed Julie's boat (blown fuse) so we could take kids tubing, decided to go for a ski myself, been a few years but still remember how, a few good cuts and my arms were dead, all that kayaking I guess. one loop around the bay is good enough. I'm officially getting old, was too rough for going barefoot, next time.

Had nice dinner on deck overlooking lake with Julie's family, very nice and food was delicious. End night with a campfire and mega marshmellows. Love mine burnt please.

Never did try the eskimo roll, figured not good to try drunk


Will be posting pictures today or tomorrow. ;)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 7 - Julie

It appears as though 6am is time Seagulls do their mating calls...damn birds! Chris I'm stealing your sling-shot when I get to Oak Bay!
Another early morning. Tim's is about a 1/2km walk from us and Jeff offers to do all the packing if I go get coffees. "Ok" I say..."I might even run there"...oh wait that means packing won't be done by time I get back! A stroll it is :).

Through the locks at 9:11 am and out to Pigeon Lake. I have a place in Buckhorn so I have been on Pigeon Lake a lot and it is always rough! I'm prepared for the worse! It was perfect! It is so nice being on familar ground (or lake)...I recognize the Sand Bar where we anchor...the old abandon, haunted boat house that Lindsay and Jaimie explored last year with us and the marina that I pass in my boat as I enter Pigeon Lake!
We stop for our first break at this Marina...and Jeff gets his daily fix of ice cream. As we walk around the grounds we realize we are in a religeous camp. There is a small chapel, postings of upcoming rock concerts with Jesus bands and no smoking on premises signs. We clearly don't belong here. As we head back to the dock we see a grandpa on the beach in his speedo! Isn't that a sin????

Now on to Lake Buckhorn...the home stretch, 2 days off and my family!
Rain clouds and thunderstorms are surrounding us but once again we luck out and escape the bad weather!

28k and 5hrs later we pull up to Oak Bay where my family greets us on shore and Tristan and Jade have drinks ready for us.
Hot shower...bbq and salad...and a nap!
Life is good!

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Day 7 - Jeff

Ah, reached Buckhorn in record time, I guess having a destination where you get to take a couple days off really motivates you. Did almost 3Okm, longest day yet and almost non stop, left at 9 and got to Buckhorn just after 2. Tired but a well deserved break in order.

Woke up at 7 to the sound of ducks/geese this morning and not in a calm nature sort of way, starting to really hate these little things for waking me up early.

Decided to get an early start on the day and made Julie a deal, she walk the 1/2km to tims and get coffee and I would have camp setup for when she got back, we both thought it was a fair deal but in the end I got the short end of the straw.

Had everything pretty much packed when she got back with my extra large triple/triple and bagel, was around 8 by this point and the clothing store she missed the previous night was now open, hmmmm. Did my good deed for the day, sent her shopping while I packed the kayaks, Julie got off easy today.

Left the locks around 9 and in the lock there was a little rain but less than Julie happens to get into the "Bucket" on her own on a sunny calm day so no biggie.

They have called for rain and thunderstorms every day of this trip and we have yet to have rain, the clouds continue to move away when we get there, did see some lightning in the distance but never came anywhere near us, stayed close to shore to be safe.

Crossed Pigeon Lake with ease as there was no wind nor waves, tried to get Julie to stop a the haunted house on Pigeon Lake but she chickened out. After the first 10k stopped for a break at a marina, happened to be some christian resort, I was waiting for those lightning bolts to come strike me down but thought maybe would be safer standing closer to Julie, she was the one walking around in a bikini with all the bible thumpers. We did see our first speedo sighting of the trip and it wasn't pretty. Skipped confession and got back on the water after rootbeer (Julie) Kawartha dairy ice cream (Jeff).

Thought we might take a shortcut through a swamp but in the end decided we didn't want to have to circle back around, long day as it was.

Crossed Buckhorn lake pretty quick and hit a little wind with about 4k left to go, we were really tired at this point and the wind was exhausting, especially after only taking a 20 minute break all day. For me was one of those days where I was looking for any excuse to stop paddling for a minute, just couldn't get comfortable, took a couple tylenol and all was good again.

Pulled into Oak Bay Resort and Julie's kids (Tristan+Jade) showed up on the beach with drinks in hand, rye, yum. Sat on deck for a bit and wham, black angus burger and I hear steak for dinner, currently eating microwave popcorn and wondering why a woman who owns a Kernels popcorn store has microwave, hmmm, where is my caramel popcorn Julie, huh? huh?

Will be taking a couple days off and will resume paddling on Saturday, tomorrow will practice kayak rolls and rescues and do a little water skiing and some definite drinking.

Have already had a couple rye now and plan on bottle more before this night is over.

Will post pictures over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 6 - Julie

Mental note...sleeping at point of land over-looking water sounds peaceful and relaxing...however, at 530am when the sea gulls start squawking on the rocks beside your tent and you don't have a sling-shot to shut them up, not so peaceful!
Early start today...packed and ready to go before locks open! Just means more shopping time when we get to Bobcaygeon :)

9:05 is our official start time...water is like glass and sun is shining...and we have clean clothes...its gonna be a good day!

Sturgeon Lake is our main contender today. I realize when I go to take my first drink that there are 3 ants floating in my water bottle! When you're in the middle of a lake though in the blazing sun you drink the ants! By the bottom of the bottle there is still 1 left...not bad...better then none I suppose.

I reach about the 2 hour mark before I need to stretch. Jeff and I sit side by side and drift in our kayaks for a bit then onwards we go. About half way through our day Jeff announces that he has removed his seat cushion and that perhaps they really did know what they were doing when they designed these boats! Not meant for extra cushions to elevate you at odd angles and throw off the dynamics of how you really should be sitting. Well, 6 hours later we reach our destination and I did not leave the "Bucket" once! Today was "Hump Day". What a great feeling to be comfortable!
Only problem with this I don't have an excuse to get out of boat to go pee. I was forced to use my "female urination" device which I purchased for this trip. word of advice...practice practice practice!!! All I can say is a man must have designed this thing...I have to figure out how to jump in lake and get back into boat for bathroom breaks! Now I know why Jeff marked his seat cushion with duct tape...said it was so he knew which side he sat on from day to day so he could rotate it so as not to get to worn on one side...really so he didn't get the one I pee'd on!

Once again Mother Nature was kind to storm clouds over-head and you could see the rain falling from them but not a drop of rain on us!

Jeff (aka) Mr Nice-Guy is off doing his 5th good deed of the day...
1: help man take kayak off his houseboat
2: run and save umbrella from falling off houseboat and hitting other boat
3:help old lady out of water after her swim
4:offer Tim's to our neighbors as we go on our walk to get one.
5:sees sailboat coming in and runs to help park.
He's like some kind of "Super Hero"...when someone is in need Jeff springs to action!

So we get to Bobcaygeon at 4pm...25km for the day! Longest paddle so far but easiest and nicest day! We are all set up and Jeff goes to bathroom and I am in the tent setting up when all of a sudden I hear running footsteps and then pounding on the top of the tent. I thought it was some rowdy teenagers (there are a lot here) and I am ready to give them heck...I jump out and surprise its Tristan and Jade (my kids) with my Mom. Now it really has been the best day so far...I haven't seen Tristan in 3 weeks as he was at camp when I left...I think he grew!
After a tour of our home and kayaks we offer them a snack and they raid the goodie bag...then in the car and off to Tim's...Mom you're the greatest!!!
We off-load all our food with them as tomorrow we land in Buckhorn where they will be and we have 2 days off. Going to be light tomorrow!

Dinner out at a the sunset...another Tim's run (Jeff's an addict) and bed!
Exhausting day!
Until tomorrow........
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Day 6 - Jeff

Was a fabulous day and arguably the best one yet, hard to believe they can get any better but each one seems to, going with the flow and enjoying every minute of it.

We had an easy 25k paddle to Bobcaygeon, not bad for only 6 hours in the kayak (4.5 paddling) and when I say in, being literal as we didn't step out once until we hit the wharf in Bobcaygeon.

Wish I could say the morning was as good, some damn goose, duck or seagul, not sure which was doing his mating call beside our tent and sounded like a very frustrated bird, I was six seconds from pulling out my bear banger and shooting the little creature, would have been quicker to use the blunt end of my paddle but was afraid I would break it and have to switch to the shorty as Julie stole my long spare. Was able to fall back asleep for a bit but kept dreaming about exploding feathers so got up.

Was at Tim Hortons by 6am. Left Julie to sleep if she could and so I picked up a newspaper and sat at the falls for a bit reading, headed back to camp after and thought Julie was still sleeping so was being quiet reading at the table until I heard the familiar hisssssss of the air mattress deflating, Julie has decided (her free will) that she packs up the tent contents each day, we are getting along perfect so I'm not about to rock the boat, excuse the pun.

We are packed and ready to go before 9am, earliest day yet, I find out later the reason she wants to leave so quick is she wants to shop in Bobcaygeon, like we have enough room, there are no more compartments on the "Bucket" and whatever room we had left over is now filled with my new shorts when I went shopping.

We head out on Sturgeon Lake and it is glass calm and not a boat in sight, would remain like this for 90% of the day, weather was also perfect and like most other days mother nature is being nice, we see the rain clouds part and clear skies ahead, again today we could see the rain off shore but stayed away from us.

Realized about a half hour in that the kayak seat is very comfortable, even if it is just a fiberglass seat with no padding, who knew the mold of the seat was meant to improve posture and comfort, while our comfy thermarest pads are great they actually cause discomfort, well for Julie anyway, once we do away with them Julie is one happy kayaker, this is what enabled us to stay on the water all day.

I also played around with proper paddling by not using the rudder most of the day, Julie tried for a bit but kept going in circles.

She really hit her stride today, got into a rhythm and there was no stopping her, previous days - would stop, let her get ahead then catch up quickly, today I had to work to keep up if I stopped for any reason. The other milestone today was Julie had to use her "on the water" funnel thingy made for little girls to relieve themselves after drinking water all day, I went up about 100 yards so she didn't have stage fright and chuckled at the whole "ballet" dance that appeared to be going on trying to use that contraption, thank god I'm a guy.

All week long Julie has been running into me, cutting me off etc, the joke is that there is 5km of water on either side, do you need to be so close, really? Today she got the hint, stayed so far away most of the day had to yell across to get her attention.

She did notice 3 ants in the bottom of her water bottle and it was funny that she just counted before and after to make sure the same number were there. She had the last laugh, noticed the fresh water I put into my bottle had turned murky, had pineapple juice in the night before and didn't clean proper so it got stanky in the lid of my cup, quick washout and problem solved, other than I'm not sure how much I drank before noticing. Will find out soon I guess if I start throwing up, or worse.

Got to Bobcaygeon around 3:30 and had camp setup by 4, Julie's mom and kids dropped by for surprise visit which was cool and know she was missing the munchkins, we chatted for a bit then decided to do a Tims run, it started to rain a bit but just sprinkled for two minutes and then stopped. I did get my xtra-large and was happy happy, we then spent the next few minutes driving around as Barb/Ms Elkie/Julie's Mom drove around finding the quickest route to Tims on foot, adorable, less than 1/2 km, woohoo, went back for evening stroll tonight and got another shot.

Back to camp then went for a swim with the kids (and to wash up) then socialized for a bit before sending kids on their way, not before off loading 3 bags of food, we can pick em up in Buckhorn tomorrow and Julie wanted more room for shopping items (shaking my head). Actually makes packing easier and boats lighter.

Went for dinner at the local pub then back to camp, busy down here and seems to be a popular spot for local kids to hang out, and hope the barking dog doesn't start again.

Did have my first technical glitch today, thought that selecting point on map would show distance to point based on the route I previously setup, unfortunately it is line of sight, long story short, believed that today was a 15km paddle until the 10k mark then realized another 15 to go, Julie took it well.

If you want to have some fun, walk around Bobcaygeon with a tims and watch how many people ask where it is, then send em the wrong way. I wouldn't do that.

Buckhorn tomorrow 28k and a day, maybe two off from paddling.

Day 5 - Julie

Not looking forward to today...2 big lakes to cross which Jeff has warned me can be pretty tough! Must admit, after Couchiching I'm a bit of a chicken!
We are in the water by 10:15 am and head off through a lazy river for about 10km. Just as we are getting to the mouth of where it opens up to Balsam Lake we ask a couple passing by on a big boat how the conditions are? Lady replies "Good luck! But looks like the sun is going to come out". I'm thinking I should call my family now and say my "good-byes"!
We enter and it doesn't look to bad but we decided to take the long way around the island so we don't have to fight waves on the other side if they get bad.
As we approach middle of lake we realize its our lucky day...water is rolling but relaxing and we can actually stop and take pictures and drink water. All is good until a duck emerges from under water just at the bow of Jeff's kayak. All I can say is good thing we are doing laundry tonight! He almost shit his pants and I almost pee'd mine laughing!

Once off Balsam we stop at Marina for ice cream (Jeff) and a coke (me). Jeff bought a cool pair of shorts and some "Kiss me" mints? Mr Good-Deeder (does at least one a day) runs to other side of dock to take a picture for a family so they can all be in the picture. I think he just wanted a closer look at the girl pumping gas with the big boobs!

With only about 8km to go we head out on the home more lake (Cameron) to cross and we are home for the night. Once again Mother Nature is on our side! No major waves to talk about and very few boats to contend with. Just as we are getting to the end of the lake the wind starts to pick up and waves start to get bigger. Looking back across the water we can see white-caps starting to form. Thank God we made it in time.

Fenelon Falls is a beautiful spot. Our camp is right at the tip of the grounds over-looking the water on 3 sides of us. I haven't seen Jeff set up this fast the whole trip...Tim Hortons is meters away from us! The Boy loves his Tim's!

We do our laundry and then off to try this calamari I've been hearing about since last year at restaurant across from us. Jeff was right it was pretty awesome. And I finally got some of my kind of food...and of course some malibu.
Don't know how many people know this about Jeff but he's a closet "Bachelorette" we are waiting for our food he realizes its almost 8 and about to begin. There are 2 TV's at the bar (with no sound) so he asks waitress if she can turn one off the sports channel and on to the Bachelor...she does and we move to the bar and Jeff is a happy Boy!

Back to camp...but not before another Tim's run...hmmmmm...wonder where we are going for breakfast?!

Today was the best day so far for paddling. Perfect weather...relaxing...only got out of kayak twice in a 6 hour period and 25 km (my butt is getting use to sitting)...some laughs...and Tim Hortons!
Definitely it was a "Bucket half full day"
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Day 5 - Jeff

We couldn't have asked for a better day on the water, paddle conditions as well as weather and after a 25km paddle we are now in Fenelon Falls for an end to what might be the best day of the trip so far.

Find it funny how you sit down to write what happened during the day and don't think there was much until you think about it then, hmmm I guess some stuff did happen. Here's the low down for today....

Woke up around 5:30 to the sound of a storm, pretty much rained all nigh while we were sound asleep, went back to sleep and by the time we got up around 7:30 it had cleared. Julie decided to take a walk down to the restaurant and get coffee and breakfast while I blogged, I mean broke camp, I think she just wanted to get out of doing dishes.

I timed it just right and moved some stuff around to look like I worked hard when she came back, don't think it worked though, easy to tell I spent the time doing squat, we efficiently as ever packed up camp and set off around 10. We just can't seem to get on the water before 10 but then again we really don't care to.

Easy morning paddle down a lazy river/canal to Balsalm Lake, as we approach end of the channel a boat drives by and the guy driving says "You crossing?", "yes", "good luck, it's bad out there with the wind". Ok, now Julie all nervous with flashbacks of Saturday.

We take a break before crossing and as we leave we are on this rock shelf getting into kayaks and 40 foot boat drives in throwing massive waves, seeing as the canal is literally 50 feet wide it really causes a mess as the waves cross from shore to shore, almost knocks Julie over, again people just don't get it or care.

Decided to go north around Grand Island instead of following the Trent to the south, my reasoning was that we would be cross wind for the first half then down wind for the last, a little farther distance wise but much easier then paddling up wind.

Balsalm was a non-event, calm the entire way across and the wind did help with speed. We are also now going with the current flow so making great time. I didn't however notice a duck 5k from shore in the middle who apparently thought I was going to go around him, would have if I had seen him but didn't until he took off in front of me, let's just say I was startled and leave it at that.

Stopped at the marina for a break and some ice cream, also picked up some new shorts (50% off) not sure exactly where to pack em though and prob should have thought about it before making the purchase. On the way out did my good deed of the day and took a picture for a family, had I known the mother wanted to yak for 20 minutes I would have skipped, hey lady, we have 6k till we stop for the day, move on, don't need to know about your son at home with broken foot, you are standing in the way of my first Tim Hortons in almost a week.

Crossed Cameron lake in no time, started to get windier the last km but waves still small, still weird when they come from behind and don't think Julie likes the feeling. Still, wind at our back the whole day and we pulled in just after 4. The incredible part was weather cleared in front of us the entire day, it was like the black clouds moved on just as we got there, take the good luck when you can.

There is a canoe dock (platform close to water) which was taken up by a 40 foot cruiser, I asked if he was staying the night because where he was parked was the only place to take kayaks out, he said yep, here for the night. Boaters jesh. We ended up finding some flat rocks which in the end turned out to be better anyway.

Setup camp right at the edge overlooking lake cleaned up and went off to do laundry, ah clean clothes, lock made us pay again, that's 2 for 5 so far, all good, it's cheap at 4.90 / person.

While waiting for laundry went and got my timmies (said like on south park, for those who watch the show)

Went to Lake House restaurant, had pork chops and Julie had tofu, if she really wanted bland, go back to kayak and dig out one of the bags girl. Rye and coke(s) went down smooth and they have the best calimari EVER, the after dinner candy is great too, Julie stole 2 handfuls.

There was a guy there with the funniest toupee, got a picture.

We talked staff into switching from boxing to Bachelorette and didn't have sound so we made up dialog as we watched from bar. Yeah, I watch Bachelorette, go Chris go, not a fan of Ally though. Finished dinner and went back to tims. Now in tent and about to call it a night.

Fyi, we will post pictures in a couple of days, hard to get off camera onto blog via blackberry.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 4 - Julie

What a difference a day makes!
Woke up to a beautiful, relatively calm morning. It was around 730 when we rolled out of the tent. We decided to have a relaxing morning seeing as we had such a hard day yesterday! Much deserved that's for sure!
By the time we packed Coffin and Bucket it was 11:23. It is without fail that every morning at least 3 people will walk by us and question how we fit all our stuff in those kayaks?! It is amazing how much they hold...good thing too cause Jeff brought 75 cans of food!!!

Today we crossed Canal Lake with ease. Even stopped in the middle of the lake put up our feet and had a beer.
I think Jeff wants to see me fall in. He tried to convince me that I could probably lie on the front of my kayak if I just snaked along the top to the front. He was serious to! And we were in the middle of the lake. After you my Boy!

We paddled about 15km today. We didn't have to take one butt break either...I'm getting used to sitting on my ass for long periods of time...oh God I'm becoming an office worker!!!

We got to the Kirkfield Lock around 230 and set up camp for the night. Very secluded almost creepy spot. Had a very much needed bath in the lake and cracked open a beer and relaxed the rest of the day.
We found a restaurant less then 1km from our camp and decided to have some real food for dinner.
Well.....I had a greek salad with half a bottle of dressing on it and Jeff had chicken parmasagne with tomato sauce and kraft cheese sprinkled on top...oh well they tried and it was better then a tin of soup!

The night was still young when we got back "home" so we got crazy and pulled out the deck of cards and had a Crazy 8's tournament and ate Good & Plenty licorice. Jeff is a cheater! That's all I have to say about that!

We have been so lucky with the weather. We actually sat on the picnic table and watched it rain all around us. You could see the line of rain surrounding us! It did eventually start to rain though but we were ready for it!
Now sitting in the tent eating chips listening to rain fall and waiting for the bears to show up! That's ok though...jeff's on the door side.

Off to Fenelon Falls tomorrow which means another restaurant, Tim's and laundry! Oh, and 2 days away from Buckhorn and seeing Tristan and Jade (my kids)!

Still moving forward and enjoying every minute of it...well, except Lake Couchiching!

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Day 4 - Jeff

I'd say an all around great day, woke up around the usual 8am, lazed around, had breakfast and took our time getting thing organized. We have it down to an art form now, Julie usualy starts packing up the stuff in the tent while I start breakfast and moving around other things that need to be packed, Julie has now done everything at least once, kinda nice cause it means we can switch around camp setup/tear down duties as needed.

She still gets dish duties though and tomorrow after she packs I will hand her the broom and dustpan (yes I have one) and get her onto cleaning our little home for another 13 days.

Chatted with some guy from Vancouver who was on his bike, talked about trip and ocean kayaking and stuff, was a nice guy, didn't have the heart to tell Julie he was checkin her out the whole time, eyes up bud, it's just a bikini. Lol.

It is so much easier to get in and out with two people, Bolsover has no canoe docks so you have to put in down a slope with rocks etc, last year was a pain but the extra hands make it a breeze.

Left around 11:30 and lazy paddle down the Talbot with the wind at our back, nice change from Couchiching. Passed a golf course with a dog on shore barking at some geese to stay off, golf ranger on shore with slingshot doing the same.

Crossed Canal Lake and then took a rest, floating on the lake but with feet on deck, Julie opens up a beer, I tell her it's only a problem if you can't admit it, pass it over. Boats drive by like we aren't there and send waves crashing, they just don't get it or don't care, when I say drive by, within feet of the kayak and 38 foot cruisers on half plane.

Passed a little campsite with a few trailers on the property in addition to a herd of cows, was just funny, I was humming the deliverance banjo song out loud. On the way off Canal Lake ran into some fishermen on the shore in dire straights, had to do my part and help them out, with a mighty heave of my paddle I set off to rescue that little bobber and return it to his owner unscathed. I do what I can. I tried to warn a bunch of swimmers that swimming in the out flow of a damn has serious current and undertow but they didn't speak english, at least the kids had life jackets on

Black clouds were in the area and forecast calling for rain and thunderstorms, we decide that Kirkfield will be our destination for the night, Fenelon Falls can wait till tomorrow. A short 15km day and all is good with an added bonus being time to enjoy an afternoon.

Kirkfeild is one of the worst places to camp by kayak, high walls and the only spot you can really get out is over half click away at lock station grounds, still a nice spot, just a pain in the butt. Put bumbers on, tied ropes to the ends and lifted up over wall about 3 feet. Setup camp and even put up clothes line for first time to dry some wet clothes.

Had good swim to clean up then took a walk down to the lock station with some crazy ass staircase that felt like you were about to go on a ride at wonderland, conveniently found a little greasy spoon diner complete with every Nascar poster or trinket you can imagine, dinner, yum, no cooking tonight and no dishes for Julie. Dinner was ok but if you are going to eat at greasy spoon, stick with burger and fries, the rye and coke was delish though.

Went back to camp and had a serious game of crazy 8's where not only did I win, I was accused of cheating to do it, pffft. Rain started in at about 8 so we relocated to the dry tent. Rained pretty much the rest of the night, was a little break and Julie had the munchies, I had to be a man and venture out to kayak to find em, always the last hatch, mosquitos were crazy.

Woke up to nice day and a great forecast, Julie is on bathroom, food and coffee run while I pack up camp, you can see I'm busy doing that, not, coffee and blogging, ok better do my chores.

Day 3 - Julie

Today was the day where if I was going to quit this would have been the day to do it! Started out as a perfect day...swim in the locks, gourmet and cinnamon oatmeal...and of course peanut butter ;).
Short paddle through a channel then we hit the "Monster"....Lake Couchiching! Made Sparrow Lake look like a bathtub! 35 mile hour winds and minimum 6 foot waves! Very scarey! We found a camp with hundreds of kids where they let us stop for a rest and wait for wind to die...didn't happen so we continued on after an hour.
Thank God Jeff is so patient and calm...encouraged me to keep going and stayed by my side. Apparently this is fun for him...crashing through waves and being tossed around like a ragdoll. We have very different versions of fun!

Ojibawa Bay Marina...sounds like a good safe spot to the end of our crossing and to rough to try and look for a place to camp! After finally making it to shore being whipped around by waves entering the Marina and obviously struggling in the horrible conditions we ask owners if we could pitch a tent out of the way just for the night. Apparently their "no tent" policy can't be broken even if your life is in danger! "Too bad, you'll have to go find somewhere else to stay"! Are you kidding me?!
Thank God for Jeff's friend Dan!!!! He was a "godsend". Drove all the way to Orillia and took us to Bolsover. There was no way in hell I was crossing Lake Simcoe. Forecast was calling for even bigger waves and winds and potential Thunderstorms! Pretty sure I'm not getting an award at the end of this so wasn't thinking twice
About getting into that car and taken to a safer spot in the Trent
Arrived at lock (by car) around 8pm...closed for the night which means the trees are the bathroom for the night. But at least we have a place to sleep and don't have to meet Lake Simcoe in the morning!

Dinner...hmmmmm...what can we eat out of a can tonight????? Mushroom body is going into shock. I need a salad!
Did manage to pick up some beer on the drive here :). All is good at camp kayak tonight!

Tomorrow can only get better...

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 3 - Jeff

Sunny clear morning clear morning and we take our time with breakfast and packing up, I go and do the dishes just to prove it isn't Julies job and that I in fact do know how. Pick some blackberries on the way back as a treat for Julie, more to give her time to pack all the other stuff up.

Quick swim and off we go, calm lazy down the river and once we got to Couchiching, breeze was blowing so decided to stick along shore, adds a little distance but calling for lightning and rain so want to be as close as possible in case we need shelter. At about the hour point we stopped on a little island for a rest. In hindsight I should have picked the opposite shoreline as it would have been protected from the wind and waves and not much longer in distance.

Continue following the shore, wind starts to pick up but still making good time, waves start increasing but not crazy yet, Julie picks up fast and is bracing over waves like a pro. We try and stay side by side or Julie in front, I don't like not seeing her, it's an eerie feeling.

We start getting to Julie's limit for sitting in a kayak, unfortunately the shoreline is all rock with waves crashing over so no real place to stop, we push on. Julie gets quiet which I have come to learn is her not overly enthusiastic about being in the 'bucket', this being the name of her kayak due to the amount of water she seems to take on board. I blame it on the kayak dude, "here take the neoprene skirt, breathes better on hot days" what they forgot to mention is when waves crashing over, leaks like a funnel, we figure out later that if we pull waist band up high like my grandfather wore his pants then it reduced quite a bit.

Waves weren't bad at this point but needed to stop for a rest, found this summer camp full of kids and they were nice enough to let us land for a break, we took full advantage of it and rested and snacked for about an hour or so after bailing out the 10 gallons of water in the kayaks.

One of the teen cousellors was nice and offered us something to drink another couple of kids offered us some ice cream. Nice to see such polite and helpful children.

Took out my weather station and wind was 28mph and gusting to 35, whitecaps were forming and not looking good, waited for a bit then decided to head back out and continue sticking to the shore, there are a number of camps on this side of couchiching so no shortage of stopping places.

Leaving camp there is a little point to go around before heading crosswind, unfortunately, wind straight in the face, Julie struggled a bit but made it to the point on the second attempt, once around was pretty smooth sailing in side wind, well... If you don't mind 5-6 foot waves and going up and down all day, while I love those conditions I could tell Julie wasn't as excited as I was. The thing with big waves is that you don't have much time to relax, you constantly have to pay attention for that big wave coming and the bracing at the right time so you don't roll over. Kayaks are extremely well adapted for these types of waves so it never really feels out of control or that you are about to tip over. Just have to keep an eye out so it can be mentally draining.

After 10km We now make the decision, we've had enough, about a 1km away near Casino Rama there is a yatch marina, we pull in pretty tired and drained and look for a place to pull out. Find a little patch of grass on the inside and get out, happy to be on dry land. For the moment!

Walked over to the office to make sure was ok to stop there, the owner said yes but had one of those looks that you can tell he was annoyed we were brazen enough to pull in un announced. Walked back to kayaks to weight out options and going back out in Couchiching wasn't one of them for Julie. Conditions got even worse and was getting close to 5pm, walked back to office to see if we could camp somewhere for the night, and this is where things get interesting.

I don't know about everyone else and whether it was the way my parents brought me up but I was taught that if someone needs help you help, especially if it means not helping would put safety at risk. "Is it possible to put our tent up somewhere?" Response: " sorry, it's against our policy, we don't even let boaters put their kids tents up". Us: you mean you are going to send us back out in those conditions and risk our safety?" Response: " really wish I could help but no you can't and I'm not even sure where else you could go". It was clear, no amount of begging was going to change her mind. I am not prone to using nasty four letter words but under the circumstances, FUCK YOU Ojibway Marina Resort!

Plan B - my truck is at my mothers house but she is in Buffalo for the weekend, called my brother but he was at a retirement party for work, he was nice enough to arrange for his best friend Dan to pick up my truck and come rescue us. Mr Pepin, you are the man and can't tell you how much we appreciate the help. Packed everything into the truck, strapped kayaks on and gave the marina the finger on the way out, to nobody in particular, just a general finger for idiots who would give up 10 feet of grass when there are acres of lush grass and gardens all over the property.

Dan was nice enough to stop for coffee and beer on the way through and I felt bad making him drive us around (my brother I don't care and he is family).

Decided with the weather forecast, best to skip Lake Simcoe completely so as to not have a repeat of yesterday. We got to Bolsover lock around 8, waved off Dan and setup camp and had dinner by 9 then just relaxed for a few hours in the tent when mosquitoes came out.

We are relaxing this morning, ok I am, Julie is packing stuff in tent to keep busy while I blog. Will press send then go help and get this day going, Fenelon Falls tonight.

Julie now likes Sparrow Lake and hates Couchiching.

Greg and Dan, thank you!

Day 2 - Jeff

Sorry for the delay in posting yesterday evening, was such a nice night out we decided to just relax and didn't get a chance until now, especially after what day 3 was like, more about that in the day 3 post.

Woke up around 8 had breakfast and packed up the kayaks (Coffin II & Bucket) which ended up being a little easier on day 2 now that we are kinda figuring the best placement of things and getting into a routine. Met some nice guys down the lake who were checking out the lock and they were nice enough to help us put the kayaks in, thanks guys, it's the little things that make all the difference.

Another clear sunny day with pretty good wind which was at our backs for most of the day and definitely helps with the paddling. First few kilometers were a little nervous as the lock master at Swift Rapids scared the crap out of us regarding the current. They made it sound as if we would be like trout swimming up stream, was all for nothing. Yes the current was strong in the middle of a few channels but it actually wasn't bad near the shores, childs play for Julie who is now a master with a paddle. Well... Probably because she stole mine. The only mishap of the morning was when we stopped for a break and Julie slipped on a rock and almost went for a good swim. No bruises or cuts, whew.

We have realized Julie has a tolerance of about an hour before she needs to stretch and get off her butt for a bit, little bit of a challenge sometimes to find a non rocky, non cottage filled spot but we are managing, who knew working in an office all day would have its advantages, I'm used to sitting on my ass.

Found a nice lunch place, was kinda freaky actually, looked like somebody just pulled up a couple of lawn chairs in the middle of the bush along side the river. Was also some pretty funky items around, only missing banjo. I think Julie is noticing boaters just don't give a shit about the little guy.

Ok, that nice wind turned into straight in the face wind just in time to cross Sparrow Lake, Julie officially hates waves and wind and must have heard 5 times "I hate Sparrow Lake" only a fore shadow of the next day to come though and figure we can change her mind, much better lakes to hate.

Did about 20k and made it to Washago lock around 6ish as planned, setup camp and let Julie kick in a bit this time rather than watch me do it. Had a great dinner and relaxed for the night after Julie did the dishes, she might be thinking that's the only reason she is here, hey I make dinner, you clean.

Nice lock to stay at but the only one I've ever had to pay for camping at, they usually give kayaks a break, 4.90 per person, still cheap though and worth it, nice place to camp.

All in all a great day and Julie hanging in just fine

Day 2 - Julie

Finally named my Kayak...The Bucket! I seem to always be sitting in water so it seemed appropriate.

Discovered the real reason Jeff invited me on this do dishes and eat all the Peanut Butter! Apparently that's my duty?!

Found the most random piece of shore to eat lunch on today. 2 lawn chairs, A table, clothes line, garbage can, and some big pieces of foam that looked like someone actually slept on. It was bizarre! We had garbage to get rid of but we were both afraid to open garbage can in case there was a dead body inside so we placed the garbage beside it! Was half expecting Saskwatch to jump out of the bushes!

Paddled across my first lake today...Sparrow. 3 kms very windy and big waves...I hate Sparrow Lake! Was happy to see the other side of that! If you drive a boat and you pass someone in a kayak slow the (bleep)down!!! Hard enough to contend with waves from wind!

Camped at lock #3 in Washego. 20km butt still hurts. If I plan another kayak trip like this will add sitting in one spot for long periods of time with my legs extended to my training schedule!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 1 - Julie

Hard to believe that after almost a year of planning this crazy adventure, day one is now over!
We left land at 10:30am....left from port severn...less then half an hour into our journey, Jeff decides he needs a beer! So, we stop at his friends so he can indulge and then we are off again!

Weather was awesome...wind at our back most of the hot hot!

Kayaking is easy...didn't tip my boat and managed to keep up to Jeff for the most part! Hard part about kayaking is getting comfortable!!! I have 4 blisters on my hands and my ass is killing me! Hopefully day 2 will be more comfy! Best purchase I made for this trip is a $30 seat cushion...for people with no meat on their ass like Jeff and I, it is a must!

We finished our day in Swift Rapids at 6:30pm...we got lucky as we had just enough time to set up camp and eat dinner before the Thunder and lightning came!
Didn't last long though...we were very lucky today!

So, I survived day 1 and still want to keep going...we shall see what tomorrow brings!
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Day 1 - Jeff

25km - swift rapids as expected, 8 hours on the water and about 6 of those paddling

Couldn't have asked for a better first day. Once Julie decided to get up we were on the road by around 9. Was very windy out and didn't want to mess around crossing Georgian Bay so decided to start from Port Severn Lock (last in the Trent) and shorten the day a bit. Stopped for breakfast at the local greasy spoon and then went to the lock to pack up, went smooth, everything fit better then the test pack the night before and by 10:30 we were pushing off in sunshine.

Didn't get more than 3k before stopping for a beer, having grown up on the lake know lots of people so stopped at a friend Dennis who happened to be up just for the day. Socialized for a bit, quick swim and off again.

There was a nice breeze behind us for almost the entire day and clear skies. Wind stopped a few times and man did it get hot. Few adjustments were required to the foot pegs in Julie's kayak, she has yet to name it and will probably go with something girly, me, I'm sticking with 'Coffin II'.

Took a break at Big Chute Marine Railway and walked along the falls, they really have the flood gates open, record water levels and might actually be a problem, more on that in a minute.

Julie brought a waterproof iPod speaker system which is strapped to her kayak, she turned the thing on and was a real issue for two reasons, a) Michael Jackson sucks b) gave her some sort of an energy boost and spent the rest of the day playing catch up.

Current from Big Chute to Swift Rapids was insane, there were times it was all you could do to move forward, barely made last lock at Swift Rapids and made a mad dash to setup tent as the rain was on the horizon, Julie unpacked kayaks while I setup tent. She got the short end of that deal.

Things were going well until I realized I forgot one of the tent poles opps, MacGyver'd it and crossed fingers, Julie found an almost perfect stick.

Made dinner and just as we were finishing dinner the storm him, waited it out in the tent and it's gorgeous out again.

Lockmaster said they were considering shutting down waterway as the current is so strong farther up channel, happens to be our direction and should make for an interesting day tomorrow.

That's about it, gonna relax and get some rest for tomorrow.

And off we go...

Sitting on the couch at my mothers drinking my morning coffee and watching (hoping) for the sun to make an appearance, I see it on the horizon and I'm coaxing it along,  forecast calling for hot and muggy then turning to thunderstorms later this evening. It's a little windy out which will make the first stretch across georgian bay interesting.   Oh, and waiting for Julie to get up so we can get this show on the road. 

Yesterday couldn't have been any better, got down to MEC around 1pm and they let us take the kayaks a couple hours early and knocked 140 bucks off the price,  that doesn't happen often.  Figured out how to strap the kayaks properly onto my truck and we were on the road by 2:30.

Kayaks were a little smaller (16.2) than I thought and was nervous about everything fitting in, only one way to find out...   Got up north at around 530, and the packing started.  After looking at the kayaks and gear for awhile all I can say is it's like a puzzle,  put this here, that there, nope,  that doesn't work, ok that here, this there. Got it.  Couple minor items are staying behind and the tough part was food, food for 2 for 5-6 days takes up a lot of room.   But we got it all packed. 
My brother showed up with our  boat in tow, "wanna go for a ride?" Otay.  Was such a nice evening out, rode into penetang to stop at my uncles for a drink, which led to more than one and a campfire once the mosquitos started to come around.  Was a gorgeous night for a cruise across Georgian Bay and one of those nights with a warm breeze and lots of stars.  Got back to my mothers place around midnight. 

Today should be interesting, calling for thunderstorms this afternoon or evening and  hope we get camp setup before nasty weather sets in.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Final thoughts before trip

I have stopped looking at the weather forecast as it seems to change daily, I have my marine radio and my weather station, get out on the water and then deal with whatever happens. The good news is the forecast for when we cross Lake Simcoe is sunny with no wind (at least for now)  hope it stays that way.

Goal this year is slightly different, last year I was driven to make sure I finished the entire 420km trip, this year I really don’t care if I do, just out to have fun and enjoy the water and company.  I also want to make sure I don’t push Julie to the point where she is not enjoying herself which would completely defeat the purpose of why she is coming along this time.  Just going to play it by ear and see where we get to.

For those following along, here we go…..

Last day of work……

Officially on a countdown now and today is my last day of work.

Plan for tomorrow is pick up Julie at 12pm load her stuff into my truck head downtown to pick up our Kayaks for 3pm, then head up north to our launch point in Victoria Harbour, do a test pack or two then relax for the rest of the afternoon with family until we leave.

Hard to believe it’s been a year since the last trip.


I can’t speak to what Julie has packed but do know she has one extra bag of clothes, here is what I’m bringing and have 3 opportunities to do laundry along the way.   All packed in 1-25l Dry Bag.

  • 3 paddle/swim shorts
  • 4 paddle shirts (long and short sleeve)
  • 3 shorts for camp
  • 3 cotton t-shirts for camp
  • 1 pair cotton PJ pants
  • 2 pair wool socks
  • 4 pair boxers
  • 1 pair long pants
  • 1 cotton shirt so I look respectable if out for dinner
  • Sandals for camp
  • Baseball cap to contain the wind blown hair effect when in public

Wearing or in Kayak in case I need them.

  • Paddle Jacket in case cold or rain
  • Paddle Hat to protect from sun
  • Water Shoes
  • 2 pair waterproof paddle gloves, thick, thin

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Menu

I didn’t include a list of the food I brought last year and figured I would post it this year for those interested.   I re-supply along the way as needed, works well for the Trent Waterway as there are lots of places to shop and eat when you get tired of eating out of boxes and bags.


Primary drink is water, and drink lots of it, I carry two 1000ml bottles, one on deck one behind seat, usually enough for a few hours of paddling, I either use my water filter in a pinch or top at the locks or stores along the way.  I also pick up Gatorade where available.

I also carry 8 1000ml juice packs, tetra packs, you can pick up at any grocery store and they are durable and once you drink the juice you can fill with more water if needed.  usually store one in the cockpit and the others in the hatch.

For times when I get bored of water I carry 20 Koolaid single packs in various flavor just to add some taste to the water, rarely used them last year but nice to have.

Pre-mixed coffee for when I get to camp or in the morning, also have instant hot chocolate packs for a change.  I keep my eye out for Tim Hortons for the real stuff when I can get it.

6-12 cans of beer under the deck, don’t drink during the day but enjoy one once camp is setup.  Debating bringing Whiskey this year but carrying coke is a pain.  I use the Georgian Bay cooler system, put beer in a bag and put in water to cool.  They generally stay cool under the deck anyway.


Generally snack all day to keep energy up and then always nice to have something to munch on at camp.  Carry a cooler bag which sits in the cockpit in front of the foot pegs and then I have a Tupperware container I add stuff to for the day’s paddle so it’s handy. 

  • 30 - trailmix/yogourt bars
  • 3 bags of bits-n-bites
  • 3 bags of crackers - crispers
  • 2 bags of dried banana chips
  • 1 bag of dried pineapple chunks
  • 1 box of vegetable thin crackers
  • 2 bags of trail mix, nuts and fruit (large)
  • 2 bags of nibs licorice
  • 1 bag werthers candy

I then take everything out of the packaging and divide up into zip-lock bags to reduce space for packing.  I prefer the medium Smart Zip ones as they are durable, easy to open and close and puff out at the bottom.


Never been a big breakfast person but need energy to start the day, typically consists of hot oatmeal (cinnamon apple my favorite) and have added some pre-packaged meals (just add hot water) for a little change, scrambled eggs etc.. 


Usually snack all day while paddling but have a number of soups, stews etc for when we get the urge to have something with a little more substance.   Won’t bore with specific list, generic canned stuff.


Various pastas with sauce, rice/chicken and other canned items like vegetables, beans etc., for dessert, canned fruit.  Lots of restaurants along the way so will eat out a few times when really want a good meal (and rye and coke)