Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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.

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