Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 4 - Civilization

Today was my favorite day so far, did little over 40k in about 8 hours and ended in Fenelon Falls as scheduled. Beautiful lock and sat on the patio at a place called the lake house, was live band which I can still hear as I type this, had grilled calamari (best ever) and steak (so so). Waitress asked me twice when I ordered 3 rye and coke, yes three glasses, three shots ma'am, first two went down instantly, sipped the third over dinner, walked to tim hortons and got a coffee, oh ya baby, so good. Two negatives wrt the park, goose crap everywhere so took awhile to clear a suitable spot, second is they have a low dock, yah, but there is a 3 foot wide staircase with 6 steps up, was interesting getting the 18 foot kayak up those. In the morning I will resupply before I head out, in no hurry tomorrow.

Even started to take pictures today which I forgot about the first three days. Will post once I move them from bb1 to bb2 so I can upload.

There were points today I thought I would get the "coffin" up on plane and was doing over 10kph in some spots, really getting the hang of this now, kind of forced to though, especially today, most demanding day physically and mentally by far. Speaking of, here is how I'm holding up for those at the office who are running a pool for when I'm giving up, among other bets. Bite me I'm doing this!

Physically I feel fine about 10 - 20 minutes after I get out of the kayak. Later that night my lower back is a little sore as is my butt from sitting all day, the only lasting pain seems to be my right wrist which has been that way since day one, I keep adjusting my paddle stroke to see if it helps. muscles in my elbow where it bends is also tender.

This morning I noticed I had blisters on both middle fingers starting and I put bandaids on em, didn't get any worse I think today. For the last 3 days when I wake up my fingers are very stiff and takes about half hour to get full movement where it feels normal. Other than that all is good. Even figured out today how to get out of cockpit and sit balanced on deck to stretch legs, helps a lot. Endurance is building, can do 2-3 hours at a stretch now and don't need to rest as often.

Here is how the day went. Woke up around 6 again and just relaxed at camp, made breakfast, washed kayak, took my time, finally got packed up and headed out around 9:45. Was two really nice ladies at the cottage next door who were keeping me company as I packed and brought me a coffee, they said I should stay cause they were having Christmas in July party that night, I was tempted but the water was calling and I could hear that song from deliverance playing in my head the whole time, just needed the banjo.

The scenery from bolsover to fenelon falls was the best yet, really enjoyed it and the wind was my best friend today and at the same time, my worst enemy and just plain out to get me.

Canal lake was weird, wind was at my back and was going with the waves (small ones) then at the same time a full set of waves coming sideways at the same time, made kayak do weird things and was just a taste of things to come later. As I reached the end of canal lake there was a submerged tree in the water just under the surface and right in the waterway, tried to pull it out of the way but couldn't, part broke off so I laid it across the kayak then tried tying to the other piece but the branches weighed it down, at this point boater drives by and waves, psst, doing this for your benefit ahole, could lend a hand. Finally I give up and the next boater I see I tell him where it is and he said he would move it, that's the spirit.

As I enter the canal for Kirkfield a very large boat comes close and swamps me, happened a few times today and people don't seem to care about the little guy, ill have more respect for kayaks now. Kirkfeild lock is impressive, two big bathtubs, as one goes up the other goes down, they do it by adding an extra foot of water in the one at the top and the weight pushes the other one up, cool. it's noon so I stop for lunch and the wind is picking up.

Get going by 1ish and see this really cool vulture looking bird the size of a turkey, just sitting on a branch, pass through Mitchel lake and hit my first submerged stump and it throws kayak tilting over, opps. Wind getting worse now, 20-30km I would guess and gusting higher.

Now getting worried about balsam. Pass a fifty foot yatch in the channel and ask what balsalm is like, he says good, next time I will ask a small boat, damn cruiseliners don't feel anything in those air cushioned seats, AC, stocked bar, 80 ton behemoths. Yes, jealous.

I see my first critter of the wild, big raccoon just sitting there. Didn't really have a choice, he was dead and floating in the water, almost hit him and it startled me, thought he was a possum and going to all of a sudden jump up at me, like he was baiting me or something.

I get to balsam at around 3pm, funny how after awhile you can tell how long it will take to paddle distances, I look across to the island I need to get to and it's about an hour and a half away, wind screaming from behind me now. Starts off pretty easy for about 15 minutes then really gets crazy, much worse than simcoe, as with canal lake, waves are coming from behind and from the side, going with the waves is really weird, you can feel them lift you and then you get to a point where you are balanced on top and start to swerve sideways, then wave comes from side too. Was white knuckled for about half hour until I got into my comfort zone but was still nervous. Followed the wind across but then had to turn side wind for about a km with those big waves coming from the right, got used to going this way in simcoe so was pretty comfortable, waves were just bigger, not the biggest I will see today either, not by a long shot.

Get to the point and take a break on this little dock, notice the boat tied up there had its tarp come undone, figure least I could do for a resting spot is fix it so I do it back up.

Now heading the other way and wind at my back again, some weird wind patterns in balsalm, different direction than other side of island, I'm thankful though, as I pull into rosedale more criss cross waves but really weird, like a checkerboard pattern and tough to paddle through, only about 1/2 k of that but that was enough. Cross in just about and hour and a half. Stop at a marina and talk to this family for awhile who's daughter is cycling to toronto tomorrow, 180km, go girl. Cute too

Get to rosedale lock and the guys aren't there, I wait 15 minutes and finally a lady docked in a boat goes to tell them I'm there, they say they saw me down the canal but then I disappeared so they thought I turned around. He also tells me I'm the first kayaker to do the trent this season, woohoo.

As I leave the lock there is a boat that I camped with the night before, we chat for a few minutes and she says I made good time, yep, 5:30 and about 5miles to fenelon falls, whatever that is in km. I say see you tomorrow and off I go for what I think is a quick easy paddle to end the day. NOT.

I look across cameron lake and see fenelon falls, looks calm and wind coming from the right and what looks like hour and half paddle. The further out I go the bigger the waves start getting, and I mean really big, massive big, crazy big. Learned though that of all waves, I prefer going through them sideways with them coming from the right, literally was brace left, paddle right, over and over, don't think I did more than 3 strokes with right hand the last km, having fun now and very relaxed. Kind of riding up and over each wave, started to try different things, roll the kayak over wave with hips etc, just seeing what works best, even turned into the waves and paddled a bit forwards and backwards. The sun is sparkling off the water and I just relax there for a few minutes taking it in.

Playtime over, I turn back towards the lock which is only about a 15 minute paddle, I'm also riding the waves now. Wait for a big roller and when you get to the top, paddle hard and fast and you can stay on top like you're surfing. Way cool. As I get to the outer markers I make my first real dangerous "mistake"

The channel entrance to the lock is narrow and sided by two markers (not buoys) as you come in there is a rock pile wall and I thought no way am I going there, other side has boats lined up along cottages and so think the other side is the channel (ignoring the markers duh) I get a hundred yards down before I notice that I'm on the wrong side going towards the damn, not lock. and there is a lot of rock under me, start to wonder if I'm going to be washed over a shoal I can't see in front of me, turn around and have to go back. I'm beside the partially submerged rock wall and waves are still massive at this point, nervous that I'm going to get washed up on the rocks. Not good. Paddle hard into the wind and hardly move, takes 15 minutes to get 100 yards and can't imagine doing those lakes today the opposite way. Turn in the correct channel and park! Great day.

Oh and headphones dried out too. Whew.


  1. Perhaps those were the most delicious rye/cokes ever? Speaking of civilization, I don't recall a mention of the Atherley Arms from day 2?

  2. Just got in from N.Y. and you've been in my thoughts and yes prayers...sweetie, didn't you tell me I had nothing to worry about, you'd not take any to go back and re-read some of your adventures..the last few days had my heart in my throat...guess now I'll go back and see what fun you are having....