Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 9 - Suck it up!

For those in the office pool who figured I would call it quits at the first sign of bad weather, you just lost your money. I figure there had to be a category for that one too. Was a good day all things considered.

Going to start off from where I ended last night, I get to the lock and one of my first questions to the lockmaster, "do you have a raccoon problem here?", reply... "Never seen one". Whew, I had to store food in tent because I couldn't easily get into kayak. Ok, so I just finish updating my blog when I hear the now all too familiar sound of fighting raccoons, they sound like screaming babies, very freaky. I slap on the headlamp and pop out to see what's up. There is a garbage can 50 feet away and I can see those eyes staring back at me when the light hits them.

I first try and scare the critter by running towards, stomping feet, waving arms and shouting, she looks at me like what are you, new? I must be getting crazy out here cause we talk for a bit and I think we've come to a mutual understanding and I head back into tent. Fast forward to 3am.

My tent has a fly attached which forms a dome over my tent shell , which is pretty much all mesh for ventilation. Perfect design to open eyes and stare into face of my new little friend, let's just say I was a little startled. I'm pissed now, she broke our previously agreed upon arrangement!

I debate giving her a shot with my bear banger flares but decide not to wake up the town of lakefield, I go put my food bag into the washroom so it's locked up, turn on my headlamp and leave it on pointing out, figure maybe she would stay away if the light was on. Don't know if she came back, was out like a light. Found out in the morning they were after the tbone steak scraps my boat neighbors threw out, thanks guys, all wrapped up nice in your cruiser.

Wake up around 6:30 and forecast calling for thundershowers in the afternoon, I walk to mcdonalds for egg mcmuffin and coffee, surprisingly the coffee is so good, I'm a die hard tims fan but I could switch now.

By the time I get back it has started to rain, I said I would paddle in any condition but lightning, I pack up all my gear in the rain then find a lower landing spot about 50 meters back behind the lock wall, carry all my stuff there and pack kayak, was better than navigating the four foot wall again. Empty water out of cockpit and foam seat it drenched from the rain overnight. Fun sitting in a puddle right off the bat. Hit first lock with my houseboat buddies from the day before. Wearing motocross jersey, shorts, paddling shoes, paddle jacket and shorts.

As I get thought lock at 9 the rains stops and I'm getting hot, take off jacket and store under deck. No sooner do I do that, it starts sprinkling again. Decide to leave jacket off, big mistake. I race the houseboat to next lock (did 8 locks today). He beats me, barely. I beat him to the next 3, I can get out of lock quicker, as soon as there is enough room. About 1/2 click to nassau mills lock rain pours, the kind where when it hits water the splash pops up about an inch. Now soaked.

There is a hold up at the lock and have to wait half hour, have my umbrella out to keep rain off, remembered to leave in kayak. Smart move. Getting a little cold now from sitting still. Once in lock I hop out of kayak, strip off jersey and put warm paddling jacket back on. All the difference in thew world. Next lock peterborough, 6km. The view wasn't all that spectacular on this section, compounded with torrential rain. Despite that, I'm actually enjoying the paddle, wind behind so no struggling and today is the shortest schedule distance day at 16km. I did 18 though. Lol.

Get to peterborough lift lock and there is half hour wait and raining hard. I'm now cold and fingers white and wrinkled. Lift lock is amazing but just a bigger version of kirkfield. I came from. The top so you don't see it in all it's splendor. Rain stops as I exit but wet, little paddling and I warm up. Go through next lock and totally miss the channel split marker, duh. I see the dock in peterborough and head there. Opposite way from lock direction. Get there and realize, turn around and head back. On the way I paddle through the big water fountain in the middle of lake, wet anyway.

Starts pouring again and sky looks black. Make it to the last lock where I'm camping around 2. Lockmaster tells me I can tale the canoe chute if I like. It's 45 degree cement with rollers and exits on dam side in rapids, I say no way am I riding that down, paid 80 bucks for lock pass, gonna use it, he says no, you walk canoe down not ride, we both laugh. I use the lock anyway.

I unpack clothes and strip down right on dock, don't care at this point, want warm clothes, fleece sweater and pants, warm instantly. Get camp setup and it starts to pour again with lightning this time. I go for a nap and wake up at 5 and all clear. Make dinner and relax.

Elkie family texts at 6 they are at movie in peterborough do I want a coffee, ah ya. They stop by for half hour then I'm alone again, thanks for stopping by, kind of depressing that they drove here in 20 minutes and took me 15 hours over two days.

This is the first lock where I'm the only one here. Sat outside most of the night looking at stars and relaxing.

Tomorrow is suppose to be more of the same, yeah, knew I would get rain and just happy the first half and the toughest parts were in great weather. Making the best of it and not discouraged in the least. Part of the experience

My issue tomorrow is that it's 60k to next lock with rice lake in between, going to have to find somewhere to camp along the way.

More people took pictures and waved today than any other day, they wanted for scrapbook. Look at the crazy Canadian in the rain. Especially when I had my umbrella up.

1 comment:

  1. you shoulda saved that dead raccoon from Day 4 and used it to threaten that cheeky female. "This is what happened to the LAST raccoon that crossed me, BEEYOTCH!" And, it could have provided you with sustenance and companionship later in your trip.