Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day Three on the Circuit

The largest lake on the circuit is Isaac Lake. It's 23.5 miles long. We spent three of our days on this lake. You have to be careful while you paddle it, because strong winds can kick up at any time. If you're in the middle of the lake when it happens, it's a long way to shore. And finding a good place to pull over can be difficult.

The paddling for Day Three was pretty uneventful. We took some time to explore the Harold Lewis Falls, which is a fall about 11 feet in size. The trail had devils' club, so we needed to be cautious about what we touched. The top sides of the leaves can be gently pushed aside, but if you touch the underside, or the stem, the thorns located there can stick into your skin. Once in your skin, it's hard to get the thorn out, and it will start to fester, which is not pleasant.

The rain wasn't bad during our paddling time. It did sprinkle a lot-- enough that we all pulled out our rain jackets on one of our breaks, and by the time we reached camp, we all had them on. Once we put up camp, and started our camp fire, it poured buckets (upon buckets). While the beach and forest was gorgeous at this site, the downward slope of the camp area made it ripe for flooding. And flood it did.

Day Two gave Vlad the opportunity to try out using a paddle to prop up our group tarp over the bear caches. Day Three gave him multiple opportunities to try different ideas out. Several pairs of paddles were duct taped together to prop up our tarp. Gunnel pads were placed on the top paddle, to give more flat space for the tarp to rest on.

Unfortunately for us, the tarp run-off flowed to the part of the ground that pooled up water the most. The boys sprung into action, using our canoe bailers to scoop up sand from the beach and build up a wall, between the pool of water and where we had our chairs and packs congregated under the tarp. It turns out that Ike's son, Blarney, is an excellent trench builder. We were glad to have our own "Blarney Corp of Engineers," along with us for these torrential downpours.

During one of the sun breaks, Pirate Jay, Ike and I went through the gear boxes more thoroughly. It turned out that we had more kitchen gear in another box (we thought we only had kitchen gear in the box marked "kitchen"), and there was a 28 quart stock pot in that box. We parked that puppy under the tarp flow during the next rain squall, taking turns dumping the water well away from our tarp space.

Pirate Jay, whose good-hearted and humorous nature was tested during the rain on Day Two and Three, tried to keep our spirits uplifted by joking about where the pit toilet was located. "It could be worse; imagine being washed away by a lahar of urine and feces." We'd all chuckle, but I wonder how many of us snuck a look at that outhouse perched on the top of the hill, above our precious tarp space, and wondered if it just might happen.

In order to keep our camp fire from blowing out, Pirate Jay and Vlad took a few canoes and set them up sideway, in between pairs of trees. This served as a wind block, and it saved our fire. We also used a large wood round on the fire grate to shield it from the rain.

One of the most important camp jobs was filtering water. There was no tap water on the circuit, just water from the lakes and rivers. We brought along a collapsable bucket and two water filters with us. The bucket was a pain in the ass-- it kept folding inward as we'd try to get a full bucket load of water. Also, the bucket had this distressing habit of falling over, spilling all that damned water you just worked so hard to scoop up.

Vlad puzzled over this dilemma. On Day Three, he tried out a wooden crossroads of two sticks, tied together with string, to keep the mouth of the bucket open during the filling process. He used a gear box strap to tie up the bucket handle, to prevent spilling. This contraption worked pretty well, until Kevin's son, B., lost the sticks in the lake.

The weather did clear enough so that the adults who wanted to go out on an evening paddle could do so. I chose to stay back at camp and wash my hair. I snagged the stock pot, and found an isolated piece of beach to scrub my scalp. I filled the pot with lake water, and used this to wet and rinse my hair, since it was too cold to go into the lake for a swim. I must of looked like a yetti, with my hair all wild and wearing my camo rainjacket to keep my shirt dry. Pirate Jay's son, Lower Case Jay, was skipping rocks on the beach when I walked out to the water's edge to dump the pot of water. I scared the crud out of him.

Day Three did bring some relief for Tee and me-- we no longer were the keepers of the cheese. Day Three's meal was individual pizzas, and our group had a dry bag filled with packets of shredded cheese. It was our job to park this bag into the lake when we set up camp; make sure it didn't float off or land on shore, thus becoming too warm; and we had to remember to pull it out of the lake and drag it with us to the next camp site. We both were so happy to let all that cheese get eaten up.


At 4:00 AM, Anonymous Morrigan said...

Sounds like you had an intresting time,there is nothing like actual experience to test what works and what doesn't.


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