Day 1

Carlyle Lake, CS 55 - 9pm, September 16, 2011

I was up just before 5am this morning, and out the door in time to pick Martin up at 5:30. He’d brought the rental car and his gear over the afternoon before. I packed the car and put the canoe on yesterday evening.

We got to the main entrance to Killarney Park, George Lake, just before noon. By 12:30pm we had our permit and were on the water. Just in time for the battery in my new GPS to die. Right after I turned it on.

Of course I had brought extras, but I had buried them deep in the pack because, well... what are the chances of running out of batteries on day one. Ha ha ha.

As it turns out, the GPS doesn’t actually charge its battery when it’s plugged into the USB port of a computer. But it does read that the battery is at 100%.

Who knew?

Well, it didn’t matter because (a) I also had the Killarney Park Canoe and Hiking Route Map, and I’d been this way before.

The first two portages - George to Freeland (80m) and Freeland to Killarney (455m) are easy. They are sort of like the onramp to the park. You have to do these to get anywhere interesting from George Lake.

I had thought about going in at Bell Lake, but I figured I would rather spend more time paddling than driving and outside of the summer months, if you want to enter at Bell, you still have to get your permit at George Lake.

Killarney to Kakakise Lake, on the other hand, is significantly longer (1440m) and has steep hills at either end. The hill at the Kakakise end is strewn with boulders for added effect. The paths are clear and wide, however, evidence of much use.

We saw four or five parties of canoeists along our way today. Killarney is popular, even after summer’s over. The crowds thinned after Kakakise. We stopped for a late lunch at 3pm on an island in the middle of the lake.

Today has blessed us with blue sky and a tail wind. But it is cold. So cold my pen keeps dying on me.

You get from Kakakise to Carlyle Lake via a 940m portage that also has hilly bits at both ends. But the destination is beautiful.

We were on Carlyle by about 4pm. We chose the site that straddles the tiny stream between Carlyle and Terry lakes. Good tent pads, reasonable furniture. Great view.

Dinner was pasta with pesto and fresh parmesan cheese.

We’ve got a new tetrapak vino on offer this year. French Rabbit, which Martin tonight declared “very passable.” He adds, “it’s got a certain impudence about it.” Tonight we sampled the Cabernet Sauvignon. Let’s see how the Merlot compares tomorrow.

I’m encouraged that thus far I haven’t forgotten anything.

People from a nearby cottage came around to our bay to look at the sunset this evening but apart from some distant bellowing fellows (and the trucks) we have no evidence of other humans.

We were ready for bed by 9pm but got to look up at the stars in the clear night sky. While we could hear trucks on the highway that connects the town of Killarney to Highway 69, the water was so calm we could also see the stars reflected in the lake. A beautiful moment.

Pre-trip portrait: George Lake. Bound and determined.

Pre-trip portrait

George Lake from the portage to Freeland: Panorama this time

George Lake from the portage to Freeland

Fire started: Most definitely needed it tonight. Carlyle Lake

Fire started