Day 3

Sunday October 13th, 9pm, Killarney Lake

We’ve all been driven "indoors" after a long, wonderful and fairly challenging day.

It seemed to rain almost continuously last night. Though perhaps it was just the wind shedding drops off the trees above? Well, whatever the case, we were warm and dry ish. The tent floor feels a little damp.

We woke around 7:30 to a day that had broken cloud cover and flirtatious sun. But it was cold. Over oatmeal we hatched a plan to do a day trip over to OSA lake to climb one of the park’s higher peaks. Sounds good. So around 10:30 we headed out in three canoes.

Killarney Park is not known for big water and big lakes. It’s the tiny perfect park. But today we saw a different side of it. Wind, nasty nasty wind, driving owards the east as we attempted to move west to OSA. It took us the better part of two hours to move down the lake to the portage to OSA. Despite moments where the wind pushed our boats backward, we were all enjoying ourselves and the challenge. But the skies were mostly sunny, though low, fast-moving clouds suggested something else was coming.

Richard suggested that we drop the idea of portaging in and paddling another hour into the wind and bushwhack instead. And there was much rejoicing. So whack we did. We headed into the forest, guided by Richard’s faithful compass just as the first rain started.

It came in fits and starts, propelled by a nasty west wind. But we skirted the edge of the mountain until we found a reasonable place to ascend. As we scrambled up to the top of our first ridge, it started to hail. A quick ooh-ahh stop and we moved on. Atop ridge #2, we got snow. We could see sun streaming down on other parts of the park. In a sheltered dip off ridge three, we had another excellent lunch of cheese and salami sandwiches, and cookies. Lots of cookies.

Another photo op, and at 2:30 or so we started back.

We feared the waves astern would be too much for Richard’s tiny solo canoe, so we wanted to give ourselves some time. We came down off the mountain in a mixture of sun, rain, and hail. The walking kept us warm, but it was crisp indeed.

When we got back to our canoe drop, the water was calm, the wind, was gentle and at our backs. Eminently manageable. So off we went, marvelling at the colours, set alight by the afternoon sun and the lake’s royal blue water.

We more or less surfed back to our campsite for about 4:30. We walked around to a nearby point to catch a better view of the sunlit lake. But instead we saw a squall move across the lake and send ice pellets showering down on us. Twenty minutes later the sun returned. But the temperature seemed still to be dropping.

We had John’s brilliant rice and fruit curry with pudding for dessert. Then we went to look at the stars. But by 9pm most of us were finding the cold hard to bear. So we retreated for the evening.

I hope my photos, through misty, raindrop-spattered lenses do justice to the beauty of this place.

I hope my sleeping bag withstands tonight’s test (which will be its toughest yet, I imagine).

And I hope the prats across the bay have gone hoarse from last night.

I can’t imagine a more wonderful place to spend thanksgiving weekend. Good night.


(click to enlarge thumbnails)