I don't actually know who the "them" is, but it seems like someone is battling against us.
I'm lying here in the tent and it seems that the mosquito shift has started and and the blackflies have hit the bars. No longer do I hear the tap tap tap sound of hundreds of the tiny terrors hitting the tent (it sounds like gentle summer rain). Now I hear the whine of thousands of mosquitoes homing in on our flesh. The bugs are astounding.
Carmen Cross, who runs the Kiosk access point, declared gleefully that today was the first day you could even go outside, and that the blackflies were receding. Wow. One tough ranger she is. Oh my but the bugs are bad.
Irene and I ran for the tent about 9:20pm, and spent the next ten minutes doing a search and destroy mission on all the blackflies. we think/hope/pray we've got them all.
But I should begin at the beginning. We spent last night packing, trying to get all the gear and food into a 110 litre Sealine waterproof pack. Complicated. We've got almost all our food in an approximately 24 litre olive barrell inside the pack. But the pack doesn't fit our gear very well. Everything's a bit wide or a bit narrow, or too long, or too short.
This morning we were up for 7am. We threw all our stuff into Irene's car, picked up the canoe at Irene's sister Janet's and headed west and north. The directions to Kiosk are simple. Get on the Queensway, follow Highway 17 til you see the turnoff for Kiosk. Turn left. Stop before you hit the water.
We were on the road for 8:20am and we got to Kiosk around 12:30. We picked up our permit, had lunch and headed out. Kioshowki is a big lake and it can get wide on you. But today it was calm and windless. We set out just after 1pm and made it to the first portage in under an hour. If it's windy, it can take you three hours.
We saw our first moose - a cow and calf pair - in a marshy area near where the Amabl du Fond flows into the lake.
The first portage is 200m and like most on this trip, over easy terrain. We do it, but we discover that the smaller pack that we carry with the canoe is a tad uncomfortable and awkward. We load up with a feverishly desperate energy as the bugs swarm us almost the instant we hit shore. We're still in July/August mode so neither of us considers it necessary to put on bug repellent.
We paddle to the second portage and at my insistence take the trail to the left. A couple hundred metres later we were back at the end of the first portage. I get tense. I put down the canoe. The bugs are swarming both of us and we desperately want to get moving. I turn around and see a yellow portage sign that says "Amabl du Fond low water option, 285m" Ooops. See map.
We do the metres back to were we'd set in for our second portage and we do the real second portage, a 275m jaunt past an unnavigable part of the river.
After that little oopsie, we had another one. We're paddling along the river and Irene knocks her prescription sunglasses into the water. We hover over where we think they are but we cannot see them. Shit.
We get to the next portage - 1180m from the Amabl du Fond to Manitou Lake, where we are now. This time we prepped and we covered ourselves in bug repellent. DEET for me, Citronella for Irene. DEET worked, but it stripped all the skin off my arm. My arms were still sunburned from the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour, and were due for peeling, but the Muskol I put on them induced peeling instantly.
Not what you call confidence building.
The portage took us 20 minutes. Irene and I are trying to do single pass portages and we managed this one. By 4:50pm, we're down the lake a bit and we camp on what I call Ant Island.
We had a nice dinner of pasta prima vera and we watched a beautiful summer solstice sunset, while we pumped water, swatted numerous blood sucking insects and then we ran for the tent.