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Day 5

Day 3

Monday June 23, 3:10pm, Three Mile Lake

They named this lake after the paddling distance required to find a good campsite. I am being facetious, but compared to yesterday, our current site is less than inspiring. But it's fine.

Oh - I almost forgot:

Day three scoresheet
  • +163 bug bites
  • +1 moose
  • +1 day of sun

Irene's napping beside me in the tent and I'm tired, but I'm going to try to fill you in.

We woke up early - around 6:30am for no other reason than that's when nature called. We packed up and ate instant organic oatmeal (is there a contradiction here?) with our coffee. We were on the water for around 8:40am.

A hour-ish paddle put us onto our first of four portages. These four you pretty much want to do at a run. They're connecting a string of intolerably bug-infested piss holes whose names I cannot remember.

We did them all single pass and found ourselves on Three Mile Lake by around 10:30am. We paddled around checking out the various sites on the lake until around 11:30 when we settled on the one on the shore opposite our first portage tomorrow.

We've been portaging a ziploc bag full of dried kidney beans soaking in water, taking a page out of Carol Hodgin's Wanapitei cookbook. At the portage we empty the water and pack the beans still moist. Then we refill for the stretches of lake paddling, rare though they may be. We'll see if it works for tonight's chilli.

So how is our campsite? What makes a good camp site according to:


  • scenery
  • wind/breeze
  • flat
  • clean
  • not near swamp
  • good place to swim


  • exposed rock
  • windy
  • open
  • a meadow
  • no chopped trees/branches
  • no furniture
  • no other signs of human impact
  • no bugs
  • a tree that arches out into the lake
  • box model toilet

Irene's finding all these sites a tad trodden, and I agree. We went for a swim. Refreshing but it seems the water temperature drops by ten degrees for every few dozen centimetres of depth. The first 30cm or so are quite pleasant. After that it gets chilly and by the time you're down a metre or so, your body feels encased in cold. I could feel the heat fleeing my body.

The bugs - especially the blackflies - are proving really aggravating. Have I whined enough about that yet? Quite probably yes. They like my legs and Irene's face and neck. A couple of times this afternoon, I heard Irene exclaim "Why can't you just leave me alone!" Seems like they're getting to us.

Campsite lounging is actually a form of low-impact aerobic exercise. Your arms and legs are in constant motion, swatting and moving to check to see if that faint touch is in fact a herald of yet another pain prick.

That's why it's 4pm and we're in the tent. If ever I do another June trip (and it seems likely I will) I'm going to get a bug shirt. I'm not worried about West Nile so much as gagging on mosquitoes that fly down my trachea at portage landings.

Have I mentionned that the bugs are bad?