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Day 1

George Lake, Campsite #3, Monday July 28, 7:15pm

Here we are. Night one of our nine night canoe-a-polooza. This trip started with a series of disasters. So it's going to be a great trip. I have yet to start a trip smoothly and I've yet to have a bad trip, so things are looking up.

We stayed up until 2am this morning, subsidizing the Ziploc industry, packing, repacking and putting gear together. Irene was still on Pacific Time, so she had lots of energy when I lost mine. When we figured we were set, I changed the alarm to 6:30am, and to sleep we went.

I woke up after six hours of undisturbed sleep. At 8am. Shit. See, I set the alarm for 6:30. But did I activate it? No. Oops. We bolted out of bed, hurled everything together and headed out the door by 8:30. A quick stop at Janet's to get the canoe and we were away.

Some time after the Corel Centre, another disaster. We heard this thump-thumping from the roof of the car and then I turned around to see a portage yoke-shaped piece of gray foam floating away from us, tumbling along the asphalt. Oops.

I had cut a couple of pieces of gray foam to fit the yoke, put velcro straps between them, then stuck them together with what I thought was the proper cement and let it cure overnight. I then strapped my pad to the yoke. And the airflow of the car speeding along the Queensway ripped my contraption in half.

I am left with one piece of foam. I hope that will do. It would be nice not to have to wear my life jacket (my heretofore normal padding source) on portages. Ah well.

The rest of the trip to Killarney was slow and uneventful. We stopped for the requisite sub in Sturgeon Falls, I bought a cheap watch that I later discovered was broken, and Irene sent a note to Kemptville's other Wilhemina to thank her for hemming her formal dress.

Construction slowed us down and we didn't get to Killarney Park until around 5pm. You lose your reservation - you know, that thing we'd been fighting for for the last five months? - if you're not there by 6pm. So time is really important.

The road into the park is long (58k into the village, about 46k into the park). Make sure, not like us, that you have enough gas in your car to get in and out. The Honda is on empty and we're a tad concerned about making it to a pump.

At the George Lake access point, we tried to get Nellie Lake for night seven. No luck. The park was jammed. The George Lake car campground was full. Take note, if you plan to drive to the park and car camp on night one: it's a separate process and just as in-demand as the back country system.

We unloaded, parked the car, loaded the canoe and set out. We paddled across George. We weren't sure about getting sites further east, so we settled on old faithful. It's on the north side of the lake, in the shadow of Killarney Ridge.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so we've set up the tarp and we're learning about reconstituting vegetables. The pink granite cliffs on the shore opposite are aglow with the sun's dying rays. The last of the George Lake daytrippers are retreating to the car camp. The adventure has begun.

Lesson learned: vegetable consommé

The hot water used to reconstitute vegetables makes a really good broth. A good appetizer if you're (patiently) awaiting beans to boil or some such thing.

8:45pm

We've finished dinner, a curried tofu stirfry thing It was an informative, useful and tasty, with all dehydrated veg. There's some taste compromise, but ten days of fresh food would be unmanageably heavy. One tetra pak of tofu feeds two people, FYI.

We've hung the food and are awaiting the onslaught of bugs. Irene's doing an excellent mosquito impression.

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