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Day 2

July 29th, 3pm. Carlyle Lake. Site 56

I don't know why I remember this stretch of journey being so arduous last time. True, we went further last time, but today's trip was about three hours.

As promised it did rain this morning. We had almost enough time to get the tent down before the downpour. The rain lasted only about an hour, though it remained overcast and spat on us intermittently through the morning. We set off at around 9:30.

We reached the 80m into Freeland Lake, maybe 20 minutes later. It's a cute starter portage. There's a dock at one end and you can see the finish from the start.

We discovered that my new, relatively cleverly designed canoe pack is cheap because it is put together cheaply. Several times when we grabbed either the top handles or the compression straps, we could hear stitches breaking. Uh oh. Can it last ten days?

On Freeland, we saw a mother meerganser doing flight training with four ducklings. She did this "oh gee, I can't fly but I can lead you away from my flock" thing, using her wings to skim the water's surface, keeping ahead of us until we were far enough away. Then she took off and circled back to find her offspring.

From Freehand it's 440m into Killarney Lake. We made no attempt to find the direct route to Kakakise Lake. It's lost behind a massive bog, up an impenetrable creek. The portage went fairly easily though if the green SeaLine is piled too high with stuff, the canoe can't tilt back enough when going uphill.

The portage strategy:

Irene: Chinook Chemun canoe pack containing tent and food, plus paddles and the camera. PFDs and map bungied to the outside.

Chris: Canoe plus SeaLine canoe pack containing clothes, sleeping bags and thermarests varia.

We paddled a little bit - turning the corner on Killarney Lake to do the 1440m into Kakakise Lake. The put in demonstrates that the new, tastefully small portage markers are a pain for dead reckoners like me. The sign was obscured behind a newly fallen maple. I'm sure I'll get used to them.

The 1440m is hefty and hilly, both at the start and at the finish. We managed it in fairly good time. We paddled up Kakakise and did the 940m into Carlyle Lake by about noon. We arrived to an empty lake and took the spectacular point site opposite Terry Lake.

We had lunch and then a nap. As I write, a gang of teenagers from some camp or other has just kathunked, kerplonked and babbled by. Irene and I desperately held our breath in the hope that they would not choose the site across the very small bay. We'd like to pretend this park isn't swarming with people for at least another day.

Earlier I heard a motor boat, but apart from that, Killarney is very peaceful. And the sun has come out.

Last night, before we turned in at around 9:30pm, we saw some very athletic fish jumping. They leapt some distance out of the water. Nothing warm blooded and four legged larger than a chipmunk, though.

4:40pm

The sun has gone behind cloud and we hear thunder rumbling in the distance. Looks like we're in for more rain. It's getting cool.

All day I kept referring to "the green pack" and Irene would patiently remind me "They're both green." I tried "the nylon pack" and "the vinyl pack" but that didn't work either. So I noted that the new pack, aka the not-waterproof pack, aka the food pack, aka the 80L pack (which, according to the manufacturer is 110L) is labeled Chemun, or Ché for short. So that would make the other one Fidel. We'll see if it sticks.

We went swimming. Good for the hygiene, but surprisingly chilly. I had expected warmer. But it felt good nonetheless.

I had thought Irene and I were getting along well until she asked me to check out the branch she'd used to hang the food. I found it, and gave it a good tug. It seemed fine. "Put more weight on it," I heard her yell. I leaned. Above me, I heard a crack. Without thinking I turned away from the tree and stepped back. The falling limb glanced off my shoulder.

Now Irene keeps talking to me about these mushrooms - Chanterelles she calls them - that she's spotted along the portages. She's trying to get me to eat them. "I'm pretty sure they're Chanterelles... I learned a lot about mushrooms in BC."

7:30pm

Okay, I should note that most of the aforementionned dalliance with paranoia is untrue. Yes, the branch did fall on me when I tugged at it. But Irene did seem genuinely sorry. Wait - maybe she was sorry it wasn't fatal. Oh my.

Dinner was pasta with sundried tomato pesto. One and a half of those dried tortellini packs that Nicastros sells is a plentiful - possibly excessive - meal for two.

Low-grade disaster for the day: the lemon juice leaked in the orange olive barrell, which we're calling Athena. The green one is called Achilles. Irene is trying to name the water filter "Syncophant" because she says that's what it says when you pump it. I remain skeptical. The canoe has yet to be named.

Bug report: present, though not in biblical proportions. Irene doesn't even bother with citronella. I put some on for the last portage.

There were a few motor boats that came cruising around the corner to fish or watch the sunset over the course of the evening. But they were quiet, for the most part.

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