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Day 8

Monday, August 4th, 2:10pm. Baie Fine, Site #38

Day two of life among the yachts. I just got bopped in the nose by this slow-flying grasshopper like bug that must have been the inspiration for the creature in Alien*.

Sorry I digress. We're anchored here along the narrow stretch of Baie Fine that leads to The Pool.

It turned out to be another low-effort day. But I have an excuse.

See, last night, it never stopped raining. From about 6pm onward. Rain rain rain. Prior to that we'd been so fortunate. And actually the weather did break well for us.

We were camped on a square patch of moss/grass/dirt at the base of the tiniest rock incline (like less than a foot). Over the course of the night, water trickled down the rock and collected under the tent floor. Eventually, it came through the floor on Irene's side only.

Irene seemed unphased. Mind you she has an artificial-fill sleeping bag, so a little damp is less than fatal. I, on the other hand am terrified of a wet sleeping bag because wet down doesn't insulate.

I mention this because I bought the offical MEC footprint (aka groundsheet) for my MEC Wanderer 2 tent (I am an MEC poster child m'fraid) precisely to prevent this thing from happening.

The Wanderer 2 is a great canoe trip tent - don't get me wrong - but the floor is really thin. And on my Georgian Bay trip I discovered this chink in its armour.

But in our case, if the floor was the chink, then the footprint was more like a screwdriver than a patch. The water, instead of rolling down the rock and being absorbed into the moss, rolled down the rock and trickled onto the top of the footprint, working its way under the tent floor, collecting in puddles and easily wicking into the tent.

Maybe I'm not setting it up right, but man what a pain.

I woke up early - before 6am and lay there, listening to the rain. (It always sounds much worse from inside the tent, though I seem incapable of reminding myself of that fact at the time). I started getting really psyched out by the idea of cooking, taking down and paddling wet. What if I fall on a wet slippery rock? What if it rains so hard our canoe swamps? We don't have a bailer. What will we use? If Baie Fine is wavy how will we manage with a bilge?

I lay in my sleeping back hoping the rain would stop. I could have waited all day. Fortunately, the rain-avoidance imperative was overridden by a certain other imperative. Plus, Irene said, "It's only water."

And so at 7am we got up. I got on my rain jacket and barged outside.

"You know," I said, as if for the first time in my life, "once you get out in it, it's not so bad."

I trundled off toward the shitbox (quite a ways away on this site along a fairly challenging path - you'll need a belay). And by the time I got there, the rain had stopped.

We sprang into action. Irene and I double teamed the tent. We rid the groundsheet and fly of as much water as we could and packed them in the tent bag. The tent itself we put in a garbage bag before putting it in the tent bag.

We packed all the clothes, bags and pads into Squeaky and moved it all under the tarp. We reckoned we had ten minutes before the rain started again. We didn't actually see any more rain for two hours.

We had the requisite coffee and oatmeal with dried apricots, almonds and the leftover maple syrup. I ate it dutifully. After I get back I think it will be some time before I eat hot cereal again.

By 9:30 we were away, turning south and heading toward Blue Ridge. This stretch of water is stunningly beautiful. It's a shame more of this is not part of the park. I had a brief look at the Lands for Life plans for Killarney and it's looking like some of this stuff may become park at some point, but you can bet that the new "natural resource management areas" they're planning will become reality much sooner.

A 3km paddle brought us to the foot of Blue Ridge's north shore. We paddled west until we found the 905m portage. You might be able to paddle around Blue Ridge but the portage is flat, marked and maintained. The paddle around is a lot longer and puts you out on open water for a few km.

Irene is back to carrying today thanks to her sturdy constitution, willpower and the Big Blue Pill. I'm happy we have only the one portage for her to handle. And I'm happy that Ché is lighter now.

At the end of the portage, we ran into a group from Camp Ahmek. They were camped on a cobble beach at the put in. They were just waking up at around 10:30 as we got to them. They said the water in Baie Fine was calm enough to paddle, but that the wake from the yachts had almost soaked the counsellors' tent.

Baie Fine itself is an awesome and majestic sight. This too should be in the park. More than a km wide, 16ish km long, it's lined left and right by Blue Ridge on the north and Killarney Ridge on the south. The hills rise sharply, 380m out of the bay's blue green water. When we saw it, cloud was hanging over the southern shore, dipping into calm water. There was no wind.

Boat traffic was subdued - only two boats passed us on our way into the narrower part of the bay known as The Pool, inside the park boundary.

We paddled through the narrows, keeping close to shore to dodge a big sailboat that was heading out from the pool.

We picked the site along the channel, away from The Pool in the hope that it might offer some more seclusion. From where I sit, I can see three or so boats moored. And starting at about 3pm, a steady parade of boats heading into the pool. Glad we didn't camp there. There are no loons here, as you might imagine.

We put in at about 11:30. Hadn't planned it that way but the short travel gave us time to dry out our gear, our clothes and enjoy the place before the yacht people took over.

We had mung bean sprouts with camenbert and dried apple sandwiches for lunch. Fresh apple might have been better but there wouldn't be a lot of fresh left in an apple after eight days in an olive barrell.

The sun came out around 2pm and stayed with us for the next couple of hours. It was delicious. The wind is blowing east, in from the west. Is that the fair weather wind? I hope so. We're on Killarney Lake tomorrow. It would be a nice way to spend our last night in the park.

Irene's lesson for the day: you can use a keeper in the wild.

5:15 - This just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. Two of the three floating behemoths littered our landscape last night have just dropped anchor 200m away from us. What is it with these people? Furthermore why is this permitted in the boundary of a managed provincial park. Oh - great. Now here comes the third boat that assaulted our senses last night.

9:40 - Tonight we sleep to the thrum-thrumming of some system aboard the biggest of the three floating mansions opposite. They're close enough for me to see that they're watching TV. It boggles the mind to think that they came all the way out here to watch Jeopardy. (They're also so close I can hear the sound on the TV set).

No matter. I've just been telling myself that tomorrow night we'll be camped on a lake that's much more beautiful, with scenery far more compelling, that they will never be able to reach in their frigging yachts.

Dinner tonight was delicious. The much fretted-over, much maligned gado gado. It was great - complete with fresh mung bean sprouts. We could have used more peanut butter, but with rice done to perfection, tons of veggies (perhaps a bit familiar by this point), it was a show stopper.

Irene did up the peanut sauce in a sauce pan with fresh ginger, lemon, tamari and garlic. Yum.

Tomorrow is our last night. Peace all.

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