Saturday, July 22, 2000, 5pm.
Ferguson Bay, Lake Temagami

Richard has developed a real prediliction for collecting firewood. Dennis keeps bugging him about picking up firewood en route so that we'll have enough. (We routinely build piles of wood that we never use, but someone will).

Saturday didn’t bring any encouragement in weather department. It was still cloudy and where yesterday had at least been calm, the wind picked up considerably today. And this was the day we were supposed to get back on Lake Temagami. Temagami is a big lake. It’s huge. Vast. Immense. Gargantuan. Leviathanic. Titanic. Sorry. I get carried away some times

I built a dock to load our canoes and we set forth across Obabika Inlet to our last portage, to our last portage, a 620m jobby.

Diane and Richard got way ahead and it looked like they were going the wrong way. We’d been loading them first and giving them a head start because they had been the slowest boat. Dennis whistled and they turned around and joined our course. It turns out they never heard the whistle. They just saw something that looked like the portage and came about.

The portage went well. The trail was good and Diane, who yesterday bested one of the pig food barrels, took a canoe all the way across.

We did the portage, where we ran into some Wanapitei trippers one of whom had a collapsible canoe. Over the portage, we were in Devil Bay. That was fairly calm. We stopped at a high point for lunch and planned our crossing. I saw a few white caps, and the lake looked so wide you felt you could almost see the earth bending.

We paddled across, north of Granny Island and pushed up into Ferguson Bay. The big crossing wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It looked worse from the shore. It was hard slogging and we splashed a bit, but nothing at all serious. Even Richard and Diane, who’d been doing some interesting zig zag patterns in earlier windy situations, managed famously.

I think the sun came out as Dennis and I waited for the other two canoes on the other side of the lake.

The wind didn’t let up after we got across, and was (according to Murphy) against us. At about 3:30, Dennis said “This is getting like work. It’s not fun any more,” so we headed in.

We’ve got a good site, across Ferguson Bay from where we started. Dennis has his kitchen. There’s tons of firewood and good swimming and docking areas. No table, though. No microwave either, come to think of it. Great view though.

Tomorrow we have to paddle to the other side of Ferguson Bay and take our stuff up to the van. And fix it. We almost left the muffler on the terribly pitted access road on our way in.

I’m sitting across the lake from an immense rock face, maybe eight stories tall, speckled in conifers with a pile of no doubt huge boulders scattered at the bottom, the accumulation of yeaers of slides. This view and this trip have reaffirmed for me the omnipotence of nature. That no one ‘put’ that rock face there, that those lakes just sprang from nature is staggering. And we are such a tiny, almost helpless part of the whole when we’re out here like this. And all the gear in MEC won't help you if you make a mistake. It makes you revere nature and the planet. It’s easy to see how the First Nations come by their ethos and spirituality. Nature gives you life, food, shelter and passage, but it can also take it away with equal ease.

 

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