Tuesday, August 03, 2010

An Annual Canoe Trip

Bruce and I spent last week on a canoe trip with our good friends Tom and Melissa. This year the destination was Blackstone Lake in the Quetico Provincial Park. We were gone for six days. It was a difficult trip in and out but just wonderful during the three nights we spent on Blackstone.

The first day we got a tow from Tuscarora Outfitters to Hook Island. Then we paddled to the ranger station in Cache Bay. Long time Quetico Ranger Janice Matichuk issued our permit, reminded us of the rules and gave us some tips on campsites. Next we crossed Cache Bay, portaged around Silver Falls and went up close to the mouth of the creek that leads into Blackstone Lake. Bruce caught a nice walleye that we had for appetizers before dinner.

The next day we took off down the creek. After 4 portages and three beaver dams, we made it to the lake. A day’s travel like this has gotten more difficult in the last few years. Even trying to go light, each couple has three packs and a canoe to carry over the portages. One of our problems, of course, is that we like to eat a certain number of heavy things. At any rate we were all pretty tired when we got to our campsite. We slept very well that night.

The next two days were spent doing not much of anything. Tom and Bruce were sent out on the hunt for fish for dinner. We had fresh fish the next three nights. Eating fish that was swimming in the water just hours ago makes you realize how important freshness is to the taste of fish. We eat every kind of fish – walleye, bass and northern. Didn’t try to any lake trout but they would have been good too.

One day we almost lost our dinner. Tom and Melissa paddled over the check out another campsite. Bruce and I elected to take a nap. Our fish for dinner were left on a stringer tied to a shrub next to the water. On the way home, Tom and Melissa saw a big bird standing near the fish. It was a bald eagle and he was eating our northern! Because the stringer was tied to the bush, the eagle could not fly off with the fish. Even so he managed to eat most of the northern. Bruce and Tom had to go out and catch a couple more fish for dinner.

Melissa enjoys spending her time taking pictures around our campsites. I have been writing a story for my youngest grandson. Some very amateur pictures will go with it to give him an idea of our trip. Our social calendar after dinner is generally filled with a competitive game of Yahtzee. That is about as long as we can stay awake.

We came out another way. It had four portages but no beaver dams. All eight of our portages were difficult because they are rarely used. They are narrow and rocky. They go across creeks and into mucky areas around swamps. Coming out is not so bad because we have eaten most of our food. As difficult as the trip may be at times, we are already planning for next year.

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