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French River Canoe Trip 2009: Day 1

August 21, 2009

Ported from an old blog which I have since reserved for other things:

So I’m back from the outer nowhere, also known as the French River Provincial Park. Northern Ontario – north of Parry Sound, south of Sudbury. 🙂 My goals were to get out on the water and find out if I still had my canoeing skills, see the water, trees, rocks and fire.  See the wildlife and smell the outdoors. I found all of it.  I had a lovely time and wish I were still there. I’m posting a few bits of my journal from the trip (it was only 5 days 😦 ) Oh, and it’s all from my POV, so I may be a bit snarky. Sorry.

Wake up bright and early – excited to go. Wait. Wait. Wait some more. Apparently my companions weren’t kidding when they said they weren’t morning people. So… Wait some more. Sigh. They finally show up on my doorstep – some packing still to be done. Something about dropping off a dog and now we are off to one more final location to pick up the last bit of gear (paddles).
Off east on the road! (at 10:30 +, SIGH)

Arrive in T.O., eat lunch and futz around trying to get on the 400.
Finally going north. But it’s past noon and that means we won’t reach Hartley Bay (our put-in point) until around 6-6:30. Only enough time to get our stuff and make it to the first site. We hope.

Arrive at Hartley Bay at ~ 6:30. It’s very grey and overcast.  But it’s not going to rain (so says the marina guy). The wind has picked up and it’s late. We have too much gear and the canoe wallows like an injured whale. This is going to be difficult. Paddling a canoe with three and a heavy load of gear through the wind and rain is tough, and R2 paddles out of sync and puts us off balance. My arms are killing me.

Ok, I suck at navigation and totally misjudged how fast we are going. We missed the island and it’s gotten windier and has also started to rain. We turn around and finally find the site – the signage is difficult to see, but we find it.

It’s raining pretty steadily now, the ‘not-rain’, is chilly and has soaked us all through. Thank god for dry bags.  We pitch the tent, but since I’ve never done this tent (and seems like Robyn has never pitched a tent) Ross and I struggle to get it put up. We forgo dinner and string up the food. Everything is chucked in the tent and we just go to bed.

R2 decides to read by flashlight for what seems like ages after we get into bags and since I can’t sleep with light, I wrap my head into my mummy bag and sleep that way. Ross doesn’t snore – which is a bad sign. He was pretty grumpy, with good reason, and just crashed once we got into the tent.

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