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French River Canoe Trip 2009: Day 2

August 22, 2009

First full day in the outdoors.  I had expected to go further on the first day, but due to a late start and poor weather, we didn’t get past the second marked site. Boo. But we’re not planning to turn around no matter what happens (besides if there were a tornado or anything we couldn’t get back if we wanted to).

22 Aug 09

Wake to a dull, overcast sky. Not as windy.
I decide to get up and see how wet things are.  It’s not as bad as it could be – and the sun is starting to shine through the cloud cover.

Examining myself, I note a number of bug bites (the ‘not-rain’ didn’t discourage the mosquitoes) and a decent scratch down my right knee from sliding down the tree after stringing up the food.  Not too bad under all accounts.  Soggy sandals in the morning kind of suck, though.

Finally everyone is up and doing. Got some breakie going – R2 seems to think warm breakie is a must so we get the stove going.  I search out the ‘loo’ and check for dead wood. Take a few pictures of the cardinal flowers and look for good spots to dry out gear.

Ross hangs a clothesline and I sort through the gear – spreading out the fly and packs. R2 gets her bag and Therm-A-Rest out with the towels and some clothes. Ross does the same. I take my pack out, but most of my gear has remained dry due to dry bags. I did hang my rain jacket as it was sodden right through.

We all trek out to the point to wash dishes and spread out the tarp. Why is it when one asks for a rock, one either gets one too large or one too small?

Now for the 4th goal: FIRE! Sorted out the firewood and built a fire. Fortunately brought some dry tinder from home and found some standing dead birch which fell to my foldable pruning saw quite handily.  I LOVE my little saw. Second bit of very useful gear on this trip next to my dry bags.  It took ages (most of the day really) to dry out the larger pieces of wood, and it was smokey as all get out for a long time, but I got a fire going in time to cook dinner.  It was very hot and smokey. Kept off the bugs and made me smell like a forest fire. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. 🙂

We’ve decided to name our island for the bird that keeps haunting us – the one that sounds like it is scared of something all the time. It screams ‘AWK’ in a high-pitched voice. Only later do we find out that it is only crows.

It starts dripping again so run off to throw our gear in the tent (having dried and moved it). Only a very short shower. Just annoying. Dries again quite quickly.

Left R2 at the site and Ross and I went on a wander to check out the high points of the island. Climbed the ‘massif’ behind us (anything larger than me gets named), which was difficult in sandals.  Hiking shoes next time for sure.  Found some more standing dead wood and a large oak tree. ??? What the heck is an oak doing here? Odd. Ross plays Gandalf at the bridge and recreates the scene in Khazad – dum – “You shall not pass!” with a large gnarled stick. Good giggle, that. I pick up my own walking stick and we climb back down. No pics because I forgot the camera back at the site and it’s too steep a climb to do on one’s own. Too bad.

Get back and can’t find R2 – not good. Fire left alone! EEK. Yell a bit (we’re on an island, after all) and finally get a response. She had a nap on the rocks. Apparently she doesn’t understand the not leaving a fire unattended thing. Nor the letting ppl know where one is. Sigh.

Dinner. Never bring so much food. Never bring too many varieties of food. And when you ask everyone what they want for dinner, only let them pick one dinner, not all of them. In error, we end up making part of each of three different dinners. It takes forever, but at least we found a left behind grill to put more than one pot on at a time. It also worries me when ppl don’t know how to cook the food we’ve brought. Sigh.

Early night again. More reading. And apparently I snored.  😦

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