Saturday, August 30, 2003

Keji Backcountry Canoe Trip - Big Dam, Frozen Ocean & Channel Lake

Saturday, August 30, 2003

My boss (but also good friend) Krista, her husband Rick, Simon and I embarked on a backcountry canoe camping trip at Kejimkujik National Park, on one of my favourite routes.  There are two long stillwaters on this route, as you can see in the map below.  I just love paddling stillwaters - I much prefer them over the bigger lakes as there is so much more to see, like turtles, frogs, and pitcher plants on the shores.  The red dotted route is the actual route we followed, and x2 and x3 are our two campsites, Site 6 and Site 9.  The car is parked at x1, and then it's a very short portage to Big Dam Lake.

We got on the water at 9:48 a.m.  The first day of the trip we had crappy weather, but there was no wind and it was warm, so we didn't mind a bit.  There's nothing like paddling on a lake when it's like glass.

The second portage is 800m but a nice trail with easy walking.  For portages we always make two trip with the canoe, paddles, life jackets, camera, etc., then we walk back and get our packs.  It is impossible to carry the canoe (it's a Cumberland Canoe and weighs about 80lbs) and a pack at the same time - it's just too much weight.  We would take turns on the portages, switching carrying the canoe and the packs to give each other's shoulders a break.  On the long portages Keji has put canoe rests which are big help.

This is me paddling down Still Brook, with Rick and Krista following close behind.

Rick and Krista took a break on one of the portages, and now they're getting ready to hoist the canoe over their heads to carry on to Frozen Ocean Lake.

Just after putting in at Frozen Ocean.  Now we're ready to paddle directly to our first campsite, Site 9 (x3 on the map), on Channel Lake.

We reached Site 9 at 4:39 p.m. 

We got our tents set up and then had some Kraft Dinner for supper.  We were pretty hungry after all day of paddling and portaging.

Once we had supper I went for a wander around with my camera.  One thing that I love about Keji is that there is an abundance of flora and fauna, and everything to do with nature is beautiful to me.  Fungi, bugs, frogs and toads, cool-looking trees, all become captivating subjects that I love to photograph.

This white birch tree is actually four trees in one.  At the base it is one tree which split into four separate trees as it grew.

There are a ton of toads at Keji.  You have to be careful that you don't step on them on portages.

It was a beautiful evening on Channel Lake. The sky started to clear, and there was a beautiful sunset. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight"...tomorrow's weather was looking very promising!

After supper we relaxed around the campfire for a bit, but we all retired early as we were exhausted.  Isn't it cool how this wood is burning...the fire is coming out of the centers of the logs.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

All packed up and back in the canoes by 10:13 a.m.  We are paddling back the way we came yesterday, but this time we are stopping at Site 6 for the night (one of my favourite sites).  It's a beautiful day, and no wind makes padding easy and very enjoyable.

All of a sudden panic in the Attwood canoe!!!  Krista is freaking out, and I knew there must have been a spider or something in her canoe as she got her feet up on the gunwales.  We got up close to them to see what it was.....

Just a cute little shrew. lol

In this photo we are back at Portage T, which is a short one, only 130m.

This little Pickerel Frog was on the shore where we landed.

 Some cool fungi along this portage:

We arrived at Site 6 around noon, got set up and then I went exploring around again.

This tree was giant, and it was really cool.  It looked like a giant hand with fingers.

I came back to the campsite and caught Krista being naughty...she was washing her bowl in the lake.  See her trying to hide it from me? lol

Our friends Greg and Nancy were staying on the other side of Frozen Ocean, and they paddled over to join us at the campfire.

Below is them padding off into the sunset, heading back across the lake to their campsite.

 It was a beautiful evening so we decided to go for a paddle.

Krista in the warm glow of the evening sun.

Beautiful sunset on Frozen Ocean Lake.  What a perfect evening!

Back at our camp site, and the sun has just disappeared behind the trees.

Monday, September 1, 2003

The next morning the water was like glass and had a fine mist over it.  I took the canoe and went for a paddle by myself. 

It's easy to paddle solo when the water is like this.

Shortly after my little paddle we packed up and headed for home.

Despite a rainy start to our trip, the rest of the weekend was incredible weather.  The best thing about camping in late August/early September is there are very few bugs.  Spring in Keji can be brutal - ideal blackfly and mosquito breeding grounds here with all this water.