Monday July 16th, 2001, 21h15, Johnnie Lake
cmkl Our bad things happen in the morning. Take this morning, for example. The bear barrell is, I'm told, good for bears but raccoons can apparently spring the catch, knock it over and feed.
And that's what they did. They had a feast. We'd taken the barrell away from the site to reduce the risk of bears attacking our tents but in retrospect that may not have been the best idea as it removed the human smell from the food.
But we saved what we could. Duct tape is great for baggie repair. Racoons can't bite through nalgene, and they apparently aren't wild about tofu or health food. We made breakfast and got on the lake for about 8:30.
It was sunny and looking like a scorcher. We had a long day ahead, but we were pretty excited.
Our first portage, at 80m, was a breeze. You need a morale boost. It was looking good. A lot of stuff but we managed it in one trip. That portage took us into Freeland Lake, or mud, lillypad and stink bog lake. We searched for about 45min for the portage to Kakakise Lake.
At one point, Lynne, who is apparently quite mad, got out of our canoe and dragged the boat through the disgusting, methane spewing bog because there wasn't enough water to paddle through. I half expected to see her climb back in to the canoe only to find both her legs missing.
After being unable to find the portage, we tried plan B, a more round-about but equally portage-laden route to Kakakise Lake via Killarney Lake. It was a bit more arduous, but was at least extant.
So at some point it clouded over. Burning with optimism, we exclaimed en masse "This is great cause we won't overheat." Hah.
Our first real portage from Freeland to Killarney lake was okay. I remember thinking "we need better knapsacks. We have one that's a good shape and size, but its straps remind me of that 70s board game Mousetrap. And we have Karin's state of the art hiking pack which is great for hiking, but causes problems on portages. We have one canoe pack which is excellent at being heavy and could possibly be construed as not-life-threateningly-uncomfortable. But it needs a sternum strap. And there's the bear barrell, which is starting to be referred to as the mother fucker. Or Mother Teresa. You pick.
And we have a bunch of itty bitty packs that we clip on to bigger ones. In the end we look like a gypsy caravan made from nylon, rubber, polypropylene and kevlar.
But still at this point we're pretty happy. The portage is only 440m.
That changes when we get to Killarney Lake and we have to portage 1440m into Kakakise Lake.
Loading up at that portage was a point of despair for many of us. Both Lynne and I wiped out within five seconds of each other. Karin and Lynne tried to hand-carry a canoe between them (in addition to the huge packs) and the portage was hugely hilly.
Cathy carried the big green pack with our small, purple day pack on her front. This was a point of despair for her because it meant she couldn't see where she was putting her feet. And this was the 'tage that had the incline Karin called "Everest".
We ate lunch on Kakakise Lake where upon it started to rain. We hauled out our rain gear and tried to be brave. We had another longer portage and a fair bit of lake paddling ahead of us. We picked up and moved on, completing the 940m to Carlyle in I think really good time, especially since we weren't well rehearsed and our food barrell weighed a ton.
We paddled up Carlyle through a passable bog-ish stretch to Johnnie, then we headed up Johnnie sniffing out campsites, tired, sore and sweaty.