Spring Trip 2014 Part Two

So, after camping for the first, and second, nights on an island at the very southeast end of Kindiogami Lake, we had ventured further northwest to locate another likely candidate for an overnight stay in the wilderness.

We did find, what appeared to be, an acceptable campsite, so we decided to investigate.

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We all came ashore to check out the amenities, since we all had to agree on if we stay, or if we go. Dissension in the ranks is something that should be avoided, if at all possible.

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My brother had gone around the point to check out other possible landing spots, but soon returned to take refuge where me, and my son, had come ashore.

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The view was nice, and there was certainly enough room for all of our tents at this site. However, there were a couple of detractors involved here. For one, we got the feeling that this site had either been used very recently, or had been commandeered by those who think that Crown Land can be taken as their own.

This is the first time I’ve come across a tenting campsite which seemed to have been setup for continuous use by one particular party. There was a BBQ on site, there was a minnow trap, and a bucket of live minnows in the water, right beside the campsite, and there were other little things that personalized this particular wilderness campsite.

However, this campsite was an official MNR campsite, which had the proper MNR signage, so I knew that it was first come, first served, and I had no qualms about making ourselves at home. Still, there were other, less desirable, personal effects that the previous/continuous inhabitants had left behind also. Does a bear shit in the woods? Well, yes, but does it shit in it’s own den? Highly unlikely, however, these folks had no problem at all doing just that

We normally go off into the bush to do our business, but it seems that not all campers follow our lead. This was a rather unpleasant aspect of this site, but it was an otherwise very nice campsite, so we decided to stay for one night, and bear with the unpleasantries about.

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We chose our respective tent sites, in the proper order, as usual. Here’s the view from my tent.

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It’s not easy to find nice campsites in this rugged terrain, so beggars can’t be choosers, but there are those who are out to destroy the experience for everyone else, and that too is just the way it is.

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This was an exceptional site, with a long, rounded, rock wall to sit on, in the sun, during the day, or to watch the stars from at night We did both, and enjoyed it very much.

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It’s also nice to have an open space like this when there are black flies involved. We can, at least, get some kind of a break from those pesky, and relentless little devils, especially if there is any kind of a breeze. For the most part, I thought that we had gotten off fairly easily regarding bugs on this trip. Yes, they were quite bothersome at times, but this was almost into high season for bugs, and we saw very few mosquitoes, and, I wouldn’t say hordes of black flies.

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I hate using DEET, to me, it seems worse than the bugs themselves, but we all had head nets, and we used them when the black flies became more bothersome.

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We settled into the campsite, and the boys took some time to relax, after everything was setup to their liking. That fire pit was a mess when we arrived, so I rebuilt it, with flat rocks placed around the top edges for pots, and our grill, to sit on.

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My son decided to take a short paddle out to a rock of an island, just a short distance offshore of our campsite, which itself, used to be an island, before the water levels dropped, when the dam was removed. In fact, this campsite is shown as an island on an MNR map that I have.

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We’ve banished him to Redemption Island.

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No stone was left unturned on our explorations of this area.

I should mention here, also, that, while my brother took time out for a siesta in his tent this afternoon, I heard a familiar sound across the water. When I looked up, I saw two heavily loaded aluminum motor boats in the distance, and they were headed our way! I could hear the voices across the water, it sounded like a floating party of about six people, and it didn’t take me long to figure out where they were headed.

As they got closer, I heard one of them say, “What are we going to do now?” Apparently, they had noticed that their island was occupied by outlanders, and they had a decision to make. One boat veered off in a different direction, and the other boat kept coming.

Two older men, in a boat that was so heavily loaded with ‘stuff’ I was wondering how the hell it was still floating, slowly motored their way up to the edge of our campsite. It was clear that they didn’t expect anyone to be here, and it was also clear that they wanted this site.

I greeted them, pleasantly enough, but with some sense of caution, not knowing exactly what their intentions were. After all, some people see their definition of ‘the law of the land’ a bit differently out here in the bush. After a bit of back and forth chat, it was clear that they accepted our presence on ‘their’ island, but they were certainly not giving up on it yet.

They asked me how long we planned on staying, and, not wanting to stir the pot, so to speak, I replied that we were only staying overnight. Of course, the real reason we were only staying one night was because of the ‘personal effects’ left behind, probably, by these same people.

He did ask me, quite intentionally I might add, if I had seen a minnow trap, and a bucket of minnows. I pointed to them, still in the water where he had left them. He then asked what time I expected to vacate the site the next day. I said between 10am and 11am, to give us time for a leisurely breakfast, and lots of time to pack up.

They told us that they would be staying just on the next point, within view of our campsite, and off they went.

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We settled in for another night in the wilderness, being serenaded by the local frog population, while watching the stars become more and more intense in the blackening night sky. We saw very little of the moon on this trip. It was low on the horizon, and just a very thin slice at this time.

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The fire, once again, roared to life, for our daily dose of late evening story telling, or some might say, tall stories for short men.

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We would listen at night for the sounds of owls, or the call of the night birds and the cry of the loons on distant lakes, communicating in a back and forth volley of mystical vocalizations that have probably being going on before the time of humans.

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Can you feel the heat? Who has the hot dogs?

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If you have a keen eye, you will have noticed that there were baked potatoes on a rack, at the back of the fire there. Me, and my son, both had the same great idea, to bring baked potatoes to cook over the fire. I also had the good sense to bring a jar of butter, so we were all set! By the way, the hot dogs were also provided by my son, who brought the biggest hot dogs I had ever seen. We made short work of those, since they would not last too long without refrigeration, although we do keep items like that in the cold water.

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The next morning, we did get some cloud cover moving in, and we got up and went about our business of having breakfast and packing up for the next leg of the trip. We knew that the ‘owners’ of this campsite were not far off, and waiting for us to take leave of their domain, and we weren’t all that thrilled about overstaying our welcome anyways, so off we went, in search of greener pastures, without the fertilizer still on top.

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Again, we followed the shoreline in a northwesterly direction, towards the top of Kindiogami Lake, where I knew that there was an official campsite marked on the map, between Kindiogami Lake, and Mewburn Lake.

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The scenery along the way, of course, was spectacular, and we were in no hurry to get anywhere. However, the weather appeared to be deteriorating, and we all know what it’s like trying to set up camp in the rain, so that was in the back of our minds.

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We came to a narrow gap in the lake, where we knew we would need to cross over to the opposite shoreline, in order to intercept the river that runs into, or more correctly, out of, Mewburn Lake, and also the location of an official campsite.

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We passed through the narrows in tight formation, a bit too tight for my son :-), and proceeded to hug the opposite shoreline.

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We were always on the lookout for possible campsites, and my brother did see one on the far shore, which we would check on the way back. However, there were a few ‘official’ campsites that were marked on the map, and we were headed for the one that was right at the river entrance to Mewburn Lake.

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Ramming speed was needed, at times, to keep the herd in check.

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We moved closer to the northwest end of Kindiogami Lake, keeping a sharp lookout for that ‘official’ campsite sign.

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Nope, that island is too small.

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Onward we paddled, again, enjoying the beautiful, rugged scenery along the way.

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We, eventually, reached the river coming into Kindiogami lake, from Mewburn Lake, and the portage required to get into Mewburn Lake.

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First, I tried to paddle up the rapids, but to no avail, so we went in search of, what the map showed as, the official campsite, that was supposed to be here.

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Given the threat of rain, we, reluctantly, decided to set up camp at the end of this short portage, even though we never did see any official campsite sign here. This was definitely not a unanimous decision, and there were some frayed nerves at the decision to both stay here and, eventually, move from here, as did happen later in the day.

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However, this spot was not without it’s benefits. In the river we saw hundreds of fish swimming upstream into Mewburn Lake, so we set out to catch ourselves some dinner.

We tried everything to entice those fish, but they would take nothing. Eventually, my brother snagged one, and discovered that they were, in fact, suckers! Still, it was a great spot for trout, and I had a feeling that the trout were mixed in with the suckers. I gave it another shot, with a Mepps, hairy-tailed spinner. Fish on!! I shouted.

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I landed my first Speckled(Brook)Trout of the trip. Once I realized that they were taking the Mepps spinner, I gave one to my brother, and he caught a nice Trout too. I also got a bigger one on my line at the other end of the river, but it got away as we were trying to land it, and it took my Mepps spinner with it.

Okay, I can see now that this Spring Trip is going to take more than two posts, so I will continue this story in the Third installment, and more if necessary. Stay tuned.

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