Lunch at Quimby

I’ve done this paddle before, and it’s a long one, but I had been watching for a fairly calm day, so that at least I wouldn’t have to fight the wind and waves, which make the paddle even more difficult.

As weather forecasts go, it’s a real crap shoot. Sure, I can check the satellite shots, and the radar, but wind speeds are a bit more difficult to determine, so I just have to go by what the weather guru’s predict, which is somewhat like asking the wicked witch of the west to look into her crystal ball.

Anyway, I picked my day, and I launched my kayak. I’m now at the will of natural forces, that cannot be determined by the human mind. As much as we like to, or even need to, control things, nature will never be one of them. And this is exactly why I love it so much.

As luck, or more likely the early stages of dementia, would have it. I forgot to upload the videos that I took on this trip, while I slept last night, so I now have to do them, one by one, as I’m writing this blog post, so it’s quite possible that this will go into another day, before I can actually post it.

As I mentioned before, I can no longer upload videos directly to YouTube with this new Canon camera, I have to use the software supplied by Canon to upload now. However, I’m finding that this is a really efficient way to upload, and I like it a lot. But, I won’t be able to manipulate the videos in YouTube like I used to, such as removing camera shake, or other effects. I will make an extra effort to ensure that, when I take these videos, that I keep them as smooth as possible. But, please understand, I’m just a poor, old man. 🙂

So, off we go, into the unknown once again. I had packed a lunch, to be had on a secluded beach I had once visited, on Quimby Lake. I also had the loose intention of trying some fishing on Quimby, so I had my minimal fishing gear with me also but, as usual, that would only be a secondary activity, if I felt like it.

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I arrived at Esten Lake before sunrise, and the water was like glass, just the way I like it. There was no one else there, again, just the way I like it. The mosquitoes were minimal, just the way I like it. And, I got the kayak set up, you guessed it, just the way I like it. 🙂

This is the first time that I’m not actually wearing my PFD. I’m not suggesting that one shouldn’t wear a PFD when out on the water, however, I do recognize that we all have a free will, and should be able to make that decision for ourselves, in the case of adults that is. In this case, it was warm, and I didn’t want the added warmth of a PFD, plus the added awkwardness of a PFD, and I took into account the likelihood of needing one, under the current circumstances. I know, I know, you can never be sure but, like I said, I’m an adult, I made a decision, and I will take the responsibility of accepting any consequences that come my way.

Also, it was inconvenient to put the PFD anywhere else on my kayak, so I just wore it all the time. Now, I am sitting on my PFD, and I’ve found a way that it actually supports me better, and adds to the structure of the kayak, so that’s a bonus. Keep in mind that, if circumstances should warrant, I have no problem putting my PFD back on, and if something unexpected should happen, then I do have quick access to it, since I’m sitting on it.

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Looking back, to where the sun is about to rise, you can see that there are clouds in the sky, and that trend was to continue all day. Right now, the light is dim, because it’s early morning, but the light would stay dim for most of this trip, which made photography more difficult. Like I’ve said many times, lighting is everything in photography, and even if you have a great camera, you still need enough light for good pictures.

My intentions, when I do these trips, are always very open. I don’t have to reach any particular destination. If life throws something unexpected into the mix, I’m quite content to go with the flow. In other words, things can change in an instant, and I’m okay with that.

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But, everything is going as expected today, and I’m perfectly willing to allow that to be as it is too.

This will probably be a longer post, since I do have a lot of videos, and pictures for this trip. I really try to convey the experience as best I can, but the old saying that “you really had to be there” rings very true on most of my adventures in the wild.

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In places, the sun would shine through the clouds, and brighten up my pictures, but the sun would prove to be a very elusive commodity today.

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From long range, I can see that someone may have brought another plastic chair to the island I refer to as Second Island. That’s nice to know, since I will probably do a solo camping trip to that island at some point before the winter sets in. But, I’m not going there today. I already have enough paddling to do without a side trip to this island adding to it.

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I’m getting close to the end of Esten Lake now, and the river coming in from Quimby Lake is just ahead.

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The entrance to the river is very difficult to see, until you’re right on top of it.

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The last time I came into this river, it was in the spring, and the water level was extremely high, high enough that I didn’t have any problems with beaver dams. This time, it wasn’t long until I was reminded that I would have to cross a number of beaver dams along the way. This is the first one coming up.

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I managed to push my way over that dam, without having to get out of the kayak, which is something that I will often do, if I can see a likely weak spot. After that, it looked like clear paddling for a while.

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In the bush, along the river’s edge, you can already see signs of fall colors appearing.

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I spotted a family of river otters on a rock about a hundred yards ahead of me. As soon as they saw me, they hit the water.

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They continued ahead of me, at about the same distance, for some time.

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Another beaver dam, and this time there’s no way I’m pushing my way over it. I had to get out and lift the kayak over.

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On the other side of that beaver dam, it was pretty shallow. I think those beavers will just build a dam anywhere, for something to do. After paddling for a little bit, after this dam, I realized why the water was so shallow.

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Another more substantial beaver dam. I got out again, and pulled the kayak over the dam, once more. Each time I reached another beaver dam, I weighed the prospect of getting out, and pulling over, against just turning around and heading back. But, today, I was determined enough to go through all of them.

Just after that last beaver dam, I saw a movement along the right side of the river. Someone, or some thing, was watching me through the bushes.

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It’s, what I believe to be, a wolf! Something that’s very rare to catch on camera.

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As if posing for me, it got up on a rock, and stared for a while.

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It was very cautiously curious, as it moved back and forth, trying to assess the situation. These shots look like I’m close, but I was actually about a hundred yards away.

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This was a great opportunity for me, I’d never seen a wolf in the wild before. However, it was a job and half to hold the camera steady enough to get useable photos at this range. Remember, I’m in a kayak, which is not exactly a steady platform to shoot from.

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It was all over in less than a minute. It satisfied it’s curiosity, and then turned and headed back into the bush. I did get a very short video clip of it doing so.

This was at full zoom, and I was desperately straining to, both get the video, and hold the camera as still as possible.

Anyway, it was a real gift to see this canine, doing what nature intended it to do, as free as nature intended it to be. No one ‘owns’ it. No collars, no chains, no pens, no fences. It does as it pleases, and runs wild and free. This is the way ALL animals were meant to be.

I had to paddle through a couple of long areas that were thick with lily pads, and no open water.

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The river narrows here, just before it opens up into a larger area, and it looked like I might have to get out again, but I was able to paddle through with no problems. When I came here in the spring, the water was rushing through here, and I had to paddle for all I was worth to make it past this point.

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Now the river opens up into a sort of small lake, but this is not Quimby Lake. There is another narrow, short river on the other side of this body of water, and that leads into Quimby Lake.

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I’m now entering the narrow, short section of river that leads into Quimby Lake. It’s pretty shallow, but passable.

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And there it is, the perfect wilderness lunch spot.

Along with eating my lunch, I would be made to eat those last words I uttered, about not a whisper of a breeze, too. 🙂

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Behind the beach is this rough ATV trail that someone cut through the bush. I don’t think very many people know about it, or use it, because beaches with ATV trails to them are usually trashed, and this one is not.

So, a good lunch was had, and I was off again. I had intended to try some fishing in Quimby Lake but, just as I headed out from the beach, a bit of a wind started picking up, and the sky was looking quite threatening. Since fishing is always a secondary option for me, I made the decision to start the return paddle, even though I knew that, if nasty weather was moving in, I’d never make it back before it hit.

On the way back, I was able to push over all of the beaver dams, since I was now on the high water sides of the dams.

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Just coming back into Esten Lake and I can see that things are not quite as nice as when I went in. The wind and waves were going to pick up here and, of course, they were coming right at me.

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I took a different route back across Esten, than I took coming in, mostly because I felt it would be faster, and the sky was telling me faster is better right now.

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It was pretty rough going, crossing some of the large open areas of Esten but, once I got closer to the boat launch, things calmed down again.

It was a long paddle, about 25kms and 7 hours, but very rewarding, especially seeing, and getting pictures of that wolf. That’s a first for me. Lunch on the excellent beach wasn’t too shabby either. 🙂

On another note, it looks like the annual Fall Trip is a go again this year. Unfortunately, it looks like my son will not be able to make it, due to other commitments, and he will surely be missed on this trip. However, it appears that my brother and his son will be coming.

This will be the first trip for my, newly acquired, DragonFly 2 XC kayak, and it is tentatively going to be to Aubrey Lake, a very scenic, but spectacularly rugged area. I have no doubt that it will be an adventure, and I will be doing a full report on that trip when it is completed. Dates have not been nailed down yet, but earlier in October would seem likely.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Suzanne on August 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Great photos of the wolf!

    Reply

    • Hey Suzanne;

      Ya, that was the highlight of the trip for me. In all my adventures in the wild, I had never seen a wolf. I had seen tracks, but they are a very smart, and elusive animals.

      Reply

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