Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weather Ups and Downs

I just got back from an overnight kayak trip on the Hanging Heart Lakes and Crean Lake near Waskesiu. (Shelley was on call so I was on my own.)

The two days of weather couldn't have been much different. Saturday was 30c, sunny, very little wind. I started at the dock at Heart Lakes. (satellite view is best) There were all kinds of people out enjoying the day. The paddling was easy and relaxing. I kept going until the sun was getting ready to set.

It was too hot for the bugs on Saturday. ( I wonder why they don't operate in hot weather?) I sat outside and ate my supper and watched the sunset and wasn't bothered by a single mosquito. But as soon as the sun went down and the temperature dropped a few degrees swarms of them appeared like magic and I quickly retreated to the tent. Of course every time I went out and came back in it took several minutes to eradicate all the mosquitoes that snuck in with me.

This morning (Sunday) was much cooler at 7c, windy, and raining. I camped in a relatively sheltered spot but once I got out in the open water it was ... interesting. The waves bounced me up and down, spun me around, and slapped me in the face. It was a bit like a Disneyland ride, only I didn't have to pay, there were no lineups, and it lasted two hours. Crean is a pretty big lake (over 10 km across) and the growing whitecaps made me a little nervous. But the kayak is pretty stable and the spray skirt kept most of the water out, and I was close to shore if I did get tipped. Despite going mostly against the wind I made steady progress.

In the middle of this, two bald eagles appeared and flew around me for a while. I had to be careful not to get too distracted watching them and get creamed by one of the bigger waves. 

Once I got off Crean and into the Heart Lakes it was a lot calmer and I could relax, although I started to get cold once I wasn't exerting myself as much. Despite the rain gear and the spray skirt I was still pretty wet and sitting in a puddle of water. I can see why paddlers wear rain gear that seals around your wrists - getting a wave pouring water down your sleeve is a tad unpleasant!

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the paddle back through the rain. Out of the wind it was quite peaceful. I had to stop a few times and listen to the sound of the raindrops hitting the lake. It was an almost musical pitter patter. The loons were also adding their own accompaniment. (When I searched I also found this video of a poem about loons.)

One advantage of the bad weather was that there were no other people anywhere to be seen. I was especially happy to be rid of the power boats. If you ask me, they should ban powerboats on at least some of the lakes. But that would no doubt be so unpopular as to be impossible.

I'm pretty lucky to be within relatively easy reach of more or less unspoiled countryside. The moss on the forest floor and the lichens on the trees, the ducks and loons and eagles - it's all pretty magical. I should get out here more often.

(sorry, no photos this time)

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