The Disaster Trip
The plan was to drop off the kids and dogs with my parents and do the Poker Lake Loop. Our troubles started with a car break down. We had both cars that day, one with the canoe and dogs, and the other with the kids and gear. The one with the canoe was having...issues the whole way and finally, just outside of Norland, died completely. We had to call my parents to come and get the canoe and dogs, then dad and Chris went back with the trailer and towed the car to Haliburton.
It took about half an hour to get to Bentshoe (from the lights in Carnarvon, the parking lot is about 20km down Highway 118.)
By the time Chris and I got to the put in on Bentshoe, it was about 8pm...we had enough time to cross the lake to a campsite near the portage into Poker Lake and set up camp in the dark. The campsite wasn’t too bad, except for a large pile of garbage (beer bottles and used condoms...yuck) At that point, we weren’t too picky. There was also very little deadfall to use for firewood and no time to go scouting around for more. Not the best experience for our first time camping in a non-organized campground.
After dinner, we took our sleeping bags out onto a rocky ledge and watched the stars for a bit. When Chris set them down, mine rolled into the lake *sigh* thankfully it was still in it's little bag, so it didn't get wet. It was nice, and mostly quiet except for the odd sound of a car driving by on Highway 118.
In the morning, I got up early and went scouting around with my camera. Chris likes to sleep in, so I had lots of time to poke around and watch the mist burn off the lake. Breakfast was eggs and ham steaks, cooked on a fire now that we could see to find some wood, then as we were cleaning up we heard the clang of an aluminum canoe banging off a tree...then another one. A whole group of girls from a camp came out of the portage and paddled past our site.
I can’t remember now why we didn’t explore the rest of the loop. I know we only had the one night, and probably had to get back to pick up the kids by a certain point so we packed up and headed back to the put in.
I’ve read a lot of trip logs of people’s first night on their first solo trip, how they lay awake all night jumping at every little sound. It was like that for me, even though Chris was there (sleeping soundly) and we could practically see the highway and the lights of passing cars.