Monday, January 8, 2018

Trip Log: Big East Lake, July 25-26, 2017

We had planned to do two nights on Big East Lake, but Chris had worked a crazy number of hours on the weekend and was quite content to spend the Monday relaxing.  I wasn't too upset by this.  My own work hours on the weekend had been long, though not as long as his.

Biscuit at the put in to Big East Lake
We had purchased two sit in kayaks the previous week.  After watching several videos of people using kayaks to go interior camping, we thought it might be easier for the kids.  We found two inexpensive ones that were designed with space and access to the front and back, and were pleased to find the kids 55L packs fit into the space behind the seat with a little wiggling.    Getting a canoe and two kayaks on the roof proved to be a bit of a dilemma, but Chris eventually came up with a system that worked.  Unfortunately, since we couldn't afford the higher end kayaks with built in metal loops for securing to a car, we had to improvise.

We arrived around 3pm and began unloading and carrying things down to the lake.  I'd forgotten how steep the trail down to the water was.  I carried the first kayak down, then went back for more.  Chris ended up bringing down 4 loads, including the second kayak, the canoe and the biggest pack.  We got underway, and the kids started out really well in the kayaks, but half way there, Squatch began to struggle.  He was zigzagging all over the place, and lagging behind.  Bubbie had no trouble, though she was tired when we got to the site.

We completely missed the easy spot to land the boats and went around the corner and pulled up on the sloping rock instead.  It wasn't hard to land there, but carrying the packs and stuff up the hill, with wet shoes, was a little sketchy.  After a brief explore, Bubbie and I set off to find the thunder box.  We followed a few trails, all of which led up the steepest part of the hill behind the site, and then petered out into nothing.  We came back, and Squatch points to a trail that went down hill a bit and says "It's right there, you can see it from here."

It was pretty buggy once we got into the thicker forest, but the thunder box was pretty new looking and in good shape.

Next order of business was setting up the tents.  Bubbie insisted on setting up their tent on her own, so we let her be and Chris and I set up ours while Squatch lounged on the stone couch around the fire pit.  She also set up the air mattresses, pillows and sleeping bags.

Bubbie taking a break in the kayak
After getting set up, Chris and Squatch went for a swim, playing with one of the Gopros while Bubbie and I headed out in the kayaks to pump some water and explore a few other sites close by.
Macaroni and tomatoes...I'm so ashamed
Once we got back it was time to start making dinner.  Because the kids are picky (and I'd given up trying to find things they both like that Chris and I aren't sick to death of) I ended up having to make 2 meals.  For the kids, macaroni and tomatoes which I had made at home and dehydrated.  I wasn't sure if it would work out, but it did and now I know I can do that for other trips where Chris and I want a dinner thats more interesting.  Chris and I had a package of Knorr Thai Sweet Chili Noodles with dehydrated stir fry veggies added in.  I'm not going to lie, the veggies look pretty sad when they rehydrate.  The mushrooms especially looked scary, but it tasted okay.  Next time, I might try just adding in broccoli and carrots as those two held up the best.

We ate out on the rock shelf over looking the lake.  It was pretty awesome.   The sun was getting low, the lake was calm and it was just a beautiful night.  The kids spent some time playing with their cameras while I cleaned up and Chris got a fire going.  Squatch got a little saw and we tried to get him to help process firewood but his twiggy little arms need a bit of work.  I also tried and it was not easy.  The wood was a bit punky making it more of a challenge.

Dinner with an awesome view
Bubbie's job was to hang the rope for the food bag.  It took her a few tries, but she got it and was pretty proud of herself.

The next morning, I got up and took some pictures of the fog on the lake.  It was a beautiful morning.   I made oatmeal with all sorts of dried fruits in it and of course the kids had instant oats.  
For the paddle back, I took the kayak and Squatch went in the canoe with Chris.  Bubbie and I got a head start so that Biscuit wouldn't be so crazy for them.  He seems to be a bit calmer in the canoe if he can't see the second canoe or the kayaks.  I also realized the problem Squatch had had the day before.  With the pack behind the seat, it puts a fair bit of weight at the back of the kayak.  Next time we will try dividing the gear in dry bags or putting more weight in the front.  
We all loved this trip, and the site.  Big East Lake used to be really busy before the municipality began charging money to camp there and requiring permits.  I know a lot of people were probably upset but the truth is, we used to go there for day trips and the sites were often pretty messy.  Anything that keeps the area clean and protected for future campers is okay in my books.

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