Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit '11 {Day 3: Indianpoint Lake to Isaac Lake}

Kimberly and I with my Magnificat; guys hauling cargo to the canoes

Zachary, Peter and Tim paddle into the wind on Indianpoint Lake. (Perhaps Zac prefers I pick up a paddle rather than a camera?)

Like ducks in a row, three canoes navigate the shallow, marshy region at the end of Indianpoint Lake.
Awake hourly through the night in pain, I wished I had taken a preventive dose of vitamin I (ibuprofen).  Sometimes getting used to sleeping on the ground (Thermarest) takes a little time, and after a day of great physical exertion, the comfort doesn't always happen.  As the boys finished the washing and packing up after breakfast, I prayed morning prayer from my Magnificat in the sunlight with a cup of Via coffee + powdered milk.  Time for quiet contemplation after breakfast? I really am on vacation...
Zachary tries gondola style in the shallow end of Indianpoint Lake after hopping out of our canoe to retrieve a suitable stick for the purpose.

Warned about extreme mud at the end of Indianpoint Lake, a few of our canoes were wrangled up the steep, dry bank at the rangers' pier rather than at the quagmire.  The rest of our fleet paddled in and pulled up the canoes right through the thick muck.  So deep and sloppy, sandals were sucked right off; barefoot was the only way to go.  The going was tough, but once the canoes were landed, the boys hopped back into the mud pit for fun.  After all, what boy can resist a giant mud pit?  The fun continued as several Scouts opted to hike the portage barefoot (like AJ, who lives barefoot). 
Tim and Canon pull a canoe onto the shore through an extreme mud hazard at the end of Indianpoint Lake.

One messy portage...
Peter, knee deep in the muck
Tim's shoes: almost lost in the goo
Spectacular view along Isaac Lake

Setting out on a glassy Isaac Lake under broken clouds, the afternoon paddle to campsite 21 invited a casual pace.  Some paddled more casually than others, and soon we had a set of four buddy boats in the lead, and a pair of slow buddy boats as the caboose.  I found myself a hostage of the Lingering Flotilla (two canoes lashed together, getting nowhere fast).  Not that I minded the leisurely pace, in fact we might have missed the deer skeleton in the sandy shallows if we had been seriously paddling.  Plus, the glassy lake photos are impossible to take in a swift moving canoe.  By the time we arrived at camp, Joseph and Judah were already about to head out to the nearest wood lot to collect firewood.

Co-captains of the Lingering Flotilla, Zac and Isaac
Isaac Lake: like glass

View from our room at campsite 14 on the shores of Isaac Lake

With camp set-up accomplished, or mostly so, the canoe play, swimming, whittling, reading, plotting gigantic funeral pyre, and hammock relaxation time began.  A few odd ideas about two tents sharing a tent pad meant for one were squelched along with the whole funeral pyre idea, much to the dismay of the clever and creative Scouts.  Not to be outwitted, they opted to sleep under a tarp like sardines (forget the tents) for the night rather than on separate tent pads.  The more the merrier, and the later the bedtime!
Cooks Joseph and Judah add instant rice to boiling water under Zachary's watchful eye.

A delicious chicken fajitas dinner, pre-cooked and frozen at home, prepared at camp by Joseph and Judah, hit the spot... and then kept hitting the spot well past the point that most of us were full.  The late afternoon snack had taken a bite out of the usually predictably large appetites, and for our Leave No Trace clean-up, we generally need to consume all that we prepare.  In hindsight, we could have tipped some of the left-overs into the garbage bucket; but instead we force fed the Scouts until almost every bit was gone.  Most vowed to never eat chicken fajitas again, and we also decided that afternoon snacks should not be served after about 3PM.
A few Life Scouts tried to convince us that they would sleep just fine inside this tent. 

Want to see more from Day 3?
Glimpse of Day 3:
9AM: oatmeal over; all gear nearly packed, not yet loaded; wash-up begins
9:41AM: paddling into a headwind on Indianpoint Lake
10:30AM: arrive at muddy portage; slip and slide canoes out of the water through mud onto carts
11AM: mud play over; portage begins
11:41AM: portage ends at shores of Isaac Lake
11:59AM: underway on Isaac Lake
1PM: gorgeous glassy lake views; two canoes strapped together making very slow progress, but having fun
1:45PM: final slow canoes reach camp; sandwiches made, lunch by the campfire
2-4PM: set up camp; Scouts' plans to assemble and light a funeral pyre (massive floating fire) squelched by adults; hammock time; swim time; water purification
4:30PM: afternoon snacks distributed (soon to interfere with dinner appetites)
6PMish: chicken fajitas dinner cooked by Joseph and Judah, enjoyed by all
9PM: bedtime for half
1AM: Scouts sleeping out under tarp finally call it a night