The day we arrived on Big Trout Lake (Canada Day) it was cold, rainy and extremely windy. I couldn’t get warm. No matter how close to the fire I was, and even with Wool Power on, I was freezing. If I had to guess, I’d say it was only around 10 degrees Celsius that day not including the wind chill. I had to turn in early and get warm in my sleeping bag.
I heard Sugar and Tackle Box laughing outside my tent and then heard my name called. It was a sunset that had come out of nowhere and it was one I shouldn’t miss. Even though I was warm and cozy in my bag, I couldn’t resist the urge to capture another sunset. This one sure didn’t disappoint. It was blazing out of the sky.
Once again, having a red sky at night informed me that the next day was going to be a beauty. I woke up to the sun beating down on the tent, and me being so warm that I had to kick my sleeping bag off. What perfect weather for a rest day.
This day was pretty relaxing. A nice dip in the lake to refresh in the morning, breakfast of granola and hot coffee with Irish cream, and knowing that I was able to rest my bones and muscles for the entire day.
Our island was pretty neat. We were able to walk around the whole thing without the water going above our knees. We also discovered a loon nest. Mama either knew we were coming and vanished before we arrived, or she was out hunting. Either way, two precious eggs were lying in wait on her nest. It will only be a matter of time until the little loon babes hatch and begin their lives riding on mama’s back learning the ways of the water.
We were given another beautiful sunset and an opportunity to see Venus and Jupiter as the sun fell into the earth. It was a great sky for night shots.
Our canoe trip was nearing the end. We paddled to an 1850m portage into Merchant Lake. We nailed it. We really tried the carry and a half method and it made our lives much easier. After paddling down Merchant to our last portage of the day, a 340m into Happy Isle Lake. This was our last night on the trip.
We tried for 1 of the 3 sites on the island but they were all taken. We tried for the site on land just south of the island and left disappointed in search for another site. Someone had left corn, bits of other food and garbage in the fire pit. They obviously didn’t have any consideration for the next people who would need to stay on the site. This is what attracts bears, people. Leaving food only encourages a bear to keep returning and then become a nuisance which then has to be taken care of by authorities. In this case, a bear would have done nothing wrong, but simply followed its nose to a food source.
We were all hungry as the day dragged on and we searched for a suitable site for our last night. We paddled all the way down to the southeast end of the lake to a little peninsula site. We had our own bay to ourselves where I caught 3 smallmouth bass, but only 2 keepers.
A tradition that was started last year, is bringing a pineapple along on trip. This pineapple ripens throughout the trip and by the last night we have a ceremonial burning of the pineapple top. You wouldn’t believe how amazing fresh pineapple tastes in the backcountry when you spend days eating rehydrated food.
We passed the pineapple top around and reminisced on the trip, then threw it into the fire with a moment of silence and listened to the sounds of nature.
Up early the next morning, we left the site by 7:45AM as planned. Our last paddle was a beautiful one. The water was calm, the sun was rising at our backs and it just had the dawn/early morning feel. Our last and final portage was 2235m. At the other end, we would be picked up by the water taxi at 11:30. We weren’t sure how long this was going to take us, but we nailed it in 1.5 hours with 2 hours to spare. We waited on the dock until we heard the sound of two motors of horsepower come our way.
Stepping foot on the water taxi meant that we all made it. There was sore feet, blisters, wounds, hundreds of bug bites but not one of us complained the whole time. We entered the wilderness as humans but transformed into a pack of coyotes. Yip Yip Yew.
Our final route as shown on Jeff’s Map.