We got up early and I prepared breakfast while Keith packed up the tent and our equipment. Breakfast wasn't very exciting - instant oatmeal (porridge) and tea - a sign of things to come. We did some sorting of our equipment and supplies and then at 08:30 we went up to the park office to register for the canoe trip. When I went to the office to register it seems I had made our reservation for June 25 and not June 23. Luckily the circuit wasn't busy so we were able to do the 09:00 weigh-in and then go to the orientation session and video. While we were in the Registration Centre I noticed, to my great delight, they had baseball caps for sale. My hat problem was solved and I would be able to use my mosquito net without it being on my face. The weigh-in is a measure of the weight of the equipment that you intend to carry inside your canoe when you are travelling along the portage trails and the weight limit is 60lbs. This limit is in place in order to protect the trails by reducing the impact of the canoe cart wheels of the thousands of paddlers who visit the park every year. We were prepared for the reality of carrying a lot of gear in our backpacks but we had a pleasant surprise. It turned out that safety gear was excluded from the weigh-in and their interpretation of safety gear was very liberal. What a relief! I only had to carry approximately 20lbs on my back when we were on the portage trails.
Once the weigh-in was done we set off along the first portage from the Registration Centre to Kibbee Lake. We had only just gone 300m when I realized I had forgotten to go back to the office to collect our permit tag for the canoe and the map and garbage back they provide. As a result I went back to the office while Keith continued to push the canoe along the portage trail. After leaving the office it took me a long time to catch back up to Keith. He had pushed the canoe probably more than half of the 2.4km before I caught up to him.
When we had completed this portage we paddled 2.4km across Kibbee Lake and from there we portaged 2.0km to Indianpoint Lake. We paddled 6.4km across the main lake and then through a narrow, twisty channel to a small pond extension of the lake to the start of our next portage. This 1.6km portage to Isaac Lake was the worst. It started with a difficult ledge that was impossible to climb over with the loaded canoe on the canoe cart so we unloaded the heaviest gear and carried the the canoe up and over the ledge.
Then we reloaded the canoe and set off again. The trail was terrible. Mud holes, random rocks and shallow ditches across the width. Not fun at all. Once we reached Isaac Lake it was plain sailing. We paddled along the lake until we reached the campsite that we had decided was our destination for the day, Camp 12. We set up the tent, ate supper and chatted with a fellow paddler who was already settled in. Not a bad start to the trip.
I'm a grandfather who lost an infant granddaughter and who wants to help Gillian, her mother, provide support for other grieving parents through Hazel's Heroes.