August 23, 2007

As Summer Winds Down

Summer is a tricky thing because it's too short. See, so many of the destinations I'm drawn to are of the northern variety, and this means that I want to go there during our all-too-brief Canadian summer. Thus, the Lake Superior (or east coast, or west coast, or Arctic) trips invariably get planned for July and August. The consequence of *that* is that I then return and feel like I missed summer! Somehow, summer is defined by being barefoot on Georgian Bay...

For various reasons, I've had one or the other of Kevin's boats at my house for big chunks of the summer. The Ellesmere I returned without a ransom demand, I just delivered it to Cape Croker since we'd both be there one weekend in late June. I wasn't going to be as nice about the Ascente. However, before I got my demands out ("you can have your boat back if you go paddling with me"), Kevin suggested a quick weekend trip on the Bay. After I agreed, he suggested turning that Saturday-Sunday trip into a Saturday-Monday morning trip. Given that I hate all things weekend traffic related, it was an easy sell and I stayed a few extra hours every day at work the week before.

Now, while I've kayaked with Kevin on Georgian Bay a number of times in the past, it was only once before that this wasn't on some escapade organized by someone else. From what I remembered from *that* trip, Kevin doesn't like power boats around and he's very - very! - picky on campsites. I could do one or the other, but the only way I could get a good shot at both was if we put in a lot further north than we were willing to drive over a weekend. The compromise was Bayfield and then head north: this area is so full of shoals that it keeps the powerboats away. I had heard talk of a pretty good campsite in Chicken Liver Channel, so, good enough...

Except, of course, that Chicken Liver Channel was full of people on Saturday afternoon. We ended up heading further north to a site just south of Foster Island. Good points were that the site had Bay exposure while still providing reasonable shelter, it had white pines (somehow, prime sites on Georgian Bay must come with white pines), and we could see no cottages from where we set up. Bad points were the lousy parking - there was one good boat parking spot that was too far away (and by a pile of poo and toilet paper that I didn't clean up because I didn't want to light a fire - it's been awfully dry), so the parking was not great. An irrelevant point was that the site really could only handle two or three boats and tents easily, which was just fine - two boats, two tents, who cares?

So, we made ourselves at home (read: drank a beer), we went for a swim, we chatted while watching the water (read: drank another beer), we set up our tents, I spilled some Guinness on myself (don't read: Johanna is clumsy; instead, read: Kevin handed me one of his beers, and I pulled the tab while flat on my back with the beer at my hip. I am not a Guinness drinker. I heard Kevin laugh and say something about, if I were you something something hurry - but it was too late, the beer was frothing like a fiend and when I sat up, it frothed all over my t-shirt), we cooked dinner (read: Johanna opened some wine while Kevin cooked the dinner Johanna was in charge of), we watched the sun go down, we swatted bugs, we retretead to our tents. The way a weekend should go.

Well, except for the part where we got up and the sky looked ominous. It started looking even more ominous while we (read: Kevin) cooked breakfast, but it stayed dry long enough for me to pack up. Then it started to *really* look ominous - so much so that we started adding guy lines to our tents, and hauling piles and piles of rocks to stake them down. I saw a group of three kayaks go by and from the strokes of three of the four paddlers, they weren't that experienced. And then the wind picked up. We watched the other group seek shelter on some private land, and then we ran for our tents. Next thing, a violent front ripped through. At one point, I was getting rained on inside my tent even though it was all zipped up because the rain was coming down hard and horizontal and the bounce from it made it come up inside the vestibule and through my mesh. Yikes.

We had already decided we weren't going anywhere. Not with the forecast we had. But sitting around gets boring too, so we went exploring in the sheltered channels behind the shoals in the area north of us. That was fun. We were north of Norgate Inlet when Kevin asked which way I wanted to go back. I hesitated, and then pointed to the white shoal line and said, I kinda wanna... and Kevin said, let's take a look - and then we were out there. It was fun - confused big seas, good paddler beside me. I didn't last that long, though, before wanting back in, and we had to pick our way among the shoals. Then Kevin went off somewhere in his boat while I went for another swim and, just as soon as I was done appreciating the Georgian Bay temperature for swimming, started lamenting the fact that Georgian Bay is so warm and no good for beer chilling (I drank it anyway, while reading my book in the sun. Until Kevin came back, at which point I abandoned the book but not the beer drinking. Same beer, though!)

And then there was cooking dinner (Kevin), watching the stars (Kevin and Johanna), bitching that the meteor shower wasn't happening *right now* (Johanna), sleeping (Kevin and Johanna), going for a morning potty walk and almost stepping in rattle snake and only saving one's skin by jumping into poison ivy (Johanna), washing poison-ivy-covered legs with soap (Johanna), cooking breakfast (Kevin), eating breakfast (Kevin and Johanna) and, dammit, the trip was pretty much over already! There was some fun with tailwind, there was picking our way from Charles Inlet to the Alexander Passage, and that's where the fun ended - after that, it was all load boat, drive, move boat to Kevin's car, goodbye, and similar un-fun things.

There are not enough weekends in the summer.

Posted by Johanna at August 23, 2007 07:39 PM

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