by MW Cook
Temagami – Native word for “deep water by the shore”
Land of the silver birch,
Home of the beaver…
(…Or squeaver, if you happen to be canoeing with the Cook clan.)
The last day of September, twelve brave adventurers left modern suburbia for a chance to tackle Mother Nature. There were three separate clans that united in this goal. The first, the enigmatic Clan de Laliberte, which included the mighty chief Mike and his two young minions Chad and Sarah. Next there was the resourceful Clan Wiley, which had Krazy Kevin leading one Clint and one George. Lastly, there was the mighty Clan Cook. Headed by the great The Dave, sub-headed by Matt and Steve (who brought his counter-part, Stephanie), with two small minions Mikey and Rob taking up the rear.
What a trip! We all arrived at the Lake Temagami landing at about 1:00am Friday morning. I slept in the back of the pick-up truck with Mikey – a little cold! We woke up at the crack of dawn and tossed our lake-worthy vessels into the water and pushed off! What a great day it was! We battled a head-wind most of the way down, at one point we stopped to stretch our legs. The Dave exited his canoe and held it steady while Robbie tried to climb out. The whole time The Dave was saying, “Robert, do not fall in, the worst thing you can do on a canoe trip is get your feet wet!” At this point, The Dave slipped on a rock and drenched his right foot.
It rained early the next morning, so I woke up to a wet head and wet feet. My bro Steve, however, found himself sleeping in a full puddle! Times like this make me think I might need a new tent! That day we tackled a beautiful 1.3km portage. Wonderful scenery, but steep hills! By the time we got to the campsite that night, the wind had really picked up. So much that right after Steve and I set up our tent, we turned around to see it flying into the bush 50 feet away! We picked it up out of the trees, noted the now broken tent poles and tried to put it back, this time with tent pegs. Lo and behold, we turn around and again, the stupid thing is flying off into the woods! We grabbed it, rebuked it sternly, nailed it down and put some rocks in it. At this point, the wind stopped blowing.
The next day was the last, big trip out of the lake system. We took on three portages – 130m, 415m and 435m. Once we got past the last one we ran into some headwind the likes of which have not been seen since the time of the parting of the Red Sea! We had two-three foot waves crashing down on top of us. I had no idea how cold October could be until that time. We finally made it back to the landing, tired, wet and cold. Everyone changed into dry clothes that they had either stored in thier backpacks in water-proof bags, or in the van. Unfortunately, as Matt opened his lovely water-proof bag that had his nice, dry jeans, he noticed one horribe feature: the bag was open. It was a very long, cold and wet drive home.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip! I’ll try to find a nice map so I can show you the route. Good times had by all!