Thursday, August 3, 2006

BWCA Journals: The Load Out

July 16, 2001

It remained overcast and somewhat foggy in the bays all day and rained off and on. I was up and packed before it started raining so all my gear was still dry but everyone else packed up wet again in the pouring rain. I pulled on my poncho, cooked myself some breakfast and ate out on the point while waiting several hours for everyone else to get up and packed. By the time they were ready, a cold, heavy wind was blowing straight across the lake at us and from the direction we needed to paddle to get back to our vehicles. There was nothing to do but to dig our paddles in and go.

Because of the exertion, we stayed warm but the going was slow and we were soaked from the whitecaps splashing over the gunnels. Dave and Milan had about twice as much personal gear by weight than Don and I had as I discovered while helping by carrying their packs for them on a long portage, so their boat was a little lower and took on more water causing them to stop and bail occasionally, all the while losing ground that they would again have to make up. But eventually both of our canoes made it across to the other side and followed the lee shore back to the take-out and our vehicles. After loading up, we dropped off the rental canoe and drove to the first bar we could find that served food and I ate my first decent meal in a week that wasn't prepared by first boiling water. It was heavenly.

All in all it was a good trip and showed that it is something I would like to do it again. My partners were and still are good friends but with the exception of Don, probably not the type of people I would do a long camping trip with, or at least one where we have to share communal duties. I'm a believer in the pack light principal because it makes enjoying the trip much easier. Packing light doesn't mean you have to skimp on food quality because many high-class meals can be cooked over a campfire without sacrificing weight. In the end, the trip was a success because it provided us a break from our everyday lives and allowed us to commune with nature up close and personal.

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