Tuesday, September 20

I finally fell into an uneasy sleep once the cataclysm ended - our sleeping bags were only a little bit damp - and was awakened again at 4am by wind tugging at the tent. Had we not set up in a north-facing totally sheltered area? Oh yes, but the first law of canoeing (as with cycling) - that the wind always turns so you have a headwind - had ensured that there was now a stiff north wind.

Wet and wind and sand does not for a tidy pack-up make. Everything was stuffed messily into packs - the next unpack would be in a dry basement at home. Chris and Michael's tent site had, in fact, been flooded and their sleeping bags were wet.

Chris decided that since we had about 11km to go into a direct headwind, including open water on Lady Dufferin Lake, that Lisa and I would be split up and put into the front of canoes piloted by Ken and himself, respectively. This gave me the welcome opportunity to paddle a canoe with all my strength without having to worry about steering, and we made good headway. The open lake was a chore though. Occasionally an extra fierce gust of wind, the kind that causes tiny 1cm ripples on top of the existing whitecapped waves, would blow us to a near standstill. Fortunately, most of the narrower river sections were more sheltered.

Arrived, after a strenuous headwind paddle
The water in the Montreal River was higher than it had been four days earlier, and we only bottomed out once, though badly, on a rock near the end, putting a new scratch into Chris's canoe, because I had failed to spot the rock quickly enough. Apart from this, and me slipping and falling headlong into the water while out of the canoe, we got back to our put-in location by 10:25AM. We rushed to load the canoes onto the cars, and change out of our wet clothing before we got too cold in the wind, then headed off over 20km of gravel road back to the land of paved highways and flush toilets, and an hour later, to an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at a Pizza Hut in New Liskeard, where we stuffed ourselves senseless.

The rest of the day was spent driving back to Ottawa, with Chris at the wheel of my car because several nights of bad sleep had caught up to me. We made the obligatory ice cream stop at Laurentian View Dairy in Deep River.

And so it was done: My first big canoe adventure. In one trip, I had doubled my lifetime total canoe mileage, and increased my lifetime total portage count by a factor of 10. I think I will do more of this. And I've finally bagged Ontario's high point. Thank you Chris, Michael and Ken for letting us join you.

* * * The End * * *

Map of today's route (also available without annotation). All pictures for this day.

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