The goal: to find a moose.

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Oct 02, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Friday, October 5, 2007

I was fairly skeptical about camping in October.  I had visions of frostbite on my fingers, red and raw bum cheeks from squatting in sub zero temperatures to pee and eternal layers of sweaters that would never be warm enough.  But thanks to global warming and Al Gore's continued warnings that didn't happen!  This October (as is continues to be a beautiful 28 C) proved to be fantastically warm weather that prevented any frostbite on my hands or a wind-burned ass.

I started the trip with a mission to find a moose and perfect my moose-call.  (I'd have to perform it for you in person, typed it just isn't the same.)

But stories of this trip begin even before we went out on the water.  As we were unpacking the car, we noticed another couple by the dock making repeated trips back to their van, then to the canoe, and back to their van again.  In my opinion, there should be one, maybe two trips back to the car and then all the unpacking is finished.  But as I looked closer, I realized they had already burdoned the canoe with not one but two coolers, lawn chairs, fishing rods plus fishing nets, suitcase-sized bags and, sit down, PRE-CUT wood.  Into the canoe.  To be paddled to a campsite in the woods.  I missed seeing the paddles go in the boat but soon realized why.  When I thought that absolutely nothing else could be fit in this poor canoe, they attached a motor to it's side.  So after we had paddled out, jaws almost hanging on the water, we were passed by a motorized canoe, no paddles in site. 

At least we knew we wouldn't see (or hear) them after the first portage.  And it was after this half kilometre trail we reached our first campsite.  And at the first campsite is where I cut my first logs.  I can say logs because Kevan had to stand on the other end so I could saw it.  And before I cut this wood I went out to find hardwood and had found this tree.  So not only can I saw wood but I know what kind of tree to look for.  I'd say if I were a girl scout I'd have gotten the "tree knowledge" badge.  Or something like that.
The next day, and several lakes and portages later, we made it to Bandit lake.  Before we reached our campsite we paddled beside otters (so cute!)   This was turning into a safari, algonquin style.  However, I had a slight problem with this last campsite, and that was the mice.  And there were many.  And I hate them.  I found mouse poo on my magazine, on Kevan's coffee cup and my towel drying innocently on a rock.  The last night I shone my headlamp at a sound near my foot and there right in front of me was one of the little rodents!!  I may have screamed (very quietly) and needed to be escorted back to the tent for proper shoes.  (The escort was absolutely necessary to prevent further Cheryl - mouse encounters before I had shoes.)

But the last morning was the reason I'm writing this travelpod.  We had woken up, eaten and were getting ready to pack up and head home.  Kevan heard a splash in the water and went to check out if there was 'something' there.  My moose had come!  There, 10m accross the water from our campsite were two moose!  I wished we could have watched them all day but when we moved positions we spooked them and they took off into the bush.

Our paddle home was straight into the wind (when has it ever NOT been?)  Yet I kept begging at the end of each portage to head back into the park.  But our trek home was not without animal sightings:  we spotted bear-poo beside one of the portages and paddled near many loons and few more otters.
Finally, on our drive out of the park we saw another moose with two calfs!  Truely my greatest safari since Africa.  Enjoy the photos!
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