New Dog, New Captain, New Paddler & New Park
Did you read that title? That is a lot of “new”.
This particular trip we headed to a park that we had not been to before. We were looking for an easy paddle, that wasn’t too long and wasn’t too far. I know, not my usual M.O.
We decided on heading up to Frost Center in Haliburton ON. We only had two nights for this trip so we headed up there on Friday. Meeting up at the car pool on highway 9 and highway 400. We grabbed our friends, packed my truck more than it has ever been packed before, and we were off…. the long way. (Now it is sounding more like a ManCamping trip right?)
After a traffic jam, some curse words, a stop for Timmy’s and a quick walk around to get the blood flowing back to my ass, we found the entrance to the park and headed down what seemed to be the longest bumpy road in history. Weird noises that were coming from the back of the truck were acknowledged and promptly ignored, as we finally hit the launch spot!
So now you know about the new park. Now it’s time to introduce you to the new dog, captain and paddler. Bender was the new captain. You may recognize him as Caillou in some of our other posts. He isn’t new to paddling anymore, but he hasn’t captain’d a boat. So what did we do? We made him captain of the main ManCamping boat that will hold Carol (Bender’s girlfriend) who is new to paddling and camping, and Marley their dog who has never set eyes on a boat. Nothing could go wrong here right? Mrs ManCamping and I took out the new cedar strip canoe. More on that later.
Now I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did Caillou manage to trap or trick a girl into liking him enough to date him? We spent the weekend trying to investigate the same question. Turns out… she’s nuts. It’s really the only explanation.
Back to the story. We loaded up the boats on the beach, spent a few minutes trying to make Marley comfortable before trying to launch the boat. After a few treats Marley was good to go. After a few paddling tips from myself to Carol… she faked it very well that she was good to go. lol She was actually very good…. but she did have the faint look of “what the f**k did I get myself into” in her eyes. We let the newbs launch and hoped that they tipped over. I mean hope’d they didn’t. No…. I was right the first time. Sadly, they did not tip over.
We launched on Sherborne Lake with a plan to head to Orley Lake. It’s a short paddle… like a 1km paddle. Followed by a beautiful 300m portage that is straight up a hill, through a river and across a beaver damn. It really was a nice portage. From there, we had the only camp site on this little lake, so we could literally throw a football to the camp site.
The next day… well we spent that entire day under a tarp. It rained off and on the entire day, finally clearing up around 9pm. In-between the rain, I managed to get a line into the water and do a little fishing.
We also had the opportunity to witness a mother/daughter team portage into the our lake, and head for another portage that apparently lead into Ranger Pond. Not sure if it leads anywhere further than that as it is not on the maps and we didn’t explore it. But from the yelling match between the duo, the daughter was sure it lead somewhere, the mother (Who won the argument) was sure it didn’t. If we were in that situation we would have discussed it over a sip of whiskey and we probably would have been bushwacking for days before the next lake came into sight. It’s the ManCamping way.
While I was out in the canoe fishing just before dark, I heard the distinct sound of a moose entering the water. I wasn’t able to see where it came from, but I KNOW that sound. I paddled back to the campsite and quietly told Bender to keep Marley tied up. Making sure Mrs ManCamping didn’t hear me. My wife doesn’t sleep in the woods already so she didn’t need to know about this.
That night was damp and cold. cold enough to take down a few rocks from around the fire pit to use a seats. Hot rocking your tent at night is one thing…. try booty warming your seat!
We woke up Sunday morning to beautiful sunny skies and spent the morning relaxing, going for a swim and packing up before making the trek back to the truck. Bender was the first one up in the morning, drinking coffee with the dog and viewing the moose across the lake. (Told you so)
The noise I told you about as we drove into the park? Ya it was there the whole ride home. We thought it might be a wheel bearing. Turns out…. 4 of 5 lug nuts had come loose. Yikes! It would have been kind of funny to see my wheel pass me on the highway but I think I’m glad it didn’t.