tr 73: Opeongo - Big Crow - Lavieille 

A baby mink cries out to his mother

I didn't understand 4 years ago and I still don't understand today - what is that arrow pointing at?

Day 3: Windbound on Lake Lavieille

I woke up this morning to a strange sound – I turned over and it was Ty letting the air out of his mattress as he rolled it up. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. With a look of ‘What does it look like I’m doing’ on his face he replied, ‘packing up.’ I laughed, rolled over and went back to bed. A minute or two passed and he asked what’s so funny? I reminded him we have two nights on Lavieille and that he was packing for no reason. He let out a big sigh then unrolled his gear to go back to sleep for a little while longer. 

By 9am I finally got out of the tent and it was another super windy day – in fact the wind stuck around throughout the entire night. It was kicking up big waves on Lavieille and I was particularly glad we didn’t have to travel today – it was probably only going get worse. I pulled the food and dishes out of the tree and put on some water for coffee. I poured my coffee and sat on the bench while running over a few plans we had for today. One of the plans was to check out Thomas Bay and try to get as far as we could up Thomas Creek – maybe even to Thomas Lake. The other plan was to head directly north, to Farncombe and Finch Lakes. Unfortunately, unless this wind came to a halt, neither plan would become a reality.

Wind manages to blow through the channel between the islands

How windy was it you ask? Roughly this windy

We decided to take a swim on this side of the island

By now we were approaching 5pm and it was time to get the drinks flowing again. Before we knew it, it was 7:30pm and time for dinner! Chili, fresh bannock and roasted potatoes were on the menu tonight. Ty threw a bunch of wood on the fire to get a decent bed of coals to roast the potatoes over. By 8:30 we were enjoying a hot meal and the sun was still up – I love camping in mid-June. Dinner was delicious and the heavy meal knocked us both on our asses. Ty seemed more tired today then he was yesterday, despite the day of relaxing – he hit the sack just before 10pm. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and if you’re tired – don’t fight it – roll with the punches! I stayed up till about midnight, then I realized I should get to bed if we wanted any chance of getting out of here tomorrow. Our plan was to wake up at 6:00am and be on the water for or 6:30 or 6:45 the latest, leaving plenty of time for our 37-km exit.

Morning sun through the trees on Lake Lavieille

He spotted me over 20 feet away and started coming my way - I ran to get out of sight

Almost dead calm on the leeward side of the island

Eventually Ty came out of the tent and we spent the morning drinking coffee (possibly laced with whiskey) and eventually threw together some more BLT’s. The wind was still very strong - as it has been since landing here yesterday. At one point, I turned to Ty and said 'you know, even if we HAD to leave right now, it isn’t happening.' It was just too windy and the waves were massive. We were literally stuck on this island in the middle of Algonquin Park. A great, yet humbling feeling at the same time. Would it be like this tomorrow? How on earth will we make the 37km journey back to the car if the wind it like this… or worse? I began to wonder if we should be rationing food – just in case we have to stay an extra night. Following breakfast not much else was done today, we pretty much spent the rest of the morning hours gathering firewood and lounging around. By noon it was getting hot enough that we wanted to go for a swim, but it surely wasn’t happening on the west side of the island – waay too windy and thus waay too wavy. We walked to the east shore where the wasn’t a drop of wind and found a place to get in the water. We put on our life jackets and floated around in the calm waters of the leeward side of the island. We stayed here for nearly an hour – it was really nice to be out of the wind and a great way to give yourself an over-all cool-down. No leeches either – bonus!

End of Day 3 - Go To Day 4

|  Day 1  |  day 2 |  day 3  |  day 4 |

Once back on the island with nothing on the schedule and no ability (or desire) to canoe anywhere due to the extreme wind, we decided to spend the afternoon just lazing around. We cleaned out and rebuilt the fire pit, picked up bit of garbage from the site and I went around to all the trees with bits of rope hanging from them and cut it all off. We explored the island a bit – it’s very open and a beautiful hemlock forest. There really wasn’t much else to do – but that was 100% okay by me. I took some photos then brought my chair out on the rocks to relax a bit. A few minutes after sitting down, I heard some very faint but strange squeaks – I got up and followed my ears to find a momma mink and her two kits running across the big flat rock at the front of the campsite. She must have been transferring homes and they made a lot of noise while doing so. I thought, ‘Keep it down guys or next time a large predator may have at you!’ But they were so damn cute. I photographed them with a zoom lens and when momma picked one up to take it up the tree, the other one looked directly at me through the trees and even though I was about 20+ feet away - it began to crawl in my direction (maybe thinking I was momma?). I ran far and long to get out of sight as I did not want this little guy to be abandoned by his mother due to our contact. She came back for him, grabbed him by the neck and took up him the tree where his sibling was waiting – what an awesome encounter!