Algonquin – Day 2

Day 2, Sept 2 – Daisy Lake through the Petawawa River and Little Misty to the eastern end of Misty. Approximately 12 km traveled, with 1520m in portages.

It was a long hot day of paddling and portaging, and now we have settled at last on the sandy beach of a campsite on the far side of Misty Lake, watching the sky change moment by moment as a front passes through. We have been fortunate in that the billowing front has only brought one significant thunder shower @4:00 in the afternoon, when we were able to find shelter in a small overgrown campsite, where we refueled for the remainder of our paddle to the end of the lake. Unfortunately, we found the only site in the far bay to be occupied, so we backtracked to find a more pleasing one. Perhaps I should say ‘fortunately’ as the paddle back offered an outstanding frame for the lake’s west facing invitation and the view this evening from this rock is so stunning as Don makes out shapes in the opening between the clouds and crafts a Haiku about ‘Don and Vicki in love’.

Thank you.

It is quiet again (I wonder how long I will continue to notice it like this) with just a few insects and peeping frogs her and there. Ahhh… but now the loon calls her mate. The song echoes wondrously around and around the lake. Again and again, she calls.

We watched a family of otters in the eastern bay of Daisy lake as we paddled from camp early this morning. A large turtle brushed up against my paddle in the meandering Petawawa, a great blue heron stood stalking a fish or a frog at the western inlet to Misty, and a small snake slipped across the trail as we portaged. We noted both bear and wolf tracks in the muck and this evening a family of nine mergansers paddled the shoreline along our campsite.

We are both physically fatigued and it feels good to be worn out this way. Tomorrow is a built in rest day and we will appreciate our time in camp, perhaps take a leisurely paddle to explore abit.

A light rain, such that we had to question if the drops on the water were insects, fish or raindrops, chased us into our tent early, though we will probably sleep soon. It is muggy in here to the point that my glasses are steaming as I write. Such very unusual weather for us here, I have never been so warm in Algonquin.

We have travelled thus far through familiar territory, reversing our route from last fall. The days therefore have been full of remembering fondly and of astonishment at how vastly different the terrain appears in a more typical end-of-summer climate. The Petawawa was merely a trickling stream whereas last year it was a powerful force. We lifted over beaver dams that last year we must’ve floated right over. I am remembering the slick, mucky, sometimes treacherous trails of last autumn as I easily make my way across dry ground. And, the pickerel and water lily still bloom.

I worry about Don. His feet are so bad. I hope that I do not push too hard, that he feels comfortable telling me that this is too much for him. I know that he wants to please me, but I wish it were easier for him and that he truly enjoyed it as much as I do. This is such a gift that he gives to me.

So far, I have not felt as needful of writing on this trip… perhaps I have not yet settled into those deeper waters, perhaps there is simply not as much time… though I do want to keep an accounting of our time here, to look back on and remember during lean times. At times, thus far, it has sometimes felt as if the writing itself is pulling me out of the experience, contrasted with other times in my life when writing has helped me immensely to move more deeply into one. For now, I simply want to BE here and here that is easy for me. I haven’t felt the need to ‘do’ anything at all to fill up my days or my soul. (perhaps this is more of the ‘enoughness’ of which I was intuiting before entering ) Just being here fills me. How far away are the feelings of 2 nights ago (is that all?), reading in the cabin, feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Here and now, I feel simply at one with this place, immersed in my surrounding, a part of it all. That, and the physical work quiets my mind. Here, my paddle stroke, my foot fall, are all that is necessary to ‘do’. Here, my mind is on the water or the sky, the otter or the heron, the moose or the turtle, the thunder or the rain. There is no need, and little room, for anything else.

I am falling to sleep as I write…. good night.

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