Algonquin day 9

Day 9, Sept 9. Timberwolf Lake to Little Misty Lake. 6.8km travelled, 1065 meters in portage

Significant thunderstorms prevailed throughout the night, and I found myself awake and counting the seconds between flash of light and thunder clap, suddenly quite grateful that Don was beside me. I’d gotten to thinking about those old dead and dying hemlock that encircled our camp and imagined one of them coming down in the storm.. not a completely farfetched notion as a large limb had dropped on our tarp earlier in the evening. I remembered stories of trees falling on campers tents in the night, killing them instantly.

Oh how the mind can escalate things out of proportion when tired and darkness has settled.

After the thunderstorms finally passed (Don suggests that I slept through the worst of them), the drying winds came chasing the storm. At times it was difficult to discern whether the drops hitting the tent were being shaken from overhead branches or were fresh ones from the sky. I appreciated the drum-like percussion, our tent drawn so tight, at times quite soothing.

By daybreak, I had donned my raingear and set about making breakfast. As it turned out the raingear was soon quite unnecessary. We packed up and headed out for the weedy passage between Timberwolf and the eastern bay of Misty Lake, hoping that the rainfall of the past several days may have made it more passable and wanting to avoid the 845 overland passage. I hoped for some wildlife to emerge in the rich habitat, particularly after last evening’s storm, but to no avail this morning.

At times, as in the grassy bay, it was difficult to discern where to paddle along this stretch of water, but soon we were at the shorter 135 portage to Misty, which rose up and around a small but stunning waterfall that dropped into a mirrorlike granite pool. It still amazes me that a lazy, almost stagnant body of water can suddenly become a cascading stream, and that the earth in one place changes so quickly from mucky bog, which soaks up the water like a sponge, to granite bedrock, impenetrable by it.

Misty Lake was wind-tossed, with last night’s storm system moving out and the drying winds still blowing strong, and we paddled intently northwest across the bay and into the east/west channel that passes by the large island on which we camped last fall with our friends. We remembered fondly our time with them, dinners and happy hour high on the granite ledge, the picturesque view from that ledge, the tangerine tree that was the subject of Don’s haiku, and my early morning paddle past the sentinel island and across to the facing bay where I visited the beaver lodge and the sleeping loon.

Through the marshland at the western end of the lake toward the portage we meandered. Upon reaching the portage we paused to refuel bodies for the 935 portage and reflected again on the changing Petawawa river. I poked around the boulder strewn river bed that had been so swollen and roiling last fall. Today there were mere puddles here and there amidst the tonnage. It was a quite beautiful setting for our lunch.

The 935 m felt longer than that today, especially the second time across under the canoe, and we were happy to arrive on Little Misty lake with no decisions to make about campsites, as there is only one on the lake. The site itself is quite overused, but the rocks overlooking the vista are welcoming and warm – so warm in truth that we moved to the rocks in the small protected cove on the west side of the site to get out of the sun for awhile.

I sit there now, next to Don, my beloved, who is sleeping. He is quite weary today. The wind is beginning to calm, and it promises to be a lovely evening, looking at the sky. We have both so appreciated sky-gazing on this trip, perhaps because we see so little of it back home in Mt Gretna, perhaps because its interaction/relationship with the land and the water is so remarkable here.

It is time to prepare dinner.

Evening, twilight.

The lake stilled to liquid ribbons and then to glass. We watch the fish heads shoot above the water’s surface, grasping at the insects that alight. A small mammal slides into the water on the opposite bank. The black reflections of the pickerel leaves at our feet look like elongated hearts dancing in the water. The sky changes from pink to lavender to gold as we watch the line of light the sun casts on the opposite ridge creep up the tree line.

A dragonfly swoops past my ear, saving me from one more mosquito bite, though I’ve gotten quite used to them by now. They bother me only for a minute or two after the bite. Don has gotten up to find his jacket, the first evening one has been necessary in our 9 days here. An adolescent loon emerges into the fuschia water, a silhouette in the ripples. A red squirrel chatters and a lone sparrow sings ‘oh sweet canada’.

We move to the large rock, which was so sunbathed this afternoon, on the point of the site. We have a full view of the sky from here.. north, south, east and west. The evening has grown so chilly, I go to the hardware pack for the lightweight mylar blanket and throw it over our bodies for warmth as we lie back to take in the view of the sky. Two small bodies we are, pinned to this whirling planet by gravity as it cascades through space so vast. We see an airplane catching the silvery light of the vanishing sun before the first star appears, the same star we’ve spotted each evening, directly over our heads. Soon, we are bathed in starlight on this clearest, darkest night since we have arrived in the park.

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