Sunday, July 5, 2009

Well, I Hope I'm Comfortable...

Josh and Mike Leaving the Landing

"She had the loaded handbag of someone who camps out and seldom goes home, or who imagines life must be full of emergencies."-Mavis Gallant

This quote is in response to the boys again making fun of my in case of emergency first aid kit. Hey, when you train to be a wilderness first responder you never think of camping the same again...always prepare for everything. Besides Murphy's Law provides perfect legitimizing of the fact that if I were to leave the first aid kit behind, that is precisely when we would need it.

Making the treacherous 'open water' crossing through Canoe Lake #1;)

"Well, I Hope I'm Comfortable.."

Those were Mom's parting words as we shoved off in Mike's friend of a friend's borrowed canoe for the weekend. Sam was in the back, Mom was wedged in the middle amongst backpacks and fishing rods and unsure of sufficient leg room while I was paddling in front. Josh and Mike had the lightweight, luxury compact version which sliced through the water easily passing us as we splashed along. It took Mom until half way across the first lake to simmer down and stop white knucking the gunnels. "Aaahhh, we're gonna tip. Whoa now okay, careful, oh this isn't fun, let's go back. Now good, okay yep, let's just stay close to shore." My thought as I glanced around the 1 acre lake we were paddling, "There is nowhere you could go in this lake that isn't close to the shore." It's all a matter of perspective.
Our destination this 4th of July weekend (By the way Happy 4th Everyone! Hope you all had very enjoyable celebrations!) was the Swan Lake Chain of Lakes in the Kenai Wilderness Area:

It reminded me of the BWCA in Minnesota on a mini version with mountains. The exception being the portages which were equal length to the BWCA, no skimping there.The first night we paddled in around 10 pm- 2 portages and a couple 'canoe trails' or streams that supposedly get you to the next lake more efficiently than a trek on foot carrying everything. I'll let you guys decide;)

Josh (above) loaded w/gear. Sam portaging canoe.

Slogging through the "You won't even have to get out of your boat" trail according to Mike.

At this point Mom was relieved to be off the "big open water" of the pond/pseudo lake we had just crossed and was instead enjoying being dragged along the bottom of a 6 inch deep stream where, delighted, she found that both of her arms could easily be extended to touch shore on each side of her at the same time. So as Sam pushed and I pulled along the 'canoe trail stream' groaning with the weight of the loaded down vessel in which the Lady of Chalotte sat blissfully taking in her surroundings, her oblivious comment was "Oh, now this is a nice little stream."
We camped on a super little spot right on a creek (where Sam later discovered there are suckers) and next to Canoe Lake #3. It's still odd going to my tent to sleep in daylight. We fished for rainbow trout the following day and were quite successful as dinner pics show;) I voluteered (figuring I better get used to it) for the disgusting job of 'gutting' the trout so they would be ready to cook when we got back to camp, blah-ick, you leave them in the skin.

Me, not enjoying the trout gutting.

Unfortunately, in the rush to get out of Anchorage Friday, we forgot utensils and so you can see in the pics below, our make shift cutlery (spoons fashioned out of cut up water bottles with sticks as handles and plates out of tinfoil wrapped around cracker boxes). The boys were pretty proud of themselves and are currently devising a plan to market them (of course). Oh, yeah and on our way back from fishing in South Spruce Lake while squeezing our way thru one of those handy 'canoe trails' Josh (paddling in front of the first canoe) came nose to nose with a Mama black bear and 2 cubs apparently planning on crossing! She stared him down long enough for him to get a little nervous, gathered that was enough, turned tail and herded her crew into the woods. Whew! Wild country I tell ya. Saw a moose jogging along the shoreline as we paddled out Sunday morning too.
So here's the breakdown...

1. Supper over an open fire caught earlier that same day...delicious.

2. Fishing with family and friends on a remote wilderness lake...a blessing.

3. Hauling your borrowed canoe atop a 98 Monte Carlo on 2 sweatshirts and a couple of ratchet straps...priceless.

Not sure this set up is DOT approved and wouldn't recommend trying it at home but, te he, it got us there;) And yes, you guessed it, this is exactly what happens when a couple of engineers have to improvise.

"Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don't take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour, Remembering that there will also be many dark days and that most of what comes your way is smoke. You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have the answer to God for every last bit of it." Ecclesiastes 11:7-9

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