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tripping advanced paddlers more than 7 days
Pipestone River
Thursday, July 29, 1999 to Wednesday, August 11, 1999
route: from the road north of Pickle Lake to Wunnamin Lake (didn't do the North Pipestone R.)
length: 14 days
difficulty: advanced

leader: 160.0
organizer: y
participants:


offsite report:
http://kapn
report:

Early afternoon, July 25 - Beth:

And so the adventure begins. At least, the mobile part does. The past week of gear shopping, food planning, buying, packing, packing, packing ... has all been and adventure. Planning and packing food for two weeks without using pre-packaged stuff is a much more mammoth task than I would have ever imagined. It took us more than one full day to simply put the food packages together. We will, however, eat well.

I am disappointed that Caroline decided not to come. I would have really enjoyed her company and I think she would have had a good time. And so it is Morgan, Keith and I find ourselves on the Chi Chee Maun ferry on the way to Manitoulin Island. Then beyond to Sault Ste. Marie, really Chutes Provincial Park to camp with Dave and Heather tonight.

We left home Friday about 3:00pm with the back of Grampa's truck stuffed. Keith had left at 6:30am to drive to Haliburton and back to get Michael's boat first. He was pretty wrung out. I drove to Newmarket. After cooling down we were duly impressed that all of our food fit in the appointed barrels and the rest of our gear would fit too!

Rather than further exhaust ourselves by driving to Hillside, we stayed overnight. It meant less music, but more sanity.

We arrived at Kevin's in Guelph about noon, set up the tent and went off to listen to music. It was a good day with lots of music, some fun times for Morgan and great food. I had a bit of a rough evening. Morgan was enjoying the company of a very cute baby boy and it really set me off. When we headed back to the car we lost Keith and then Morgan's hat and I was just completely a mess. The end result of many days of busyness combined with too little sleep and a BFO night.

Morning, July 29 - Beth:

It's our first morning on the Pipestone River and so far the bugs are winning. Eventually we will have to get up and move on but, for now, a mostly bug free tent is the preferable choice. Sunday night we did camp at Chutes and even arrived at a sane time to set up our tent in the light and go for a swim. After a great breakfast of omelets which ended with throwing the pan away, we drove north to the Soo.

We visited the Bush Plane Museum together which was very pleasant. Went off to do some errands and that was the last we saw of Dave and Heather till Tuesday morning. Monday was a long day as we drove from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay. We stopped for a nice supper in Rossport at the Serendipity Café where we ate eight years ago on our first visit to Superior. The views of Superior also brightened the day considerably. Keith did most of the driving in a vain attempt to catch up. When we couldn't get in touch we opted for a nice dinner and staying in a motel. The Sea-Vu motel complete with neon sign and flashing lights. A bargain at $35 + tax. We had a bit of a sleep in and showers. Morgan got cartoons to watch for a bit, bonus!

Stopped at grocery store to get fresh stuff and wash clothes. Met up with Dave and Heather north of town. Then it was a start on our final day's drive complete with tea in hand and sticky buns from the grocery store.

Drove to Ignace, which included changing time zones to the Central one. Had a good lunch at the picnic area at a very nice tourist office. Morgan played on her last playground for a while and we drove on. After a few unhappy moments with Dave's truck we arrived in Pickle Lake, the real launching pad for our adventure. Two weeks in the complete wilderness for the first time for all of us. No walking out to the road to hitchhike back. It's us and an aircraft radio.

Camped by the lake near the airport and had a great evening although rain threatened and there were storms around us. The Canoe Frontier folks were excellent providing us with charcoal and grill for supper as well as fresh water and a table.

Wednesday morning involved lots of sorting and packing and then some waiting as notes got written on maps, licenses bought, etc.

After a quick pit stop at the hotel we were on the road to the river. The highlight of the drive was seeing a bear on the road. We ate lunch at the put in, loaded canoes, fought the bugs and a bit of rain. Then began paddling.

Three rapids later we were at a very buggy island. Unfortunately, everything is buggy so we will just cope.

Morgan has been a bit difficult and sucky, but hopefully with a new routine and some time spent with her, this too will pass.

Keith:

It's amazing how quickly my perspective changes. I really am a man of the moment. On the journey up, the priority was covering ground and not getting too grumpy. Bugs and dry clothes weren't much of a problem.

Sitting here (hiding in the tent) on morning one of the river part of the trip, my priority is getting food without becoming food and keeping dry feet.

When we put the river yesterday afternoon, Morgan and I had a good half-hour explore of the bridge and rapid area of the put-in. We found a disposable camera under the bridge. There were still eleven pictures left. I took one of Morgan and gave her the camera. I have no idea if anything will come out, but what the hell. (And in fact nothing did. It was completely ruined by whatever water washed it up where we found it.)

We paddled two class one and one class one-two rapid on the way to our first camp, a island, a mere kilometre from the put-in. Morgan screamed and cried all through the rapid. When asked at the bottom by Dave if that had been fun, she said "yes!" Go figure. I expect she's still out of sorts from the last week of mayhem.

We arrived at the island, trampled wild roses to pitch tents and had a cup of tea. The bugs are heavy and constant. I had a swim in wonderfully refreshing water and Morgan came in too. She's a real water baby. We had stir-fry and rice for supper.

After putting Morgan in bed Dave and Heather and I drank scotch and played a game of scrabble. Some where in that time frame the bugs had a change of the guard and the blackflies became the problem.

Evening - Morgan:

Morgan had a nice swim today with Auntie Heather at lunch time. She also had fun swimming down the rapid with her dad at our campsite.

Morning, July 30 - Beth:

Here we are hiding again. This time the rain and bugs are alternating in the torture. It wasn't too bad initially, but seemed to get worse.

Mid-afternoon, July 31 - Beth:

Hiding seems to be the theme of this trip thus far. After our rose bed camp spot we ran a couple of rapids, avoided a portage with a large amount of fiddling about: ferrying, lining and a bit of bumping.

We had left camp about noon and ran into the other party in the midst of a rapid. They portaged as we fiddled. We did find a good site by the rapid. We all enjoyed swims or washing and felt much refreshed. Which was a good thing since we had to carry gear and boats 300-400m with an unhappy Morgan.

We were on the water again by noon yesterday and paddled about 8km of flat water with a few minor riffles. There was a very impressive waterfall with a portage over the island. There was also a much quieter, albeit bumpy, channel which we opted for, successfully dodging all portages except the one to our site. A raft lunch followed, in which we drifted through an exciting riffle with a few impressive rocks.

A few kilometres more of flat water brought us near a definite portage past a c3-4 rapid so we went site hunting. A not bad site, actually a great view, but the rain and bugs have dampened all our enthusiasm. The weather has been incredibly unsettled. We ate both breakfast and lunch in Dave and Heather's tent. We needed to do at least 2 more portages and maybe more. Without a desire to do these in the rain we stay put, although our hopes were raised repeatedly. I hurt my toe coming up from the boat and breaking the nail impressively. It is still pretty tender. So far this isn't the ideal trip, but the rapids have been fun and the food is great and we sure needed to relax. So now I will do some needlepoint.

Mid-afternoon, July 31 - Keith:

I'm feeling pretty relaxed right now, which is good because there's not much to do.

With rain yesterday morning we delayed departure until almost 1pm. We ran some fun class 1 and 2 stuff and met another party just as we were finishing the class 2. One of their boats didn't even look and barely avoided a couple of ugly holes, one of which was very "frowny."

The next rapid was pretty mess - a class 3-4. Clear v's in many places, but big water and some nasty straight ledges. Doable in an empty boat with full bags, but not by us in loaded boats.

The other group portaged, but we opted for a run through the first V and wading and lining the rest. It went fairly well down about halfway. Dave felt the next ledge was runnable - I didn't. It was followed by a big pool though and then a choice of the main channel - uncertain - or a boulder garden. Dave and Heather went for the ledge and got hung up on the lip due to lack of water. A tense moment, but they got off safely and waited in the pool while Beth and I lined down the left instead. Morgan was great. Dave and Heather had an unsuccessful go at the boulder garden, but indicated there was a route. We had a go, but missed the clear point by a couple of inches. We were sitting on a flat rock. I hopped out, pulled us back and we were on our way.

A long stretch of flatwater followed. A scenic break from a fiddly lining job. We approached the next rapid. The notes indicated a falls on the right of the island and a navigable rapid on the left - no indication of difficulty. After a scout, Dave and I decided that what we could see was doable and that is the bottom was a problem, we could wait in the enormous eddy we could see at the corner.

After a brief moment of concern at not being able to see Dave and Heather when we entered the rapid, we had a successful run with only two minor bumps on the corner. There was tight manoeuvring required (easier said than done in a loaded canoe) to find he gaps in the boulder garden and we just missed. But the bump was momentary and didn't even slow us. A very fun run. Morgan slept through it.

We paddled around the corner and had a look at the falls before rafting for lunch.

I was getting quite a headache by this point, but wanted to press on to the next rapid so we could camp and have a good look. The site was very grassy however, and we had had our fill of bugs. We opted for a rocky (we thought) across the river. A very pretty spot with less of a bug problem, but buggy nonetheless.

And here we sit on a site of sodden moss - napping, eating, hiding from the bugs and rain. We need a good dry spell to get across the next two portages without breaking our necks on the rocks.

Evening, August 1 - Keith:

It's dark now and I've had a good day. It's just gone dark and we've all gone to bed.

I woke this morning determined to leave our site and to have a good day. I had hoped to scout and run the first set of the day, but by the time I had scouted it, I only had my own paddle and pfd. There was too much wind to run solo in a tandem boat, so I hoisted the boat and completed the portage.

A kilometre later we had another, longer portage. Flat, but long and blocked with many deadfalls. No fun.

I made lunch at the end of the portage and we headed downriver. The weather was great compared to what we had been dealing with and the view of the rapid from the end of the portage was lovely.

I'm getting used to the bugs. I still wish there weren't so many, but most of the time I can cope without a bug shirt.

About two kilometres down river from the portage we had an unmarked surprise - a fun class 1 rapid. I was happy to have a chance to run something today. Can't really play in a loaded boat, but it was fun anyway. Tonight's site is lovely. High and sandy beside a rapid. Not a runnable rapid, but it's nice to listen to.

Tomorrow, I hope to get up early and get things going to make a very nice site that may be past 4 portages and, hopefully, some runnable rapids.

10pm, August 1 (camp 5) - Morgan:

I helped Daddy make the lemon cake. We had it for dessert.

(Insert scan here)

We had communion. We sang songs. We had cake after.

I pumped (water) with Daddy.

8:30am, August 3 (camp 6) - Keith:

Feeling good. Feeling hungry. We worked hard yesterday and had no trouble eating all of our supper.

We started yesterday with a fun run of two rapids -- a C1 and a C2. After that it was mostly portaging through blowdowns.

Actually, we began the day by dragging the boats up the hill to the site and lowering them down the hill with gear on the other side. Heather and I steered and Dave and Beth were the brakes at the the top of the hill.

Then it was a fun run and a bit of paddling before we reached the next portage. We avoided this by lining the top and running the ledge at the bottom. The lining was easy, but I was glad of the spraydeck for the ledge. Dave and Heather took in quite a lot of water.

Just before we ran the bottom Jessie got spooked and ran away from the boats. Dave was able to bring her back, but just as they were setting to run, she jumped out again. They ran it without her.

At the bottom, while Dave and Heather were bailing, Beth, Morgan and I ferried over to the left bank to see if we could get Jessie. On the way over, two river otters appeared and wrestled playfully for a moment before noticing us and taking off.

We managed to get the chicken hound in our boat and ferried back to Dave and Heather.

One and a half kilometres downriver we approached the next portage around and otherwise unmarked rapid. We were surprised to discover a very large falls! We all felt that this was worth at least a brief note on the map!

The portage was littered with blowdowns and Dave had to saw through a number so that we could get through. Morgan was asleep when we arrived. We roused her, but it was clear that she wouldn't walk -- at least for a while. Beth put her on top of the barrel I was carrying and we proceeded to where Dave and Heather had stopped to saw.

While the sawing was happening we picked berries and Morgan woke up enough to walk. I decided that if I could take Morgan on the barrel, I could probably handle the sleeping bag pack. This shortened the portage (and subsequent ones) to a double carry each.

We had hoped to line the next rapid, but it was a mess of ledges at different angles and sure to swamp the boats. Portage again -- more blowdowns.

By the time we finished this one we were tired, it was late and we faced at least one more portage and lining before the first marked site.

We landed, tired, above the rapid we hoped to wade and line, to discover a small site. Dave suggested we pack it in and make a short day with laundry tomorrow. We all agreed and shoehorned our tents into the site.

Dinner was basic, but well received. Beans and instant mashed potatoes. It was delicious, not only because we were tired and on trip but because of the garlic and parsley cubes we added to the potatoes. Mmm!

Dave and I worked our way through a few mouthfuls of formerly good scotch chased by Cranberry Breeze. Ugh! I dumped the scotch on my way to bed. Sigg blue bottles are useless for booze!

Morning, August 4 - Beth:

There are some days where I think I like camping better than tripping and this is one of them. Last night we camped on top of a good size falls and it is gorgeous with a small beach below. The sun is working its way across the sky and it will be a while before it hits the site -- the river looks amazing.

We are going to stay put to dry laundry and relax. Although our whole trip has been pretty relaxed, the process of packing up and hauling your belongings with you every day is definitely work. We do not get going very early, so have only 6-7 hours which never seems quite enough to get what we want accomplished.

Yesterday was a beautiful morning. Crossed the river to the left side of the falls near our site. We ran the top and lined the bottom which is way better than portaging. After not much paddling we were at another falls with a definite portage. This included a lunch break during which the others portaged and I made coleslaw. It was really good, but took a fair bit of time to construct. It'll get done at breakfast next time. Speaking of breakfast, our oatmeal had dried blueberries in it, but we then added fresh ones as topping which made it excellent!

After our lunch break, which included ogling the falls and hanging out briefly on nice, flat rocks, we headed on.

Dave and Heather spotted an immature bald eagle and a bit further on we all saw some osprey and their nest. They didn't come back to it while we were waiting though. Lot's of fun gliding to watch. This was the first real bird day. We did see a doe moose the other day in some shallows by the river shore, not very close, but closer than last Thursday when the other party scared the moose off as they passed by.

As we continued on, a storm was spotted coming in and we headed closer to shore in case it got bad. As the wind picked up and the thunder boomed we changed shores to get away from the burn and potential blowdowns, of which we saw many: a couple right into the water.

We hit shore as the sky opened and we took shelter under the fly with all adults as poles and pegs. Morgan had delayed putting her rain jacket on, and was wet inside and out, so the fly wasn't very warm protection for her. She was "freezing" according to her.

The very heavy rain was followed by hail of a very significant size and then tapering off to rain again which continued for a bit. All this was followed, of course, by bright sunshine. The weather on this river is incredibly fickle and often doesn't make it to us although we can see it.

Paddled around an island into lake Karl which was much bigger than the river. Being completely alone was a bit of an odd feeling. Got to the final run of the day and couldn't see the take out, although we knew there was a falls and there must be a take out.

We ran the top, lined a chunk, and snuck down to the bottom to essentially the lip of the right channel where our campsite is now. A short carry over will take place tomorrow. I don't know if this trip has been what any of us expected. I suppose it was hard to have expectations when so much was unknown. But regardless of expectations, I think we have all been enjoying it immensely. Granted that we all enjoy different elements.

Noon, August 4 - Morgan:

Morgan the Magnificent and her dragon dad went to the beach to wash. She didn't really wash, but her dad got nice and clean and shaved. They dug canals.

Evening, August 4 - Morgan:

I went to the beach with my mama and played. Daddy and Uncle Dave glued the skid plate back on with greenish glue and pinkish glue.

Evening, August 4 - Keith:

A good, quiet day. I got up at seven and discovered a misty wonderland outside. This is a truly gorgeous site.

I came back to get the camera and to tell Beth how beautiful it was outside. I took a few shots of the area, cobwebs, a tree -- I got bit carried away.

After I finished my photography, I settled down to sketch. Beth sat nearby and worked on her needlepoint. After about 45 min we headed back to the tent and lay about.

Sometime later Beth went out and made cinnamon rolls and Dave made eggs. The rolls were great. Which reminds me that the giant, pan-fried pierogis we had last night were really good too.

I went down to the lower beach to wash after breakfast. Morgan came too, but chickened out as I started. Other folk napped and read.

After a post-washing nap, Dave and I lined the canoes down the chute beside the site. Or, I should say, Dave and Beth lined while I caught the boats at the bottom. The main current was shallow and rocky: I was glad I had put on full gear including helmet.

As I got into the second boat to paddle to the eddy, I thought I'd just ferry out and s-turn back for fun. It was fun and I decided to go fart around in current. Ferrying back and forth and trying to find surf, I crossed the various current streams several times. I was sorry I crossed the last one, however. It was very strong and so was the one after it with no real eddies. I finally got to shore and dragged back up the bank to where I could actually paddle again.

Dave had found a surf possibility in our side chute. It was fun and the current there was great, but the spot was small and almost impossible to hold. I was now very tired. The paddling was followed by more napping.

As supper preparations began, Morgan and I went down to the beach to play and Dave went out in the eddy to fish.

In 5 casts he had 4 strikes! Unbelievable! I haven't seen fishing like that in over 20 years.

He brought the fifth one in -- a Walleye -- and it became part of supper: curry, rice and apple-cabbage sauté.

I tried to make brownies (Dave friendly even!), but I think the pan was too big and they got burned on the bottom.

Site cleanup, skid-plate repair and an early bedtime. Will hopefully set out fairly early tomorrow.

Evening, August 5 - Morgan:

During supper we saw a rainbow.

Evening, August 5 - Beth:

Our entrance into the tents was hastened by bugs last night so we read and got sleepy. Sleep was delayed by lovemaking which was quite wonderful. Morning arrived and as I thought it was time to open my eyes, it rained and I delayed. Once I was up we all worked together for an early departure and made it. We left behind our wonderful site and paddled and paddled. Pretty flat water and an uneventful morning. Lunch on a great sandy beach. Morgan swam and played in it.

Loading the boats in the morning Morgan really pitched in. She had her backpack and life jacket already and turns to me: "Pass me Uncle Dave's gloves, I have a free hand and I can handle them." I think she's been listening to us.

Partway through lunch it rained once, twice and this was to set the tone for the afternoon. We were travelling the length of a lake and were repeatedly rained on and presented with shifting winds, but mostly head wind. We ran a few rapids near the end of the day. One was fairly significant with large waves that Morgan and I wore. A few more fun ones and we were at a great site once again.

Evening, August 7 - Beth:

Keith and Dave messed about in the rapid for a bit.

Morgan:

Aunt Heather caught a fish and we ate it for supper.

Keith:

It was a truly great site and a very good play spot. There were some fun waves that Dave and I surfed. Many different angles and currents so getting onto and staying on a wave was very challenging.

Dave made brandied fruit and we all headed for bed.

Up the next morning and found a totally clear sky and a beautiful, misty rapid -- drowned my camera the day before dammit!

Bannock and 7-grain cereal for breakfast and we were on our way to cover some kilometres for the first time on the trip. No portages!

25km of mostly flat water later, we arrived at our lovely beach site -- virtually no bugs! A nice meal of pasta with mushrooms and we had our first fire of the trip: a warm beach fire and good conversation. We'd arrived at the site early enough to have naps and actually have enough energy to stay up after dark.

A very beautiful beach -- a good day.

Woke up this morning to rain and the memory of hanging my raincoat in a tree. Rats! Got dressed, went out, put on raincoat, peed!

Nobody else is up and it's after 7am, so I set up the fly and put tea and coffee on. This gets me Beth and Dave. Heather thinks we should stay put. It's very tempting, but the weather has changed every 10-40 minutes every day so far, so it seems very unlikely to stay raining all day.

We get on with breakfast -- chapattis this morning -- and pack up. A little late, but we're on our way. The grey sky lasts an unusual three hours. Then sun, then cold rain and wind, etc. Much the same as yesterday.

Yesterday we had lunch on the winter road because there was nowhere else. It was kind of neat. Lots of garbage, a blasting mat and a trailer.

Today we had lunch on a small rocky point -- very small in fact, but we didn't want to risk not finding anywhere else if we passed it.

Jessie liked poking into the bush off the point, but not as much as running up and down the beach last night.

As we packed up lunch it started into cold rain and wind. We all needed to get moving to avoid freezing and it seemed the time had come to put a rain jacket on Jessie too. She looked very cute in her red jacket. We made Morgan hide under the spray deck out of the wind and rain. She stayed toasty.

As usual, the weather changed again shortly and we kept on moving through all of it.

Today's travels had lots of class 1,2 and swifts with a couple of lakes.

Our site tonight is some kind of regular camp. It's a nice site but there's a lot of garbage and I'm a bit concerned about bears.

At supper, Beth was preparing the rice Veracruz and said that the recipe said, "excellent with fish" and told Dave he should go catch one. Dave didn't manage it, but within half and hour Heather had landed a pickerel bigger than the one we had the other night. Dinner was indeed "excellent with fish."

Another fire to try to reduce our garbage collection and time to bury some organics. Another good day. Good night.

Morning, August 9 - Beth:

We packed up after a somewhat failed breakfast of Latkes and eggs. Eggs were better, but latkes didn't work quite right. They were good as hashbrowns though.

Dave built a sailing rig and after paddling out into the wind we sailed about 4km. It was a lot of fun, although holding the boats together was a challenge. It was a good thing we started with a few "free" kilometres as it was our longest day. We finished paddling across the lake. Then ran two or three sets of long rapids (about 1km each) a couple of kilometres apart.

We stopped for lunch at the bottom of one rapid for good salsa soup (oh yeah, that recipe's a keeper). It was then onto Hillyard Lake, which is bisected by an esker. There was some uncertainty about direction after we crossed the esker, but that was successfully settled as we headed for the less known of two outlets into Wunnamin Lake. This was our last rapid. We ran the top, lined most of it and ran out the bottom to eddy out by the local police boat. We had done plenty of paddling and were ready to stop, but there were no sites.

We paddled till sunset ending up on a great beach near the airstrip. Great site, long day.

We had a very relaxed morning. I stayed in bed and slept more. Then Keith, Morgan, Dave and I headed to town. As we headed to town lots of people were going to the airstrip. We got a ride a good chunk of the way in. The back of a pickup -- yeah!

We had our Northern Store experience, bought junk food, called North Star Air to arrange pickup and walked the community. We ran into our friendly police officer and some folks outside the store who had seen us walking. Arranged a ride to the airstrip, confirmed and called North Star back. They'll book us rooms for tomorrow night in Pickle Lake. All is set.

Morgan has loved the beach sites and likes rapids now. She sure knows how to nap in a canoe.

Evening, August 9 - Keith:

This is hard to write. The last real day of the trip. It has been great and I don't want it to end. It is incredible to me that only 2 years ago I was still indifferent to canoeing.

In town today I met a little girl who wanted to know where the little person was and the dog were. I guess word had got around that we were in town. Her name was Twyla and she has a dog named Spots. (I hope you're doing well Twyla).

This is a good community. It seems to be dry, and I think the sand would drive me mad after a while, but wonderful people. I love the north. I'd really like to paddle to the bay sometime. Maybe the Missinaibi.

Finishing our last rapid yesterday was difficult on two counts. Firstly, it was probably class 5 and secondly, it was our last rapid. In many ways, the trip ended for me at that point.

At the same time, this has been a trip of firsts for me:

  • my first remote trip
  • my first two-week trip
  • my first real whitewater trip
  • my first time in a burn
  • my first time carrying two packs

This has been a wonderful experience. The only regrets I have are drowning our camera and our first rest day.

By and large, the food has worked well -- I'm especially happy with the outback oven. I loved having the spraydeck on the boat. And I loved being out for so long with my friends. I'd like to do a month.

Afternoon, Friday, August 13 - Keith:

I've just finished emptying the truck -- I'm not too happy. The city is hot, smelly, busy.

The morning after my last entry was raining with a low ceiling. It seemed that we might be there another day. We got going slowly and proceeded with the assumption that we would go. At times the Bell tower (radio telephone tower) was invisible.

We moved to the beach at the airport and had the help of a pickup truck to get our stuff up the hill. That was nice.

Before we left the site, we checked on the radio that the ceiling was ok. It was. Just.

A phone call to the outfitter from the airport confirmed that we were still on. Our plane was stuck on the ground in Casabalanca, but expected to be aloft soon.

We chatted with people at the airport until their flights came. By two o'clock we were alone and the phone was locked up. Just us and the aircraft radio.

Waiting. Waiting. Lunch. Listen to the aircraft radio. Wait. Wait.

We finally heard our pilot on the radio, but weren't able to transmit for some reason.

We made visual contact and watched him come in. Tall blonde - a pilot. He rolled a drum across the airport and added fuel to the tank. We half expected him to siphon it into the tank with a tube and his mouth. We were relieved when he used a pump he produced from the float.

Then we were loading and tying boats. Group photos and then we were in the air -- an hour after he had landed.

The flight was very bumpy and I was glad I had opted for Gravol. Heather wasn't so lucky.

Jessie was pretty freaked out. She seemed better once she could look out the window -- though I can't imagine what she made of the view.

Beth rode in the cockpit and was awake for the take off and landing. She slept most of the rest of the way.

The view was incredible. And then, just under an hour later we approached Pickle Lake. I could see first the road and then the church and other buildings.

We landed, unpacked gear and made our call at Canoe Frontier to get shirts, settle up and pass on new notes. Shortly after, we arrived at the Winchester Hotel -- shower, change, beer and dinner. Another emotionally difficult day.

The next morning we had breakfast with Dave and Heather, but were then basically on our separate ways. Hard again.

A long drive, a late camp at Rossport. Up early and ever-changing plans for the day, ending with a motel night near Sudbury -- The Four Sisters.

A later start today, a not so long drive into increasing civilization, Ugh! Home, tired, unpack, be social-- Chris, Brian, J, Jody. Good, but I'd rather be in the bush. Maybe not in a tent -- that can be cramped at times -- but in the bush.

I wish I could do the Spanish next week, but will settle for the Dumoine on Labour Day weekend. Missinaibi to the Bay in 2001? Yeah!

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