Friday

It's Friday, it's Halloween! Richard, my roommate, Sabine, Nina, Peter and Cornelia and me, we dress up. During our search for nice costumes we entered a Stag Shop, but we only found stuff with low quality, but still expensive. Beside that it offered hair styling gel with flavour (or so, Sabine ? ;-)). On our way back we occasionally passed a Salvatory Army Shop, where we found some interesting cloth.

Now we are wearing scary make-up and just enter Fed Hall where this years Halloween party is going to be celebrated. The hall is full up, most of the people are dressed up. Peter, Tim, Sabine and me, we stay until 1:00am, dancing and celebrating, then we head back to the Columbia Lake Townhouses. We spent an hour time to switch back to normal human beings (as far as that is possible ;-), then we meet, to take off for the coming weekend, disappearing somewhere in the woods of northern Ontario.

Saturday

This time our aim is Temagami (Pop. 900), more a meeting point for truckers or a trading post, which it originally was some time ago.

Arriving there the first thing we see is the fire tower on a hill above the village and we decide to have breakfast up there.

From the top there is a gigantic lookout over many many lakes surrounding Temagami. But there also rules a enormous wind, sharp and icy.

We enjoy the scenic view and we are all a bit cheered up. The funny-scary Halloween night, the long drive and now back in the wilderness, we are looking forward to this weekend. We climb down the tower to have a short breakfast in the morning sun. muesli buns and peppermint tea, then we head back into the village.

Southwest of it a huge lake - Lake Temagami - is located, which provides 500 km coast line and more than 1600 islands. This is the place, where we want to spent two days with canoeing, hiding from civilization.

So we drive back the highway a bit until we reach the access road, which take us through 17 km of gravel road, rollercoaster feeling again. Finally we get to a good access point, where we want to put our canoes into the water. Here, too, an strong, icy wind is blowing, the lake is pertubated, waves with white crest are waiting for us.

As we load the boats four men arrive with their canoes from the lake. They warn us urgently, not to be careless, the lake is said to be a killer. Last year a group of 12 students died during a paddle trip, because they were hit by a storm. We assure the men to be careful, but somehow I am looking forward to meet the challenge, to defeat the wind.

And in fact we have a powerful headwind as we begin to paddle northwards. Occasionally the canoe is hit pretty tough, one or two waves rushing into it, but nonetheless - everything is safe. We have to paddle powerful, to make headway against the wind and after half an hour we have a snack break in a quiet bay.

As we go on the waves have calmed down, from now on it isn't that hard anymore to stride ahead.

We paddle for some more kilometers until we have our lunch break.

We have a feast on bread, cheese and once more a fantastic special nut mix. Following we are all pretty tired and rest in the sun for an hour. We all have to catch up with sleep and the weather invites us to lay down a bit.

Some time later we get up again, eventually we want to get somewhere today.

We navigate in one of the many branches of the lake, pass Birch Lake and reach our campsite sometime in the early evening. Quickly the tents are pitched up, after that we have another rest in the decreasing sunlight. The site is located on a rock plateau, some meters above the lake, we have a wonderful view on the opposite bay, above which the sun will set.

Hunger reminds us to start cooking, but prior to that we disappear in the woods to collect some fire wood.

Once more we have pasta with tomato sauce, which I clumsily distribute on the ground, both of them. We save what we can and the now natural spiced rest is enough to get us full. Meanwhile it is gotten dark, a starry sky announces a frosty night. As I look up into the sky some time later I think, hey, now clouds are coming up, but a second later they are gone again. We have a closer look and discover that we have just seen some northern lights. During the next two hours the lights intensify, show a green or red colour and move across the sky. Beside that during this evening we see many shooting stars, satellites and some odd light points moving in an zigzag way. At the peak the northern lights cover the complete sky and move (a fast appearing/disappearing), a fantastic show!

(For all the fans of photography, the first two pictures were made with a 135mm zoom lens and a 200 iso film, exposure time approx 10-15 s at f-2.8; for the next two a fish-eye lens with a factor of 0.38 was mounted on a 28 mm wide angle lens, the same focussing as before)

We can't break loose from this view, it is just too impressing and moving. At some point Peter starts to laugh about a saying. We all have to join in and can't stop for quite some time.

Finally - midnight is gone by - the lights get fainter, but Tim, who has to get up during the night, tells us the next morning that they were still observable a 5:00am. The night is icy, referring to the condensed water that froze on my sleeping bag. Our baggage, too, is covered with a layer of ice in the morning.

Sunday

The water in our pots is frozen, with those ice disks we have some early Frisbee training. To defeat the cold we lit a fire and prepare a hot chocolate and heat up milk for our oatmeal.

Our hair style is kind of weird, a result of a night wearing a hat ;-)

Our breakfast last long, nobody wants to hurry up and we are all rather glad, not to have to fulfill some kind of schedule. In a calm we pack our stuff, break down the tents and put out the fire. In the late morning we enter the canoes again and head back to the car.

We are pretty lazy and paddle without power. But from this kind of mood the best ideas are born and so we try to use what gave us a hard time getting here. We fix the canoes together and set the tent fly as a sail.

Suddenly we make good headway, we pick up speed. On our way back we only stop once for a short lunch break on a sun-drenched rock, playing a bit haggy-sac and take a sun bath. The rest of the way back we cover in record time without paddling for more than five minutes.

We reach the car in the afternoon, load it and after another round of haggy-sac we drive back to Waterloo. The gravel road give us a good time - only flying is more exciting ;-)) We have another stop in North Bay at a lonely beach of Lake Nippissing. here we eat the rest of our nut mix and fruits followed by some rounds of haggy-sac and Frisbee.

A marvellous sunset lets us forget about the fall of the dropping temperature.

We go on, the cold has driven us away. So we only stop to get some Tim Horton's coffee and stay on the road until Waterloo. Late in the night we arrive, this weekend we surprisingly had enough sleep to cover the deficit that has accumulated during the week. Well recovered we start into the new week, which will be very short, next weekend is already almost coming....

 

 

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