June 19, 2006  Cloudy with sunny periods, 18 C

The usual gaggle of Outers started arriving at the Outers shop at 8:00AM, and the trailer was loaded and ready to go by 8:53.  Departure occurred at 9:15 with a quick stop at the bus stop to tighten the bushings on the trailer.

The Dickison Spring Trip was underway!  At the entrance to the Goldfield Road we met the Kimberly Clark strikers, who had been occupying the area for six months.  They gave us a wave and salute as we started down the 60 kilometer trek to the Trio Road.  3.89 kilometers down the Trio road we arrived at the beginning of the first port of the day.  This is an old logging road, which runs approximately 900 meters to the Northeast end of Dickison Lake.  The port was completed at 1:35, with a minimum of trouble.  Brigade leader Hunking kept her accident record pure and slipped on a rock in the first five minutes, tearing her pants and skinning her knees.  The chainsaw broke down with the first pull, but was quickly repaired by Peon Jason Leslie and Head Fireman Trent Abernot.

Chelsea wipes out!

Canoe partners!

More canoe partners

The new yellow signs

The north end of Dickison is a beautiful island studded lake that is separated from the main body by a small creek.  Staff Leader Haslam and ex staff Edgar Lavoie explored this part of the route on the long weekend in May. Edgar and his friend Dave cut a new port between these two sections of the lake.  There was evidence of very old blazes, and also the blade from an extremely old hand-made paddle, indicating that the route had probably been used by trappers or First nations in the past.

Nick and Anthony

Trent and Chelsea

Slade and Kayla in the Quetico

A beaver dam had to be busted to get into the portage, and the port was begun at 2:10.  It was a short port of  80 meters, and everyone was back on the water by 2:35.  Campsites on Dickison Lake have always been difficult to find, so the Outers checked out the entire west end of the main body of Dickison, searching for a decent site for fourteen people.  After two hours of exploration, it was decided to make the best of the site used by Haslam and Lavoie.  It was a nice site for the kitchen and for viewing the lake and stars, but a very poor site for tents.  Much hacking, chainsawing and brushing was inflicted on the area, and slowly a decent site emerged.  Supper of spaghetti was served around six, and a leisurely evening of fishing and star gazing unfolded.

Beaver dam busting

First supper

Day one campsite

June 20, Sunny, South winds 15 K, 20C

Everyone slept in till 7:00 AM.  Rain had pattered down off and on all night, and the morning was cool, damp and misty.  A lovely breakfast of sausages and real eggs was cooked while the tents were quickly struck.  Last year we had a couple of sausage champs, with Jaiph Albu devouring 11 or 12 in one sitting.  This year was a sad bunch of second-rate sausage eaters.  Jason Leslie was the closest to the record, with a mere 6 bangers sliding into his gullet.

The first port was only a ten minute paddle away, and it was reached by 9:30.  It was a short port, but consisted of going up one very steep hill and then descending the other side. The landing and launch was atrocious, the typical one canoe affair, studded with razor sharp rocks.  At 10:30, all Outers were across and on the water for the mighty 200 meter paddle to the next port.  The first three ports of the day ran around a beautiful little stream with picturesque falls and rapids.  This second port followed the stream closely for the duration.  It was started at 10:35 and finished by 11:30.  Head Cook Kranjc began to complain of stomach pains, and Nurse Cheryl and Staff Haslam were worried about appendicitis.  A short chute was shot by all seven canoes and the beginning of the last port was reached at 11:25.  It was on this port that an emergency campsite was made during the infamous 1999 Pays Plat trip, where Haslam lost 20 pounds in two weeks due to the excessive work and meager rations.

Lenay walks to waterfall

Kayla hopping Lennie Falls

Lennie and Shar

The end of the port has a beautiful waterfall, and lunch was gleefully consumed by all; all except Head Cook Kranjc, who was obviously now in distress.  Evacuation plans were begun by Nurse Clavet and Haslam.  Lunch had started at 12:15 and Outers were packed up and ready to go at 1:15.  A fifteen minute paddle across Ensign lake brought the Outers to the last port of the day, a rough 800 meter jaunt that lead to the campsite. 

Kayla on 2nd port Day 2

Nurse Clavet day 2

Evac for Savanah

By now, the students were aware that Savanah would have to be taken out to a hospital, so they kicked it into overdrive.  By 3:30, everything was across except for “The Pig”, Haslam’s Old Town polyethelene 90 pound canoe.

The Brigade Leaders volunteered to bring The Pig forward, while Haslam and Staff Koroscil took the 18.5 foot cedar strip Quetico with the suffering Savanah.  There was a logging road approximately 10 k and one portage away, so phone calls were made and a pick up was arranged.  Haslam and Koroscil dug down and paddled like demons, reaching the portage at 4:58, and the road at 5:05. Staff Helkie and Principal Simonaitis arrived two minutes later with a truck, and Savanah was sent back to the Geraldton hospital.  Plans were also made for her return on Friday if she was feeling better. 

The paddle back was much more arduous than the adrenalin pumped sprint there.  A head wind had sprung up, and both paddlers had already put in a full day.  They battled their way back to camp, expecting to find a jubilant crowd sitting around a fire, with supper waiting…..but…..

Flash back to 3:30….Staff Clavet reorganized the canoes to take the heavier loads across to the campsite and got everyone landed and unloaded by 4:40.  At this time, a shocking discovery was made – the Staff tents were missing.  The Fireman responsible for taking them had not done his check out properly, and they were still sitting back at the campsite on Dickison Lake.  Flash forward to 7:20…..

The news of the missing tents was revealed to Haslam.  He laughed, thinking it was a cruel joke.  When a stoney silence greeted his laughter, he began to panic, questioning everyone and searching the campsite.  A mental meltdown proceeded post hast.  It had been a long day for the intrepid leader, four portages with an average of three trips on each with some chainsawing thrown in and then a twenty kilometer paddle with another portage, and now…..this……….

A tirade of invective split the air like lightening….sailors from previous centuries blushed….moose a mile away stopped in their tracks……small rodents died…….Haslam had to go back for the tents.  Brigade leader Bundy and Head Fireman Abernot came forward and volunteered to go with him.  In the end, Abernot and Haslam wolfed down some food and took off with the cedar strip winsik, the lightest canoe on the trip.  At 7:50 they left the campsite, paddling like the furies and jogging across the ports, switching up carrying canoes and emergency packs at each port.  The eighth labour of Hercules was completed by the two in just under two hours……a total of eight ports and five or six k of paddling.  They staggered into camp at 9:45, victorious but beaten, harbouring a multitude of new aches and pains.  The staff tents rose from the dirt and the camp settled down by 11:00PM.

A valuable lesson was reinforced by this entire day…….never forget to do that final sweep of the campsite and always do equipment checks after the canoes are loaded….a rigorous but instructional day.

June 21 warm night, 20 C Sunny, cloudy, rain, thunderstorm, winds of 30 to 50 k by the afternoon

A slow rising occurred at 8:00 AM with a breakfast of oatmeal and golden brown bacon, cooked to perfection.  It was a beautiful sunny morning, clouded only briefly by Staff Clavet poo-pooing the pre-packaged oatmeal, which had been bought because in past years she had commented  on how good it was compared to the bulk stuff.  Memories and age, two processes not necessarily working together, but the intention of keeping her happy was pure, despite the confusion.

Everyone was on the water by 10:20 with some minor changes.  Haslam was now soloing The Pig, and Cheryl had transferred over to Jason Leslie’s canoe.  Brigade leaders Bundie and Goulet took the lead, navigating out of the Kamuck River into the north arm of Kamuck lake.  Bundie had a very nice GPS with mapping software, so the navigating job was effortless.  The first port of the day was reached at 10:50.  It was a short rocky port with a landing full of loonshit, causing much prancing and dancing as unloading proceeded.

Leaving Port #6 day 2

Canoe Jam!

Sisters about to be scared!

Back on the water by 11:30, with a slow paddle through razor rock alley until Pond # 1 was reached.  The port out of Pond # 1 was reached at 11:45.  This port starts out very nicely, with a good trail through evergreen canopy for about a hundred meters.  Then it turns into the remnants of an old cut over, undulating through rocky creek beds and cedar swamp holes, ending with one of the worst launch areas of the trip.  A large bed of small sharp rocks under a couple of inches of water must be carefully crawled across with canoes and packs to reach deep water.  Several Outers slipped and fell, with the most spectacular wipe out belonging to Head Fireman Abernot as him and his canoe flew through the air like a kite towing a rag doll.

Dangerous Launch

Moose Skull Rock

Cedar strips at the bad launch

Meanwhile, back on the port, Peon Leslie spotted two bears.  One ran off immediately, the other went up a tree and stayed there.  A crew was at the beginning of the port bringing over the last load, so Haslam told them to travel together.  He took off with The Pig, confident that any bear could be killed by 90 pounds of flying poly.  Half way across the port, he ran into to Staff/Nurse/Camera woman Clavet, hiding behind Moose Skull Rock, getting some clandestine video of people as they traveled past.  Haslam immediately launched a sick and wicked plan to hide behind the bushes and have Clavet video him scaring the crap out of the last group of bear wary Outers.  The girls could be heard chatting in the distance, and they soon came into view with Peon Leslie and Mokarski double porting the last canoe. Wanting to only inflict emotional damage and not physical, Haslam let the canoe pass by and then lept out, growling furiously.  Much high pitched screaming ensued.  It was cruel, but very funny, the topic of discussion for a day or two afterward.  There was much talk of recrimination at a later date, but the empty threats never materialized.

At 2:00 PM the Outers all paddled over to a large rock island for lunch.  They were dive bombed and harassed by several angry seagulls, and the cause of the attacks soon became apparent; a couple of seagull nests, complete with eggs were housed on the lower part of the island.  Meanwhile, Haslam had been searching the east shore of Keane lake for a new campsite.  The site used in 2003 was less than desirable, with many cheekos hanging over the tents.  After much bushwhacking, a new site was located at the remnants of an old trappers cabin.  A beautiful mossy site set in a jackpine stand with plenty of cover and a nice kitchen on the rocks by the lake.  The Outers set to work right away, and after much chain-sawing and clearing, a beautiful campsite emerged. 

Rock Island lunch spot

Seagull nest on Rock Island

A major wind had begun to blow just before the Outers arrived, and by now it was gusting at 40 to 50 K an hour.  By 4:30 the rain arrived, and a kitchen tarp was set up.  Head Cook Kayla actually made the Kraft dinner palatable, indeed, tasty.  Fishing began in the evening, with one crazy Kamikaze pike being caught over and over again by a variety of fisherman.  Camp retired at 11:00.

June 22, Cool North Winds, 3 C warming to 15

Camp slept in until the ripe old time of 8:00 AM.  The north wind pushed in very cold temperatures over night, and a leisurely breakfast of bacon and oatmeal unfolded around the fire.  On the water by 10:20 with feelings of happiness over finding this very nice campsite.  However, those feelings quickly disappeared as we reached the exit of Keane Lake to find the little creek almost dry.  The only floatation available was loonshit, and the Outers struggled through a hundred meters of the odiferous muck until they reached a beaver dam liftover.  All seven canoes were lifted over, with a few ominous cracks sounding from Trent’s cedar strip.

Leaving Camp

Lift over on beaver dam

Trent on bog port

There was water on the other side of the dam, as well as the usual amount of stink mud.  The narrow creek to Pond #2 was quickly churned up into a brown, viscous mess.  The first port of the day was reached at 11:15.  Due to low water, the landing was another adventure in muck and mire.  The port is an infamous 500 meter Outers portage, renowned for a quaking bog in the middle.  However, due to low water, the bog only had a few mudholes, and the usual quad burning slog through thigh deep mud and bog was reduced to a merry jaunt.  Rob Lavoie and his dad Edgar, along with their friend Dave were traveling a day or two ahead of us, and they had been re-clearing all the ports as they went.  Rob had knocked down a few trees over the biggest water hole to give us a bridge…much appreciated.  It was during this portage that Staff Haslam and Clavet decided that a portage rating system needed to be developed.  This port was normally “very bad”, but with current water levels was merely “bad”.

Trent on boghole

Bridge by R. Lavoie

Shar in the mud

Jason up to his knees

Slade after the liftover

Kayla keeping her feet out of the muck


Muck frolics!

After some consideration, a template for port rating was developed, The Six Degrees of Suffering.

Using this scale, portages can be given an overall difficulty rating.  Two of our tougher portages are listed below as an example:

An easy port on this trip, say the 80 meter port at the start of the trip would look like this:

Using this system, easy ports are in the low teens, hard ports are in the 20’s and above.  We’ll be fine tuning this system as we use it more, and we will also be incorporating the “Swass System”, a new and hitherto unexplored avenue for rating suffering.

After finishing the500 meter port at 12:45, Pond # 3 was entered.  At the beginning of it, a floating lunch was had of cheese whiz, pita and pepperoni.  The small pond was crossed quickly, and the dreaded Toupee port was reached at 1:30.  At one time, this was a beautiful port through a mature jackpine stand, but it had burned down in the late 90’s.  It was now a nightmarish port of hills and poor footing, 884 meters long.  The other major problem with the Toupee port was the lack of cover.  There were no trees for shade, so on a hot day, portagers cook as they carry.  Fortunately the temperature was mild on this day.  The port was finished without too much suffering by 3:30.

Toupee Lake is a beautiful little lake with excellent fishing.  The campsite is on a nice rockface on the northwest shore, and there is a good beach beside it as well.  People were anxious to reach this site, but no-one more than Staff Clavet, who initiated a canoe race for the far shore.  Everyone kicked in and paddled like demons, even Haslam, who was still solo in The Pig.  It was a close race, but in the end, Clavet touched the shore first with her paddle, primarily because she was the only one who still cared about winning.  Everyone else had given up about a hundred meters from shore.

Camp was set quickly, and bannock making and fishing were the order of the day.  Bundie hooked many fine fish, but was unable to get any of them into the canoe, and then had his rod broken by a pike.  Peon Jason fried up a very small pickerel, indeed, perhaps a baby, but devoured it with glee anyway.  Camp settled down by 11:00.

June 23  Overnight  0 C  Sunny with wind from west, turning to Northwest later in day 20 C

Camp was up at 7:00 AM after a very frosty night.  There had been some freeze dried scrambled eggs hanging around the Outers shop for a few years, and they were resurrected this morning with the bacon.  The general consensus was that the eggs were putrid, tasting like wet newspaper.  They were devoured, nonetheless, by the wolf pack waiting to be fed. 

Retired teacher and ex-Outers staff Edgar Lavoie writes a column for the local newspaper. By this time, they were three days ahead of us, traveling quickly.   He had been leaving installments of his latest work, “The Da Goshen Code” at some of the campsites for the Outers to read.  This was a spoof of  Dan Brown’s  DaVinci Code, based roughly on the town of Geraldton.  Ed also left a couple of encouraging notes for us.  This was the one found at the Toupee site:

Mr. Haslam:

Tuesday was an ordeal, a ten hour day from Kamuck to Toupee.  Cutting on every port-major cutting on port into Toupee.  No rain-beautiful weather- and very few flies.

Today, Wednesday, we leave for Wintering Lake.

The guys are complaining – so hot yesterday we had no ice to keep the beer and ice cream, so we polished them off.  Lettuce is wilting in the shrimp cocktail.  Lost the corkscrew for our Chardonnay, so if you find it, please make an effort to catch up with us.  Reduced to drinking vodka coolers, only slightly chilled in the lake.


Loading canoes at the Toupee campsite was tough, as the low water made scrambling up and down cliffs a necessity.  By 9:15 we were on the water and headed for the mouth of the Kenogamisis River that flowed out of Toupee.  At this point, the river is barely larger than a ditch.  In 2003 when we came through, we had to drag the canoes for a couple of hours due to lack of water.  There was just enough water this time to float, and a light rain gave way to sunshine within a half hour.  The bridge was reached by 10:30.  After the bridge, there was a few hours of beaver dam busting, done with great gusto by Brigade leader Bundie and Head Fireman Abernot.  Dams were taken apart in the middle and then Outers were whooshed through a two or three foot chute.

Bundie and Trent – Dam Busters!

Bundie and Trent – Dam Busters!

Bundie and Trent – Dam Busters!

After the beaver dams, the log jams were reached.  There were about a dozen of these that had to be busted through or crawled over, and the paddling slowed considerably as people peered around corners with dread.  A small rapid was walked, and by 4:15, the trail to the campsite was sited.  The campsite is at the mouth of Wintering lake, just before the bridge over the river.  It is a well used site by hunters and fisherman, and even has an outhouse, which was quickly put to use.

Almost to camp

Slade pounds it home!

Construction of the Stink Pit

Because the site was so nice, the Outers took special care to set perfectly taut tents, complete with wildflowers over the entrance.  Everyone was eagerly awaiting the arrival of  Ex-Outer, Mr. Helkie, who was retiring this year.  Mr. Helkie was bringing in the food for the next week.  Supper is held off, waiting for the food.  At 6:45, Mr. Helkie shows up with Head Cook Kranjc, newly out of the hospital, and Staff Clavet’s dad.  However, he only brought the frozen part of the food order.  The bulk of the food was still sitting back in the Outers shop.  Consternation sets in, but is quickly cured as Staff Calvet’s Dad volunteers to meet us at our next camp tomorrow with the rest of the food.  Mr. Clavet knows all this area like the back of his hand as he was one of the original cutters.

Food packs were repacked and a supper of fresh rice and veggies was prepared.  This site has been habituated to bears, so extra pre-cautions were taken when we packed up for the night.  The campsite was triangulated, with all food barrels and any personal packs with food in them placed at the far corner and tarped over.  Warnings of doom and gloom were delivered for anyone who might want to sneak food into the tent.  It was a 5:00 AM rising tomorrow, so people were settled into their tents and asleep by 11:00.


Good friends!

Best-est friends!

June 24, 0 C warming to 24C Light west winds, sunny

5:00 AM rolled around far too soon, especially with the freezing temperatures.  Haslam started a large fire immediately, and tents were down within 20 minutes.  A breakfast of fresh eggs and granola bars was served while camp continues to break and gear is moved down to the canoes.  The breakneck breakdown pays off, with everyone on the water by 6:10.  The Outers had started to gel into a tight unit, working with military precision and following orders like seasoned veterans. 

A regular “pea-souper” had rolled into Wintering Lake, and as we exited the river into the lake, navigation could only be done by GPS.  The fog was so thick that visibility was down to about 20 meters.  In the past we would have waited this out, but with the mapping software on the GPS, we were able to follow the shoreline.  Bundie had his GPS in the back and Haslam had his in the front, so an orderly line of canoes glided silently through the ethereal morning.  About an hour later, the fog blew off, revealing a gorgeous sunny day.

Foggy morning on Wintering Lake

Foggy morning on Wintering Lake

Foggy morning on Wintering Lake

By 8:00 AM, the blown-out bridge at the end of Wintering was reached, and the Outers had a well deserved break.  A leisurely paddle up Fecteau creek into Gamsby lake then proceeded, with none of the Kamikaze motor boat drivers that we experienced in 2003.  By 11:45, the Gamsby campsite was reached.  Staff Clavet and Head Cook Kranjc immediately grabbed the Quetico and took off for Wintering lake Resort, about a half hour paddle away.  Mr. Clavet was going to meet them there with the rest of the food.  However, two minutes into their journey, Mr. Clavet and Dennis from the resort show up in a 16 foot deep and wide motor boat with all the grub.  Boxes of food were unloaded and muffins and blueberry squares, freshly baked by Cheryl’s mom, were found hidden on the top. 

After a quick visit, the job of clearing the campsite was resumed.  The blowdown that had occurred the previous Novemember was now becoming noticeable, and the beautiful jackpine stand needed quite a bit of grooming to bring it back to life.  A very nice beach lay a short paddle from the campsite, and it was used extensively, with the combined dirt of fourteen people polluting the clear water.  On the way back from the swim, Head Cooks Leslie, Hunking and Kranjc experienced a spider attack in their canoe, and the secondary stability of the Winisk was tried to its limits as screaming, frantic girls bounced around the canoe trying to escape from the jumping attacks of the deadly “wolf” spider (really just a small bug that fell off some wild rice).

Back at camp, a four hour siesta ensued, with everyone passing out except for the unstoppable Clavet, who courts sleep as an enemy.  At 5:00 PM, Haslam roused the crowd for a supper of smokies and spaghetti.  Bannock making took up the next few hours, and Cook Anthony surprised everyone by speaking five words in a row.  Campsite banter was loud and colourful, ranging from the sublime to the vulgar.  Everyone turned in by 11:00.

June 25, cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon, sunny

Up at 7:00 to a breakfast of oatmeal, bacon and Mrs. Clavet’s goodies.  The Peons were talking around the fire how Bundie got them up in the middle of the night and claimed to have heard a load noise around the tent.  He then ordered them all to have knives ready in case they were invaded by a hairy beast.  Staff Koroscil related a nightmare she had about rampant beavers and their peculiar habits which scared all of the girls senseless.  Then Head Cook Kranjc developed another mysterious symptom that Nurse Clavet could not diagnose, and in light of here recent medical evac, it was decided to contact the hospital when we hit the resort. 

Outers were all on the water at 9:10, and we hit Wintering Lake Resort at 9:30.  Haslam and the kids proceeded to pose for pictures from American tourists, while Staff Clavet tried to contact the hospital to get advice on Head Cook Kranjc.  Porting proceeded through the resort on the 620 meter road while Cheryl met with stonewalling from the hospital.  The nurses at the Geraldton Hospital told us that the doctor on call refused to talk to us until his shift started at 12:00 noon.  The resident Americans scoffed and chuckled at the inferior nature of public health care, and for once, we were in agreement with them.  Finally, Nurse Clavet looked up Dr. Laine’s home number.  Dr. Laine has been the only doctor to make a life long practice in Geraldton.  Most doctors, when we can get them, only stay for one year maximum.  Dr. Laine answered and was quite happy to give us the advice we needed and told us to phone any time.  His home number was added to the emergency list, as our recent adventures with the hospital had shown us that the reliability of health care in Geraldton could be tentative at the best.  Head Cook Kranjc was cleared to continue, and we were back on the water by 11:15.

We would like to include a big thank you here to the owners of Wintering Lake resort for their generous help with the food delivery and the use of their radio phone.  They run a nice operation, and it is always a pleasure to port through their resort.

The river began to manifest the evidence of the ice storm of the previous year, with lots of new sweepers across the river.  Haslam took a hand saw and waded along the shore, clearing a lining path to the mouth of the small chute just before the port.  The entrance to the port itself was completely destroyed, with several large trees totally uprooted and completely blocking the “must make” eddy in front of the port.  Head Fireman Abernot and Brigade leader Hunking line their canoe down and help Haslam clear the mess out.

Lining to port

Crossing to port

The rest of the canoes followed river left.  Lunch was served while Haslam took Peons Mokarski and Leslie with him to clear the 500 meter port.  This was a nice dry port with a couple of steep hills, and it took the three forty minutes to clear.  Porting started at 2:00 and finished at 3:30. 

The river to the next port was a series of fast water turns with eddies.  Haslam took this opportunity to work on eddy turns with everyone.  He stationed himself at the bottom of a short fast chute with an eddy on river right and proceeded to run all of the canoes through the exercise, with limited success.  This procedure was repeated at each of the eddies.  At the final must make eddy, all canoes hung some nice turns into the large river left eddy.

Practicing eddy turns in quiet water

Practicing eddy turns in quiet water

Practicing eddy turns in quiet water

The last port of the day needed a fair amount of clearing, so Haslam and Brigade Leaders Bundie and Goulet went ahead with chainsaw and brush axes.  A half an hour later they reached the campsite, a large clearing by the Goldfield road.  Porting started at 4:45 and finished at 5:45.  After supper, the boys played “River Bowling”, a new sport invented on the spot.  All the boys lined up downstream with there backs turned to Peon Abraham, who stood upstream a fair distance.  Peon Abraham then rolled up into bowling ball position and let the current take him into the “Pins”.  It was great fun while it lasted.  Meanwhile, Staff Clavet took the girls up to the “Jacuzzi”, a natural bathing pool created by an eddy behind a large rock.  The clean camp retired by 11:00.

June 26  5 degrees in AM, 22C and sunny in the PM

Camp arose at 7:45 to a very buggy morning.  Travel was supposed to be quite short today, so a leisurely morning of pancake breakfast unfolded.  There was an immediate port of about 1.3 k out of the campsite on a road, so porting began at 9:30 and finished at 11:15.  This crew was quite efficient, and the veterans of previous spring trips were complaining that the trip was too easy.  We reached the next campsite at 11:45, and after a quick conference, a vote was held to determine if we should push on to the next campsite and reduce the trip from eleven days to ten days.  The vote was 11-3 in favour of pushing on, even though there were three more fairly substantial ports to complete in order to make up an entire day. 

The three ports went around fairly substantial C2 rapids, and Haslam took this opportunity to run the rapids multiple times, with different bows paddlers each time.  A total of four rapids were shot, three times each, without incident.  Two sets of small C1’s were shot by everyone, and the beautiful little campsite at Wallace lake was reached at 5:32. 

Shooting the ledge

Shooting the ledge

A new supper was tried tonight….sidekicks with canned processed chicken.  The meal was quickly dubbed “catfood” by the Outers, but was still consumed with glee.  A few pickerel were caught to supplement the catfood.  The talk around the fire went into some of the Anishnabai stories related to being deep in the bush.  Stories of the Mamaguashiuk, the strange, mischievous beings who lived along rock faces, and Manasoocans, the Ojibway equivalent of the Sasquatch, as well as stories of the Windigo, sent the kids off to bed wide eyed and a bit scared.  Everyone rolled into their tents by 11:30, for a night of strange dreams and nightmares.

June 27 Sunny, 22C

A short day awaited the Outers, so everyone slept in till 8:50, when Staff Koroscil and Head Cook Kayla started a fire and breakfast.  Oatmeal, coffee and bacon greeted people as they crawled out of bed.  A very slow takedown unfolded, and the Outers were not on the water until 11:00.  The Kenogamisis River is very beautiful at this point, and silence took over as everyone soaked in the scenery.  The first port was reached at 11:30.  It was a mess, with a ton of blowdown.  Haslam and Head Cooks Lenay and Savanah clear for over an hour.  Porting started at 11:20, but in the meantime, Haslam took another opportunity to run a few more people down the rapids.  These rapids were very technical and probably approached C3’s.  Haslam and Staff Koroscil shot first in the Mad River rubber duck, and had a good run, with only a bit of water finding its way in.  Haslam and Staff Clavet had a different experience in the Old Town Poly Pig.  The first chute was a very steep drop with a 90 degree turn at the bottom, and quite a bit of water shipped into the canoe.  A quick eddy out and some bailing, and then the next set was shot.  Polyethylene is slippery when wet, and in the midst of a maelstrom, while implementing a  powerful crossbow draw, Staff Clavet slipped and the Old Town started over.  A low brace by Haslam saved the disaster, but clipped the paddle out of his hands.  The day was saved with the grabbing of the spare, and the entire incident was caught on video.

Close call on the Kenogamisis River

Close call on the Kenogamisis River

The end of the port is quite beautiful, and Staff Clavet took quite a few pictures.  Lunch was consumed on Eagle Rock, named so because on the last trip through Clavet found over seven eagle feathers.  This time, there were only a few seagull feathers floating around.

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock

The last port of the trip was reached at 3:30, and a nice camp was set up while a storm threatened to roll in.  Promotions were held that night.

Steph on last port

Bundie on last port

Shar at end of last port


Nick says it all!


STUDENT                                         CURRENT RANK                           NEW RANK

Slade G.                                              Brigade Leader in Charge                   Staff

Chelsea H.                                          Brigade leader Head Cook                 Staff

Stephanie K.                                       Brigade leader/Head tent Setter          B. L. in Charge

Brandon (Bundie) Z.                           Assistant Brigade Leader                    B.L. in Charge

Lenay H.                                             Head Cook                                          Asst B.L.

Kayla L.                                              Head Cook                                          Asst. B.L.

Savanah K.                                          Head Cook                                          Asst. B.L.

Trent A.                                              Head Fireman                                      Asst. B.L.

Nick M.                                               Peon                                                    Head Fireman

Anthony A.                                         Peon                                                    Head Cook

Jason L.                                               Peon                                                    Honorary H.F.

Staff was sad to see some of our best Outers leaving for University, but many capable Outers are rising through the ranks to take their places.  Much rejoicing carried on late into the night after the promotions.

June 28  Sunny, moderate west winds, 22C

5:00 AM is a brutal time for kids to get up, but there was no problem getting them out of the tents this morning.  The last day of a trip always motivates students to hustle, and everyone was on the water within an hour.  It was another beautiful foggy morning, with the sun slowly creeping its way through the mist.

Paddling down the Kenogamisis

Cedar Strip line-up

Last morning

It was quite a long paddle back to the waterfront in Geraldton, made worse for Haslam by the fact that he had to solo most of the way.  Staff Clavet was ill, a reaction from the pop tart breakfast.  After struggling to keep the Pig even with everyone, Haslam called a halt and traded the Pig for one of the Cedar Strip Winisks, paddled by Staff Koroscil and Brigade leader Bundie.  Smiles spread to Haslam’s face as he zooms back to the lead, while looks of consternation spread across Bundie and Shar’s faces as they attempt to make the Pig move forward.  They soon fall to the back.

The paddle to the bridge was approximately four hours long, and the Outers pulled into the beach at 10:18 AM.  The bus arrived shortly afterward.  Loading occurred quickly, as did clean up at the shop.  The Outers Shop doors closed for another season at 12:30.

-Mr. Haslam