2009

SPRINGTRIP 2009

DICKISON LAKE

Day 1, June 15,21degrees, light winds

After weeks of rain and cold temperatures, the first day ofthe 2009 Spring Trip dawned sunny and warm. Outers all arrived at the new Outers shop by 8:00 AM and loading was finished by 9:00.  The usual pictures were taken, and we were on the road by 9:20.

The Goldfield road turned out to be in excellent shape, so we were able to make great time to the unloading point, 3.8 kilometers down the Trio Road.  At 11:14, we started unloading for the 900 meter portage to Dickison Lake.

Is this map upside down?
Will portage for bannock

Lunch was served at the end of the portage, and everyone was on the water by 1:10.  Two new cedarstrips hit the water, the Chestnut Pal with Reggie and Anthony, and the  Kipawa, with Staff Haslam and Clavett.

The new Kipawa
The new Pal

Twenty minutes of paddling brought us to the second port ofthe day, a short 80 meter carry between around a little tree choked creek.  The campsite was five minutes from the port, and we arrived at 2:45.  This early time was a pre-curser for the days that loomed ahead of us; easy days and beautiful weather.

Girl Power – building the first tent of the trip
Girl Power – building the first tent of the trip

The traditional spaghetti supper was served around 6:00PM.  After supper, probably due to boredom, it was decided that everyone on the trip should have a nickname from the movie “Lord of the Rings”.  Reggie became Gollum, Mr. Lavoie was named Gandolf, Anthony received Frodo and Kris L. became Legolas, probably due to his long dangly limbs.  Camp retired by 11:00 PM.

Day 2, June 16   21 C, light winds.

For some peculiar reason, Gollum got up at 5:30 and proceeded to wake everyone up with his smashing around the camp.  At 7:15, Haslam couldn’t stand the noise  anymore and got everyone else up.  Gollum was sentenced to the tortures of Mordor if he woke people up early again.

The morning continued in Mordor fashion with the destruction of breakfast.  Haslam told the cooks to save a bit of the bacon grease to fry the eggs in.  Somehow those instructions got interpreted as saving all of the grease and then dumping 48 eggs into the grease.  They turned out the colour and consistency of diarrhea.  Consumption was minimal, although some poor bear probably suffered from a massive case of the squirts for a week or two after we left. 

No Exlax needed!

The disappointing breakfast was mitigated by the appearance of the sun, something that had been a rare occurrence in Outer’s Land for the last three Spring Trips.  Canoes were on the water and loaded by 9:20, and twenty more minutes of leisurely paddling brought us to the beginning of the third portage of the trip.  This steep little port was completed in 25 minutes, and students quickly paddled the hundred meters to the forth port of the trip. Travel over this port was very quick, and the fifth port of the trip, the third one of the day was reached around 11:20.

Ending of port three of the day, our lunch spot
Lunch spot
Kids on the port

This port ends with a beautiful little waterfall and a nice lunch spot.  This port was renowned for several past events in Outers history. In 2000, the Outers arrived at this port from the other direction at around 9:30 PM, and an emergency campsite had to be set up.  The next day, Mr. Arts had a migraine, so travel proceeded without him, and Mr. Arts was M.I.A. for two days afterward.  In 2006, a student fell ill to some terrible internal malady, and we had to evacuate her at the end of the day.

However, no such nonsense on this fine day!  Only warm weather, sunshine and no bugs!  The fourth port of the day was reached at 1:30, and we arrived at camp by 3:30.  Much swimming in the clean waters of the Kamuk river occurred, and camp settled down to a warm night.  Assistant Brigade Leader Rismondo wasted several hours with a magnifying glass burning a logo into a piece of plywood,which we hung on a tree for posterity. Camp settled down by 11:00 pm.

JUNE 17, DAY 3 Light South winds, 24 C

Temperatures dropped over night, leading to a chilly sleep.  However, the cold burned off quickly in the morning.  Outers were up by 8:00 AM, cooking a quick breakfast of bacon and oatmeal.  Everyone was on the water by 10:05.  Two of our staff comrades decided to leave the trip at this point, paddling down through Flagg Lake and exiting on the Goldfield road.  Travel was once again uneventful.  A short paddle north on Kamuck lake brought us to the first port of the day at 10:43.  Outers flew over this 100 meter port and then wound there way through the narrow connecting waterway to the next small lake.  The second and final port of the day was reached by 11:48 and completed by 1:20. 

Paddling north on Kamuck Lake

Outers used to torrential rains, tornadoes and unending winds are stupefied by the sunshine and easy days of this trip.  Heat Rash? Nurse Clavett hasn’t seen a heat rash since John Arts made her port 15 miles at 30 degrees C in the year 2000. She has forgotten how to treat them.

Haslam steals a page from JJ Arts’ book, and leads the Outers along the entire perimeter of Keanne lake “looking for the lost campsite”, even though he knows it is only three minutes away.  This tactic is called “time wasting”, and is designed to tire the children out, and prevent them from getting to camps too quickly.

Lunch on Keanne Lake

The campsite is a beautiful mix of moss, black spruce and jackpine.  There are the remains of an ancient trappers cabin at the entrance. Staff Spruce Johnson cuts a huge swath through the campsite, opening it up to the breeze and creating paths for bathroom business through the blowdown.  An epic fire pit was created next to the shoreline.

Swimming was the business of the day, and all Outers engaged in it with enthusiasm.  For the past two Spring Trips, the ropes around the tents were always cluttered with a mixture of wet and muddy loon shit slathered clothing, in the hopes that some feeble rays of sunshine might slightly dry them before their next use.  Tonight, the ropes look like the banner poles on the way to Tibet, with colourful bathing suits and towels flapping in the breeze.  The bugs were almost non-existent, as was the requisite suffering normal on most trips. 

At 7:00, supper was served, consisting of rice, fresh veggies and canned hams.  This is a favorite meal that is widely enjoyed. Once again, temperatures dropped very quickly, and everyone was in bed by 11:00 PM.  The boys tent received a reprimand shortly after 11, because they were giggling like a bunch of girls.

Sydnie given’r on the fire pit
Who knows? It’s John Heinrick!
Swimming in Keanne Lake
Keanne Lake campsite

THURSDAY, JUNE 18, DAY 4,  Sunny, 22C

Camp arose at 8:00 AM. It was still chilly, but the sun was shining again, for the fourth day in a row.  The usual of bacon and oatmeal was made, and everyone was on the water by 10:15.  Due to the dry conditions, it took a over a half hour to completely douse the fire with over a hundred bucket loads thrown on it.

Fire pit on Keanne Lake

A three minute paddle brought us to the entrance of the shallow loon shit filled creek that lead to the next port.  One hundred yards up the creek, there is an ancient beaver dam that necessitated a lift over.  After that, Outers churned their way down the narrow, muck filled ditch until open water was reached, and shortly afterward, at 11:00 AM, the first port of the day.

The liftover at old beaver dam

Traditionally, this was a horrible port, consisting of a five hundred meter floating bog, and it usually always involved the loss of shoes and much swearing.  However, due tot he low water conditions, it was a relatively easy affair, and Outers were off it in just over an hour.  These kids had remarkable portaging skills, often carrying two barrels at once along with a variety of small thing tucked under their arms.

The Bog! Not so bad this time!

A short paddle over a small pond lead to the second port of the day.  This 900 meter port was the site of a burn several years ago, and in many places, re-growth has not really started yet.  As a consequence, there is no cover from the sun, and on hot days, this port can become quite dangerous in terms of overheating.  However, despite the heat today, the students flew over the port, reaching the beautiful waters of Toupee Lake by 3:00.  After a brief rest and hydration, the camp was reached at 3:39. 

Top of Toupee Port, Burnover coming back
Arrival at Toupee Lake Campsite

Once again, the low water had an impact, rendering the site almost unrecognizable.  The steep rocky landing now extended a full four feet lower, and this made unloading the canoes quite difficult.  However, the bay to the east of the campsite now had a beautiful beach uncovered, and this was used heavily during the course of the evening.

The campsite was completely blown in, and Staff Lavoie went to work quickly with his chainsaw, cutting through huge pine trees.  Peon Megan distinguished himself with his immense work effort, leaving the other peons in awe.

Beach on Toupee

Supper of spaghetti and bagged sauce was a big hit, and fishing became the order of the day after all the dishes were packed up.  Peon Brett caught two pickerel, while Livia, scared every wild animal for miles off with her squeals when she hooked into a large pike.

Camp was retired by 11:20. Staff observed the stars for a while, the view is unbelievable from Toupee, so bright that the stars were reflected in the mirror surface of the lake.

Clean up on Toupee Lake campsite

FRIDAY, JUNE 19 DAY 5 Sunny with cloudy periods 23 C.

Up at 7:30 and on the water at 9:30.  This is the official beginning of the Kenogamisis River, which eventually ends up in the Albany river on it’s way to James Bay.  However, at this point, it is little more than a shallow ditch. Fortunately there is enough water to float for the first hour to the abandoned bridge on the Upper Statesman road. After this, we run into several beaver dams, which the Outers take apart with glee to allow the passage of ten canoes.

Beaver dam busting

At 1:30, Hell begins. The entire lower part of the Kenogamisis to Wintering Lake had suffered a major forest fire in 1996.  The trees along the creek had been slowly coming down, but due to the extreme high water of the previous spring, almost every tree on the river had been uprooted and swept into the stream.  All told, we hit17 log jams before Wintering Lake. Without the chainsaw skills of Staff Lavoie, we would have been trapped for days.  Sprucey contorted himself like Spiderman, hanging from his canoe with his chainsaw groaning in protest.  A small rapid an hour before camp was shot by all canoes, and camp was finally reached at 5:30.  Our food drop arrived shortly after, and Outers proceeded to gorge themselves. Everyone in bed by 10:30, as wake up time was listed at 5:00AM the next morning in order to avoid winds on Wintering Lake.

Log jam #10, kind of like Mambo #5, but worse
Sprucey working his magic
Shooting the last little rapid before camp

SATURDAY, JUNE 20, DAY 6, 22C

Rain fell overnight, so a damp morning greeted the Outers when they were woken up at 5:00 AM.  An excellent breakfast of boiled eggs and bacon was served, far exceeding the grease show we had with the last eggs. Boiled eggs was instantly decided upon as the new method for cooking bush eggs. 

Outers hit the placid waters of Wintering Lake at 6:20.  The usual misty morning greeted us, along with a slight northeasterly wind.  The paddlers were in fine form this morning, and according to the GPS, traveled 6.3kilometers in around 53 minutes.  The washed out bridge at the end of Wintering was reached at 8:10.  More of the same  speed paddling occurred through Fectau Lake and Gamsby until the traditional campsite was reached at 11:30.  This was to be a half rest day, involving a lot of sleeping, swimming and eating. The campsite is in a beautiful jackpine stand, and the echoes of snoring could be heard ringing through it all day and night.

Anthony and Reg
Rest break on the water
Staff Lavoie working hard
Cedarstrip race

SUNDAY, JUNE 21, Day 7 Clear skies 25C

Outers slept in until the ripe old hour of 8:10.  A quick breakfast was followed by a pep talk about how to act around people.  We were going to be porting through Wintering Lake Lodge on the end of Gamsby Lake, and the Staff wanted to ensure that the students displayed themselves with the appropriate human like behaviours.  The Resort was reached at 10:05, and Assistant Brigade Leader Sadie’s grandparents were waiting for us with ice cream.  Much jubilation greeted them.

Staff Clavet
Sadie’s Grandma with the ice cream!
Porting through the resort

Porting proceeded quickly through the Resort, and at 11:00everyone was back on the Kenogamisis river. A short paddle brought us to the first set of rapids.  The entrance to the port involved a “must make” eddy, and after Staff Haslam and Clavet shot it, they decided that the rest of the Outers should line down to the port.

Lining down to the port on the Kenogamisis

There was a fair amount of blowdown on the port, and Staff Lavoie went ahead with peon Reggie to clear. Staff Haslam had run the rapids once solo, but couldn’t recall them very well, so he grabbed a tin can and Staff Clavet and proceeded down.  The rapids turned out to have a port for a reason.  They consisted of a difficult boulder garden with no clear lines, and a fair amount of bumping and banging.

Lunch spot on Kenogamisis
Cooling down after the port

The island at the bottom of the rapids was the perfect place for lunch.  It was hot, sunny and  bug-less.  Outers stripped down to bathing suits and life jackets.  The weather was perfect for White Water 101. Two small sets of fast water lay ahead, so Haslam spent quite a bit of time instructing all canoes on eddying out techniques.  Skills were beginning to develop on the first try, but by the second swift, most canoes were eddying out like pros.

At this point, the Kenogamis is is a perfect river for developing a gradually increasing level of competencies for river running.  The easy eddies the students practiced on led up to the last eddy-out of the day, a must make eddy before a huge set ofdangerous rapids.  Although throw bags and safety precautions were in place, every canoe nailed the last eddy.

The last port of the day was begun at 3:30 and finished by 4:30.  It was sunny and very hot, and much bathing and cleanliness became the order of the day.  The campsite is not very picturesque, merely a clearing beside the Goldfield road.  At about seven oclock, Staff E. Lavoie and D. Alcorn arrived in a vehicle with much appreciated refreshments for everyone.

Around 8:00 PM, Satan unleashed his army of  miniscule minions from Hell, the NO-See-Ums, commonly referred to as sand flies.  The lack of bugs throughout the trip suddenly became a forgotten pleasure, as several students began to “freak out”. Some students who had never experienced a sand fly attack before thought they were dieing. Staff had been warning the girls all day to cover up and change from their bathing suits into regular clothes.  No more warnings were necessary, as welts began to appear on open skin faster than ants on sugar.  Crying and wailing continued in the girls tent for a couple of hours.  Noxema was dispensed liberally, and the tents began to smell like a geriatric beauty pageant.  Everyone retired by 11:00PM, with liberal amounts of Pic burning in the tents.  At 1:00 AM a moose visited the campsite, probably in search of noxema.

MONDAY JUNE 22, Sunny, hot in AM, cloudy PM, raining after 7:00Pm

Camp arose at 7:10 and began porting immediately.  The Port consisted of continuing on to the Goldfield and then turning down an old logging road that paralleled KenogamisisRiver.  It was 1.8 K long.  While breakfast was being cooked and camp was being packed up, energetic Outers were already making the trek to the other end.  Although the port was staged, some of the more enterprising Outers one-timed their canoes the entire 1.8 k without stopping.  Porting finished at 11:00, and the end of Finlayson Lake was reached at 12:10.

Rapid Cam for videoing the action
Staff Lavoie chilling at rapid bottom

Several sets of rapids span the distance between Finlayson Lake and Wallace Lake.  These are usually all run or partially run by experienced Outers.  The first set coming out of Finlayson was run by three canoes, the rest were ported. The second set is fairly straight forward, except for a very large shelf at the bottom.  Haslam ran all the canoes through with various Outers in the bow. 

The third and fourth sets were straight forward C1’s that were run by everyone.  It was an invigorating and exciting day, complimented by beautiful weather again.  Wallace lake camp was reached at 4:45.  This is a very nice camp site, a little small, but picturesque.

At 6:30, a supper of Sidekicks and pepperoni was served just before a heavy rain started. Irene and Jeffrey continued fishing in the rain and brought in a couple of small fry pickerel. By 7:30, there was a full scale thunder and lightening storm rocking the campsite.  The pickerel was cooked under a tarp and camp retired to a noisy night of nature.

TUESDAY JUNE 23, Day Nine, Sunshine

The trip is all about slowing down now.  Today only has around three hours of travel to complete, so camp sleeps in.  Cooking starts around 10, as well as more fishing and general relaxing.  Outers were on the water by 11.  The next set of rapids was a big one, and Staff Clavet and Haslam shot them once and decided everyone else would be porting.  The last port of the trip and the last campsite was reached by 3:00. Everyone went swimming and general laziness ensued.  At 7:00 PM promotions began.

Kris L.                         Brigade Leader

Livia R.                       Brigade Leader from ABL

Jay T.                           Brigade Leader

Anthony A                  Brigade Leader to to tents

Sadie G                       Brigade Leader

Jean VH                      Staff

Josh N                         Staff

Kelsey D                     Assistant Brigade Leader

Reggie M                    Assistant Brigade Leader

Sydnie M                    Assistant Brigade Leader

Irene M.                      Head Cook

Heather B                    Head Cook

Carol Anne M.            Head Cook

John A                         Head Fireman

Sam C                         Head Fireman

Jeff M                          Head Fireman

Brett K                        Head Fireman

Staff commented that this trip had some boredom in it, do to the fact that the students seemed to chronically arrive in camp at utterly disturbing rates of speed.  These kids had proven to be highly motivated, and broke several paddling and portaging records.  There were no shirkers, everyone pulled his or her weight, plus some. Plans ere made to try to make the next run down this river more challenging, perhaps starting a day or two further back, but finishing in the same time frame.

Breakfast on Wallace Lake
Girls’ Tent, Wallace Lake 
Group shot in front of Eagle Rock
The last port

Wednesday, June 24 Day ten, sunny

Camp rose at 4:00 AM.  The idea was to paddle the 30 Kilometers back to Geraldton before the wind came up on Kenogamisis lake.  By 5:30, everyone was on the water and the race began.  Outers had to be hauled back several times as they raced into the sunrise. Some were averaging 7.5 kilometers an hour without any apparent effort.  The race continued to the final sprint for the Geraldton Waterfront Bridge.  A party of parents and townspeople lined the bridge, cheering on our arrival. It was the most auspicious return on record!  Outers were all on the beach by 10:00 AM and back to the school by 11.  By noon, the Outers had closed their doors for another summer.

-Mr. Haslam