Today is a shake-down day, and once breakfast is complete, we pack the boat for a day on the water and wheel it down to the water's edge on our nifty two-wheeled cart. What a great little accessory. We paced it off at about 130 yards - the length of many shorter backcountry portages - and it was almost no effort at all. Of course, this was along a campground road. I imagine on a rooted twisty trail with moss covered rocks navigating the heavy wheeled contraption may be an entirely different story.
We check the wind direction and elect to paddle a clockwise circuit around the shore of the entire lake - probably about 7 miles round trip. We bring the mast and sail with high hopes of sailing the downwind leg home. Once away from the campsite, the lake is quiet, and due to the relatively shallow water at this far end of the lake no motorized craft venture this direction. Occasionally we see a silvery fish jump clear out of the water in it's zealous pursuit of prey, but otherwise, there is no sign of life in the water. The surrounding forest is a symphony of songbirds, none of which I recognize, except for the characteristic rat-tat-tat of the woodpeckers. Below the sparse canopy formed by the thin lodgepole pines, the forest floor is bright green with grasses and blooming wildflowers. The blue, purple, and yellow splashes of color look especially bright against the lush green.
We stop about half way around for lunch, and tie up to a shallow bank below a small woodland meadow covered in yellow flowers. There is really no place to bring the boat ashore, so we rig a line from bow and stern to keep the delicate craft off the sticks and roots of the shore. Standing in the cold water to set the lines, my feet cramp, then become numb and now after a few episodes of beaching and launching my body seems to know what to expect from the cold water and shuts my feet off from my nervous system more quickly. We open up the picnic but are quickly forced back off the shore by bugs who do not seem to venture more than a few feet from the woods. Once back on the water we are bug free.
For a while we follow a flock of Common Merganser ducks with their fanciful tuft on the back of their head. The one male with a black head and snow white under plumage was directing the gaggle of females and youngsters this way and that as we floated by, ultimately shepherding them under a big branched snag on the shore where neither our eyes or our boat could follow.
Once we reached the protected lee of the far end of the lake, we beached on a wide stretch of sand and tried to set up the mast and sail. Unfortunately, the mast stepping fittings did not line up and we could not properly step the mast to the keel of the boat- despite much scraping of knuckles and pulling of hair. Such a pity as there was a steady breeze blowing down the lake just in the direction of home. We stowed all the extra gear and headed out into the choppy water, and were quickly happy not to have a sail flying, as the boat, with just our paddles, backs, and hats seemed to have sufficient windage to keep us pulsating along at a steady clip. As white caps were building on the center of the lake, we ducked in behind a small finger of land, and pulled out right near our launch point.
|From 2011 Summer Trip|
|From 2011 Summer Trip|