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Canoe Camping is nothing like “Deliverence”

August 6, 2012

My buddy Jimbo and I have been attempting a canoe camping trip together for a few years and it finally happened last week. 4 days in La Mauricie National Park.  Day 1 and I notice he has brought a lot more stuff than me,  as he packs the canoe I notice it’s things like a comforter and pillow which causes my first homosexual joke of the trip.  I was going to keep count of how many inappropriate sayings are muttered over the four days but I just don’t have enough paper.  We count 34 beers between us, so we shouldn’t have to worry about being stranded in the wilderness.

This is the t-shirt I plan on destroying this week.  I don’t even know what “Gore Bay!” means or why a racoon would toast to it.  Notice the filth that has already begun.  I have a cut on my finger which just won’t heal – it opened up as we packed the canoe and the shirt was way easier to find than the first aid kit.

It looked like a calm day on the lake but we kept getting caught in the current, went in a  few circles and back-paddled a lot but we eventually made it to our first campsite.  Jimmy was really into having a beer in the canoe but with the constant circles it was less than satisfying.  Stoner Jim was here last year and was convinced the best site was lot 6, we got here and realised he meant lot 7.  We’ll spend the night here and move to number 8 tomorrow and stay there for the rest of the trip.

A great part of camping in deep woods is people leave behind the best sticks, this one had a spike carved into it.  Post dinner I cracked a sleemans, followed by a PBR.  After the unsatisfying Heineken on the canoe, these really felt like the first beers of the trip.  Some early comparisons between here and oka:  the insects are huge but the park is amazing, we’re in between 2 mountains on a lake, camping on the side of one of the mountains.  Just having the firewood included makes it worth the extra five dollars a day.  Jim is not happy with my random and constant nudity.

Jimmybojangles brought his ukulele and after a few songs I pointed out how many love songs are in his repertoire, just a little awkward.   Shortly before bed we took the canoe to the middle of the lake.  Perfectly still water with a huge July moon above, a gazillion stars to look at… this is already a pretty sweet vacation.

Day2

First one up, followed by my first outhouse experience.  Shockingly way more pleasant than a port-o-let.  The odd part is not hearing the splash after the drop.  That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Started a fire, took the food down from the pole, made coffee and drank it by the lake… bliss.  This is the best camping trip I’ve ever done, too bad there isn’t any nature to enjoy in BC.  My morning show habits have totally paid off as I enjoyed a morning skinny dip with no one else around, very satisfying.

I read by the lake while SlimJim woke up, then we tore down and moved on to lot 8.  As we packed the canoe a family of ducks came and hung out.   We don’t seem to be a good paddling team, either it’s the wind or my arms are too long and his are too short.  Our strokes are never on time and we go in a lot of circles.  We both realize very quickly that there’s no point stressing out, just do the best we can with the wind.

Our new site is sick!  We’re on the other side of the lake, up the mountain with a  lot of tree cover.  It sucks to carry the equipment up the hill but at least we’re here for two nights.  Lots more paths for me to run around naked in and we’re a lot farther away from the other two tents (our last site was right next door to our neighbours, this one we’re above them).  Lunch is sleemans, baked beans, cheese and raw veggies, followed by a grilled pita stuffed with hommus and cheese… and another sleemans.  Once we finish, it’s time to put up the tent, gather firewood and start getting high!

As I put up my tent I hear a lot of swearing from the woods.  Jimbo must be attempting to hang rope for our food later… or he’s being raped.  I’m sweating like a fort street employee at the end of August so I go for a swim and explore our new area before setting up the inside of my tent.  It’s funny, I don’t even think of wearing my bathing suit unless we’re going in the canoe.  Jim isn’t very happy about this situation but there isn’t a lot he can do about it.  While swimming I discover that we are actually camping on a peninsula.  I’ve always wanted to say that.

Jimmeroonie has learnt not to buy dollar store lighters, after holding one while sweating his hands have turned purple.  After dinner and my millionth swim, Jim played ukulele while I danced naked by the fire.  It could have easily turned into one of those tribal moments, but it turns out he was playing “Peggy Sue”.  We keep hearing thunder far away, I bet there’s a storm happening in Montreal now.  We got a short drizzle then went out for the late night canoe session, because of the rain there were no animals and without any wind it as pure silence.  I have never heard that in my life before, it was amazing.  The insects are insane back by the fire.  We both resort to wearing headnets and completely covering up.  I get tired and go to sleep. I’m pretty filthy and may have to resort to washing with soap tomorrow.

Day3

It poured last night, luckily I love the sound of rain on my tent so I slept fine.  From the sound of snoring on the other side of the fire it appears Jimmers wasn’t disturbed either.  We’re in such deep forest that even when it rains hard we don’t get the full storm.  It feels like a steady drizzle but when I look at the lake I can see it’s really coming down.  Hopefully it won’t be a full day in the tents, just in case Jim brought rummy cube: now that’s camping!

It’s really cool how the rain stops.  The fire suddenly gets bigger and we hear all the animals come out at once.  After my short workout I caved and brought some soap to my swim and scrubbed the filth out of me.  I’m thinking the dirty feeling is more from the layers of bug spray and sunscreen more than the natural dirt.  As I walk back to camp I still haven’t decided if I should put “the shirt” back on or give up on it.  After a brief discussion we conclude that changing shirts would change the spirit of the trip so I modify it yet again.

GORE BAY!

The third day of camping is great because you really have nothing to do.  Because of the on again, off again rain our main priority is tending to the fire.  There is absolutely no humidity, it’s nice and cool yet sunny and warm.  I’m really loving the four-day trip.

Jimbo has decided to become a forest ranger.  He claims he is only “looking into it”.  Our soundtrack for this trip has been the reggae on my ipod and Jimmy’s ukulele.  As he plays “House Of The Rising Sun” I have the revelation that a great part of camping is not having to use your fly.  That is a burden that men have put up with for way too long.  We’re both getting pretty brain dead after three days, I have the great idea to use my t-shirt as oven mitts and pour boiling hot soup on my legs.  Making stupid mistakes means we’re totally relaxed: mission accomplished.

Day4

Our last morning, I wake up first and make coffee with the end of the water rations.  Note: an 18 litre jug is just enough for two guys on a  4 day trip.  Last night’s canoe ride was killer:  very foggy and cloudy, the sky went on for miles in total silence.  We both almost fell asleep drifting on the lake, it was that peaceful.  I have my coffee and read in the hammock, eat some oatmeal and go for a swim.  The lake is perfectly still so it should be an easy ride back to civilisation.  I have a wedding tonight, it’s like going from Deliverance to a Mordechai Richler novel.  I saw some kind of mammal in the water but it swam away and I truly have no clue what it was.  As we pack the canoe I point out that the only sound of human technology we’ve heard all week is zippers.   One last thing to do before we go, time to send the shirt back from whence it came.

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One Comment
  1. Sounds like you had a great 4 days.

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