…..or Into the Woods.
I was overdue for another backwoods adventure. Kejimkujik National Park always fits the bill. By the time my daughter and her friend and I came up with a mutually agreeable date all of my favourite campsites were booked. We would go for two nights. I chose site 44 for the first night, a bit further than I would have liked at 14.3 km but do-able, then back to site 1 for the second night, then a short 1.3 km hike out to the parking lot the next morning, leaving us plenty of time to get Sarah and Lindsay back to the city.
We left Big Dam parking lot (not to be confused with the ‘big damned parking lot’) and headed down the trail with our homes on our backs:
The weather was fine, we had plenty water and food, and the forest was beautiful but we harboured a few worries; would our packs become overwhelming? Lind’s shoes were not tried and true, would we have enough water? It was to be a hot day.
This hike Big Dam/Frozen Ocean is shady almost the entire way and there are no stunning panoramas or scenic vistas but it is still a beautiful place to be. Often the lake can be seen just through the trees and the blue is the happiest of blues. The first day we saw no people until our final stop but met an assortment critters. There are no harmful snakes in Nova Scotia by the way.
There were also hobbits but we didn’t actually see them, just their footprints leading into their hidey holes.
And so we ambled along, having a grand day out, congratulating ourselves on making it the ten km to site 46, where we stopped for a long rest, not looking forward to having to do four more km before supper. I’ll spare you all the nitty gritty details but here’s a few highlights:
- Walking behind Lindsay whose load was a cheery red, yellow and blue. I think it made me so happy because it was the primary colours found in the story books of my childhood.
- All of my gear performed well. I should qualify that it was fair weather camping, the only kind I plan to do now if I can help it. The hammock tent continues to please. The new sleeping bag which is a cross between a bag and a quilt was cozy and warm.
- I rediscovered how yummy KD is when combined with a pouch of tuna.
- The flies were tolerable.
- The Gandalf pole Sarah made for Lindsay when she decided to soldier on with a sprained ankle.
- The good Samaritans who invited us to share site 46 when we were unable to continue on to site 44.
- For Linds: The split second when she stepped off the boardwalk onto a rock and kept on going, spraining an ankle.
- For All: The moment we agreed we couldn’t go any further towards our designated campsite.
- For Sarah: the sound of the trotting paws and strong stink of the coyote in the middle of the night.
- Stepping off the trail and squatting to pee and then suddenly recalling the sign I had read earlier. Thankfully my error in not pre-examining the underbrush was not consequential.
- Craving salt so badly I tried to lick the sweat off my upper lip only to discover I had recently coated it with insect repellent. They really should give that stuff a better flavour.
- I decided to use a rehydration tablet to counteract the extreme sweating in the 29 degree heat. I popped it into my water bottle, and watched it promptly turn into a towel. Which would you have chosen; the blister packed white tablet or the white tablet loose in the baggie?
- The duct tape ankle splint I contrived.
When all was said and done it was a memorable hike. I saw 4 toads, 5 squirrels, 2 snakes, 1 brown bunny, a pair of fishermen, only one hiker who was going it alone, and a whole troop of day-hikers in matching T-shirts. We never really reached the point where, in the words of Lance, “You know you are having an adventure when you wish you were home in bed.” and I learned that my limit is really about ten kilometers with a fully loaded pack and moderate terrain. I will always remember to bring duct tape. Now I wonder where I can go next.
© Judy Parsons 2018
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