Facing Fears

….in which I go into the not-so-deep, not-so-dark woods. Today’s costume: boater.

It seemed like a marvelous idea when I chose my Keji (pronounced ked’-gee) campsite way back when I was avoiding Canadian winter. Kejimkujik is one of two National Parks in Nova Scotia and sites get booked up quickly. I picked mid-June because I figured there would still be lots of water on the river (and there was) and it would be close to a full moon; I am afraid of the dark. (No kidding, when I sorted my camping gear from a previous trip I found that I had packed a head-lamp, a hanging lamp, three flashlights, and a bag of batteries) Later, in preparation for camping, I spent hours at the gym trying to turn my Florida flab back into muscle. In the meantime, I was really planning to cancel the booking because my nerves were getting the better of me. When I made the call to give up the site it was two days before I was to go and I was told that you have to give three days notice to get your money back. Sigh. Money talks. I chose a boat from the family flotilla and loaded up my gear. It was overcast as I headed down the number 8 highway to Keji. I am home now and it is all behind me and I am so much the better for having gone. Now lets see how many blog entries I can milk from this short adventure.

Ready to load.

I put in at the bridge at Eel Weir, feeling pumped after having already seen a doe (a deer, a female deer) and a few rays of golden sun. There was indeed lots of water on the river and I quickly paddled across small Lake George and into the Western Run along Hemlock Island where I investigated an old beaver lodge.

Apparently abandoned beaver lodge
Anybody home?

I’d been up this route twice before and was glad to find a favourite craggy little tree still standing although I think there is less of it now. I must look up that older photo.

Solitary craggy pine on little island in river
Solitary pine.

The weather was looking up and I savoured the blues and greens as I paddled against the mild current toward my back-country site, which was only accessible by boat. After a little over an hour of paddling I arrived with lots of energy left to make camp.

Campsite 18 seen from the shore.

That’s not a cabin you see up there behind the trees, it’s the wood shelter. The park staff stocks these remote sites with firewood so that the campers aren’t tempted to denude the surrounding area of trees to cut up and burn in their quest to stay warm or to roast s’mores. Did I mention that I am afraid of s’mores? I figure just a small waft of that sweet marshmallow filling on my breath as I sleep is liable to attract bears from hither and yon, from Keji to Yellowstone. I am also afraid of bears. Anyhow, I digress. No cabin for me, it’s tenting all the way.

Hennessy hammock tent. Version: the Scout. A grand place to hang out; literally.

The infamous Hennessy Hammock Tent was to be my home for the next two nights. It’s nice in that it keeps you off the ground. Unlike a regular hammock it has an upper enclosure of mosquito netting. The fly keeps the dew off and protects from light rain but it doesn’t work so well in driving rain. No matter, I fancy myself a fair weather camper these days so it does suffice. Of course there’s little room for anything but the occupant so I stored my packs in the wood-shelter and I hoisted my food up the bear cables which the park has installed at all the back country sites. Thank you park people for doing that. The less the bears smell of my goodies the better. Inside the hammock is a super-light air mattress, a down quilt (a sleeping bag is just too complicated to navigate in such a restricted space; you can easily tie yourself into a Granny knot trying) and a string on which I hang a light and a pouch full of flashlights. It’s pretty cozy – a bit like being hog-tied inside a sausage casing.

A few chips off the old block.

I made me some splits for the campfire I didn’t bother to light, and had a cold supper…

Looking up Kejimkujik Lake.

….and lounged on the beach and enjoyed the scenery until bedtime, which was way before dark because I didn’t want to wear out my flashlights. And I was tired – all the packing and loading and unloading and unpacking had taken its toll. I donned my night-clothes and…..

…WAIT! What is that? Had I really hung my hammock almost right over an animal trail? Yup. Sure did. Too tired to care, though the thought of it did come back to haunt me in the wee hours. Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the woodland critters bite! To be continued………

© Judy Parsons 2019

8 Comments to "Facing Fears"

  1. Dianne's Gravatar Dianne
    June 21, 2019 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    You are a brave and courageous woman, my friend

  2. Chad's Gravatar Chad
    June 21, 2019 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Im jealous. Wish I was there! Cheers!

  3. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    June 21, 2019 - 11:01 pm | Permalink

    To Judy, my intrepid sister:


    To my dad Harold W.D. Parsons, gone so long but thought of every day. A man who left his business, followed his heart and went back to the sea with his schooner, the Willing Lass, fishing for cod the old-fashioned way. He is with me every time I go out on the sea in my boat and punt, watching over me. So many memories of going out in boat with dad on his Sea Witch, once camping all night on an island in a tent, evidence of a Beothuck encampment. So exciting! An intrepid soul, who passed on his adventurous spirit to his family.

    Judy, you are your Father’s Daughter!!

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