November 24, 2012 - Day 2
Gotta Go!!

I got up just after 7:00am and it was cold, the sun had no risen yet. The thermometer read -7°C and about 2 inches of snow had fallen. I skipped breakfast and coffee and immediately began by getting dressed and packing up my sleeping bags and tent. I slept very well for the most part: I had been warm and comfortable. The occasional strong gust of wind and creaking trees woke me at times.

Eureka Aurora 1 Solo Tent

About two inches of snow covered the ground


Working methodically, I took down my tarps, the one by the fire had partially collapsed under the weight of the snow. A loon began calling out on the lake. This went on for a few minutes before the youngster gave up. I hoped it would take flight soon.

I packed up everything and by 8:45am I departed under a grey sky laced with snow squalls out over the lake. It snowed heavily as I paddled back to the point I rounded the day before and made my way back down the lake to the access point. Occasionally, wind gusts pushed me around but the wind itself was minimal and was indeed a nice surprise for I had expected a long hard paddle back to the access point.

Snowy camp on Rain Lake
The weight of the snow partially collapsed my fire-pit tarp

 

Snow covered canoe
A snow covered canoe is one of my favourite sights in late fall


The difference in the landscape from the day before was startling. I've only paddled after a snowstorm only a few times and each time I am entranced with the beauty of the transformed landscape. Its one thing to walk in the forest in the winter time, but quiet another to see it pass by as one silently floats alongside the forest. Its almost as if I've broken some law of nature (Like I'm not supposed to be there) and I'm getting away with savouring a silent delight.

Not silent enough as three mergansers took flight as they became startled at my approach. I paddled on and by 10:00am I landed at the snow covered access point. My vehicle the only one there and no vehicle tracks. No tracks of any kind, anywhere. If I had only brought my clothes with me. Sigh.

Paddling a snowy Rain Lake
Winds proved to be light but still gusty at times as I crossed an open stretch of water

 

Paddling Rain Lake in November
The snow covered shoreline and forest on Rain Lake


Loading up my vehicle was simple and the drive out was ok as I do have winter tires. Nevertheless I took it slow and only had to stop once to remove a fallen tree. The drive down the highway was good till I hit Barrie when I encountered heavy snow squalls. Strong gusty winds forced me to pull over several times to re-adjust the canoe. I made it home by 3pm that afternoon.

Snow covered Rain Lake Access#4
Arrival at the snow covered access point


Lesson learned?
Even though one is experienced, never skip routine, don't rush and always to a final check of gear. I got home and found my clothing sac up on the top shelf. I think I had put it there when I decided to squash in my second sleeping bag and I forgot to put the clothing sac back into the pack.

I needed this trip, those few hours of solitude cured me for now. I had to get that last paddle out of my system and now I'm ready to settle in for winter.


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