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November 20, 2015 - Day 2: Snowsquall country!

Day 2 routing (9.6KM) : Ragged L —> Parkside Bay —> Return

Not a soul around

By the time I was aware of Mike’s stirrings around camp it was around 7am. Mike was an early riser. I think he had been up for at least an hour before me. The morning campfire was roaring and the coffee water was boiling by the time I made it to the fire-pit. What an AWESOME BUDDY!

The morning temperature was around 0°C. During the night we had received a light dusting of snow which added some highlight to the drab November colour around us. It was a cool and cloudy November morning and the wind began to pick up again. We were thankful for our campsite and I looked upon our set-up with growing fondness. We had done well and best of all it was so damn quiet!

Mike made breakfast, his spinach and Egg patty sandwiches went over very well. Along with a second coffee and a nice warming campfire, the morning was perfect.

After breakfast and morning chores were complete we geared up for a day-trip and just before 9:30am we were on the water paddling southwest. The plan was to head to Parkside Bay and explore the area there. I had been there once before on a solo weekend spring trip in April a few years earlier, so I had some prior knowledge of where we were going, though not of what to expect! What occurred there was quite different from my April trip years earlier.

Every paddle is an adventure…

By 9:45am we arrived at a site known as “Birch Point”. We stopped by for a quick look amid beautiful flurries. The temperature had been dropping since breakfast. The campsite didn’t appeal to us too much and we moved on.

As we skirted Crown Bay, the flurries intensified then the sun broke thru the cloud cover. This was a nice surprise as blue sky took over the bay. It had been overcast and gloomy looking during breakfast and I had wondered if we’d see the sun at all that day.

We saw two loons paralleling our course as we turned northwest, heading away from Crown Bay. There the lake narrows again and looking ahead the sky caught our attention for it was not the friendly blue sky we had just witnessed but the steely-grey blue sky of stormy weather. We paddled onwards, passing four more campsites and turning left and heading down yet another narrows.

As we paddled, the snow flurries returned and quickly grew into a blinding snow squall. I’ve paddled in weather similar to this before, but not of this severity. It was cold, very windy and I’ll admit, it was fun too! We were dressed for the weather. Still, we had to get off the water, we couldn’t see out there!

As we neared a campsite I had camped on before the winds lessened and the snow slowed. This made locating and landing at the site manageable. We surveyed the site as the snow squall regained strength and so we waited it out for about fifteen minutes. Little had changed since I had visited the campsite, except I noted that the water level appeared to be much lower. I took a short video of the campsite and then we headed back out.

As we paddled the south side of the large island leading us into Parkside Bay proper, the snow squall intensified again. Sites along the points on the northeast shore (The nicest on the bay), were out of the question, they were completely exposed to the elements. It was beginning to get stupid out there. I was beginning to freeze up in the heavy blinding snow and wind. I suggested paddling to the opposite side of the bay passing the small island campsite, we could see that the fire pit area was open and exposed so we kept going. It took us a good twenty minutes to cross the bay and as we made landfall the snow squall passed. It was now 11:30am.

We picked a site that had a long walk from the marshy shoreline to the campsite fire-pit. About three inches of fresh snow had fallen and the marshy shoreline looked fantastic - It had the appearance of being coated in sugar. The site wasn’t very good though it had open hardwood forest beyond. For the moment though the winds had died down and so we gathered as much firewood as we could and began to build a fire for lunch.

As we cooked sausages over the fire, we watched as another snow squall appeared, blowing by us as it crossed the east side of the bay. Where we were on the west side we only experienced flurries. Luckily, we were out of the wind for it looked cold over there on the other side of the bay.

After about seventy-five minutes we packed up and left, paddling towards the southwest corner of the bay where I knew of a creek that entered the bay. I wanted to see how far we could paddle up it before we had to get out and walk. We visited for fifteen minutes before pushing on.

There was a waterfall I knew of and we paddled over to it. Landing on rocks we made our way thru cedar trees to the waterfall beyond. It is concealed by the forest but if you listen, you can hear the water falling long before you approach the falls. The waterfall is not big as just a small stream feeds it.

By 2pm we were heading out of the bay, heading back for camp. As we did, another snow squall hit, dumping a lot of snow on us. As before, as we skirted Crown Bay the sun broke through the cloud cover again, along with a stretch of blue sky. Twice more we were hit by snow squalls before we finally reached camp just before 3pm.

Upon arrival we found our campsite was covered with fresh snow and our tarp over the fire-pit sagged with the weight of the snow. We brushed the snow off the tarp and our chairs, got a fire going and changed into some fresh, dry clothes and prepared for dinner. The high temperature that day was around +2°C and had been dropping all afternoon. It was about -1°C by the time dinner was ready.
Video of daily route map (Click to play)
Breakfast and morning snow around camp
Birch Point Campsite (20MB)
Crwon Bay-Ragged Lake
Crown Bay - Ragged Lake
Snow squall fun on Parkside Bay, Ragged Lake
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Creek emptying into Parkside Bay