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November 22, 2015 - Day 4: Winter wonderland!

Day 4 routing (7.2KM) : Ragged L —> Access#6 Smoke Lake

Be careful what you wish for!

I awoke to feeling like someone was sitting on me. What the heck? I tired to roll out of the way, but ended up stuck as something was pushing against me. I opened my eyes to darkness and realized that. “No, it wasn’t a bear sitting on top of me”, but my tent roof and sides had caved in! I pushed the tent walls out and the ceiling too, hearing the snow slide off the tent walls. There was alot of snow! I got dressed and soon made my way outside. It was 7am and once again the temperature hovered around -1°C.

Holy cow! It was a winter wonderland. We got over 1/2 foot of snow. “Photo-op!”. That’s all I could think of as I dug out my camera and made my way down to shore. To say that it was pretty was an understatement. It was downright fantastic and wonderful! I had wished for some snow to take pretty pictures and I got what I wanted and then some! The landscape had been transformed. It was now like a picture postcard. Both Mike and I were in awe of the beauty the landscape around had achieved overnight.

It was with reluctance that we packed up after breakfast and left as it was out day. just before 9:15am we were on the water. It was overcast with a light wind. As we left camp there was a fresh tree that had fallen into the water. This was the tree that both Mike & I had heard fall during the night. Presumably, the weight of the snow had brought it down. We paddled on, marvelling at the beauty of the snow covered forest. We arrived at the portage to Smoke Lake at half an hour later and took more photos. The camera was getting a real workout that morning!

We doubled the portage, taking our time as the snow on the trail was deep at around 7 or maybe 8 inches. On the smoke Lake end the clouds began to break up and the sun emerged to light up the snow covered pines. The day was just getting better and better! We began heading up the lake around 10:15am amid calm waters and mostly cloudy skies. The crossing of West Bay was more of a challenge then when we came in four days earlier. The winds were cutting straight from the west, coming at a 45° angle, forcing us to paddle deeper into the bay then we would’ve liked. After what seemed like forever, we finally made enough progress that we were able to turn northwards and head for the safety of the shore.

The waves had been just as rough as they had been on the way in and I actually felt more anxious that time around, but we made it safely across. The rest of the paddle up the lake was a breeze as we hid in the wind shadow. Again, the camera was out, as both Mike and I snapped plenty of photos.

By 11:30am we landed at the access point. To our surprise, there was another vehicle parked beside mine. We never saw anyone the entire time we were there so we speculated where these other people were. Mike began unloading the canoe where I had the unenviable task of clearing my vehicle of snow. There was one foot of snow on my roof - The access point had got a real dumping of snow! What a fantastic way to end a November, end of season canoe trip. The snow, the temperatures and the solitude factor had been awesome!
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Heavy snow blanketed the area around Ragged Lake
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Pictures from around Smoke Lake and access#6
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Six minute video I put together of our trip to Ragged Lake

The End