June 21 - Day 2
Canoeguy & Swede arrive!

I made a breakfast of eggs & bacon over a morning fire while I sipped at some really good instant coffee goo. It was so wonderful to wake up to nature. Soon after breakfast was done though the skeeters came out. It was a sunny beautiful day and I thought I'd head out onto the water to get away from the bugs.

Before I did this though, I needed to make a trip to the thunder-box. I will tell you that it was a trip through hell. Sitting on the thunder-box with my pants rolled down, it took literally five minutes to kill and clear the cloud of roughly 50 mosquitos that threatened me and the black flies were coming out too as it really was starting to get nasty out. My business done (in record time), I came away with at least 15 bites and ran back down the trail for my tent.

Carl Wilson Lake
Looking across Carl Wilson Lake from my campsite

I changed into swimming trunks and dove into the water. Ahhhh… Relief! This was the June hell that I had expected but never liked. I had brought an extra can of bug spray just in case and as I emerged from the water a horsefly of all things landed on me. I panicked, those damn things bites' are vicious. I hurriedly brushed it away, sprayed myself silly and got in the canoe and paddled away; My campsite was a deathtrap. I am not exaggerating. Some years the bugs are worse than others and this was one of those years and it was June.

I decided to paddle over to the campsite directly across from me on the West shoreline to see if I could find a camp grill; Steak was the meal of the day and I didn't want to have to pan fry that. I arrived and was soon attacked by hordes of black flies & mosquitos. It was even worse over here than on my campsite! There wasn't even a breath of fresh air at the site; It was sheltered from the wind and was just like a sauna in there.

I found a grill near the fire-pit, feeling bad about taking it for one-second and then thought, "I need this". At the same time I wondered where the grill from my campsite had gotten to? I retreated to my canoe and paddled back to the safety of the open water. It really was a nice day and to spend it in the forest among the hordes of blood-thirsty bugs was just plain torture. I made sure my hat was on, coating some sun bloc onto my arms and legs and headed over to the cliff face.

Paddling along the shoreline of the cliff face I felt dwarfed by the large boulders and the towering cliff above me. I also tried fishing but under the mid-day sun caught nothing. I eventually made my way back to camp fishing over the shoal that I paddled onto the day before. Again, I caught nothing - Not even a nibble.

Carl Wilson Lake Campsite
My camp under the warm June sun and buggy forest of Carl Wilson Lake

It was around 12:30pm when I returned to camp. I had spent the better part of three hours paddling the shoreline back and forth around the cliff face and the neighbouring bay. There was quite a lot of large rock and boulders below the cliffs and the neighbouring ridge. If you enjoy climbing over and around rocks, looking for nests, plants or whatever; Then this area of the lake would keep you happy for hours at a time. I had a quick lunch of sausage, cheese and bread and washed it down with water. The skeeters were back but only a fraction of their strength from the morning attack by the thunder-box.

I was expecting some visitors this day; Two fellas I had met on the online algonquin camping forum "
algonquinadventures.com". I was awaiting the arrival of "Canoeguy" and the "Swedish Pimple". I liked to call him "Swede". Neither of them had still not arrived by the time I finished my lunch and I was getting anxious. I waded out several feet into the lake and checked to make sure that some beer I had sunk into the lake was still there. It was and I decided to climb back into the canoe to keep my distance from the bugs and to keep an eye out for my friends.

Even though I had neighbours up the lake from me, I hadn't seen a canoe on the water since I arrived. So, as I headed up the shoreline a few hundred feet from the campsite, puttering around in the shallows, I was surprised to see a green canoe sneak up on me from out of nowhere. It came across from the West shoreline and with the green colour of the forest behind the canoe, it had been hard to spot. Canoeguy ("Darren" is his real name) & his son "Kevin" made a beeline for my campsite as I called out a greeting, they replied back and I got into my canoe and headed back to camp to meet them.

Cliffs of Carl Wilson Lake
My first look at the cliffs on Carl Wilson Lake

I received a warm greeting from Darren as we shook hands and talked about our respective journeys into Carl Wilson Lake. Darren and Kevin had come into the lake via the Bug Lake portage and the aforementioned lakes/portages route. Darren talked about the steepness of the first portage up to Bug Lake and the amount of mosquitos on the trails, with the remaining portages along the way being much easier in terms of elevation and terrain.

Darren & Kevin soon busied themselves as they pitched their tent and emptied their canoe of gear. I busied myself by going down to the lake and fishing the beer of out of the water, serving up semi-cold beer for refreshments. A nice surprise was a gift from Darren; A t-shirt that he had labelled himself with ironed-on logos;
Canoeguy's website, the Algonquin Adventures Website and even my own website. Pretty neat, thanks Darren!

It was 3:45pm when relaxing by the fire-pit, all of us with several beers in hand that I became aware of a noise. It sounded like 'white noise'. I looked down the lake and to my surprise I saw a white wall coming down the hillside towards the lake from the South end. It was pretty creepy to see and hear the storm of rain coming for us. We scrambled to get things in order, with me flipping the canoe and making sure my tent fly was secure. Then I sat under the tarp (over the fire-pit) to prepare for the coming downpour, we all did.

I was surprised at the strength of the accompanying wind and watched as my tarp over the fire-pit flapped crazily in the windstorm. I got the dumb idea to put a log against the tarp to prevent it from bucking wildly any further, hoping the tarp wouldn't tear as the winds really started to pick up strength, gusting chaotically. When I am solo I usually think things through twice - sometimes three times, as one cannot afford a mistake when solo. Thus with my friends around I didn't think twice at what a dumb thing I had just did.

So I sat there with this huge log leaning up against the tarp, right in front of me. I looked at it uncertainly, then Darren says to me, "That might not be a good idea, you are sitting right in the path of that log". Darren was right of course and no sooner had he said that, that I got the idea to get up and as I did so the log fell forward and landed right where I had been sitting a half second before. Whew! Thanks again Darren!

Stormy weather coming
Darren watches as a storm moves up the lake towards our campsite

The wind and rain intensified and I decided to wait it out. Darren and Kevin went to drier ground, namely their tent. After waiting half an hour with no sign of the rain letting up, I gave in also and headed to my tent to change. I was pretty much soaked and was getting chilled. The storm lasted well over two hours and after it was over I stepped out wearing shorts and a t-shirt. All my long pant clothing was now soaked; what I had been wearing plus the gear the day before was hanging on the laundry line now soaked, again.

I was only out of my tent two minutes when I looked down to my legs, to find them covered with mosquitos and black flies. This was silly, the amount of bugs was just crazy. I went down to the lake to get away from the bugs and to fish out some more beer. It was then that I heard a noise and looked up. It was Swede, paddling along the shoreline, solo in his canoe.

Cloudy sky on Carl Wilson Lake
More thunderstorm clouds moved in as evening approached
Swede had camped on Laurel Lake, that same beautiful island campsite I had spied on my way in. As Swede had come onto Carl Wilson Lake he got a rainstorm just like I did when I came in and he waited it out, thus his late arrival.

We sat down around the fire-pit enjoying some beer and watching the sky fill up with clouds again. I realized then that it wasn't just me as Swede also commented on the ferocity of the bugs. Darren & Kevin didn't seem as affected by it, but then again they were spraying themselves silly and they were wearing bug jackets. All in all it was a good evening around the fire, although it wasn't as long as I had liked. I think you might know why too, need I say more?

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