The most frustrating week thus far.
Having arrived on the first of our large lakes in bright sunshine, we sat still. For 2 days. A brisk 20 knot northwesterly turned the lake into a seething mass of churning water. It’s a bit like watching the sea, but super shallow so the waves kick up fast and stay short and steep, rather than mellowing out as they tend to on the ocean. A classic prairie thunderstorm ensured we didn’t miss out on a soaking on land either. But in its first proper storm test our Exped Orien tent kept us nice and dry, though the guys were attached to the boat to stop us being blown away.
After the storm had passed we thought we’d try and get moving again. The wind had swung around to northerly which we hoped might help us, but the storm had left a sizeable swell. We managed a short crossing in sketchy conditions, with a wind/wave combination I’m not sure a canoe is meant to be out in, and thanked our lucky stars we were still the right way up on the other side. Lesson learnt, we hid in the lee of an island until the wind dropped enough for us to escape, and found an empty outfitters lodge to camp by for another 2 days whilst the wind ramped up for a second time. A bear wandered through camp on the first night, saw/smelled Cas and legged it. We expected it to be back to check out our food at some point, but it was obviously too shaken by the experience…
Finally we managed to get away again. We realised a tactical portage would save about 10km of rough water paddling and allow us some shelter to get going in, but it was short lived and we were soon making tea on a lee shore waiting out another rough squall. A third short day ensued, with another frustrating two night stop and the winds only dropping late in the evening before getting up again in the early morning. Still less than a quarter of the way down, we wondered how long it was going to take to get off this lake.