Kayaking in Quetico
A recent trip of ours was to Quetico Park which is a massive park right along the US border. It spans an area of over 4700 square kilometers filled with many many lakes and rivers for a lifetime of kayaking and canoeing. We spent a long weekend there last year and just scratched the surface of this jewel.
Having our tandem kayak loaded with our gear we set out on our trip at the Dawson Trail entrance and made our way across Eva lake and found the mouth of the Pickeral River. The paddle was not too bad but there was a enough wind generate some chop. We hit the mouth and had a nice peaceful paddle encountering a Merganzer that took offence to our presence only after we got too close. Great thing about a kayak is how silent you move in the water so you'd see animals you'd never see in something motorized.
Once we completed the short journey down the Pickeral River we entered Pickeral lake. The wind had really picked up and we were now faced with 1 foot white caps with a fully loaded kayak. It was a bit disconcerting but we angled into the waves and tried to hug the shore to find as much shelter from the wind. We saw several canoe's stuck on shore waiting it out. One benefit of the kayak.
We soldiered on to our campsite which was around a second point of land so the waves got a bit more hairy as we rounded each point but we eventually made it there in one piece.
We quickly struck camp when we got to shore because it was starting to look like a storm was rolling in:
...and sure enough we got rain
After the rain we managed to get a fire organized which is a bit of a challenge as we didn't have an ax, but I didn't think we'd need one as the park only allows you to use wood on the ground that you can gather, you cannot drop trees or remove any live branches. All I had was a machete that proved to not fit the bill as the smaller pieces of wood were surprisingly scarce at our campsite and had to hack apart an old log that others had done the same. Next time I'm bringing one of these.
So shortly after lunch we decided to enjoy the rest of the day on the lake as there were a set of small islands nearby our campsite and the wind had subsided and the water was nice and calm. I also brought the fishing rod as you are able to fish in the park as long as you do not use barbed hooks. As you can see it was now so calm the water was like glass.
Nothing quite like fishing from a kayak, just the light sound of the paddle in the water you coast silently casting into the depths. I pulled out a few bass which was super fun in the kayak.
Overall it was a great trip, albeit much too short. A weekend is not enough time to really explore even a small part of the park but any chance to get on the water with the kayak, fishing rod and a great sunset is worth the effort.