Thursday, October 25, 2012

Long Lake, Ontario

There must be millions of 'long lakes' out there and this one near Sharbot Lake, Ontario is another one. Given it's about 6 kms long it probably falls into the 'little' long lake category, but nonetheless it made for a cheery paddle on an otherwise dull, overcast and chilly day.

There is a great launch area right off the main road although there are signs posting No Parking which naturally I failed to see until exiting at the end of the day. I have no idea where one is supposed to park. Surely not on the road above...

The lake is dark and clear at this time of year. Not a soul to be seen other than a few workmen cutting trees or closing in houses for the winter.

I paddled to the far end and got out on a lovely granite outcrop amid tall pines. The perfect lunch spot. All was quiet, no birds, no bugs not even a squirrel.

I returned following the opposite shore. Once again a mix of closed cottages and wilderness. The only other visitor on the lake was a distant loon. It was a pleasant day on the water for both of us.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mene or Minik was a seven year old Greenlander when arctic explorer Robert Peary brought him and five other Inuit to the United States in 1897. None of the group realised why Peary had brought them to America, but on arrival it was clear they were part of an exhibition of things Greenlandic. In a short period of time, Minik's father and the other adult Greenlanders fell ill with tuberculosis and died before they were able to return to their homes in northern Greenland. Minik was adopted, in a fashion, by Wallace, one of the curators at the American Museum of Natural History. He eventually returned home to Greenland, but by this time he had forgotten much of his language and was unable to hunt to survive. He was forced to return to the United States where he worked in several jobs. He ended up working in a lumber camp in northern New Hampshire where he died along with many others from an influenza outbreak in 1918.

In 1993, the bones of Minik's father and the other adults were taken out of storage at the Museum finally returned to Qaanaaq in northern Greenland where they were properly buried. Only Minik remained in the United States. As the photos tell, he is buried in a beautiful setting among the hills in the Tabor Cemetary just south of Pittsburg, New Hampshire. I was happy to see that I was not alone visiting his grave. Someone has placed a small carving, a seashell and a bead necklace on his grave marker. He may be a long way from his home, but happily, he is not forgotten.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Camping Arrangements

When out paddling on an over-nighter, finding that perfect campsite is all important and often leads to extending one's paddle further than expected. Once the site has been chosen then it's a matter of setting up your accommodations and getting some good prepared.

One modification I've been using recently is the 'bivi-sac' seen in the photo above. It stores nicely up in the bow of the kayak even with my sleeping bag and air-mattress inside. Setting up is a simple matter of pulling it out and rolling it out. A few puffs of air in the mattress and I'm ready to start cooking. Quick and easy!

If it looks like rain overnight I set a light rain fly over the entrance using my paddles if no trees are handy. So far I've stayed warm and dry. In fact, with so little inside space to warm up, I've found the bivi warmer than my tent, especially as we get into the cooler fall weather!

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