By: Peter Greve
Day 3 began in the early hours of the morning as tent pegs were pulled from the sand and flys flapped in the gusts. Gary slid the kayaks higher as the waves lapped up the beach.
When the sun did arise, it was hidden by the clouds. Although it was one of those days you don’t feel like getting out of your sleeping bag or tent, we all started getting breakfast ready around 6:30.
We checked the weather and picked out waypoints in the distance. With the winds up and waves growing we checked in with each other about the day’s plan and took our time making sure we were fully prepared before setting off. Wet and dry suits were donned, skirts were tightened, and in my case, snacks were stashed for the long paddle ahead.
Serious looks were quickly exchanged for yips and laughs as we surfed waves. 13 km of bobbing through the swell, we landed at Forest the Canoe, with a welcoming Ryan holding 4 snickers bars. We sat and chatted with Ryan and Shana, the owners of Forest the Canoe, over coffee.
Rested up and recharged, we set out to Maple Island with South Sandy Island on deck. While envisioning voyageurs landing on the south shore, we spotted two bald eagles swoop in from a large white pine on Maple Island. We circled the island noticing a shoal extending out from the island before heading back out into open water.
On the open water we were amazed to see swallows and the changing colours of the lake. It rained on and off with dark and cream coloured clouds passing by. From the middle of the open water we had a panoramic view that included Goulais, Batchawana, Parisienne, the US, the Sandy’s, and pancake point. This view was still available from the South Sandy island and we imagined how close our homes were from the island.
Being on the island made everything seem closer and more connected. As I walked the beach and looked outward to the surrounding lake I thought of organizations like The Lake Superior Living Labs Network that illuminate the parallels between people and our ecology that exists around the lake.
Arriving at the island in the early afternoon we had time to explore. We spotted snowshoe hare tracks closely followed by what looked like fox tracks. Along the banks were many mosses and lichens including matchstick lichen and beard lichen. We took pictures of others that we could not identify.
We were grateful for time on our feet and warm food in our bellies. Although our shortest distance, it was a long day of paddling that was mostly open water and we were a simple happy to rest on a beach.