No, not a scouting mission like Boy Scouts, this was more of a reconnaissance mission. Megan and her friend (who is not a paddler) booked an overnight camping trip on Lac La Peche in Gatineau Park this summer, and we decided we should scout it out so we know what they are in for.
The only way to get to this campsite is by boat, so we needed to see how far is was since Megan's friend is not a paddler and she'll be in a cheap boat that doesn't travel well. We needed to see if the site we booked was manageable, so we loaded up the big boats (since Megan's has been newly repaired
) and drove for an hour to get to the other end of Gatineau Park. As the weather wasn't the best (on and off rain) we had the entire lake to ourselves, which was great because this was also our first time paddling this year.
The lake was beautiful, despite the haze and occasional drizzle. There was a slight breeze and some slight texture to the water, somewhere between ripples and waves, and the temperature was pretty much perfect. You couldn't really ask for a better day for paddling.... almost. When the breeze died down and we got too close to land the bugs came out, and those little buggers swarmed us horribly. So bad that we were literally inhaling them, and I am certain the little buggers are currently eating me from the inside out.
These are some of the bugs that were killed in the random swatting- you can see four dead bugs on the crown and at least three more on the brim of Megan's Tilley.
After about three and a half kilometers of paddling we found the landing area for the camp site that we'd booked and noted the large stack of provided firewood. That's great, because let's face it, carrying firewood in a kayak really sucks. It took us about 40 minutes to cover that distance, which isn't bad considering it was our first time out and we didn't know where we were going- it shouldn't take much more than an hour at most when we have a new paddler in a non-streamlined boat and with our boats loaded down with camping gear.
It also isn't too far for me, since I will be driving them to the parking lot, then paddling with them to the site before heading back to the Jeep and going home to look after the dogs and cat, then returning for them the following day. As someone who routinely does 15-20 kms in a typical outing, 3.5kms each way won't be an issue for me in the slightest.
Satisfied that it was a simple enough trip we paddled back to the parking lot where Megan successfully backed up the Jeep and trailer for the first time, then I loaded the boats up while she hid from the bugs inside the car!
It was a great day and a fantastic first paddle of the year!