Autumn leaves trip Keji 12-13 Oct 2020
Autumn Leaves Trips 2020
Our annual autumn canoe trip was interrupted by hurricane Teddy. We had booked a 4 day trip around some of the more remote parts of the Kejimkujik National Park. A few days before going we received an e-mail from the park saying that they were proposing to evacuate and close the park because of hurricane Teddy. We altered our plans to a two day trip so we could be out of the park before Teddy arrived. The hurricane then veered off and missed the park by 200 km, however we did have a couple of wet windy days. Two weeks later we had a 2nd two day trip.
Our first trip on 20th Sept started on a fine but windy day at Eel weir on the southern edge of the park, it is sheltered here and we were not really aware of the wind as we paddled NW across George lake. Passing Hemlock Island we met 2 canoes and a sea kayak. The former were so heavily laden with overweight paddlers and gear piled high above the gunwales they only had about 4 inches of free board. When we got into Keji lake we met 18 inch waves we wondered why they were still afloat.
We turned into Minards Bay and the portage to North Cranberry lake, here we were out of the wind and becoming more aware of the autumn colours, The maple trees in particular were becoming red, though in the early stages. From N. Cranberry we went through Puzzle and Cobrielle lakes to Peskowesk lake meeting two or three other couples in canoe. In Peskowesk we went hunting for the firewood dump (the park provide fire wood for camp fires so that the forest floor does not get denuded and people don’t fell trees) before heading to our camp site on a small island at the SE tip of the lake.
We were woken in the early hours by an eerie screech/scream, subsequent searching around on the web has left us thinking it was a bob cat.
The morning was glorious and we had a lovely paddle NW before portaging into Mountain Lake and returning to Cobrielle lake and retracing our paddle strokes to the car.
On 12th Oct we headed to the northern area of the park. The windless sunny day saw us loading the canoe at Big Dam lake. Easy paddling soon landed us at a 600 m portage to a 4km long very slow moving brook, called appropriately Still Brook. On previous trips in the spring and summer we have seen numerous Blandings turtles on this section , ( It is an endangered species. ) but this time I think they were hiding in the mud keeping warm.
On Frozen Ocean lake we played hunt the firewood, Parks Canada have marked the position of the fire wood supply incorrectly on their maps. We found it 200 metres from the marked position and the error is obvious to any one with good map reading skills.
As we paddled to our campsite we were able to watch a pair of loons. The sunset was fantastic and it was difficult to stop taking photos of it.
Once again we were woken by forest animal noises, I thought coyote, Vivien thought owl. A visit to Cornell Lab of Ornithology website proved Vivien correct, it was a greater horned owl.
It was a cold morning and we huddled over the camp fire to eat our porridge which stoked the internal fires and we were soon on our way. little did we realise how long the journey to Jakes landing (where we had left a second car) was going to take.
We were slow descending Channel river to Kejimkujic lake, it was lacking in water and there were numerous shallow rocky areas to be negotiated, one or two required walking the canoe. It was easy but slow travel. On Keji lake we were heading directly into the 10 -12 knot wind generating 18 inch waves this meant we paddled hard for a couple of hours to get along at 2.5 kph instead of our usual 5-6 kph. It seemed the paddling equivalent of starting your mountain walk at the top of the hill and struggling to get to the car at the end of the day. At Jakes landing Vivien lay on the dock for several minutes too tired and getting too much cramp to stand.
Overall we had a pair of very enjoyable trips and as you can see we got fantastic scenes of trees, sunset and sunrise.
The pictures are here