Two Nights Are Better Than One 2003       Picasa Photo Album

Although Gonzos have been migrating into Kejimkujuk National Park every Remembrance Day for the past dozen years or more, running the 55km Liberty Loop, supporting the runners, or just biking, paddling, hiking, and camping out---it is always a point of much discussion when the day falls midweek--do we take a days vacation and go down the day before, do we get up early in the morning for the 2 hour drive to the park, is it a one day trip, over nighter, etc.---then Greg Vail said-"Two nights are better than one"---Bingo!

Even though the Run Nova Scotia Banquet was Sunday evening, the two Brucies (Duffy and Murphy) with C.S. Lewis, decided to head to the park that evening around 5:30pm--after an uneventful drive, other than a couple medium cafe, we were in the park reception center at 8:00pm.

It was dark, it was brisk (-5*C), and trying to figure out the 'self registration' federal governement forms was impossible. Finally giving up after 5 minutes of writing all kinds of stuff, I slipped a $20 bill in an envelope, wrote on the 'back' of the form that we would be at site # C for 2 nights, and hoped they wouldn't chase us down as criminals the next day.

We had a short 600 meter hike to our camp site from the Big Dam Parking lot, we had our camp set up and a fire going by 8:30pm--Of course setting up camp, since it was a crystal clear, full moon, night, was basically just a ground sheet with a sleeping bag on top---no bugs, no tent required.

We had just got a fire going, and had a bite to eat, when in walks Greg who had gone to the Banquet. After he set up, he got a 'real' fire going, we had a few brew, bit of social discussion, and into the bags

If you have slept in a 'mummy' bag on a regular basis you know how the form fitting shape makes it a 'skill' to learn to sleep in one. While try to be comfortable with a 20 pound Cairn Terrier, that is used to crawling down into my normal summer bag, down there somewhere--sometimes curled up in your belly, sometimes his head sticking out with his chin on my arm, sometimes the 'other' end stuck in my face. The bonus is he is a veritable furnace which was quite nice.

Daylight just before 7:00am, -7*C, Greg had a nice fire going, coffe, tea, and porridge, eaten, it was off for the 27km Big Dam, Channel Lake loop.

The day was absolutely gorgeous--stayed around 0*C all day, clear, with a bit of wind off the Lakes. The trail(s) were made up of logging roads, single file, and a lot of needle covered paths. We made the half way point at site #5 around 11:00am where it was decision time. To continue the counterclockwise loop we would have to cross Channel Brook, which in its flooded state, was about 25 meters wide (knee deep) with a 2 meter, maybe waist deep, channel in the middle. Rather than take the chance of a fall, we sooked out and decided to walk the 13kms back over the trail we came.

Back to camp at 3:30pm---C.S. Lewis immediately took his four, 4" legs, and crawled into the bag--he was done for the day. Greg got a great fire going (we think he is trying to get his old name back, not really liking his new moniker---Local Time---.

Supper was completed by 5:00pm, it was now dark, it was now getting colder, it was now time to figure out what to do until bedtime. We kept busy moving around, talking about all those that weren't here, grilled up a couple sausages, and it was finally 8:30pm----good enough!

For those that still have young bladders going to bed early may not be a problem--for those of us well over 50 what this means is the two 'get ups' at 1:00am and 4:00am now becomes a 3rd getup, somewhere around 11:00pm--not fun crawling out of your bag in the cold.

Next morning, while sitting around the fire, it was a nice surprise to see Gordon and Ross wander into the site with three (3) thermoses of Tim Horton's coffee---our own Trail Angels.

After lots of fun around the fire we were packed up and out to the cars at 9:00am-deciding to do a couple little hikes until 11:00am. We did the 3km Goldmine hike, an interesting bit of history, and then the 3km hike into Peter Point, a beautiful spot at the lower end of Lake Kejumkujuk. During our hike out 11:00 arrived, we stopped placed our poppies on a 'huge' fir tree, had a quiet moment----realizing that one of the reasons we recognize our veterans is that we are now free to be able to be doing what we are doing today. There are lots of places in the world you can't go out and wander around nature, eh!

Time to head home, via the Turkey Burger Restaurant in New Germany, for turkey burgers, gravy, cheesburgers(triples), roast pork dinners, and lots of french fries--we sure didn't want to chance this little journey of being a negative calorie trip.