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
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
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
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
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.