Our thoughts and excitement start in the early weeks of the year. Two O O Two and the thoughts of our three week adventure have been formulating in our minds even while we are on our winter trips, not about the warm weather, but about the organization and planning of the trip.
Phone calls to Wawa's Mystic Motel and David Wells at Naturally Superior Adventures in Michipicoten, Ontario. We have to line up our first night's stay and our shuttle with NSA. Our plan is to drive straight up to the Mystic Motel and go visit David. David has suggested we go to Neys Provincial Park and spend a few days exploring Pic Island and then continue on down the coast of the inland sea to his headquarters in Michipicoten. Sounds like a plan.
Now back to the planning stages, have to do this first. Even when we are winter camping and during our early spring paddling and tripping, our dreams are always about a neat trip to start the summer. We have done the Hattie's Cove to Michipicoten trip on three previous occasions. Each time of course there has been new and wonderful experiences, some real scary, and some very pleasant. But these adventures will be told at a later time.
Dehydrating all of our food takes a major effort (fun of course) and a tremendous amount of planning. Yes the little one is always up to the task. Wow, 3 meals a day, snacks, desert, hot chocolate, coffee, sugar, milk, maple syrup, apples, blueberries, strawberries, butter, lemon juice (for all the fish that are caught of course). Just a few things to get us started, inside I'm drooling, more to come as we go. Yippee!
My job of course is to make sure all of our "other gear" is in shape and properly prepared for the trip. Waxing the canoe (Kicking Frog) a couple of times to make sure the efficiency of movement in the water is the best it can be. And I will sand and oil the wood finish (looks are important). All of our gear will have a final inspection to make sure everything is waterproofed and in proper working condition. This takes a lot of time and preparations but what joy. Oh here go the dreams again. All prep is ready and it is the first week of July.
The time is now and I say to the little one, " Hey, let's go today, why wait 'til tomorrow?". And of course she is right to wait for an early start- it was 10:30 p.m. when I suggested we go. All our gear is put into the van, have I forgotten anything? Check list is automatic: paddles, one extra for the big trips, PFD's, knee pads for kneeling, sponge for cleaning Kicking Frog, bailer, canoe rope, fishing rods, lures (take only the ones that will catch fish) ha ha, tent, thermorests, clothing, kit, medicines, first aid kit, TP (most important), food pack (weight 80 lbs plus), sleeping bags, rain gear, etc, etc. The canoe is on and we are ready to go. This of course is the time Kathleen and I ask each other if we have everything, a great way to cross reference with the one you love.
Up at six, one last check that everything is secure on the car and off we go to Tim Horton's for our customary coffee, bagels and cream cheese. We have made this a ritual for the start of every trip. A nice way to wake up.
Ten hours later and here we are at the Mystic Motel. We say hello to Mike and Doreen, a great couple who own the Mystic and have always greeted us kindly each time we have stayed there. Time to call David Wells and swap the latest news. Great seeing him and of course we share all the latest on tripping "the great lake" and the latest on the happenings in Wawa.
Early morning breakfast and away we go to Neys Provincial Park. Our paddling journey begins, we can hardly wait. All of our prep and happy anticipation overwhelms us. The other explanation could be yipeeee we are here and on our way.