Our route on day three took us through Three Mile, Balsam and David Lakes, although we were supposed to add Great Mountain and Gail Lakes to that list.
It stormed all night! There was thunder and lightening and lots of rain. The storm basically stopped around 8:30 am, but it continued to rain. We got up a bit late, had breakfast and cleaned up a little. We delayed a bit, hoping for the rain to stop. Eventually we took down the tent while it was still spitting, packed everything up under the tarp and then took the tarp down. We started paddling around 9:30.
We met a few canoeists heading out the Bell Lake access, as we paddled. A family of four got to the 30 metre portage to Balsam Lake, just as we were loading our canoe. They were friendly, so we chatted for a bit. As we pushed off from the portage, the rain lessened and stopped shortly thereafter.
We made pretty good time paddling on Balsam Lake, even though we had a slight headwind. Balsam is quite swampy in a lot of places, so we were hoping to see a moose or some other wildlife. We didn’t get to see a moose, but we did see a couple of large birds, with red heads, that looked like cranes. They let us get pretty close.
The portage to David Lake starts with a very steep climb. I carried Charlotte’s pack to the top of the hill for her. The 665 m portage is fairly level after that and ends with a more gradual slope to David Lake. At the end of the portage, we stopped to dig out our sunglasses, and I put on some sunscreen! The weather had changed that much! We also grabbed a granola bar, before we pushed off into David Lake.
We paddled against a stiffening headwind, as we crossed David Lake. We took what shelter we could on the lee-ward side of islands and in sheltered bays, but eventually we had to battle the wind head-on, as we crossed the main body of David lake. Our plan was to stop for a quick lunch at a sheltered rock or an empty camp-site. However, we couldn’t find a sheltered spot and all the camp-sites we passed were occupied. We ended up crossing the entire lake and stopping at camp-site 104.
It was only 1:30 pm, but we were pretty tired after paddling against the strong wind and high waves. Here is something of which most people are unaware. Provincial parks leave a couple of camp-sites unbooked on large lakes that have a lot of camp-sites. They do this to help canoeists who can’t follow their trip plan due to inclement weather. They do fully book small lakes that only have a few camp-sites. Of course, if possible, you should stick to the route you booked. We had planned to get a really early start today, because we were supposed to travel 17 km, with 3.6 kilometres of portaging and end our day on Gail Lake.
The winds were strengthening. We would have paddle north-west, with the waves hitting us broadside, in order to get to Great Mountain Lake and then Gail Lake. We decided to stay the night on David Lake. We had planned a very easy day for tomorrow. Staying on David will make it a more challenging day, but hopefully we’d be able to get an early start and have better weather.
We tied our wet tent, fly and tarp to some trees. We also hung up all of our wet clothing. The strong wind had everything dry in no time! Our biggest concern was retrieving flying clothing! We lazed around and did a little reading during the afternoon.
While we were cooking supper, it started lightly raining again. Fortunately, we had already set up our now dry tent and tarp. We moved the stove under the tarp and had supper under there as well.
It stopped raining for a bit and then started up again, just before sunset, so we retired to the tent to read, before bed. Charlotte was feeling a little under the weather, so I hoped a good night’s sleep would help her.