Algonquin: Fog and Antigone, experiencing myself as Will, two moose from a distance, beaver dams, portages, winds, and back to Misty

2022 Wednesday May 18: Grassy Bay to Misty Lake

As I write this, it’s now 2:30 A.M. Thursday time, with the waning crescent Moon shining clearly low in the west.

Everyone slept in Wednesday morning. I awoke first, to a wall of fog after a cold night.

A wall of fog hiding Grassy Bay.

Returning from a visit to the “blanket-box”, I came back to a rapidly clearing lake to hear the rushing of pinions as a huge bird flew right overhead: Antigone, a Sandhill Crane, with its down-swept tail and head. I’d heard it bugling several times already this morning!

Antigone canadensis, Sandhill Crane. The bugling of flock of Sandhill Cranes is one of the most primeval sounds I’ve ever heard.

Down on the point of rock fetching water, I teetered as I straightened up — and could feel myself as my father Will standing up in his early 60s on our last Algonquin paddle together …

After teetering on this point …

Later that morning while packing up, someone called out “Moose, two of them!”, as they ambled along the far shore.

(Look in the middle of the image …)
… Two somewhat ragged moose, blurry but recognizable, taken with a smartphone from over 300 meters away …

We finalized our decision to head out the way as initially planned through Grassy Bay over the somewhat feared in-and-outs of the eight or so beaver dams, plus two more tough portages.

Ron, getting into Dave’s kayak.

Turns out they weren’t as we’d experienced them several years ago. We were able to quickly skoot over some, and to get out to pull over the rest.

The two portages out into Mcintosh were remarkably dry, especially considering this early as Spring season. However Mcintosh was for us its usual windy self.

A Beaverpond Baskettail, Epitheca canis

The carry into Timberwolf was another dry one, compared to what our fears told us. Instead of staying in Timberwolf as booked, we decided to go on back into Misty to get ahead of schedule anticipating forecast rains for tomorrow. (We had seen only one small group in the last several days. The park was far from crowded.)

Lots of Two-leaved Toothwort along that trail, as well as seeing a lot of Painted Trilliums again. Cardamine diphylla — Crinkleroot, a new name to my ears for Toothwort — led a botanical tasting session as we relaxed at the end of the portage into Misty.

There was also lots of delicate Foamflower, Tiarella cordifolia, along the portage.

Tiarella cordifolia

The skies were almost clear and the wind was dying somewhat as we set up camp again on that great site on the west end of the large island. It was an excellent time for drying clothing and boots!

The boots and especially the canoes have stories to tell!

Dave had a remarkable birding session as we were setting up tents and hammocks. In perhaps 15 minutes, within 75 metres of the tents, Dave was able to identify 11 or so species of warblers in the canopy of huge hemlocks and yellow birches. (Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Black and white, Yellow-rumped, Magnolia, Blackburnian, American Redstart, Pine, Ovenbird, Nashville — that’s an impressive list!)

Magnificent big Hemlocks and Yellow Birches on Misty Lake

Tonight was Ron’s dinner to share. He had early on in the planning for this trip suggested that perhaps we could each bring a dinner meal to be shared by all. He’d already fed us fresh chops and grilled veggies on our first night. Tonight was to be smoked salmon and good Swiss cheese over noodles. However, since we still had leftover curry from Ross’s second night dinner, Ron decided to combine the noodles with curry tonight. He did start us off with a very tasty French cheese with figs laid out on slices of cucumber and salted and peppered to taste. Excellent!

Figgy cheese on cucumber!

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