The car is packed, the dogs are loaded up and we’re ready to hit the road. It’s only a 2.5 hour drive to the Queen Elizabeth II Wetlands , but it’s Victoria day (bank holiday) weekend, so the traffic will be hit OR miss. The weather was predicted to be hot sunny Friday and Saturday, with guaranteed rain on Sunday. It’s nearing the end of May, so it’s well into spring now, ensuring the attack squadrons of bugs will be laying in wait to launch their bombardment.
We arrived an hour before sunset and as soon as I set foot out of the car, BOOM! the biters and the blood suckers unleashed hell and of course I had packed the mosquito repellent in my bag. So donning my head net and in only a pair of shorts and a thin t-shirt, I got to work getting the bags out of the car and digging into my pack to grab the new mosquito repellent. I have been wanting to find an all natural repellent for while now, to use on myself and the dogs. Finally the new healthy planet store came up trumps with an oil of citronella based one. As soon as I smeared the lotion on all of the horrible creatures turned tail and ran. This was pure brilliance considering my attire for this camping trip and future ones this year is going to be a……5.11 tactical Kilt……Just because.
We managed to find a decent site, with a soft bed of moss to pad out our sleeping area and a group of rocks we shaped into a circle for a fire pit. To celebrate our first night in the woods, using dried moss, dried leaves and a lighter I got a fire started and settled into a nice rum.
First light and we were up bright and early to get breakfast cooked and our gear packed away.
I Used my Fero rod to light some Birch Bark to get the morning fire lit.
Our 4 man Walmart tent has served us well
Not sure what flower this is but it almost looks like a candy.
(Where ever you make camp, always leave zero trace that you were there. Take garbage with you, or burn it completely away. Fire should be burned down to white ash and buried)
Its 6 km to our projected campsite with a planned lunch stop at high falls. To challenge myself I wanted to use a map, compass and pace beads to get us there. Of course GPS navigation is nice, but I have seen to many people get into trouble with it. Either driving into water that isn’t on the GPS or it malfunctions for some reason, causing the person to have to guess navigate. When using one, it is always good practice to keep track of your position on a physical map as back up.
The trail consisted of moss covered rocky surfaces, patches of brush and woodland with sporadic picturesque lakes glinting like darkened mirrors in the sunshine. Out of nowhere a large white tail deer went on a bounding run. This excited the dogs who immediately gave a brief chase until I called them back (Duncan wouldn’t know what to do with it if he caught up to it lol) It was getting hot out now and every hour or so we would stop to reapply bug repellent to us and the dogs. Had to keep those black flies and mosquitoes teased and disappointed.
Cool caterpillar nest
Just over an hour and 1.5 km into the hike we started seeing sporadic blue markers that had been mentioned on the map. At this time it was nice to take my attention off of the map and just follow the blue markers that indicated a very rough route.
After taking lunch at High falls and reapplying our defense against the bitey, pokey things we cracked on through the bush.
The river heading down to high falls
What I think is a baby milk snake grabbing some charging rays.