Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Pukaskwa Part Deux ... Paddling the Calm
The day after the morning mist paddle, the weather was extremely calm and the lake nearly as smooth as glass. While one can never count on the weather holding, I felt very confident that the day would be fine for hours. So I headed out with cameras, water and a snack. I was mentally prepared to be gone the whole day, but was open to staying out only as long as I felt comfortable.
I headed out of Hattie's Cove, the entrance to which is a small "notch" (duh, it's a cove) that faces more or less south. My intention was to go north, past Horseshoe Bay, then proceed to the mouth of the Pic River. Horseshoe Bay is the bay adjacent to our campsite; a trail led past our campsite to the bay, and the latter part of the trail is a boardwalk, as the trail traverses a delicate, sandy ecosystem.
The first photo shows the calm waters on today's trip. The bay is somewhat protected, but when the weather is "up", the surf can be quite strong. The second photo (taken on a different day) shows the surf on a typical good weather day. The log in the foreground is blurred because it is actually in motion, being propelled by the incoming surf. I chose a shutter speed that would somewhat freeze the waves in the background, but that was slow enough to hint at the movement of the log.
Even though the surf on photo two is not that heavy, it has enough energy to shove the tree trunk back.
These dunes are north of Pukaskwa proper, on the north side of the Pic River. One of the park's interpretive programs is a trip to the dunes.
Turning up river I paddled to the ceremony grounds for the Pic River First Nation. Near this pavilion are small cottages and trailers, housing some of the band members during the summer. I definitely want to come back here during powwow days and find out more of the history of this site, the people, etc. Pic River people have been here for thousands of years; there's a lot to be gained by learning.
Coming back in, there is a small island at the mouth of Horseshoe Bay. It was fun to paddle around and make at least cursory notice of the flora. By this time I was so "emotionally relaxed" that I really didn't work too hard at making "good" photos. Being relaxed and not thinking too much normally produces better work for me. But this time I was simply more attuned to being where I was, to absorbing rather than creating. That was a good place.
Heading back in for the final leg, I actually missed the entrance to Hattie's Cove. So I ended up paddling around Pulpwood Bay, casually exploring before returning to the cove.
To say I was exhilarated would be a monumental understatement. The day was topped off with the simple elegance of relaxation in a camp chair .... absorbing campfire wood smoke, a bottle of 2003 Hillebrand Estates Showcase Chardonnay and grilled chicken.