Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 19: Friday, 09-04-09

Lakes / Rivers Traveled:

Butland Lake

Cliff Lake

Travel Time: 5:11

Distance: 4.3 miles / 6.9 km

I started moving around at 06:00 am this morning. Got out of the tent at 06:18 am. It didn’t get too cool last night, but just enough to knock the bugs down. I could see my breathe this morning.

The full moon was very bright. It was reflecting off the calm water through the fog covering the lake. This morning a loon was calling in the distance.

I got a fire started to get some heat.

Dave got up and cooked breakfast of three grain cereal.

The mosquitos have been out in full force this whole trip. I haven’t really said much about them because they’re usually just part of a trip, but usually at this time of the year they’re not this abundant.

The sun rose above the trees at 08:50 am quickly warming the air up. It looked like it was going to be another warm day once the sun burned off the fog. We were on our way at 08:34 am.

We got to the portage at 09:02 am. (UTM # 80) This portage goes into Cliff Lake. This portage is ENE of the creek that can’t be run.There was a newer blaze on a jack pine at the take-out. This portage is just to the right of an older portage that goes between two older, larger blazes. The landing is on a large rock at the water.

The water level on Butland Lake has been the lowest level of any lake or river we’ve been on. We could actually see shoreline instead of water up a few feet up in the trees. We actually crossed the height of land before we reached Butland, so now the water is flowing south.

I started my first trip across the portage. It took me 43 minutes with my heavy pack, camera case and water bottles. The length was 980 meters. I saw some bear scat along the way. The trail was easy to follow and walk. It was muddy and wet in many places. We accomplished the portage before the real heat set in. It was 12:15 pm when I finished all three carries. The bugs are back out in full force. This portage was an easier walk than yesterdays portage from the pond to Butland Lake. Even though the walk was easier it seemed as if this carry was much longer. I remember the long portage on the Witchwood River. It seemed like I was in a dream and when I woke up I hoped I was still on the trail and that I hadn’t wandered off. It seemed like I was on auto-pilot.

The put-in (UTM # 81).

When we rounded a corner to get to the main part of the lake there looked like a ledge. We got out of the canoe on river right. Now that I was out of the canoe it looked like we might have been able to run it down the middle on river left, but since we were already out of the canoe we lined it.

We paddled by some high outcroppings while we took some photos' of the pictographs we saw. Many of them appeared to be smudged or smeared and not in as good of shape as I’ve seen elsewhere. What was it? Why did they appear to be in poor condition? Are they much older or did it have something to do with the climate.

When I got back home and read what Selwyn Dewdney had to say in, Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes by Selwyn Dewdney and Kenneth Kidd, Second Edition, about the pictographs on Cliff Lake.

“ Indeed, the overriding impression of the Cliff Lake setting is one of an age-hallowed place, where paintings were made at intervals over long periods of time. More than half of them are indecipherable and many more nearly so. But we cannot blame this on the possibility of a more easily weathered rock, for the glaciated sections have remained almost intact since the Ice Age. Perhaps the paint does not bond so well on basic rocks as compared with the acidic granite. Otherwise most of the paintings must be very old.”

We eventually found a campsite at 01:45 pm. (UTM # 82). On top of the campsite I looked over the calm lake with the sun shining brightly over the area.

When we landed at the campsite Dave slipped on the wet rocks getting out of the canoe. Luckily, I was still in the canoe. He jumped back into the canoe sideways with his legs out perpendicular from the canoe. I told him to hold on while I paddled him over to some dry rocks to a safe spot to get his footing.

We set up camp then proceeded to paddle down the lake to see more pictographs. We started by going south along the east side. We got to the first set of pictographs when Dave’s camera battery went dead. We paddled back to camp where Dave got his other camera.

I have been using my Nikon D-80 when I have time to pull it out. When Dave went up to the campsite I noticed that my waterproof Olympus wasn’t working. I later found out that a rubber seal on the body cracked and was missing. Water must have got inside and caused it to stop working. My memory card was still good, so I didn’t loose any photos.

We paddle for 2 1/2 to 3 hours looking at pictographs on the rock cliffs. Again, many of them were faint and some I couldn’t make out.

We returned to the campsite . Dave finally got out his fishing pole for the first time this trip.

While Dave fished I made a pot of coffee and wrote in my journal. It wasn’t long before he caught a small northern. Dave continued to fish for a while longer, but he didn’t catch anything else.

My OTH Odhin boots are showing signs of wear. Dave’s boots, also.

Dave cooked dinner. We sat around and watched the sun set or at least go behind the small looking Black Spruce trees that are dwarfed by the large rock face across the lake to the west. There were a few clouds in the sky when the sky turned a crimson color. Nice!

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