Thursday, 10 September 2015

Hike #62 August 23, 2015 High Dump to Storm Haven

Hike #62
Date – August 23, 2015
Location – Map 41 Emmett Lake
Distance – 8.9
Total Trail Distance – 872.5 (21.5 to go)
Hikers – Dean, Marlene, Benjamin, Steve, Simon, Jacob, Madeleine, Kent, Harold, Janette, Melanie and Chris
Start – 137.0 High Dump
End – 145.9 Storm Haven
Direction – North
Weather – Hot and sunny with cloudy periods; a shower in the evening

We awake to a glorious morning and emerge from our campsites in the forest to have a relatively leisurely breakfast on the beach at High Dump. It’s not going to be a long distance we have to travel today, so we are not in too much of a rush.

Steve, however, is in a rush. He informs us, via Simon, that he is going to go on ahead in order to make it all the way to Cyprus Lake campground, so he can spend the night at the base camp. Simon comes down to the beach a few minutes later to say that he has decided to hike with Steve and Jacob, and he leaves too.

Later, after the rest of us climb the rope up the escarpment, we are surprised to find Steve sitting on a rock at the end of the short High Dump side trail. 

He asks us if Simon is with us, and is only slightly surprised that he’s not. We learn that when Jacob and Steve realize that Simon has not caught up with them, they drop their packs and retrace their steps to the place where the High Dump side trail meets the main trail. Their suspicion is that Simon headed south, back towards Crane Lake, instead of veering to the right to continue north.

Steve says Jacob has gone running south after Simon, and tells us we can go on ahead. But we don’t want to do that. Cell phone service is spotty and we don’t want Steve to have to deal with the search for Simon alone. Besides, Elza will be mad if Steve only comes home with one son.

We wait, and we wait, and we finally take our packs off. Steve gets frustrated and leaves too, heading south. Madeleine and Kent go back down the trail to High Dump, just in case.

And then Simon reappears from the south. 

We are very happy to see him but he is not happy at all. We know that he is a speedy hiker but even Jacob running could not catch up with him. It wasn’t until Simon had gone several kilometres that he began recognizing some features from yesterday’s hike, such as the snowmobile trail. He is peeved about the extra distance that this represents, and takes off heading north at the same fast clip. Luckily Ben and Jacob can keep up with him, and off they go. By this time, it’s almost noon and the rest of us shoulder our packs again and begin the day’s hike in earnest.

This hike features rough terrain but stunning views over Georgian Bay. It’s a hot day and we are glad to be walking mostly in the forest, not out in the sun. Some of us swim every chance we get, including at the beach at Halfway Dump, which features large white rocks. They are polished beautifully smooth but they are incredibly treacherous underfoot, especially in the water where they are slick with algae. We are surprised, however, to hike for hours and then arrive at a beach in the middle of the wilderness to find it full of people.

Melanie is having boot trouble, and she tries to reduce friction by inserting padding along her ankle. But it doesn’t help, and in desperation she finally decides to switch to a flip-flop on her right foot with her hiking boot on her left. That's no good, so instead, she borrows a pair of sandals, wearing them with her socks. It ain’t fashionable but it’s better than hobbling in pain.

Ben hears and then we see our second rattlesnake – bigger than yesterday’s. Dean is even happier to know that now he has seen an even bigger dangerous snake, safely.

We arrive at Storm Haven late in the afternoon and it is stunningly beautiful. Clear turquoise water with rock shelves. We have booked all four lower campsites, so we have a lovely evening, swimming, cooking and eating on the beach. Ben is delighted to find a can of Stonechurch Vineyards' Shiny Apple Cider floating in the water just off the point, which prompts Dean to pray that a case of beer will float by, or maybe just a six-pack.

Just after supper, it starts to rain, so we all scurry back into the forest and our tents. The rain ends after about an hour, and we gather again on the beach, walking and talking until the sun goes down.

Tomorrow will be a big day.

Here are a few more photos from the hike. Sorry if there are too many. It is just too beautiful. Thank you, Janette and Madeleine, for sharing your photos.

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