A canoe trip into a Nova Scotia wilderness area for 8 days.
Special thanks to the three Tobeatic data elves at http://www.toddgraphic.ns.ca/map/about_us.html for making the portage and campsite data available. You three are rock stars to us!
Photots of this trip are all available to be seen here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/westbound/albums/72157659864099251

Wednesday October 7, 2015

6.5 Portages Eel Weir to Mason's Cabin. Day 1 of an 8 day trip into the Tobeatic of nova Scotia with Lylia and only the second day for the new boat, a 16' Nova Craft Prospector with TuffStuff. Much yellow paint was left on the rocks in Keji. Weather was good and the day was full of strong paddling. One tree across a portage between Coblielle Lake and Puzzel Lake. Paddling was easy going and calm until we reached Peskowesk Lake where we had to go against the wind for the entire duration of the massive lake. Mason's Cabin was still warm when we arrived and the hot coals made it very easy to get the stove going. Beef stir-fry with broccoli for dinner. The night was spend playing with the GPS which shit the bed. It keep freezing or turning off on it's own.

Thursday October 8, 2015

7.5 Portages Pebbleloggitch to House Lake. Great weather again today with clear skies and warm temps. A truck passed by the cabin this morning and those two people would be the only two we see for 8 days. It took us a few minutes to find the brook to the Shelburne Rive since my GPS was NFG. Hitting the river felt great as it was the real start to our adventure and was a river I had never seen before and it's great prestige as a Canadian Heritage River. Sisketch Lake had many large house sized rocks on it which were amazing to see. Most of the lakes in this area proved to have many more and larger rocks than any other lake I have seen before. I started to clip twigs and shrubs on the big portage from Irving Lake to the South. The yoke on my canoe started to bother the soft tissue on top of my shoulders. For Lylia is was wearing on a bone on top of her shoulder. I used my shirt as a pad since the temperature allowed topless portaging. Somewhere in the process I took my Tilly hat off. I have not seen it since. We are currently camping at the bottom of House Lake in a nice campsite. Lots of stars to see tonight. Mashed potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots for dinner. Lunch was sausages on Sisketch Lake on some rocks. Got the GPS working again, but I could not have maps on it. I had to remove the storage card to prevent it from acting up. I still had the campsites, portages starts and ends though.

Friday October 9, 2015

7 portages House Lake to Three River Lake. Overnight we heard loud splashes in the water near our camp. Sounded like a baby head size rock being thrown into the water. We could not for the life of us figure it out. We didn't seem to get far today. The portages were tough to find and carry through. Lots of thick brush and poorly marked portages. The first portage in the morning was blocked by a flooded area created by a beaver dam. We had only packs so we bushwhacked around to find the end of the portage and used a considerable amount of time doing this. We found an easier way on our return to get the boat. We floated the boat across on the last trip. Lylia lost her second knife today. She also lost her glasses but we managed to find those in the shrubs somehow since they are the same colour as the ground. From Junction Lake we paddled up river. Over one beaver dam after another. We tried to avoid one portage by pull the boat with rope through some rocks. This worked, but I think the portage would have been easier. We saw a moose on a non-labelled body of water or large Stillwater between Junction Lake and Three River Lake. The massive rocks on all the water bodies continue to amaze us. Simply have never seen them like this before. They tower upwards the size of buildings from the smallest brooks and still waters. We are behind schedule now as the poorly marked portages are hard to follow and we end us bushwhacking most of them. This system is obviously not travelled as often as other areas in the Tobeatic. This makes our connection with nature a little more romantic. Camped at the bottom of Three River Lake. Sausages, pasta, carrots, onion and cheese for dinner. The food pack is getting lighter. This may be due to drinking the cans of Sea Level beer we brought along. Our first can of fuel ran out tonight. The first 600mL can.

Saturday October 10, 2015

Three River Lake to West Bingay Lake. It rained for much of the night but luckily the rain stopped and the wind started to dry all of our gear, although the wind continued all day. We skipped oatmeal for breakfast and opted for snacks in a sheltered brook or portage instead. Although I still had to boil water for Lylia's tea for some reason. Her tea is never optional. The wind meant to took a considerable effort to paddle out of our campsite and into a brook just up the lake a short way. The waves were big and the wind did not let up. Later on Bowers Lake the wind was even worse, the lake bigger and the waves relentless. Whitecaps all our way across. We skipped from island to island getting breaks and shelter in small spurts. We eventually made it but the going was not easy. Today's portages were easier than the day before. Not because they were easily to find or follow but the forests were more open and forgiving of our travel. The boat also got a considerable pounding today as we attempted to paddle up rocky brooks. We often had to get out and lift the boat or pull it as we walked from rock to rock in the water. The portages were easy and the paddling was tough, but the portages were still tougher than paddling, if any of that made sense. The paddle between South Bingay Lake and West Bingay Lake was a real pleasure with only one short carry and one beaver damn to deal with. It mostly had deep calm water. At some point today I left my twig clippers somewhere. I was using them a lot on the portages to make the path for the boat easier and so others behind us could more easily get in and out of the water. Saw many Wood Ducks today. Soup for dinner on West Bingay Lake, one of the most remote lakes in Nova Scotia. Tomorrow we have one massive portage over to Buckshot Lake, the headwaters of the Shelburne River.

Sunday October 11, 2015

Today was very simple. Complete one portage. West Bingay Lake to Buckshot Lake, and that we did. We broke it into 500m chunks as to not be separated from any of our gear for very long. Buckshot is the Holy Grail for this trip. It's something special to see where rivers form. This was a great accomplishment for us to get this far and reach this point, although the size of the river was disappointing, but what did I expect, it's the beginning. The boat is no longer new looking. It has many bumps, scrapes and bruises. This campsite is the most used we have seen. The wind is also very strong here so we erected a good shelter with the tarp and canoe both contributing. Pasta, mushrooms, sauce, carrots, onion, sausages for dinner. Two beers to celebrate our arrival to Buckshot Lake. Our one portage today was very well marked and recently cleared. It was the best, and longest portage in the Bingay system that we travelled through. My Primus gas stove started to shit the bed tonight.

Monday October 12, 2015

8 Portages today but most were reasonably sized and found. Buckshot Lake to Sand Beach Lake. We cruised along at a good pace. Stopped to hack one sweeper in our path to avoid the portage. Lylia dropped my hatchet in the moving water and it was rather entertaining watching her try to retrieve it. We lost enough things already. Tilly Hat, 2 knives, and my twig clippers. The portage avoidance cost us a bit more damage to the new boat as happens every time we try to take some shortcuts. There were two portage options at one point between Pine Lake and Sand Beach Lake. A long one and a short one. We paddled past the long one and opted for the short one thinking it was for very low water levels, and we had plenty of water on this trip. Lylia found many cranberries on the side of the river to save for a whiskey drink on one of our nights. At the end of one portage we found the largest beaver dam we had seen yet. It had flooded the end of the portage and a campsite at the same place. It was not hard to get around. We had some snacks and I paddled on my own around the beaver's flooded waters. Tonight we are sleeping in the tent outside the front door of the historic Cofan Cabin. It is still under reno and is in no condition for guests. Drank my last can of beer in celebration of reaching the cabin.

Tuesday October 13, 2015

5 Portages today. Most reasonably sized an easy to follow. Sand Beach Lake to Granite Falls. Not a long day on the water. We had to stop at granite falls because we were not authorized to camp in Kejimkujik and its borders were not far away. We also needed a full day to paddle through the park to our car, which was in the park. Just as we finished packing up camp at the Cofan cabin, the rain started. It continued raining most of the day at a fairly steady pace. It sucked to be paddling in the rain, but it was hard to complain since we had such good weather aside from one windy day. The campsite at Granite Falls was the best one yet. Flat areas for the tent and a nice fire pit. A great view and sounds of nature to sleep to. Dehydrated camp food tonight was tasty and filled us up. Lylia cooked up her cranberry and whisky drink. We were using our backup stove and fuel still. Found some Chicken of the Woods Fungus near this campsite along with another fungus I had not seen before and cannot name. I couldn't take a picture of it either due to the low light.

Wednesday October 14, 2015

4 Portages within the park on super easy walking trails. Granite Falls to Eel Weir. We entered back into the park and continued with a nice day of paddling with good weather. It was nice to be heading out as this was the longest camping trip I had done. It was a special trip due to its length and one I had dreamed about for some time. I have finally taken part in the quintessential Canadian experience and it was beautiful.

Overall

This was our first longer canoe camping trip and it was an amazing experience. We probably bit off more than we could chew if you had asked me before I left. We did manage. We had all the necessary skills, just lacked some experience.
We lost one Tilly hat, two knives and my twig clippers. Our primary stove shit the bed, GPS lost all its maps, and our 115L bag almost lost a strap.