After that cool moose encounter and landing on my island site, the next job(s) are to set up camp, pick a spot for tent, process some wood and relax. An island site on any lake is always a cool spot to camp, with one downfall, it can be some tough work finding wood to use, it’s usually pretty picked over, especially in Algonquin Park. Even more so this year, seems the pandemic has bought everyone to this popular destination. So, after gathering some wood and making camp it’s time for a quick swim, this lake isn’t the nicest for swimming, more like a giant marsh then lake, but after a long day a quick dip hit the spot and after checking for leeches I was refreshed. Getting to be around 7 p.m. it’s time to start the fire o cook my dinner, which for me is traditionally a steak dinner on my first night of camping, add potatoes to the fire and that’s a great, delicious meal to start the trip.
To describe the site for a minute here, I would say it’s a descent spot, plenty of tent pad options and a good view from the fire pit to the north, although like I said this lake has more of a marshy feel, but very quiet. The island is a good size and wood wasn’t as hard to find as I anticipated. The thunder box was an easy find and not to log of a trek from camp, that’s nice for any middle of the night
After the fire had burnt for a half an hour the coals were good enough for cooking a steak, and after starting the potatoes earlier, it was time to get cooking. A lot of sites in Algonquin have a grate of some sorts for cooking and I found one. After cooking to a medium rare, it was time to enjoy dinner and with a bit of red wine I had brought along, which turned out to be a mistake.
About 10:30 p.m. I was tired and it was time for bed, I retired to my tent and fell asleep quickly. I woke at 3 a.m. with a sore stomach and feeling very nauseous, so if you’ve been following my blog you can understand why a bit of panic started to set in. I told myself it was just something I ate and tried to settle down, not an easy thing to do in the bush 6 hours from anywhere and worrying about another bowel obstruction happening. I told myself to breath and eventually fell back asleep and slept until about 7:30 a.m. In the morning I awoke and still felt very nauseous and I managed to get down some oatmeal, hoping something in my gut would help calm it down, along with chugging water. I carry a satellite communicator in case things go really sideways, but didn’t really want use it on my first trip of the year. After a couple of hours I had to make my mind up to continue on to my next lake, further into the park or pack it in and head out, I was torn as to what to do? I hate giving up on something I’ve committed myself to and on the other hand my life is completely different now and I have to sometimes change plans on the fly, especially when alone camping.
At 11 a.m. I messaged Tracy on my communicator to say that I felt sick and had a sore stomach, but I was okay and decided to cut my trip short and head out today, the safe choice and a very difficult one for me to make. Pointing my canoe back to the direction I came, full with my gear, I headed out. As, I walked that first portage back , with about 5 hours to go, all I could think is that cancer had now taken the thing that I enjoy most away from me, and a wave of complete sadness came over me. After getting through a couple lakes and stopping for lunch, my stomach pain started to go away, along with the anxiety I had been feeling and some calmness crept in. I believe in all this I had also had a bit of a panic attack, but managed on my own, I could do this! I thought. At that point I was very close to messaging Tracy and turning back around again and finishing this trip the way I had planned. I laughed and told myself you have nothing to prove, this can be done another time, let’s be safe, that’s a very new Steve, lol. I had a very relaxing paddle back to the access point where my jeep was waiting for me.
All in all it was a good trip, although I do have unfinished business and will one day head back out into the wilderness alone. For now though I will go with company until I’m completely sure, I learned I can make a responsible decision not just for me, but for those who worry about me more than I worry about myself. I will have other adventures to write about here along with video to put together and I look forward to sharing. Cancer made me doubt and question myself and my choices of passion and hobby, but as my blog is titles, Cancer won’t run my life, I’ll get back at it. Even as I write this Part 2 here, I have just returned from a 4 night adventure in the back country of Temagami and look forward to sharing, they’ll be plenty to come and we’ll get back to my original story……so much to tell, so little time….stay tuned. Cheers!