Monday, August 3, 2015

Frogurt snark, a pet wasp and things you can do in a canoe....(or on an island with no clothes on)

Winnipeg is weird.
There have been many times when someone who comes here for the first time says 'Its a bit weird'. But one of the things that makes Winnipeg weird is the fact that most of the people here admit its a bit weird and are proud to say so. That's why I kind of like it too.
But why is it weird? Well, the two main factors are the location (about 3 hours drive to the nearest large city, which is also a weird place apparently) and the weather - anyone reading this blog will know all about the Winnipeg weather - up to 40 degrees in summer dropping to minus 40 in winter.

Well, the weather here has got weirder in the last few weeks - with hot, hot humid days being broken up with cold and windy days interspersed with huge storms like the one we saw at FolkFest and the one we had last week when the road outside flooded! Plus the one a few days ago that had a tornado on the ground for about 70 minutes just an hour or so away from Winnipeg...

here's a video of it...

tornado video

Anyway, we didn't see any of that where we were  - we have been on a three day canoe trip - just me and Buffy - to a place called The Experimental Lakes Area, about three hours east of Winnipeg, in Ontario.

We had wanted to do a canoe trip this summer and borrowed on of the rental canoes from work, along with a couple of the family paddles and Buffy's mums car to transport it all in. (Our car would be able to carry it all, but the VW Passat has roof bars too which helps a lot!) So after a night at the cabin we set off early on Sunday morning.


Unloading and getting water from the river
We arrived at the Lakes area and unloaded the car, putting in by a small bridge over the water. Then headed south towards the first portage - a portage for those that don't know is where you cannot or don't want to use the river or lake to continue in your canoe or kayak and pick the boat and all your gear up and walk around or past the bit you cant do - such as waterfalls, water with low levels or too many rocks or in this case to get from one lake to the next lake.

Our first portage was a short 200 metres, down a slight slope and we manage it in about 15 minutes after first carrying out kit - dry bags with tent, sleeping bags and clothes , plus a waterproof  and bear proof barrel with food - then we returned and carried the Kevlar canoe the same route. It wasn't too bad, but just a little bit of mud  - and when we set off again we were in high spirits - until I realised id left my sunglasses and hat at the start of the portage - bugar - I couldn't be bothered to go back as the hat was too small and the sunglasses were scratched, so we continued on towards the second portage about 2 kilometers away.

This one was a little harder - about 500 metres down a slight slope and past some rapids that with low water levels were impassable. This one took about 40 minutes with two trips again for all our kit and Buffy taking her turn to carry the canoe on her own. Still, after we were done the only down side was a sore neck where the canoe had been resting against Buffy's back.

Towards portage one

Ready to go at portage one

Arriving at the second portage  - minus hat

Buff and the canoe....

Portage done - time to carry on..

After the third portage of the day we headed across the lake towards an island where we planned to camp for the evening. As we approached we noticed a yellow canoe pulled up onto the shore and a tarpaulin hanging from the trees. So there was already people on the island but we weren't prepared for what came next - as we got closer we saw a foot dangling in the air, then another foot and then movement between the two feet - a person - a naked person - a naked person on top of another naked person enjoying the delights of some outdoor fun in the sun!!! The two people obviously didn't care that we saw them shagging and just carried on oblivious. We headed a little further west along the island and left them to their outdoor exploits!! Unfortunately there are no photos of any of this!!

We set up our tent and cooked a good dinner, before reading for a while, relaxing with the sunset and then  heading to bed for the night.
Sterilise that water!



 The next day was lovely - apart from the last portage of the trip - a 600 metre hike up a steep hill of rocks and to the final lake - not too bad with the lightweight canoe we had, but I wouldn't want to do it too often!!

With bags

With Canoe..
Th rest f the day was spent paddling, clearing a beaver dam, returning to the first portage where we found my sunglasses and hat and finally relaxing again while the sun went down with a good dinner and a new pet - Our camp site was lovely and plush with a covering of soft green moss - but a bugar of a wasp that spent ages annoying Buffy by constantly landing on her feet. She couldn't get rid of it, so she decided to sit in the tent to get some peace. I stayed outside and spent a lovely hour or so playing with the wasp as it crawled around my hands and enjoyed drinking my sweat! It was nice to have a new pet.

Buff in the canoe...

Camp site for the second night


Buffy looking on from the tent
After a couple of games of cards we had a lovely nights sleep and woke up to grey skies and a bit more wind than yesterday. We knew a thunderstorm was coming and with only a mile or so back to the car we headed to the place we started from two days earlier - it was easy to find and we loaded up the car and headed back to Winnipeg - arriving mid afternoon and with plenty of time to get all our kit sorted and washed before work the next day - a great little holiday away in the Wilderness!

We had had some more excitement before the canoe trip too - It was the week of Fringe Fest in the city  - about 170 stage shows ranging from comedy and musicals to drama and story telling. We saw 10 shows in all with the best being a bloke who reads the phone book!! The final show we saw though was called 'Lord of the thrones' . As we waited to go into the seating area a two of the four cast members were wandering through the crowd and stopped by me and Buffy....'How would you like to be in the show?' they asked..... Buffy nodded and I said yes, before we were both whisked through to sit on the front row and I was told I would be on stage for the entire show as part of the cast - In fact I was to play 'The Reluctant Hero - Frogurt Snark' - a hobbit in a similar guise to Frodo Baggins, joining the rest of the cast on a quest to save the world or something....

My lines were prerecorded and every time I heard the hobbit voice I was to listen and act along as if I was saying the words myself - It was great fun, especially when I had to say:-' I will prove my Hobbit strength' and meant to prove it somehow - I couldn't think of anything except to punch another one of the actors (stage punch)...he fell to the floor playing along and the crowd went mad!! It was a great night and ended up with me wearing the crown of the king and taking in the applause of the audience, before sharing a beer with the other three members of the cast later after the show ended.

Heres some photos and videos of the show.....

Being introduced to the audience

Killing someone with a wooden sword!

The end of the show!


To put you right up to date with what else has been happening..........
1. I made a simple coffee table from crates....

2. Buffy made some delicious breakfast bars for the canoe trip - enough for about 100 people!

3. We attended Nick and Breannes wedding at which Buffy wore a gorgeous floor length green and black dress, we had a good dance, did some hatchet throwing and enjoyed a good few beers - a great night!!

Beautiful girl stood by pallets....

My turn..

Finally, its now less than three weeks till we move into our new house - as Buffy says -
                                                               ''ITS SOO EXCITING''

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