Friday (Sept 3), we got up, had breakfast, and then went for a paddle from Pog Lake, over the portage, and then into Whitefish lake, where we spent some time looking around, and stopped for a snack. We then followed the shoreline back around the lake and returned back over the portage and back to the our site.
We then toddled off to the visitor’s centre to renew our membership to friends of Algonquin and pick up a few additional guidebooks. At this point I realized that in the rush to leave, I forgot a paper copy of my address book, so I couldn’t send any postcards. Hohum. We returned to the site for some more of the highly coveted hammock time, where we read for some time, then had supper.
By then, it had cooled off enough to move into the dining tent, where we played cards. I walked out at one point to get something (probably more snacks), when I saw what I could have sworn was the flash from an explosion out of the corner of my eye. I stopped and turned to see what I thought I had seen. More flashes. I walked closer to the waterfront – a *huge* lightening storm that spanned from the east to the north, but I couldn’t hear it. I called for Tracey to come out and see it – and then I practically dove into the car to grab the camera to get some pictures from the waterfront. There is something to be said about walking down a steep downhill gradient in near-complete darkness, but I made it safely. I shot off quite a few pictures, but even on long settings (10+ seconds) almost nothing showed up. I guess I could have checked the settings a bit more than I did, but I’m fairly sure that everything was right. I went up the hill, grabbed the video camera and tried my luck with that – I haven’t seen the video yet (but its on the todo list, honest) so I’ll keep some fingers crossed there.
I watched the storm for some time to just admire it and to make sure that it wasn’t coming to visit us – it was quite ferocious looking and I was quite glad that we weren’t under it.
Our friend Susi arrived shortly thereafter, so we set her up in the guest room in our tent (yes, it has a guest room) and went back to playing cards as we talk about what was new with her. The next morning, we all got up, had breakfast and decided that we were going to go for a paddle. Susi wanted to stay behind, electing to try out one of our hammocks instead, so we left on of the FRS radios with her so if Chris (her boyfriend) arrived, she could let us know and we could come back to see him. We went around Pog Lake, then out to Lake of Two Rivers, pausing to photograph a white water-lily, then following the shoreline for about 1/3 of the way down the lake. Along the northern shore we found some beaver-chewed wood which we though was pretty neat.
We radioed Susi – mostly to see if she could hear us or not. To my surprise, she did – even though we were some distance away – probably 2500 meters, with a well-treed rise between us, but the transmission was somewhat staticy.
We slowly paddled our way back to the site, started to wonder where Chris was, and then started to make lunch. Chris motored up on his Triumph motorcycle minutes later. It always amuses me when I think back to when Chris first got his bike – we were having supper at the Elgin Street Diner in Ottawa when he told me that harleys attracted women, but Triumphs attracted middle-aged balding men. As proof of the point, as we walked back to the bike, there were two middle-aged balding men standing around it. I laughed pretty hard at the sight.
We ate lunch, talked about this an that and then Tracey and I wandered off to the front gate get some ice while C&S had a nap. We took our time. We got back, read some more, and then I built the fire for supper (corn on the cob, shishcabobs, and salad). I then built the fire back up where we sat around snacking, chatting, drinking beer, and cooking marshmellows.
Sunday we packed everything up and went home after breakfast. We returned home to find that everything was as we left it. We unloaded the car, took a shower and promptly went to the Imperial Palace on Dalhousie for supper.
My friend Gabriel lent me this really cool device he calls a “digital wallet”, made by Minds at Work – MindStor. It is basically an 18gb hard drive with a pcmcia slot for adapters (compact flash, sd etc). You put the CF card into it, and it copies the files to the hard drive, and then you can nuke the card and re-use it. It took about two minutes to copy 120-130 pictures that were between one and two megs each. It completely saved the day on the trip because I took over 800 pictures. So by borrowing the Mindstor, I didn’t have to buy a bunch of CF cards for the trip. I’ll be keeping an eye out for one of these or for an iPod, which with an adapter can serve the same function. Any way you shake it, it is a very, very cool device. Of course, because the idea was good, the company went out of business. [sigh]
Books read while on vacation:
Thunder Strike! – Michael McCollum
The Ringworld Engineers – Larry Niven
Conqueror’s Pride – Timothy Zahn
Rainbow Mars – Larry Niven
Darwin’s Radio – Greg Bear
Darwinia – Robert Charles Wilson
The Harvest – Robert Charles Wilson
Thuner Strike was an okay read, but I probably wouldn’t pick up something else by Michael McCollum, well, maybe.
The Ringworld Engineers as not nearly as good as the first one, but still a reasonable read. However, Rainbow Mars I really couldn’t get into, and almost didn’t finish it (rare).
Conqueror’s Pride is part of a series, but I didn’t know that until the last 40 pages of the book when I realized that there was no way to wrap up the story in the pages left, which of course disappointed me, because I like to read entire series at once (which is why I haven’t read the Neanderthal Parallax series yet because its not out on paperback [I don’t have room for hardcovers]).
Darwin’s Radio was a really interesting read, but some of the science was above what is in my head, and being in Algonquin Park, I didn’t have any of my reference books handy. I will certainly be picking up the next book in that series (a pleasant surprise) soon.
I completely blew through Darwinia in a really short period of time – a really intriguing, clever story, which led me to read the Harvest which I also greatly enjoyed. I wasn’t sure if I’d like another Robert Charles Wilson (RCW) book after Chronoliths, but I am completely hooked now.