RIVULETS ONLY (Algonquin Provincial Park, Part 2 – Two Rivers Trail)

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This story continues from Lookout, We're Climbing Again    Were we crazy? Probably. At least we didn’t have to fight a crowd to enjoy the hike. And the view of mist tipping the peaks of the trees across the expanse rewarded us for our tenacity. Unfortunately, the image would have to be etched in my memory since the pictures I took revealed mostly blur. Important Start to the Day Prior to looking for the Two Rivers Trail, we enjoyed our coffees under the watchful eyes of a moose head in the Lake of Two Rivers Store. The head caught my attention with its covering of fake fur. Once my caffeine addiction was satisfied, Helen and I left the head behind to rescue the girls from the car and face the outdoors, where drizzle attempted to soak the land. What’s a Little Rain? I decided my weatherproof jacket would protect me enough, and luckily, Tessi doesn’t care about weather as long as she is exploring the many teasing smells nature offers. I wouldn’t have to worry about losing Helen, who walked behind us in the bright orange raincoat she had acquired from her mother, and pushing ahead of her, little Missy has proven her toughness on our challenging excursions. Wet, Wet, Wet As we followed the gentle terrain, the sprinkle gradually changed into a deluge. Before long, I imagined we had lost the trail and were walking in a small creek as the water raced down the easy slope, weaving back and forth around tree roots and protruding rocks and, in some parts, covering our feet up to our ankles. It was the trail, nevertheless, and we continued to slog along it. My lightweight, cotton pants soon became uncomfortably soaked. I’d be relieved to complete the approximate 2 km (1.3 mi) loop. Only the jingle of the bear bell attached to my adjustable jacket cuff interrupted the spattering around us. I had dug out the bell in hopes its noise would mask the stench of our fear of any presence of bears. I don’t know if they wander in inhospitable weather, but I wanted to provide ample warning since we were the only people around. Nothing tempted me to linger in our walk until we arrived at a lookout, where I noticed the rock and vegetation’s colours glistening intensely, as tends to happen when objects get wet. I pulled out my waterproof compact camera for some shots, but found it difficult to keep the lens clear. Unlike my pictures of the misty trees, the resulting creative blur generally proved interestingly artistic. At one point, I turned around to check on a normally enthusiastic Missy. I discovered an unimpressed drowned rat in her place. I tucked her inside my jacket to try to warm her up a bit. We only succeeded in soaking my shirt, which had already been damp from frequently freeing my camera for shots. From what I’ve read, the lookout’s edge hovers over the North Madawaska River. I was unwilling to move close enough on the wet, slippery rock to confirm the river’s existence. The rivulets on the trail would be the only ground water we would see. At the trailhead, I found the trail guide in my backpack had turned soggy. After another coin offering, I replaced it with a dry one. I wanted to be able to clearly read about the changes in the Algonquin forests it discusses. Tent Turned Wading Pool Back at our campsite, I opened the flap to my tent to find pools of water surrounding the mattress. So much for the waterproofing I’d given the tent the year before. Helen found puddles too, but her small tent necessitated less clean up. We spent the next while sponging up water with our towels under a quiet, but overcast sky. Soon we were relaxing in our lawn chairs. Tessi slept under the picnic table and Missy, dressed in her pretty blue shirt, lay curled up on Helen’s lap. The sun would peak out now and again, but not enough to dry the wet clothes and towels adorning our lot. We waited for our cans of soup to heat up in my portable food warmer. I borrowed it from Wayne, who uses it when away in his truck. The warmer has just enough room for two cans and plugs into the cigarette lighter receptacle in the car. Sadly, neither Helen nor I have ever started a camp fire. I always left this task to Wayne during our camping trips years ago. (At home we have a camp stove tucked away - somewhere.) While we waited, I worked on my journal entries. Occasionally, my writings were interrupted with discussions of our next hike and occasional glances at the tops of the surrounding tall, tall pine trees dancing in random breezes. Bushes fill in the area around the base of the trees and the ground is covered in sand. According to Helen, sand helps absorb the water. I guess I should have been happy with that reasoning since my tent might have been totally flooded otherwise. The sand gets into everything, however, and having pine needles mixed in just added to the mess. Next Hike We debated on joining an organized tour on the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, but our food wasn’t heated sufficiently for us to eat and make it for the 2:00 meet up time. My food warmer works well, albeit slowly. We decided instead to tackle the Beaver Pond Trail on our own. We would see a variety of scenery, yet the trail would meander all over - or it would feel like it. I would be surprised to learn afterwards it was roughly the same length of the previous two we had tackled. Fortunately, during the duration of our hike we would stay dry and actually be granted bits of sunshine out of the mostly clouded sky. I love rain. Its patter on the ground or off a roof or tent quiets my soul. It refreshes the air and offers tranquility. I don’t know too many people who feel this way. On the Two Rivers Trail, though, I found my limit in improper attire, a downpour and no warm house with a dryer to return to.  For More Info

  (c) Cheryl Smyth, 2012

Story continued in A Sandy Mess and a Muddy Dip


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