I don't even know how to start this blog.
I've been struggling terribly with depression. Right now I'm working part time, which is helpful, as it gives me time to write and to work on therapy goals, which include my behavioural activations - running twice a week and hiking on the weekends.
So, I didn't cancel my girls glamping backpacking weekend with Steph in Killarney Provincial Park on the La Cloche Silhouette Trail.
It was weird though - I found myself smiling at things, because I knew that was what I was supposed to smile at, and even kind of laughing, for the same reasons. But while I did it, it hurt, inside, this unbearable pain.
With all that said, I enjoyed myself as much as was possible. I'm still in there, somewhere.
Anyways. We left Toronto about 2pm and after enduring terrible traffic to get to Barrie, had one stop in Parry Sound to switch drivers (I'm trying to avoid caffeine now that I'm taking lithium again, as it affects levels, but highway driving makes me sleepy).
It was funny, we were at the edge of a storm most of the drive up and at one point Steph commented that it looked really dark behind us. I was like 'Uhhh...the window is tinted'. Reminds me of before I got use to the tint.
We had a fire - after the excitement of the dry wood at Finlayson Point, I was looking forward to seeing how well the wood at Killarney burned.
Let's just say it was typical Ontario Parks wood. We did have a fire for a bit though, then went to bed.
I tried out my new Double Z sleeping pad from Big Agnes - it does not self-inflate, regardless of what the MEC employee told me (tsk tsk) but it is so comfortable I think I will love it for shoulder season camping. I was just too excited not to bring it.
The next morning we got up and slowly packed up camp - got a few pictures too. Spiderwebs galore!
We hit the trail about 9:15, and just kept an easy pace. It's been years since Steph has backpacked and she's injured, so we kept it easy, plus there was a heat warning (30C before humidity, and it was HUMID), and we had Luc who doesn't do well in heat.
We stopped every 30 minutes to give the dogs water, plus let them drink from streams. Luc was panting, but unlike in Temagami it was normal hot dog panting, not scary sounding.
At Acid Lake we stopped for a snack and to give Luc a rest, though I'm not sure he needed one. Hey. Senior dogs. You've got to spoil them.
I was taking electrolyte tabs (S Caps from Spafford Health and Adventure - BEST electrolyte replacer out there!!!!) to help as if you get too dehydrated while taking lithium you can accidentally go toxic - I had that happen at a short trail race before once, I was blind for half an hour. Super freaky stuff. We also got more water at this stop.
With our break over, we headed off for the slightly-less than half remaining of our 7k day. We hit the long rocky downhill that Steph was dreading heading up on Sunday.
We got into camp at about 12:30 - and the firepit was still smouldering from whatever asshat had been there that morning and not put out their fire!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE!!!!!!!! Totally disgusting.
We stayed at H5 on Cave Lake - it's a nice big site, though not overburdened with a ton of tent sites.
As you can see, I used my Integral Designs Silwing tarp (available at MEC). I was letting Steph use my favourite Tarptent, the Double Rainbow, and brought along the the Rainshadow 2, for me and the dogs. Which I haven't used in years. I remembered that instead of the poles that come with the tent to prop up the front, you can use hiking poles, which I like better. And Steph was using hiking poles.
So I didn't bring the poles (or the stakes, but that's what dog made sticks for). However, I forgot that one of the poles of the Rainshadow is for the rear and props up that end of the tent.
It's funny because last time I stayed at H5 we had an injured dog (Neb) so stopped early and discovered that I'd forgotten the poles to a tent (an old tent - the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3, which I got at MEC. I don't think they make it anymore though). So something about H5 makes me forget tent poles.
The Rainshadow was still usable - basically just a tarp with a very low back end. But I decided, after an enjoyable swim and lie in the sun - to put up the Silwing. I had the tyvek groundsheet to put all my gear on.
So see? Paranoia into always bringing tarps in case of rain pay off! Plus I'd been thinking of using the Silwing more in November for the trips so to use it in good weather was good, I've had it on trips before, but never with dogs.
Relevant because I woke up Sunday morning and thought 'Huh, the tarp is awfully low' - the dogs were on tie outs and Luc knocked over the hiking pole I had on one of the wings - so I had to fix it. I'm not sure how well tarps work with dogs, unless you have the perfect site with perfectly located trees so that you don't need a hiking pole - I think I may go back to using the Double Rainbow for my November trips.
But enough about tarps and tents.
After our run and sun, we broke into the wine.
Steph went classy and drank hers from a sierra cup. But look at me, bringing a cup on a backpacking trip! You know it's glamping when.
We cooked dinner on my new stove, which I brought along because I couldn't wait to try it out - 73g, the Soto Micro Regulator stove. It boils SO fast - faster than the Jetboil I think! It's no alcohol stove, but wonderfully light and easy to use. Thanks to Brian at MEC Toronto for the recommendation. I also got it for shoulder season trips. But think I'll use it other times.
We had a vegan dinner that was super good - cappellini pasta (quick cook), black bean soup mix as sauce with some nutritional yeast and hemp hearts. We brought veggies too but forgot them - oops!
We had a small fire, hung out talking, then headed to bed.
Neb had started limping sometime Saturday afternoon/evening, but we couldn't see anything wrong with his pads or leg when palpitated/examined. We thought maybe he had his leg fall asleep or got stung.
Sunday morning he was still limping, until he saw a squirrel and ran after it without limping and never limped again. What a faker!
We had a quick breakfast, headed out and hiked out a bit faster than we came in, despite the big uphill that Steph was worried about.
It was still hot, so it was good to get an early start on the day. I woke up at 6:15 thanks to the one mosquito on the lake (sheesh) and it was HOT. I slept in shorts and a tank but I was sweaty.
We stopped at French River on the way home and had lunch. Steph had never been before! My goodness, it is iconic. We ate outside with the dogs of course, and chatted with a little girl who came over and asked if she could say hi to the dogs - she had dogs herself and was SO good with them, you could tell she really knew dogs. It was a pleasure to see. Neb kissed her.