I found a gorgeous place - it was on a tip of an island with a sand beach and crystal clear water of Proulx Lake. Since I left Opeongo Lake I did not see a single person. I lighted the fire, cooked some meal and boiled water for tomorrow. I also worked on the paddle - I was proud of myself as I came up with two solutions. The first one was included a piece of wood inside the hollow shaft with three other pieces tied with a rope to the shaft. The other one was just a wooden shaft.
The following day I set off early to make up for the lost time. Unfortunately my first fix lasted just three stokes and the back up option worked for about an hour just long enough to get me up the river to Little Crow Lake. There the wooded shaft definitely broke leavening the broken part inside the shaft which meant I was not able to replace it with anything else. The only thing I could do was to screw a cork screw on my pocket into this wood inside the shaft and create some form of a T grip on the top of the paddle.
I knew I could not afford any further delays so I paddled as fast as I could. Despite my effort I did not progress very fast - I was more like a little kid paddling on an inflatable boat than the hard core paddler but I did not have any other option. Exhausted I got to Crow river with seven portages. I soon understood that I would not be able to carry all my staff at once. So first I went with my sack and whatever was left from the paddle, and then went back for the canoe. I walked every portage three times. Three times through mosquitoes and black flies paradise. After the one portage more than 1 kilometer long, tired I decided to take my change and instead of portaging to go down the river through the rapids. In the end rapids were the reason why I went canoeing in Europe. It turned out this was not the right decision. My canoe was more a steam boat than a light white water boat. No matter what I did - and it could be just because of the extremely short paddle - she kept the direction. I was her and the river deciding where to go. I jumped twice from the boat to prevent flipping over. Fortunately the river was just waist deep and the rapids were not too strong.
After I got over the last portage I saw something big in the river. At the first moment I thought it was a rock but the rock was moving. As I got closer I realized it was a moose cow bathing and eating river grass. “This is the reason why you came! This is the first hand experience of Canadian wilderness life” half of my mind screamed with excitement. The other half, the more pragmatic was more concerned how I will get around the huge moose cow standing in the middle of the river and not showing any willingness to move even inch aside. As I got closer to her I had to make a choice. I decided to pass her on the left side because the current was faster. When I was passing her just I few meters away we stared into our eyes. “Will she run after me?” went through my mind as I was paddling with my funny paddle as fast I could. She did not move at all. She completely ignored me and kept chewing juice river grass.
Despite 10 hours of paddling and portaging I was still behind my plan. But I was too tired and also had to prepare for the night. Like a night before I found an awesome place on Lake Lavieille. After I cooked some meal I built the tent and tired fell asleep almost instantly.
Tomorrow, I'll post the third and final chapter of Tomas' canoe adventure in Algonquin Park. Check back and you'll read about how Tomas learns the truth about mosquito repellant and accepts the generosity of strangers.